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View Full Version : Battle of Britain - was it REALLY a turning point?



Jagdklinger
06-13-2005, 07:57 AM
I've been looking through a few WW2 articles on the net recently, and 'Battle of Britain' always gets a big rap.

But why is it always mentioned in the same breath as WW2 itself. What did the BoB really accomplish? Besides a great propoganda victory and a great example of British courage and defiance? (and a timely bl00dy nose for the Nazis).

What if they lost? Would the British really have surrendered because of the bombing alone? It's not like Sealion could have ever succeeded....

Supposing British lost abysmally; all they had to do was pull squadrons back out of range and rebuild?

Win or lose - it seems the same problem remains for Nazis - unsinkable aircraft carrier on their back door; always the possibility of a second front?

So did BoB 'win the war?' or was it just an expensive side-show for the Nazis?

interested in your thoughts

Heliopause
06-13-2005, 08:12 AM
Hitler never wanted to invade Britain, he wanted to have a peace-treaty. He wanted to leave the Britisch Empire in one piece. In order to accieve this he gave them a break after the Battle of France ( Dunkirk). As Britain did not react to this the germans started to build up pressure in order to get the treaty..The Battle of Britain was born. This treaty never materialized and the biggest gamble began with the invasion of Russia and the lack of a treaty with GB. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

dadada1
06-13-2005, 08:18 AM
This subject was discussed about three weeks ago in this thread.

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/5641076223

Huckebein_UK
06-13-2005, 08:28 AM
Had it been pursued with sufficient energy and commitment by the Germans, a successful invasion of Britain would have been very possible. As it was, the BoB represented a three-quarters-hearted attempt to wear the British into submission. When it failed, Hitler grew impatient and opened a second front in the East, aka. signed his own death warrant. Nobody in the World at that time could have faced both the British Empire and The Soviet Union and triumphed wihout horrific sacrifice, and of course when the USA joined in a year later...

The reason it's always mentioned in the same breath as WWII is because a) It was a part of WWII, and b) it was the first instance of the German Armed Forces (or at least one of them) failing to achieve such a strategically important objective.

Hendley
06-13-2005, 08:33 AM
It has indeed been discussed recently, but just a few off the cuff remarks:

- with air superiority, Sealion might very well have been a possibility. That was the whole point of the battle...(edit: but even so...)

- with a defeat (edit: in the BoB), Churchill would have likely lost power to British politicians on the left and right who wanted to sue for peace with Hitler.

- even if Britain hadn't sued for peace, the RN would have been at the mercy of Stukas and Heinkels in the Med/North Sea etc--no Malta, no effective Africa campaign, Bismark not sunk by Swordfish, King George V sunk by Luftwaffe (oops, North Atlantic lost.)

- Luftwaffe (in either scenario) devotes bolstered resources to the Eastern Front. No delay to Russian campaign caused by British resistance in the Balkans, so German armies reach objectives before onset of winter.

- With Britain out, Hitler does not see any reason to declare war on the US, and the US stays out.

- and so on.

History says the Battle of Britain helped protect democracy from totalitarianism... Revisionists have a long hill to climb if they want to change that judgment.

dadada1
06-13-2005, 08:41 AM
Again I re-iterate what I said in that original thread. Post war Galland and other senior generals (allies as well) alive at the time did not feel invasion of the England would have been successful, but what would he/they know?

csThor
06-13-2005, 09:01 AM
Sealion was nothing but a sham. When planning the next steps after the surrender of France there have been no meetings between the CinC's of the different branches (which had been compuslory for all operations before and would be held for most [all?] huge operations after). Kesselring remembers that his own orders were quite inexplecit and contained a lot of "hot air". G├┬Âring wouldn't even have him and Sperrle coordinate their efforts!

The situation was even worse with the Heer and the Kriegsmarine. The latter was convinced that such an operation was impossible and didn't make useful plans at all, the former was planning a large "river crossing" (as if the Channel was a tiny rill!).

p1ngu666
06-13-2005, 09:18 AM
it really was a pivotal battle, imagine britain falling. the only effective resistance in europe would disapear, canada and other parts of the empire didnt have the manufacturing, population and logistics to carry on the fight effectivly.
so africa would also fall to the axis, the middle east (iran and mesoptania there was a uprising against the british? iran means ayran btw)
germany italy and japan plus any others who had joined the axis side would squeeze india into submission. also resistance to the germans would be much worse without SOE and other organisations in britain, lack of guns plus no effective military force anywhere near.

iceland greenland would fall easily, plus with no pearl harbour japan could probably take certain areas including australia and china (probably with germany and others too)

an rest then attack on USSR by the axis forces would stand a much better chance now, having probably 3x the planes avalible, and attacking all along russia's boarders with more men. plus there wouldnt be the worry of britain, malta etc.

big question is whether the germans would use the production and econimic advantages over teh russians. germany actully had a greater industrial capacity than russia before the war including captured areas. and they captured or the russians lost alot of factories in the early stages...

the germans didnt max out there capacity in the early part of the war, probably 30-50% of what the factories could actully produce if maxxed out..

