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Grue_
08-24-2006, 12:02 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5281238.stm

This has been doing the rounds of the UK media today.

Personally I always thought that the Germans needed air superiority to counter the threat from the RN, so this is old news.

Discuss http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"We are awaiting the long-promised German invasion - and so are the fishes". Churchill

stathem
08-24-2006, 12:05 PM
We did, at some length in the "Most decisive Battle of WW2" thread a little while ago.

But yeah, saw that in the Telegraph this morning.

WOLFMondo
08-24-2006, 12:07 PM
Old hat! This guy didn't make many freinds over at the RAF today!

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 12:49 PM
Yeah, I read this earlier. That Gordon is the one and the same tosser who wrote a monster book on Jutland whitewashing Beatty's performance and trivialing Jellicoe as the leader of a fantastical band of RN Freemasons who lost the battle of Jutland because they were a bunch of old fuddy-duddies. In a nutshell, he set back Jutland scholarship 50 years with that gem. Fact: the RN had just been whipped ignominiously in the disastrous Norwegian Campaign where it was demonstrated cruelly that their wonder weapons---the four and eight barrel pom-poms were nearly useless. Ship after ship was either sunk or put out of action by German aircraft. Fact: Dunkirk would have been another fiasco had not Fighter Command been able to largely suppress the Luftwaffe attacks on the ships. As it was, the RN lost so many destroyers in Norway and during the Dunkirk evac it was in a magnitude one crisis (why Winston begged FDR for mothballed US destroyers which were finally given in 1941---for leases on hugely valuable bases which the US holds to this day). The real gen: honors for victory go to Fighter Command for badly attriting the Luftwaffe, Bomber Command for sinking a significant number of invasion craft in Channel ports, and the RN for remaining in being. As long as Fighter Command remained a viable force, the RN remained a viable force (and not vice versa). It is absolutely pointless to play favorites between these three because all were absolutely necessary. Every couple years some historian (Parkinson and Overy, among others) tries to trivialize the B of B. The most convincing attempt was the research which demonstrated Fighter Command was stronger in September than it was in July and August, thus, so the argument went, the Germans never came close to winning. This argument falls apart because (1) Fighter Command was losing its best, most experienced pilots in the attrition battles (as was the Luftwaffe), and the replacements coming from abbreviated courses were not up to the task at hand, (2) the Germans were bombing the easternmost fighter airfields into rubble causing a breakdown in control (Sector Stations lost their telephone connections) and operations (pitted runways, blown up hangars, petrol, ammunition, etc), and (3) Fighter Command was approaching exhaustion (as was the Luftwaffe---they were running out of 109s, and without them, daylight ops were impossible). Winston was the real winner of the battle---he seized on the German bombs which fell on London in error as an excuse to throw a tiny force (Bomber Command was insignificant compared to its later size) at Berlin which infuriated the Nazi leadership. This led to the adoption of the knock-out blow plan which had worked so well against the Dutch---hit London hard, smash the docks, hit everything of value. Thus, the airfields were spared and London and the other cities began their trial by fire and explosive. Britain saved. Gordon and the rest are twits. The RN is having a good laugh over this; the RAF would probably like to flatten the Admiralty building.

After all the sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing, the biggest impediments to the seaborne invasion of Britain were (1) resistance of the German army, (2) resistance of the German navy, and (3) the reluctance on the part of Hitler to deal a fatal blow to the British Empire. He believed Germany and the Empire could rule the world jointly. He thought that pressure brought to bear would eventually lead to the overthrow of Churchill. Thus, he fell into the same error that Johnson and McNamara did in Vietnam, i.e., he thought a ground invasion could be foregone in favor of air attacks of gradually escalating severity. Had Hitler been less of an Anglophile, he would have thrown the air force, army, and navy at the UK in 1940 before turning on the USSR in 1941. In which case, it would have been a real nasty September for all concerned in 1940.

F6_Ace
08-24-2006, 12:52 PM
I agree with you that all the forces were necessary. However, you'll find that Stephen Bungay thinks that the Germans never even came close to winning the BoB and yet he, arguably, glorifies it.

Monty_Thrud
08-24-2006, 01:16 PM
I'm serious when i say...i would dearly love to cut Brian James' balls off, with a blunt knife, to remove him from the gene pool, is my new quest in life(there we go, i've finally found a new hobby)...if anyone knows where this man lives, i would appreciate his address, so i could also harrass his family...thank you for your time.

MB_Avro_UK
08-24-2006, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Yeah, I read this earlier. That Gordon is the one and the same tosser who wrote a monster book on Jutland whitewashing Beatty's performance and trivialing Jellicoe as the leader of a fantastical band of RN Freemasons who lost the battle of Jutland because they were a bunch of old fuddy-duddies. In a nutshell, he set back Jutland scholarship 50 years with that gem. Fact: the RN had just been whipped ignominiously in the disastrous Norwegian Campaign where it was demonstrated cruelly that their wonder weapons---the four and eight barrel pom-poms were nearly useless. Ship after ship was either sunk or put out of action by German aircraft. Fact: Dunkirk would have been another fiasco had not Fighter Command been able to largely suppress the Luftwaffe attacks on the ships. As it was, the RN lost so many destroyers in Norway and during the Dunkirk evac it was in a magnitude one crisis (why Winston begged FDR for mothballed US destroyers which were finally given in 1941---for leases on hugely valuable bases which the US holds to this day). The real gen: honors for victory go to Fighter Command for badly attriting the Luftwaffe, Bomber Command for sinking a significant number of invasion craft in Channel ports, and the RN for remaining in being. As long as Fighter Command remained a viable force, the RN remained a viable force (and not vice versa). It is absolutely pointless to play favorites between these three because all were absolutely necessary. Every couple years some historian (Parkinson and Overy, among others) tries to trivialize the B of B. The most convincing attempt was the reaearch which demonstrated Fighter Command was stronger in September than it was in July and August, thus, so the argument went, the Germans never came close to winning. This argument falls apart because (1) Fighter Command was losing its best, most experienced pilots in the attrition battles (as was the Luftwaffe), and the replacements coming from abbreviated courses were not up to the task at hand, (2) the Germans were bombing the westernmost fighter airfields into rubble causing a breakdown in control (Sector Stations lost their telephone connections) and operations (pitted runways, blown up hangars, petrol, ammunition, etc), and (3) Fighter Command was approaching exhaustion (as was the Luftwaffe---they were running out of 109s, and without them, daylight ops were impossible). Winston was the real winner of the battle---he seized on the German bombs which fell on London in error as an excuse to throw a tiny force (Bomber Command was a insignificant compared to its later size) at Berlin which infuriated the Nazi leadership. This led to the adoption of the knock-out blow plan which had worked so well against the Dutch---hit London hard, smash the docks, hit everything of value. Thus, the airfields were spared and London and the other cities began their trial by fire and explosive. Britain saved. Gordon and the rest are twits. The RN is having a good laugh over this; the RAF would probably like to flatten the Admiralty building.