Aaron_GT
06-13-2005, 09:28 AM
I don't think that Germany could realistically have invaded Britain, but Britain being defeated in Battle of Britain could have led to Britain being unable (due to treaty of exhaustion) to effectively mount any campaigns in 1941, meaning no need for the Germans to bolster the Italians in Greece and an earlier start to Barabarossa, possibly meaning the USSR being defeated. Just maybe.

HoldSteady641
06-13-2005, 09:32 AM
A few other explanations why the BoB is a very famous piece of WWII history:

- The first real victory for the Allies (not only the first failure of the axis to grab a real strategical objective), so in that sense a turning point indeed. From then on, the axis started losing sometimes. After Stalingrad, they didn't win anymore.
- The first single air-battle in history. A war in which ground and naval troops were irrelevant, comparable to the later pacific battles, though navy wasn't exactly irrelevant there!

dadada1
06-13-2005, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by p1ngu666:
it really was a pivotal battle, imagine britain falling. the only effective resistance in europe would disapear, canada and other parts of the empire didnt have the manufacturing, population and logistics to carry on the fight effectivly.
so africa would also fall to the axis, the middle east (iran and mesoptania there was a uprising against the british? iran means ayran btw)
germany italy and japan plus any others who had joined the axis side would squeeze india into submission. also resistance to the germans would be much worse without SOE and other organisations in britain, lack of guns plus no effective military force anywhere near.

iceland greenland would fall easily, plus with no pearl harbour japan could probably take certain areas including australia and china (probably with germany and others too)

an rest then attack on USSR by the axis forces would stand a much better chance now, having probably 3x the planes avalible, and attacking all along russia's boarders with more men. plus there wouldnt be the worry of britain, malta etc.

big question is whether the germans would use the production and econimic advantages over teh russians. germany actully had a greater industrial capacity than russia before the war including captured areas. and they captured or the russians lost alot of factories in the early stages...

the germans didnt max out there capacity in the early part of the war, probably 30-50% of what the factories could actully produce if maxxed out..

It was pivotal but not at all in the sense you suggest. Why would Britain have fallen because of a lost Battle, again I re-iterate Britian still had the capacity to produce planes and pilots, and still and the use of it's airfields. I've never seen any solid evidence to support this claim ? To imagine that Sealion would have been successful if carried out is just that, imagination. Please read Wannabe pilots reply on this page regarding the Kriegsmarine.

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/5641076223/p/5

TgD Thunderbolt56
06-13-2005, 09:40 AM
My answer to the original poster is to read the Peter Townsend Book Duel of Eagles and make your own assessment as to the importance of the battle. It's detailed and looks into many of the nuances that contributed to the outcome...from both sides.

TB

Hendley
06-13-2005, 09:41 AM
Did you Sealion-was-never-going-to-happen-anyway-guys note that in my scenarios described above, Britain was not invaded?

You can make Sealion irrelevant, but BoB is still decisive.

Chuck_Older
06-13-2005, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by TgD Thunderbolt56:
My answer to the original poster is to read the Peter Townsend Book Duel of Eagles and make your own assessment as to the importance of the battle. It's detailed and looks into many of the nuances that contributed to the outcome...from both sides.

TB

I agree. Great book. The politics of both high commands is addressed in detail

dadada1
06-13-2005, 10:05 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Hendley:
Did you Sealion-was-never-going-to-happen-anyway-guys note that in my scenarios described above, Britain was not invaded?

On the contrary, I refer to the likely outcome had Germany fully committed to Sealion, and the majority of your scenarios refer to a successful Sealion, again highly inlikely. Thats not to say that losses would not have been heavy on both sides. The loss of Battle of Britain and successful invasion of England are two entirely different matters, not a forgone conclusion.

Hendley
06-13-2005, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by dadada1:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Hendley:
Did you Sealion-was-never-going-to-happen-anyway-guys note that in my scenarios described above, Britain was not invaded?

On the contrary, I refer to the likely outcome had Germany fully committed to Sealion, and the majority of your scenarios refer to a successful Sealion, again highly inlikely. Thats not to say that losses would not have been heavy on both sides. The loss of Battle of Britain and successful invasion of England are two entirely different matters, not a forgone conclusion.

Hi dadada1, just realized that I was a bit ambiguous in the first post: when I said "with a defeat", I meant a defeat in the BoB, not Sealion. My scenarios were meant to follow on a BoB defeat with no Sealion and no invasion of Britain.

dadada1
06-13-2005, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by Hendley:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by dadada1:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Hendley:
Did you Sealion-was-never-going-to-happen-anyway-guys note that in my scenarios described above, Britain was not invaded?