After all the sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing, the biggest impediments to the seaborne invasion of Britain were (1) resistance of the German army, (2) resistance of the German navy, and (3) the reluctance on the part of Hitler to deal a fatal blow to the British Empire. He believed Germany and the Empire could rule the world jointly. He thought that pressure brought to bear would eventually lead to the overthrow of Churchill. Thus, he fell into the same error that Johnson and McNamara did in Vietnam, i.e., he thought a ground invasion could be foregone in favor of air attacks of gradually escalating severity. Had Hitler been less of an Anglophile, he would have thrown the air force, army, and navy at the UK in 1940 before turning on the USSR in 1941. In which case, it would have been a real nasty September for all concerned in 1940.

Hi leitmotiv,

This is possibly the best summing up of the RAF v Royal Navy situation in the BoB that I have read so far (and I include sources beyond this forum). http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Viper2005_
08-24-2006, 02:22 PM
Without the RAF, the Luftwaffe would have chopped the RN to bits. Billy Mitchell demonstrated the vulnerability of ships to air attack long before WWII.

After BoB the Japanese sunk HMS Prince of Wales quite easily using land based bombers.

I don't see how the RN could possibly have been expected to survive in the channel when faced with a concerted air attack.

Had the Luftwaffe obtained air superiority, they would have eventually cleared the channel of british shipping and then proceeded to invade.

In all probability the result would have been massive bloodshed ("We shall never surrender"). Thankfully, the RAF survived the onslaught.

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 02:26 PM
Thanks, MB_Avro_UK, honored. I am such a Battle of Britain fiend I would go to the RAF Museum every September 15th and curse the newspapers for ignoring Battle of Britain Day. Friends used to ask me why I was always looking at the sky over London. It was because I could see Spitfires, Hurricanes, Heinkels, Dorniers, Junkers, and Messerschmitts in the clouds. One evening while drinking with an English friend, who was a complete pacifist and Labourite, one of his girls asked me what I would have liked to have been if I could have been anything. I instantly said an RAF fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain. My friend said that was his wish, too. His daughters were astonished.

luftluuver
08-24-2006, 03:00 PM
At the time, the balance of naval forces in the region were as follows:

RN / Kriegsmarine
5 capital ships / 1 capital ship
11 cruisers / 1 cruiser
53 destroyers / 10 destroyers
23 destroyers on convoy duty / 20-30 submarines

from http://www.flin.demon.co.uk/althist/seal1.htm

How many torpedo bombers did the LW have?

The RN lost 1 carrier, 2 cruisers, 7 destroyers, and a submarine in Norway. The Kriegsmarine lost 3 cruisers, 10 destroyers, and 6 submarines.

VW-IceFire
08-24-2006, 03:06 PM
I partly agree...as long as the RAF was partly operational the Royal Navy would have beaten the snot (litterally) out of any seaborne invasion. Battleships and cruisers in amongst the landing craft would have wreacked absolute havoc and the German navy would have been tossed aside without much thought.

Even a small semblance of RAF airpower to cover the RN would have meant utter defeat of any invasion attempt in my estimation. Its been written about in many books as well so its not a surprising topic.

But Avro also hit it on the nail...Hitler was a bit of an anglophile. He always looked upto and wanted to emulate the British empire in his own little way.

HuninMunin
08-24-2006, 03:07 PM
Are you serious?
What had the RN done against the whole Luftwaffe?
Shoot em all down with flak?

Dunkelgrun
08-24-2006, 03:11 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
It was because I could see Spitfires, Hurricanes, Heinkels, Dorniers, Junkers, and Messerschmitts in the clouds.

You ought to talk to my Mum. She did see them.

Cheers!

triad773
08-24-2006, 03:15 PM
A lil' inter-service rivalry, I say.

If the Royal Navy hadn't been such a force to recon with, then air superiority may not have been (as) big an issue.

We won anyway http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 03:18 PM
Unfortunately all Mitchell demonstrated was that OSTFRIESLAND, an anchored, immobile, unmanned battleship, could be sunk by large bombs bursting in the water mining the hull, and, bereft of crew, the poor thing flooded and sank. This stunt caused more acrimony between the worlds air forces and navies than any single development between the wars. It would have been better for both if it never happened because both dug in to their institutional positions and ignored developments on the other side until the war forced reappraisals. The RN absolutely believed barrage fire from medium guns would knock down level bombers like ninepins. They thought their impressive four and eight barrel pom-poms would annihilate torpedo planes. The RAF was sure sinking battleships with AP and SAP bombs dropped from level bombers would be a piece of cake. When the war came both were dead wrong. Even the seemingly formidable BISMARCK's light AA could not dispatch the obsolete Swordfish torpedo bombers sent against her (BIS had the best AA fit-up in the world in May 1941 and she did not shoot down one Swordfish in the two attacks which reached her). The RAF bombers were ripped to pieces by German flak over Brest trying to bomb the immobile SCHARNHORST, GNEISENAU, and PRINZ EUGEN. Admiral Phillips had boasted to Butch Harris his battleships could fend off aircraft with their AA fitments alone---this after the drubbing the RN had taken from German aircraft in Norway and off Crete! Harris responded by saying to Phillips, who was very short, he will have his ship blown to pieces around him while he stood on a box to watch (interestingly, these adversaries were ace buddies and roommates). Phillips was, indeed, sunk with PRINCE OF WALES, the RN's latest battleship. However, during the summer of 1941 before her demise in December, PRINCE ran the Malta gauntlet with NELSON and RODNEY and only NELSON caught one Italian airborne torpedo, and returned no worse for the wear. The RAF was very slow to recognize the utility of torpedoes as ship killers---despite the demonstrated success of Beauforts crippling GNEISENAU and LUTZOW in 1941. Thus, RN and RAF were equally astonished by the humiliating demise of PRINCE and REPULSE to torpedo bombers. Prior to this disaster no capital ship had been sunk at sea by aircraft (three days before the first capital ships ever sunk in combat by aircraft had gone down in Pearl Harbor). The RAF still believed they would destroy all battleships with their 2,000-lb armor-piercing bombs (they didn't ever sink one with the bomb) carried by medium and heavy bombers. PRINCE was unbelievably unlucky. Her 5.25" barrage fire had not gotten into its stride when she was hit by a rapid succession of torps which left her out of power and dead in the water. REPULSE was, literally, the worst equipped dreadnought in the fleet to repel airplanes. Interestingly, the eight barrel pom-poms demonstrated their close range potency by literally blowing to pieces each Betty which approached their dismal killing range---unfortunately, the killing range was less than the dropping range of the torps!. Due to the poor AA fit-up of these two ships, the exercise was not exactly definitive. Less than a year later battleship USS SOUTH DAKOTA was tearing Japanese stike aircraft to pieces in droves with its proximity shells for its medium caliber guns, its brand new quad Bofors guns, and its 20mm Oerlikons---the latter probably the most lethal aircraft killers in the war at sea. Thus, the RAF Bomber Barons got it wrong, and the RN Admirals got it wrong.

Monty_Thrud
08-24-2006, 03:23 PM
Sorry Icefire, taking away the credit from the very people who won it is sooo wrong its unreal...and that is what Brian James' is trying to do.

People may speculate about what could have happened...but should not take away or lessen their glory...that is despicable behaviour, sadly there's to much of this around these days. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

jasonbirder
08-24-2006, 03:46 PM
I don't see how commenting on the overwhelming disparity of Naval Strength between the RN and the Kreigsmarine in any way denigrates the acheivement of the RAF during the Battle of Britain...
The German Army and Navy would have struggled in 1940 to land and supply an army on the west side of the English Channel unopposed let alone into the teeth of what was at that point the most powerful and experienced Navy in the World.
Don't forget that the German's were relying on Towed Rhino barges for a majority of their lift capacity...vessels that would struggle to deal with the English Channel on a choppy day...and they would not only have had to land a force (and it would have necessetated multiple use of all craft as they simply didn't have the lift capacity to land a force large enough to secure a sizeable beachhead in one landing) but they would have had to supply it across open beaches for weeks...(Experience in Normandy showed that it could take weeks if not months to get a suitably demolished port working again)
When you factor in the number of destroyers the RN had available in home waters (50+ I believe) against the Germans (4 if I am not mistaken) and the likelihood most of them would have been driven with reckless bravado if it really had been Britains final hour (If the Glowworm was prepared to ram the Hipper during the Invasion of Norway, what likeihood their commanders being any less brave if the Germans were descending on the home counties) it is very difficult to believe that regardless of the strength of the Luftwaffe vs the RAF that an operation Sealion would have been anything other than a diasasterous defeat for the Germans.

luftluuver
08-24-2006, 03:57 PM
http://www.flin.demon.co.uk/althist/seal1.htm

"Why Sealion is not an option for Hitler to win the war
One of the more common suggestions that crop up at all-too regular intervals goes along the lines of: "If Hitler hadn't switched from bombing airfields to bombing cities, then Operation Sealion would have worked."

Unfortunately for these suggestions, the plan for Sealion was perhaps the most flawed plan in the history of modern warfare. Getting it to a workable state requires so many changes that an author's artistic license would be revoked."

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 04:54 PM
Unfortunately, the RN's overwhelming numerical superiority translated into simply a "target-rich environment" for the Luftwaffe in Norway, off France in 1940, off Greece in 1941, and off Crete in 1941. Most are not aware of the pathetically inadequate AA defences of the redoubtable Royal Navy before they were equipped with proximity shells, many 20mm Oerlikons, and 40mm Bofors guns in 1944-45. Add to this, their High Angle Director Towers (HADTs) for controlling medium caliber guns were unable to give solutions for modern aircraft---thus, their medium caliber AA landed way behind bombers. I have already described the disaster of the 40mm pom-poms (not to be confused with the brilliant Swedish Bofors guns of the same caliber). As weapons of last resort the RN had cumbrous quad .50 cal. machine gun mounts which had inadequate range, single-barrel 40mm pom-poms dating to the Edwardian era, and .303 cal. Lewis guns dating to WWI. A very few ships carried the excellent 20mm Oerlikon in 1940. Battleship RODNEY had one in 1940 which was given pride of place on top of her second 16" gun turret. Her sister, NELSON, the Home Fleet flagship had not one. Destroyers were in high demand for convoy work. They were worst off of all because, other than the brand new Hunt class destroyer escorts, none had high-angle guns, and even if they had them, their directors could not give the barrels accurate solutions to hit. In desperation the fleet was removing banks of valuable torpedo tubes and placing single WWI-era high-angle guns in their stead. In the Norwegian Campaign two classes of ships proved moderately successful as AA vessels---modified WWI-era light cruisers with 4" high-angle guns, and SWAN class sloops with the same, but both were rare (both had been prime Luftwaffe targets in Norway leading to losses).

Thus, the fleet would likely have been demolished by German bombers, as it was a year later at Crete. The ill-preparedness of the fleet for repelling aircraft was one of the worst scandals of the war.