On the contrary, I refer to the likely outcome had Germany fully committed to Sealion, and the majority of your scenarios refer to a successful Sealion, again highly inlikely. Thats not to say that losses would not have been heavy on both sides. The loss of Battle of Britain and successful invasion of England are two entirely different matters, not a forgone conclusion.

Hi dadada1, just realized that I was a bit ambiguous in the first post: when I said "with a defeat", I meant a defeat in the BoB, not Sealion. My scenarios were meant to follow on a BoB defeat with no Sealion and no invasion of Britain. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Hendley, thanks for clarifying what you meant in your first post, I still stand by position with regards to BOB and Sealion though. I think the biggest threat would have been calls for Churchills resignation post BOB defeat, but this is a what if?

p1ngu666
06-13-2005, 06:45 PM
Originally posted by dadada1:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by p1ngu666:
it really was a pivotal battle, imagine britain falling. the only effective resistance in europe would disapear, canada and other parts of the empire didnt have the manufacturing, population and logistics to carry on the fight effectivly.
so africa would also fall to the axis, the middle east (iran and mesoptania there was a uprising against the british? iran means ayran btw)
germany italy and japan plus any others who had joined the axis side would squeeze india into submission. also resistance to the germans would be much worse without SOE and other organisations in britain, lack of guns plus no effective military force anywhere near.

iceland greenland would fall easily, plus with no pearl harbour japan could probably take certain areas including australia and china (probably with germany and others too)

an rest then attack on USSR by the axis forces would stand a much better chance now, having probably 3x the planes avalible, and attacking all along russia's boarders with more men. plus there wouldnt be the worry of britain, malta etc.

big question is whether the germans would use the production and econimic advantages over teh russians. germany actully had a greater industrial capacity than russia before the war including captured areas. and they captured or the russians lost alot of factories in the early stages...

the germans didnt max out there capacity in the early part of the war, probably 30-50% of what the factories could actully produce if maxxed out..

It was pivotal but not at all in the sense you suggest. Why would Britain have fallen because of a lost Battle, again I re-iterate Britian still had the capacity to produce planes and pilots, and still and the use of it's airfields. I've never seen any solid evidence to support this claim ? To imagine that Sealion would have been successful if carried out is just that, imagination. Please read Wannabe pilots reply on this page regarding the Kriegsmarine.

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/5641076223/p/5 </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

well, im making the assumption the RAF had ceased tobe a effective force, and the germans could organise a p1ssup in a brewery.

without fighter command the germans would gain in strength, and bombing, recon etc would become more effective, moral could collapse. the soldiers in france could bulid there own boats and pow's etc. help from america probably wouldnt be as forthcoming either, everything swings to the germans advantage, if they could grasp that advantage is another matter http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

-HH- Beebop
06-13-2005, 07:14 PM
Was it a turning point?

Absolutely! It proved to the Allies that the mighty German military machine, percieved as nearly invincible until then, could be taken on and beaten soundly.

You can debate the fine points forever, but the real value of the Battle of Britain was the boost it gave the morale of all Allies. If it had failed any of the above mentioned scenarios could have happend.

I believe however that the Allies would have eventually won as Hitler failed to recognize his most valuable resource, his military strategists who, if left to run the war, might have been able to put off the inevitable by another year or so.

Bottom line, Germany relied on imported materials for it's war effort. The US didn't and had the distribution network needed to get those materials to Allied Forces where they could do the most good. Plus the planetary geography and short-sightedness of Hitler made the US relatively "untouchable".

John_Stag
06-13-2005, 07:39 PM
Okay, Today we see that Sealion was a non-starter; hindsight is wonderful.

But in the situation that existed then, Hitler was all-conquering and all-powerful. If Fighter Command had been broken back then, it's possible that elements in Britain would have cracked and forced Churchill out of office. Lord Halifax, the Foreign Minister at the time basically advocated throwing in the towel; if he'd had his way and prompted a cabinet rebellion, Britain would have been out of the war without Sealion ever taking place.

In the context of the time it would have been an extension of Chaimberlain's policy of appeasement; the Empire and commonwealth would have been out of it, for a time.

Meanwhile in occupied Europe...

No Telemark raid, which was planned from Britain. People always say "Yes, but how could Hitler beat the Soviet Union?"

Answer: With nukes.

After a time, Britain would have rejoined the war, when Japan attacked British interests in the Far East, Which would have led to a continuance of hostilites with Germany. Only this time, Nazi Germany would have had more time for preperation.