Von_Rat
08-24-2006, 05:07 PM
lw wouldnt be attacking rn at nite would they. on the 1st nite of invasion rn would sail right up to the invasion beaches and shell the living snot outta them.

if i remember correctly german plane was to cross channel at nite, if rn intercepted, goodbye german fleet.

even if they took heavy losses in daylight like crete, it wouldnt stop them from demolishing german fleet. germans could not afford to take any kind of real losses.

churchill said he would sacrefice rn to stop invasion.

VW-IceFire
08-24-2006, 05:23 PM
Originally posted by Monty_Thrud:
Sorry Icefire, taking away the credit from the very people who won it is sooo wrong its unreal...and that is what Brian James' is trying to do.

People may speculate about what could have happened...but should not take away or lessen their glory...that is despicable behaviour, sadly there's to much of this around these days. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif
I'm most certainly not agreeing with what Brian James is trying to do. Quite the contrary because I belong to a family that had alot to do with the commonwealth air forces during WWII. I think my point is misunderstood here. If the RAF had even partial ability after a much more significant pounding than it took during The Battle of Britain then that combined with the Royal Navy would make any sea borne invasion near impossible. Thats what I think Hitler feared and it made him blink when he couldn't even cripple the RAF in any significant way.

The RAF were valiant and courageous and threw every bit that they had at the Germans in the air over England and they succeeded and Hitler never even had a chance to see something like Operation Sea Lion happen. But he truly feared that if he could not defeat the RAF (the obvious primary threat) then any chance of a seaborne invasion would be squashed by the Royal Navy. The two work hand in hand as I see it...based on some fairly significant study I had done as a history student in university.

Consider the possibility that during September 1940, had Hitler not ordered the bombing of London, and 11 Group had been reduced in a significant fashion...that even with that possibility in mind you still had other RAF groups in the north and west that were still fairly strong. And while Lee Mallory's Big Wing was seemingly proven to be ineffective as it was employed...I believe that such a tactic would be perhaps more effective should the RN need to intervene in said invasion.

So for instance massed groups of remaining Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons protecting the Royal Navy from the air...there would be little chance of any invasion working.

I don't think the Royal Navy strictly won the battle...but the threat that they posed, real or imagined, is not to be discounted and rarely is in most history books on the subject written by all sorts of different authors.

I guess my other alterior motive for posting is to try and stir up some debate and get people to think about history more along the shades of grey approach rather than the black and white approach. Its not a pure victory for either side...in war it never is...its always a trade off in achievement, accomplishment and loss.

So please do not misunderstand my point of posting.

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 05:40 PM
The odds of finishing off a massive invasion fleet in a single late summer night are risible, Von_Rat. The Home Fleet had to transit from the north and the south coasts during the day to reach the channel at night. They would have been hammered all the way by the Luftwaffe and attacked from below by submarines. There was no conceivable reason to insert the few surviving German heavies into the Channel (they would not have made it past the Home Fleet and the RN submarines in the first place). The German army was treating the operation like a river crossing, not Overlord. Interestingly, the devices most likely to have made a mess of the invasion were the ingenious offshore pipes which would have released huge quantities of flaming gasoline when the German landing craft were close to the shore.

Von_Rat
08-24-2006, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
The odds of finishing off a massive invasion fleet in a single late summer night are risible, Von_Rat. The Home Fleet had to transit from the north and the south coasts during the day to reach the channel at night. They would have been hammered all the way by the Luftwaffe and attacked from below by submarines. There was no conceivable reason to insert the few surviving German heavies into the Channel (they would not have made it past the Home Fleet and the RN submarines in the first place). The German army was treating the operation like a river crossing, not Overlord. Interestingly, the devices most likely to have made a mess of the invasion were the ingenious offshore pipes which would have released huge quantities of flaming gasoline when the German landing craft were close to the shore.

the fleet wasnt massive, in fact it was a pig pile collection of barges tugs etc. the few german warships arent really relevent. the germans couldnt afford to take losses among their so called transports, and those would of been rns prime target.

the very close locally based destroyers could of dealt a crippling blow all by themselves. they could be on scene in very short time.

Von_Rat
08-24-2006, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by VW-IceFire:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Monty_Thrud:
Sorry Icefire, taking away the credit from the very people who won it is sooo wrong its unreal...and that is what Brian James' is trying to do.

People may speculate about what could have happened...but should not take away or lessen their glory...that is despicable behaviour, sadly there's to much of this around these days. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif
I'm most certainly not agreeing with what Brian James is trying to do. Quite the contrary because I belong to a family that had alot to do with the commonwealth air forces during WWII. I think my point is misunderstood here. If the RAF had even partial ability after a much more significant pounding than it took during The Battle of Britain then that combined with the Royal Navy would make any sea borne invasion near impossible. Thats what I think Hitler feared and it made him blink when he couldn't even cripple the RAF in any significant way.

The RAF were valiant and courageous and threw every bit that they had at the Germans in the air over England and they succeeded and Hitler never even had a chance to see something like Operation Sea Lion happen. But he truly feared that if he could not defeat the RAF (the obvious primary threat) then any chance of a seaborne invasion would be squashed by the Royal Navy. The two work hand in hand as I see it...based on some fairly significant study I had done as a history student in university.

Consider the possibility that during September 1940, had Hitler not ordered the bombing of London, and 11 Group had been reduced in a significant fashion...that even with that possibility in mind you still had other RAF groups in the north and west that were still fairly strong. And while Lee Mallory's Big Wing was seemingly proven to be ineffective as it was employed...I believe that such a tactic would be perhaps more effective should the RN need to intervene in said invasion.

So for instance massed groups of remaining Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons protecting the Royal Navy from the air...there would be little chance of any invasion working.

I don't think the Royal Navy strictly won the battle...but the threat that they posed, real or imagined, is not to be discounted and rarely is in most history books on the subject written by all sorts of different authors.

I guess my other alterior motive for posting is to try and stir up some debate and get people to think about history more along the shades of grey approach rather than the black and white approach. Its not a pure victory for either side...in war it never is...its always a trade off in achievement, accomplishment and loss.