The possible consequences of Fighter Command failing in the summer and autumn of 1940 are far too many to extrapolate, but personally, I think Churchill got it right; "Never has so much, been owed by so many, to so few."

p1ngu666
06-13-2005, 08:09 PM
indeed john, also without the organised structure and inteligance gathering in the uk and elsewhere, its very unlikely there would have been any raids on the factory.

i also think the axis would have lost because they was in the wrong, also racist and elitest. remmber the black or coloured or however u want to say it athlete who won 4-5 gold medals in the olympics in germany?. also the tuskegee's, one of the best partizan units in russia had its core of jewish. the norwagans who did the telemark raids lived off the land in one of the harshest environments in the world, AND carried out a amazing raid, AND got away with it twice. they lived in places the germans feared and would not go because of the extreme conditions, and they lived there for months.

i think if u put down ppl, there gonna come back and own u.

civildog
06-13-2005, 10:19 PM
No one's mentioned it yet, but the most glaring reason the BoB was so important to WW2 was that if the Germans had beaten the British in that campaign it would have denied the Allies the jump off point needed for the Normandy invasion. If you think THAT operation could merely have been replicated somewhere else along the coastline of Europe remember what a near-run thing it was just to make it from England.

If the Germans had taken the US seriously AND taken a longer view of thier 1000 Year Reich, then they might have given the idea of invading England a little more serious thought and effort.

And if the British (all of them, and thier allies who fought that battle too) hadn't fought so hard and well then who knows how long the war would have lasted. They fought for all of us, even our current generation. It was the Last Stand of Last Stands. It was very nearly lost, and I think people forget that nowadays.

The courage of the RAF pilots makes my manhood shrivel up and drop off when I dare think myself as being of the same species as they were.

Grue_
06-14-2005, 02:36 AM
I don't think the BoB was a turning point in the War or a clear victory for the British at the time.

Dowding's brilliant tactics of simply avoiding defeat led directly to the final allied victory however and it was one of the most important battles of WWII for that reason.

Even if the German's had successfully invaded the UK it would require an extremely large security force to police/fortify the 11,000 miles of coastline. I think it was Galland who pointed this out in his book.

Despite a brief respite following the BoB, Churchill was under pressure from his critics about his conduct of the war right up until Al Alamein in 1942 which was the first real defeat for German land forces in WWII and probably the turning point for the British.

Of course this turning point probably wouldn't have been achieved if more German forces could have been diverted to Rommel from Russia.

dadada1
06-14-2005, 03:04 AM
Originally posted by John_Stag:
Okay, Today we see that Sealion was a non-starter; hindsight is wonderful.

But in the situation that existed then, Hitler was all-conquering and all-powerful.


Thats exactly where the problem existed, history has time and time again proven the danger to over esitmate your own capabilities, whilst underestimating your opponent, Napoleon made the same mistake.

I'm sure that had BOB been lost, Churchill would not have been forced to resign, and that he would have prpared Britain for invasion


The possible consequences of Fighter Command failing in the summer and autumn of 1940 are far too many to extrapolate, but personally, I think Churchill got it right; "Never has so much, been owed by so many, to so few."


I'm not questioning this at all, I do however feel that people are getting possibly blinded by patroitism and letting it slightly cloud the real issue of the logistics of mounting an invasion via the the. D-day had total suprise, two artificial harbours, total air superiority and a large combined, well prepared army. Evn then, at times the success of the landings was in doubt. Do you think the same could have been said of Germany's invasion plans?

bazzaah2
06-14-2005, 03:07 AM
It was a turning point of the war but could only have been recognised as such once the whole war had been played out. Someone pointed out that Britain, and Churchill domestically, was under pressure all the way up to El Alamein so clearly BoB was not recognised as a turning point during the war, more of a close escape. The strategic narrative of the war could only be understood once the war had been won i.e. if Barbarossa had been succesful (and it could have been) then manifestly BoB's significance in the overall narrative of the war would have altered.

Kernow
06-14-2005, 04:04 AM
These are the thoughts of a von Manstein, at the time a German Corps commander waiting to cross the channel. Author's italics, my bold type.

'If the invasion were to fail, the army and navy forces taking part would be forfeit, and even the Luftwaffe would emerge very much weakened. At the same time the failure of an invasion attempt would not, from the strictly military point of view, have irreperably damaged German military power. The more far-reaching effect would have been in the political field.... Most of all, though, a spectacular military failure of this kind would have gravely damaged the dictator's presitge...

'This was the one danger the dictator could not afford to run...

'By thus recoiling from what was admittedly a pretty considerable military and political risk, Hitler, committed his big error of judgement. For one thing was certain. If Hitler jibbed at fighting the battle with Britain in the hour most favourable to himself, Germany must sooner or later land in an untenable situation...

'When Hitler did not strike the decisive blow at Britain in the summer of 1940, he missed his unique chance of doing so, he could no longer play at seing how long he could hold his breath. It was at this point that he was forced to venture the attempt to eliminate the Soviet Union...