So please do not misunderstand my point of posting. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

good post, i agree.

Xiolablu3
08-24-2006, 06:20 PM
If Hitler had tried a very badly planned 'D Day' on the British shores, it would have been a disaster I think.

1944 showed the massive amounts of planning and reconisance needed to acheieve a landing which was successful.

The Dieppe raid shows what happens when this amount of planning is not undertaken.

I dont buy that even if Hitler had launched Operation Sealion, that it had any chance of success. Just how were they going to land tanks and artillery on the shores of Britain underfire? Were they going to attack with just infantry?

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 06:23 PM
My guess is that the SCHARNHORST would have been sent to the North Atlantic to peal off heavies and cruisers. Submarines would have been used to try to seal the Channel from each end (a hellish place for a sub because of the shallow water). The Luftwaffe bombers would have been employed mining the heck out of the ends of the Channel for days ahead of the assault. Stukas would have been used to smash every destroyer in Harwich or other Channel ports. The invasion would have been a close run slog with the underequipped British Army thrown at the three invasion points. Partisan warfare would have been nasty. I doubt if the fleet would have been able to intervene because of harassment from mines, subs, and bombers. The Govt was prepared to go across the Atlantic. The fleet could not have been expended because the whole Empire depended on it---the loss of the British Isles would have been terrible but not the end. The British would have lost a lot of production except for huge potential in Canada. From this point onwards the Empire would have been mostly dependent on the USA.

As for the odds of a successful invasion, the odds were excellent. The British Army left all its artillery, tanks, and anti-tank artillery in France, not to forget their all-essential motorized transport. They did not have enough infantry weapons for the soldiers. They were able to fit out a handful of pitiful flying columns with jury-rigged armored cars to deal with the German motorized units which were going in from the start. It would have likely been Iraq 2003 with a German blitz right into London, an apparent victory, likely followed by ferocious partisan warfare. In the end German numbers would have told along with horrendous repressive measures. What would have happened after the redeployment to the East in 1941 is anybody's guess. A colossal trans-Atlantic invasion of the UK would have been the first order of business for the Allies.

WWMaxGunz
08-24-2006, 06:37 PM
Since the BoB never got beyond the airwar stage...............

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 07:23 PM
Brilliant observation. I can tell a graduate of the National Security College a mile away.

luftluuver
08-24-2006, 10:10 PM
So if all these LW bombers were mining the Channel, then what LW bombers were being used to smash the British land defenses?

1. How are troops transported?
2. How will the Germans cope with contested air?
3. What is going to prevent the RN from interfering?
4. Once ashore, how will the German forces be resupplied?

If we turn our attention to point 3 for a while, the standard response is to say that the Luftwaffe could sink the RN ships. However, the Luftwaffe of the period had a pathetic record against warships. 39 RN destroyers took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. This operation required manoeuvring in a small harbour, with periods stationary while embarking troops. The Luftwaffe had command of the air for long periods. In these ideal conditions, the Luftwaffe managed to put out of commission a grand total of 4 destroyers. 4 out of 39 does not bode well for the Luftwaffe's chances.

The bulk of 9 Army was to be landed on the Romney Marshes. Opposing them would be

2 Territorial Divisions
1 Brigade from India
1 Brigade from new Zealand
1 Armoured Division
1 Canadian Division
1 Army Tank Brigade


http://www.flin.demon.co.uk/althist/seal1.htm


Destroyer losses, Norway battles

40/04/08 Destroyer GLOWWORM (1,345t, 1936) Sunk by gunfire, Admiral Hipper, off Norway

40/04/09 Destroyer GURKHA (1,870t, 1938) Sunk by aircraft bombs, off Stavanger, Norway

40/04/10 Destroyer HARDY (Leader, 1,505t, 1936) Driven ashore, gunfire, Narvik

40/04/10 Destroyer HUNTER (1,340t, 1936) Sunk by surface ship gunfire, in battle of Narvik

horseback
08-24-2006, 10:49 PM
This is all very fascinating, from a former destroyer crewman's viewpoint. Let's consider air to sea warfare as it existed in 1940:

Limited shipboard radar systems--with a very crude method of detecting aircraft, their ranges, altitudes and numbers. Most admirals and captains of the time would have had more faith in the Mark One Eyeball, and for good reason. But it is cloudy at sea, and airplanes can hide in clouds or the glare or the sun far more easily than you suspect.

NO radar controlled AA guns. Except for the big guns, all the weaponry aimed at attacking aircraft would be muscled into alignment. Accuracy would be poor at best.

Limited amounts of light AA guns on ships, period. Most warships were optimized for killing other ships, not airplanes, as the USN and the IJN learned to their mutual sorrow 2 years later, even after watching the Brits and Jerries hack away at each other. There was a HUGE difference in the amount of AAA carried on ships in 1940 and that carried in 1945.

Ships are large and slow, particularly compared to aircraft. They leave a visible wake trail, which enhances their visual signature. Cruisers and destroyers (the fast ships most likely to be available and effective against the cross Channel invasion fleet) had relatively thin hulls, vulnerable to near misses from bombs, and doubly so to direct hits from heavy machine guns, cannon, bombs and torpedos.

Airplanes are vastly more difficult to hit, especially with manually directed guns. Remember, we aren't talking about the ai directed stuff we encounter in the game here. Even with the kinds of losses the USN had at sea battle in the Pacific, against a foe better prepared for air attack, the cost per sunk warship would be pretty light.

Crowded into the Channel, the Royal Navy would have been highly vulnerable to the dive and medium bombers of the Luftwaffe, which were the best crewed ground/surface attack aircraft in the world at that time, and much more easily defended there by the jagdewaffe than they would be over Kent.

As I understand it, the average German bomber was a pretty effective dive bomber; that was the most effective method for taking out ships at sea at that time.