'In reality this meant that because of his aversion to the risk of invading Britain, Hitler took on the far greater risk of a war on two fronts. At the same time, by taking so long over, and finally discarding the invasion plan, he wasted a year which should have brought Germany the final decision. It was a delay Germany could never make good.'

Manstein also thought that the attainment of air-superiority was not a pre-requisite for an invasion. He thought the Luftwaffe should strike it's decisive blow in conjunction with an invasion.

'Everything would have depended on the outcome of a big aerial battle which would have started over the Channel or southern England as soon as the army and navy started invading. The conditions experienced by the Luftwaffe in this battle would, nevertheless, have been immeasurably more favourable than in its raids on the interior of the country.'

I'm sure that if Fighter Command had been defeated in the early or mid summer of 1940, while there was still plenty of good weather for a channel crossing, the Kriegsmarine would have no more excuses to avoid the attempt and Hitler - the great opportunist - would have taken his chance. That's if the defeatist politicians hadn't removed Churchill and caved in like they did everywhere else in Europe, before it was necessary to invade. Britain was fortunate enough to have the Channel and the one politician in Eurpoe who wasn't gutless... and Fighter Command.

Had the battle been lost everything that followed would have been different. That's a turning point.

John_Stag
06-14-2005, 04:44 AM
Originally posted by dadada1:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by John_Stag:
Okay, Today we see that Sealion was a non-starter; hindsight is wonderful.

But in the situation that existed then, Hitler was all-conquering and all-powerful.


Thats exactly where the problem existed, history has time and time again proven the danger to over esitmate your own capabilities, whilst underestimating your opponent, Napoleon made the same mistake.

I'm sure that had BOB been lost, Churchill would not have been forced to resign, and that he would have prpared Britain for invasion


The possible consequences of Fighter Command failing in the summer and autumn of 1940 are far too many to extrapolate, but personally, I think Churchill got it right; "Never has so much, been owed by so many, to so few."


I'm not questioning this at all, I do however feel that people are getting possibly blinded by patroitism and letting it slightly cloud the real issue of the logistics of mounting an invasion via the the. D-day had total suprise, two artificial harbours, total air superiority and a large combined, well prepared army. Evn then, at times the success of the landings was in doubt. Do you think the same could have been said of Germany's invasion plans? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think you're missing my point. we are looking at the battle with the benefit of hindsight. Try looking at it from this point of view;

Your army has just made a costly withdrawl from mainland Europe, and the (theoretically) most powerful nation on the mainland has just been rolled over in a matter of weeks. Hitler achieved something which just over two decades ago couldn't be done after four years of deadly attrition. Every book you read on military action has just been kicked out of the window; what else is Hitler capable of?

As an example of what that kind of surprise can do, just look at what happened in Singapore; massive defences all pointing at the sea, neatly outflanked by Japanese troops coming in from the jungle side. The forces there could and should have made a fight of it, but the commanders panicked and surrendered. With hindsight we know that singapore could probably of been held; what a shame we weren't there to tell the Generals that.

The fact is, when you introduce human beings into any equation, all the numbers, statistics and historical facts don't mean squat. You can only really understand what an achevement the battle actually was if you put the facts (which are well-known now) aside and try putting yourself in the shoes of the people who lived at that time. They didn't have many of those facts, they just had some very human fears.

dadada1
06-14-2005, 04:54 AM
Originally posted by John_Stag:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by dadada1:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by John_Stag:
Okay, Today we see that Sealion was a non-starter; hindsight is wonderful.

But in the situation that existed then, Hitler was all-conquering and all-powerful.


Thats exactly where the problem existed, history has time and time again proven the danger to over esitmate your own capabilities, whilst underestimating your opponent, Napoleon made the same mistake.

I'm sure that had BOB been lost, Churchill would not have been forced to resign, and that he would have prpared Britain for invasion


The possible consequences of Fighter Command failing in the summer and autumn of 1940 are far too many to extrapolate, but personally, I think Churchill got it right; "Never has so much, been owed by so many, to so few."


I'm not questioning this at all, I do however feel that people are getting possibly blinded by patroitism and letting it slightly cloud the real issue of the logistics of mounting an invasion via the the. D-day had total suprise, two artificial harbours, total air superiority and a large combined, well prepared army. Evn then, at times the success of the landings was in doubt. Do you think the same could have been said of Germany's invasion plans? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think you're missing my point. we are looking at the battle with the benefit of hindsight. Try looking at it from this point of view;

Your army has just made a costly withdrawl from mainland Europe, and the (theoretically) most powerful nation on the mainland has just been rolled over in a matter of weeks. Hitler achieved something which just over two decades ago couldn't be done after four years of deadly attrition. Every book you read on military action has just been kicked out of the window; what else is Hitler capable of?

As an example of what that kind of surprise can do, just look at what happened in Singapore; massive defences all pointing at the sea, neatly outflanked by Japanese troops coming in from the jungle side. The forces there could and should have made a fight of it, but the commanders panicked and surrendered. With hindsight we know that singapore could probably of been held; what a shame we weren't there to tell the Generals that.

The fact is, when you introduce human beings into any equation, all the numbers, statistics and historical facts don't mean squat. You can only really understand what an achevement the battle actually was if you put the facts (which are well-known now) aside and try putting yourself in the shoes of the people who lived at that time. They didn't have many of those facts, they just had some very human fears. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi John_Stag, yes I see your point and your right context is an important factor, but the point you make in the second paragraph of this reply would mean that the RAF fighter command would automatically accept defeat in the face of a superior adversory would'nt it?

John_Stag
06-14-2005, 05:15 AM
The point is that when it looked as though it was all lost, when perhaps the only "logical" option was to throw in the towel, they didn't. They fought and survived, organised and supported resistance in occupied Europe, putting some very significant spanners in the Nazi war machine, engaging troops which could have been sent to Russia; planning the operation which effectively ended the Nazi nuclear programme, forcing men and materials into the battle of the Atlantic, and ultimately providing the springboard for the Normandy invasion.

But if they had done a "Paragraph 2", none of that would have happened until we engaged the Japanese and and Nazi Germany re-opened hostilities with Great Britain and the Commonwealth alongside its Axis ally. German forces got as far as the outskirts of Moscow; what would have happened if they had access to the rescources been brought to bear in the West?

Would the opportunities lost with Britain's surrender in 1940 lead to Nazis having time to complete the development of their nukes? how long would Russian resistance have continued if atomic weapons had been used against the remaining cities, or even armies?

The turnaround began with the Battle of Britain; everything which happened later depended on that one victory.

dadada1
06-14-2005, 05:25 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by John_Stag:
The point is that when it looked as though it was all lost, when perhaps the only "logical" option was to throw in the towel, they didn't.

Thats also my point, even with the defeat of fighter Command in the BOB Britain would not throw in the towel to an invading force. People are seeming to assume that loss of BOB = successful invasion, I believe this to be incorrect.

WOLFMondo
06-14-2005, 05:31 AM
Originally posted by Hendley:

- with air superiority, Sealion might very well have been a possibility. That was the whole point of the battle...(edit: but even so...)


Even if airpower was lost and the Luftwaffe commanded the air, if the RN gathered every single ship and put them in the channel you could probably walk from Brighton to Dieppe from ship to ship without gettting your feet wet. I can't imagine any invasion force the Germans could have mustered getting even 1 soldier to set foot on the beaches of kent or Sussex with so many ships in the way. Even in the Kreigsmarine showed up with every single ship they would have been dwarfed by the entire Royal Navy. Losses on both sides would have been horrific but it would have been a real blow to the Germans as far as loss of man power is concerned.

Also the UK is not an easy nation to invade geographicly, there are only a few places you can land along Kent and Sussex due to the length of coast covered with cliffs, marshes just in land, large defended towns, fortifications etc in the way.

Atomic_Marten
06-14-2005, 05:41 AM
BoB essentially was a "Duel Of Eagles", wasn't it? Without ground armies involved?

Britain itself was not in direct danger of being occupied by German army (ground forces).

*Now* you can guess, either;
1.Because Birtish fighter command was doing a good job, disabling the Luftwaffe and forcing the German decision to *not* invade; or
2.Germans never had serious intentions to invade. At least not in the summer of 1940.(whatever reason for that may be)

I had my opinion on the matter, and I tend to think that the 2nd option is maybe more accurate. But it would be foolish to claim that *for certain* without knowing that it is accurate and true.

That being said, we can only guess, and therefore we are back to the our beloved *what if* scenarios.

John_Stag
06-14-2005, 05:46 AM
Originally posted by dadada1:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by John_Stag:
The point is that when it looked as though it was all lost, when perhaps the only "logical" option was to throw in the towel, they didn't.

Thats also my point, even with the defeat of fighter Command in the BOB Britain would not throw in the towel to an invading force. People are seeming to assume that loss of BOB = successful invasion, I believe this to be incorrect.

I believe that if the Battle had been lost, Hitler may not have NEEDED to invade. As I pointed out earlier, there were strong figures in the government that were all for sueing for peace after Dunkirk, eg, Lord Halifax. If Fighter Command had been destroyed, it may have been just enough to cause a panic reaction leading to the ousting of Churchill and a negotiated settlement. You wouldn't have to invade to take Britain out of the war.

FI-finbar1
06-14-2005, 05:56 AM
Thanks for a very interesting and informative thread,for my part I think yer man Churchill had the vision on the 18th June 1940,to see it's importance....