IMO, the RAF would have to be able to control the airspace over the Channel in order to defeat a seaborne invasion. Without that, the RN would be quickly be sunk or driven out of the contricted waters of the English Channel by the Bf-110s, Stukas and Ju 88s.

cheers

horseback

leitmotiv
08-24-2006, 10:50 PM
I suggest you look at the Roskill's Royal Navy OFFICIAL HISTORY volume on Norway, luftluvver, because your information is ridiculously incomplete. Check the OFFICIAL HISTORY volume on the British Army's state for September 1940. Not one unit was up to its TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment). It's this kind of juvenile tosh that gives forums their well justified reputations for mindlessness.

luftluuver
08-24-2006, 11:33 PM
Oh dear, have I upset someones manure cart? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Lots of words but no data from you. Put up or shut up. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

9.Armee €" Generaloberst Adolf Strauss

FIRST WAVE

XXXVIII Army Corps: General der Infanterie Erich von Lewinski genannt von Manstein (First-wave landings on English coast between Bexhill and Eastbourne) €" Luftwaffe I./Flak-Regiment 3 attached to corps

26th Infantry Division: Generalleutnant Sigismund von F¶rster

34th Infantry Division: Generalmajor Werner Sanne

VIII Army Corps: General der Artillerie Walter Heitz (First-wave landings on English coast between Beachy Head and Brighton) €" Luftwaffe I./Flak-Regiment 36 attached to corps

6th Mountain Division: Generalmajor Ferdinand Sch¶rner

8th Infantry Division: Generalleutnant Rudolf Koch-Erpach

28th Infantry Division: Generalmajor Johann Sinnhuber

You think these sea sick 9 Armee troops would be combat capable, even if they had all reached British shores? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

panther3485
08-25-2006, 02:34 AM
Hey guys, don't worry. This, as presented in the media , is sensationalised, revisionistic cr@p.

What Hitler wanted to do, rather than actually have to go through with an invasion of Britain, was to pose a credible imminent threat of invasion. He hoped that by menacing the British in this final and truly convincing way, he could at last bring them to the negotiating table.

But with both the Royal Navy's superiority and the cover of Fighter Command, the British under Churchill's government would never buy the idea.

Smashing Fighter Command was the essential prerequisite. The RN may have been the 'door', but air superiority over at least the SE of England was most definitely the 'key'.

To be seen to have any chance at all of countering the RN and mounting an invasion, the Luftwaffe needed to dominate the essential airspace both over the Channel, which they managed to a certain extent and over SE England, which they never achieved and (arguably) never came close to.

With Fighter Command defeated, the threat of invasion would have seemed much more probable and imminent. It could easily have led to a crisis of confidence within the British Government, the fall of Churchill's cabinet and his replacement with somebody like Halifax, who would have most probably done a deal with Hitler.

However, with Fighter Command still on its feet and the Luftwaffe with a very bloody nose, the threat of invasion could now be seen to have been averted.

That the Germans' chances of staging a successful invasion were questionable even with the RAF subdued is not the point. The defeat of their efforts to crush Fighter Command and, after that failed, to bomb the British into submission during the 'Blitz', clearly demonstrated to the World that Britain was in the fight to stay.

I won't go again into the consequences of this, and my conclusions concerning what the outcome would have been if Britain had quit the fight in 1940. My views on that are already very well known on this forum.


Best regards to all, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

joeap
08-25-2006, 03:11 AM
Sealion was a bluff.

The RN did lose a lot of ships in Norway, the KM proportionally more.

The LW could not attack the RN at night, but the RN could attack the invasion fleet. Recall the damage (at least to warships, the Japanese missed some chances) the Japanese navy did at night in the Slot, where they had to operate at night because of US air superiority. Didn't work in long term but then all the UK needed to do was defeat the invasion. One of the reasons the the FJ lost so many troops in Crete was the lack of heavy weapons, armour and artillery which could only be brought by sea...the one convoy to attempt a landing was wiped out.

The Germans might have pulled it off with paratroopers to capture key airbases and ports ... in the LW could be based in England well...

However, a successful German invasion would have required close and effective cooperation between the Luftwaffe, Kreigsmarine, and Wehrmacht. With a couple of exceptions, Norway perhaps and the Channel Dash (the latter becasue of Galland since "Fatty" was not involved) this was rather uncommon during the war. I don't see how the Germans would have pulled it off. In fact this problem plagued Germany throughout the war in many aspects. Economy and grand strategy as well.

I don't think it was Germany's best move for eliminating the UK. At least, they should have kept bombing the airfields, then move to "cooperate" with the U-boats in a slow but steady squeeze of maritime traffic. Eventually close off the Channel, sink as much merchant shipping as possible, but keep the army for the real big enemy to the east.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 05:03 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
As for the odds of a successful invasion, the odds were excellent. The British Army left all its artillery, tanks, and anti-tank artillery in France, not to forget their all-essential motorized transport. They did not have enough infantry weapons for the soldiers. They were able to fit out a handful of pitiful flying columns with jury-rigged armored cars to deal with the German motorized units which were going in from the start. It would have likely been Iraq 2003 with a German blitz right into London, an apparent victory, likely followed by ferocious partisan warfare. In the end German numbers would have told along with horrendous repressive measures. What would have happened after the redeployment to the East in 1941 is anybody's guess. A colossal trans-Atlantic invasion of the UK would have been the first order of business for the Allies.

No chance.

The Royal Navy would have all been pulled back and it was more than 3 times the size of the German Navy.

The landing craft would have been decimated before they reached the beaches, Along with the German Navy.

Just how were the Germans going to get these Tanks and Armoured cars ashore? Swim?

The German NAvy was scared stiff of a straight battle with the Royal NAvy, you remember the jubilation when they did the 'channel' dash? That they had managed to get through the channel with their ships? They were so happy that they managed to get through unscathed.

They didnt even have any proper landing craft, they were going to use barges with the tops cut off for the men.

Just ask any German soldier what they think would have happned if they had tried to go through with sealion. Every German soldier I have seen interviewed has said that it would have been a disaster if they had gone through with it.

The British would have thrown their whole Navy and Airforce against a landing force. It would have been a disaster for the Germans.

PLease just answer the question about the Tanks and artillery/trucks. Just HOW where they going to land them on the British shores unscathed?? How would they supply them?