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

We learned this speech at primary school,our teacher was a woman who had lived through the blitz,and so we got taught from an early age that we should always remember the young men and women,who had stood against Hitler from accross the "Empire",and who eventually prevailed.

hop2002
06-14-2005, 06:05 AM
I don't think an invasion could have succeeded, although I don't think the Germans realised that.

However, Jodl's plans for the campaign against Britain illustrate a much more plausible way of winning in "The Continuation of the War against England":


"Jodl recognized that "the fight against the British Air Force must have top priority." But, on the whole, he thought this as well as other aspects of the assault could be carried out with little trouble.

"Together with propaganda and periodic terror attacks, announced as reprisals, this increasing weakening of the basis of food supply will paralyze and finally break the will of the people to resist, and thereby force its government to capitulate."

As for a landing, it could

"only be contemplated after Germany has gained control of the air. A landing, therefore, should not have as its objective the military conquest of England, a task that could be left to the Air Force and Navy. Its aim should rather be to administer the deathblow [Todesstoss] to an England already economically paralyzed and no longer capable of fighting in the air, if this is still necessary"

William Shirer, the rise and fall of the Third Reich

If the Germans had succeeded in driving the RAF from the SE of England, they would have been able to intensify the bombing to a level the British might not have been able to withstand.
(Remember bombing London from France, less than 100 miles away, was a lot easier than bombing Berlin from Britain, 600 miles away)

mynameisroland
06-14-2005, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by -HH- Beebop:
Was it a turning point?

Absolutely! It proved to the Allies that the mighty German military machine, percieved as nearly invincible until then, could be taken on and beaten soundly.

You can debate the fine points forever, but the real value of the Battle of Britain was the boost it gave the morale of all Allies. If it had failed any of the above mentioned scenarios could have happend.

I believe however that the Allies would have eventually won as Hitler failed to recognize his most valuable resource, his military strategists who, if left to run the war, might have been able to put off the inevitable by another year or so.

Bottom line, Germany relied on imported materials for it's war effort. The US didn't and had the distribution network needed to get those materials to Allied Forces where they could do the most good. Plus the planetary geography and short-sightedness of Hitler made the US relatively "untouchable".

Did/does the USA produce its own rubber? Without rubber you have no tyres, seals valves ect in short you have no vehicles/planes that actually will run for more than a few hours before chewing themselves up.

mynameisroland
06-14-2005, 08:02 AM
Originally posted by p1ngu666:
indeed john, also without the organised structure and inteligance gathering in the uk and elsewhere, its very unlikely there would have been any raids on the factory.

i also think the axis would have lost because they was in the wrong, also racist and elitest. remmber the black or coloured or however u want to say it athlete who won 4-5 gold medals in the olympics in germany?. also the tuskegee's, one of the best partizan units in russia had its core of jewish. the norwagans who did the telemark raids lived off the land in one of the harshest environments in the world, AND carried out a amazing raid, AND got away with it twice. they lived in places the germans feared and would not go because of the extreme conditions, and they lived there for months.

i think if u put down ppl, there gonna come back and own u.

Yes there were many examples of people the Nazi's regarded as inferior fighting well against them to spite their racial purity theories. But on the other hand there were many 'racialy pure' units who fought in the German armed forces who have exceptional combat records. So what is your point - The Tuskegees were better pilots than the Germans because they were black or the partizans fought more fiercely because they were Jewish ? Blacks had a tough enough time gaining recognition and respect in the USA let alone travel across the world to stick it to 'Hitfool'. The Jews were persecuted by the Russians to a similar extent as they were under the Germans.


Your example concerning Norwegiens is not relevant either the Germans considered Scandinavians as racially pure , Anglo Saxons also fitted their criteria eg Britain. There were something like 200,000 Scandinavians who volunteered for the SS they were called the Viking Divisions and they did not have to swear allegience to Hitler or the Nazi party. There were plenty of people who agreed with the basic concept of invading the east.

I think that your post is a little too idealistic - who decides what is right and wrong? The winners decide. If Germany won WW2 we would be the bad guys.

Using similar ideology Is the USA right to invade Iraq and kill tens of thousands of civilians?

Huckebein_UK
06-14-2005, 08:55 AM
I think his point may have been that had the Nazis not alienated so many potential soldiers/ scientists/ Engineers with their racist ideology, they would have been a far more potent force - a concept I agree with. Then again WWII would have to stem from totally different circumstances had that been the case, so it's difficult to argue that it lost them the war.

mynameisroland
06-14-2005, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by Huckebein_UK:
I think his point may have been that had the Nazis not alienated so many potential soldiers/ scientists/ Engineers with their racist ideology, they would have been a far more potent force - a concept I agree with. Then again WWII would have to stem from totally different circumstances had that been the case, so it's difficult to argue that it lost them the war.