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 05:11 AM
Without a major addition to their landing craft fleet, which would take a great deal of time to build and would be very obvious to the rest of the world, the Germans could not hope to send across more than ten infantry divisions with almost no heavy weapons in support. A force of this size would be slaughtered by Britain's defenders, which included many divisions of soldiers evacuated from France and equipped as infantry, enough armored forces to outnumber anything the Germans could bring across, tens of thousands of Home Guard militia, and several fully equipped divisions of reinforcements from Canada. In event of an invasion, the British government was fully prepared to use all means at its disposal to stop it, such as poison gas attacks and flooding the English Channel with burning oil. Poison gas could be used by the Germans as well, but they would need time to prepare countermeasures and to use their own gas. The British would gain a short-term advantage by being the ones to introduce gas, and a short-term advantage is all they would need to crush a fledgling invasion attempt.

Various schemes proposed to get around the outnumbered nature of potential German attackers have been proposed, but none would have been workable. Using paratroopers wouldn't work - even if the Germans had not lost most of their paratroopers in the invasion of Crete, and even if their slow, extremely vulnerable transports somehow got past the RAF, Britain was far too large and well-defended for Germany's paratrooper force to make any real difference. They excelled in attacks on pinpoint and isolated targets, such as Eban Emael and Crete, but jumping into a large area with many divisions of infantry and tens of thousands of militiamen, they would be slaughtered before they got a chance to do much of anything. For the Germans to use gas first would not work, because within a short period of time the military forces of both sides would use countermeasures. The main harm of countermeasures is that they slow an army down - of little harm to the British defenders, who can stay in their fortifications, but much more harmful to an invasion force attempting to seize beacheads and take territory. Having the Germans succeed at capturing more, or all, of the British forces evacuated from Dunkirk would also be insufficient. A little-known fact is that after being evacuated from Dunkirk (minus their equipment), most British soldiers were sent right back to France where they fought on until the final pullout. The British lost their heavy equipment at Dunkirk anyway, a fact which can hardly be made worse, and even without the evacuated men the British had more than enough infantrymen to fight off a German invasion. The Germans were physically incapable of shipping across an invasion force even half the size of the one they would need to have any chance of beginning a successful invasion.

Second, the supply situation. Once you have sent across an invasion force, it needs to be resupplied and reinforced before it is pushed back into the sea. An invasion force can't carry enough supplies on the landing craft to last more than a day or two, has few heavy weapons, and is almost certainly outnumbered by the forces the enemy can bring to bear given enough time. It needs extensive shipments of supplies , especially in the first few days, or it will run out and be annihlated. It needs heavy weapons and armor, or it will be crushed as soon as the enemy has enough time to bring the full force of his own heavy weapons to bear, or at best be unable to expand far from the initial beachead. It also needs large amounts of reinforcements, so that the main body of the army can be brought across and change the battle from a fight to gain and maintain a foothold, into an actual conquest


Adolf Galland has been quoted that the invasion never had a realistic chance of success and that there was a palpable sense of relief in the German Wehrmacht when it was finally called off. It should be remembered that the D Day landings in 1944 were a close run thing and that was with years of preparation, the largest invasion force ever assembled, total Air and Naval superiority and the Germans having to fight in occupied France


Sealion would have been a total failure


WHy Sealion would not work, even with air superiority :-

http://gateway.alternatehistory.com/essays/Sealion.html

Control_Damage
08-25-2006, 05:21 AM
Was Sealion ever really a viable option or was it all just smoke and mirrors, intended to bring Britain to the negotiating table with the threat of an impending invasion following the loss of a large proportion of Britain's fighting men and material in France?

It just seems that the motley assortment of boats and barges dragged to the coast from the canals and waterways of occupied Europe then openly displayed in the channel ports for British PR aircraft to see and the Bomber Command to attack was unlikely to provide the best means of transporting the German army across 20+ miles of hostile water.

It would surely have been a considerable gamble to have launched the invasion of Britain, even with a subdued RAF and RN, in such an ill-equipped fleet of 'landing craft' in even the most favourable of conditions, something not guaranteed in the channel waters at any time of year.

panther3485
08-25-2006, 05:24 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
As for the odds of a successful invasion, the odds were excellent. The British Army left all its artillery, tanks, and anti-tank artillery in France, not to forget their all-essential motorized transport. They did not have enough infantry weapons for the soldiers. They were able to fit out a handful of pitiful flying columns with jury-rigged armored cars to deal with the German motorized units which were going in from the start. It would have likely been Iraq 2003 with a German blitz right into London, an apparent victory, likely followed by ferocious partisan warfare. In the end German numbers would have told along with horrendous repressive measures. What would have happened after the redeployment to the East in 1941 is anybody's guess. A colossal trans-Atlantic invasion of the UK would have been the first order of business for the Allies.

No chance.

The Royal Navy would have all been pulled back and it was more than 3 times the size of the German Navy.

The landing craft would have been decimated before they reached the beaches, Along with the German Navy.

Just how were the Germans going to get these Tanks and Armoured cars ashore? Swim?

The German NAvy was scared stiff of a straight battle with the Royal NAvy, you remember the jubilation when they did the 'channel' dash? That they had managed to get through the channel with their ships? They were so happy that they managed to get through unscathed.

They didnt even have any proper landing craft, they were going to use barges with the tops cut off for the men.

Just ask any German soldier what they think would have happned if they had tried to go through with sealion. Every German soldier I have seen interviewed has said that it would have been a disaster if they had gone through with it.

The British would have thrown their whole Navy and Airforce against a landing force. It would have been a disaster for the Germans.