They even alienated their own scientests who chose to work for the Nazis so yes i agree with that. But the post itself states it rather more simply and implies its good vs bad and right vs wrong. Nazis lost because they were evil - WW2 wasnt as romantic as that it wasnt Indiana Jones. There were 'goodies' and 'badies' on both sides. Though I dont argue that over all the Germans were right.

p1ngu666
06-14-2005, 10:25 AM
i wouldnt say the jews where persicuted as much by the russians, they wherent in ghetto's, camps or dead to the extent the germans did, there was a decent amount of equality in russia from what ive read.

my point is if u set up a group of ppl to fail or be worse than u are, your also setting yourself tobe proved utterly wrong http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

btw the jewish partizan group grew to about 1500ppl, and they constantly evaded the germans, and only 1 in 25 of them was lost, against the average of 1 in 4.
they where also the most effective unit in the area. annoying enuff for the germans to use 60,000 troops to try and elimate them but without much effect http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Aaron_GT
06-14-2005, 01:58 PM
Thats also my point, even with the defeat of fighter Command in the BOB Britain would not throw in the towel to an invading force.

Losing BoB would have led to serious political consequences in Britain, notably the loss of Churchill. It may not have forced the UK to withdraw from the war, but at the very least adventures in the Med would have been curtailed to a more defensive strategy, most likely, allowing Barbarossa to go ahead on time. Successfully invading Britain, due to the cost in men and material in the invasion and occupation, would have made invading the USSR in 1941 essentially impossible. Would it have been possible in 1942 with success, or would the effects of the purges in the 1930s have diminished, defences and equipment improved?

With regard to persecution of the Jews in Russia, individual Russians did so, but Stalin did not seem interested in using the state to persecute Jews for their religion, although he was happy to persecute other minorities (e.g. Chechens). He was also happy to use the trappings of the Orthodox Church (he nearly became a priest) when it suited him.

huggy87
06-14-2005, 04:41 PM
There is no way sealion could have succeded, at least not in 1940. Even if the Germans had won air superiority, they did not have the ships, training, or experience to conduct a massive invasion of that scale. It took the allies many years to build up a sufficient force of thousands of ships, planes, artifical harbors, amphibious vehicles, supplies, etc. Not to mention, the allies gained valuable, and often costly, experience with Torch, Dieppe, Sicily, Italy, Anzio, and the Pacific. The Germans only amphibious experience to date was Norway. Later, at crete, they had their nose bloodied and found they had a distaste for amphibious/airborne operations.

Maybe if they hadn't invaded the Soviet Union and focused all of their resources and energy on achieving a naval parity and adequate invasion force, by 1942 an invasion may have been possible.

huggy87
06-14-2005, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by mynameisroland:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by p1ngu666:
indeed john, also without the organised structure and inteligance gathering in the uk and elsewhere, its very unlikely there would have been any raids on the factory.

i also think the axis would have lost because they was in the wrong, also racist and elitest. remmber the black or coloured or however u want to say it athlete who won 4-5 gold medals in the olympics in germany?. also the tuskegee's, one of the best partizan units in russia had its core of jewish. the norwagans who did the telemark raids lived off the land in one of the harshest environments in the world, AND carried out a amazing raid, AND got away with it twice. they lived in places the germans feared and would not go because of the extreme conditions, and they lived there for months.

i think if u put down ppl, there gonna come back and own u.

Yes there were many examples of people the Nazi's regarded as inferior fighting well against them to spite their racial purity theories. But on the other hand there were many 'racialy pure' units who fought in the German armed forces who have exceptional combat records. So what is your point - The Tuskegees were better pilots than the Germans because they were black or the partizans fought more fiercely because they were Jewish ? Blacks had a tough enough time gaining recognition and respect in the USA let alone travel across the world to stick it to 'Hitfool'. The Jews were persecuted by the Russians to a similar extent as they were under the Germans.


Your example concerning Norwegiens is not relevant either the Germans considered Scandinavians as racially pure , Anglo Saxons also fitted their criteria eg Britain. There were something like 200,000 Scandinavians who volunteered for the SS they were called the Viking Divisions and they did not have to swear allegience to Hitler or the Nazi party. There were plenty of people who agreed with the basic concept of invading the east.

I think that your post is a little too idealistic - who decides what is right and wrong? The winners decide. If Germany won WW2 we would be the bad guys.

Using similar ideology Is the USA right to invade Iraq and kill tens of thousands of civilians? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

What are you trying to say?

OD_79
06-14-2005, 04:46 PM
Oh don't start! See post on Could Russia have fought alone! This is going to get way out of hand! Leave Iraq out of it! Back to the BoB..it was a turning point as it was the first time the Germans had been stopped. Hooray end of debate! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

OD.