PLease just answer the question about the Tanks and artillery/trucks. Just HOW where they going to land them on the British shores unscathed?? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Xiolablu3, I do pretty much agree with your overall position on this, except partly in respect of the German tanks. Some numbers of PzKpfw II, PzKpfw III and PzKpfw IV were modified for amphibious assault, in preparation for Sealion, 'just in case' the Heer was ordered to go ahead with the landings.
[But my guess is that the more aware among the senior army commanders probably breathed a sigh of relief when Seelowe was cancelled! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif ]


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 05:40 AM
I didn't enter this topic until now because of what I feared it would be. I think Leitmotiv and Panther have right angle, but here's my take:

Saying the Royal Navy won the Battle of Britain is deliberately inflammatory. The books I read don't omit the Royal Navy, generally they mention it in the earlier sections, because the Royal Navy was why Sealion wasn't launched immediately. German reasoning behind the Battle of Britain was that the Luftwaffe could obliterate the RAF, some, notably Hitler, hoped that breaking the RAF would be enough to cause England to surrender, but the military intended to use the Luftwaffe to cover the invasion.

The RAF clearly won the encounter, but every account I've read indicates that it was Hitler's impatient switch from RAF assets to terror bombing that, in a stroke, won the battle for the RAF, because the pressure was off it. A key point about the Blitz is that early in the BoB the Luftwaffe had been bombing the West End because it was the industrial and docklands area (That's the West End, right?), but they'd unintentionally been killing Cockney workers who lived in close proximity to their work. Apparently the Cockney's (especially in light of the communist agitation at the time) would have grown sick of taking the beating, and it would have lead to a veritable rebellion. That might sound unlikely the first time hearing it, and unfortunately I can't cite a ream of resources that prove it. The key point, however, was that when the Luftwaffe indiscrimately pounded London, it inevitably lead to the deaths of many higher classes and even Buckingham Palace was hit, and suddenly the Cockneys were part of Britain's war, instead of being the aristocracy's damage sponges. That's mostly irrelevant, however, as the Luftwaffe switched to terror bombing, relieving pressure on the RAF and causing the British to band together.

The main issues here are whether a cross channel invasion could succeed even if the Royal Navy was destroyed, and if the Luftwaffe could destroy the Royal Navy.

In the first point, the Wehrmacht was, as previously stated, considering the cross-channel invasion in the same nature as river-crossings, which were already not their strong point (look at the Meuse or Dnieper or Dvina or Don crossings). Again, as stated before, the invasion fleet was a motley collection of trawlers, barges, skiffs, and I've read even row boats! The escort consisted of the handful of German warships left in the Kriegsmarine after Norway, notably, the U-boats were never given any orders pertaining to potential operations engaging the Royal Navy in the event of a cross channel invasion. From memory, the German plan was to secure a "corridor" for 24 hours, during which the invasion would take place, landing supplies for two weeks. Assuming this was possible, the Wehrmacht would then have to destroy British resistance in about a week, or it would become a rout. Although the British were horribly lacking in artillery, anti-tank weapons and even rifles, they weren't totally defenseless (think of things like the 8inch WWI era howitzers they rebored to 7.2 during the Blitz, apparently they used them until 1948, and Britain did still have whatever wasn't used in Dunkirk or built since). It probably comes down to whether or not the British could keep it together in the first days, probably likely, and after that the battle would be over - unless the Royal Navy was entirely destroyed, something the German plans never called for, the invasion would be cut off after the 24 hour landing period. No casualty evaction makes men somewhat less brave, intense fighting quickly exhausts ammunition (the Russians noted that the Germans seemed to never let go of their triggers in combat, even at totally ineffective ranges), any equipment lost in the landings couldn't be replaced by reserves, any fuel or ammunition depots destroyed reduce the fighting time quickly, the knowledge that you only have two weeks strains everyone, while bolstering the enemy. Basically, I don't believe the German success was virtually garunteed or impossible, about the only options put forth here, but highly unlikely due to the factors stacked against it.

The other major contention is the ability of the Luftwaffe to actually destroy the Royal Navy. Sea-to-air effectiveness is one of the most difficult faces to assess, from 1903 to today. It's filled with episodes where the Navy took a pounding, but wasn't adequately prepared: Pearl Harbour, Prince of Wales, Midway and Okinawa are constantly pointed to as proving carriers are required to defend ships against air attack, and that battleships were obsolete by 1930. But when you look in greater detail, you see a different picture: Pearl Harbour was a surprise attack, with ships completely defenseless - a squadron of Sopwith Pups could have done the same (okay, exaggerating there). Prince of Wales was completely irresponsible: Repulse, the utterly worst sea-to-air platform and no escorts, that's tantamount to flying loops at twenty metres over an enemy airbase in a Zero. At Midway the Japanese didn't use their battleships because they were afraid of losing them (how ironic), and never attempted to use them. Okinawa, where Yamoto was sunk, actually counts in Sea-to-air's favour, if anything. From memory it took a whopping 13 carriers total (fleet and escort) with several hundred planes, and took (I checked these) at least 11 torpedo hits, perhaps as many as 15, and at least 7 direct hits from dive bombing, perhaps as many as 14. This was completely unprotected, aside from her signifigant AA batteries. It seems that Navies repeatedly made the wrong choices in air defence, causing high casualties, but when they don't, score quite heavily against planes. I think it's high unlikely that the Luftwaffe could have destroyed the RAF and then engaged the Royal Navy, along with her air wing, and not been butchered.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 05:47 AM
Xiolablu3, what did you say about the soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk being sent back to fight :s? Moreover, saying there were expendable? :s

There's no substituted for trained men: the BEF in 1914 was so effective because it was so highly trained. When the masses of British militia arrived, the quality of British troops declined in a very large way. The Germans were never able to replace the men lost in the 1941-2 winter battles, or at Stalingrad, just as the IJN never replaced its pilots and aircrews. The men evacuated from Dunkirk were worth their weight in gold.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 05:52 AM
I didnt say that Biscuitnight, that was quoted from the link in the thread, but it said excatly what I wanted to say without me having to write an essay http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I didnt even knwo about that until I read it actually. I agree it sounds quit heartless, but hte idea was to help France, remember. Its not exactly saying they were expendable, but I agree it does sound a little like that how he wrote it.

I htink the British were just trying to do all they could to help the French situation.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 05:53 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
I didn't enter this topic until now because of what I feared it would be. I think Leitmotiv and Panther have right angle, but here's my take:

.

Lol leiftmotiv and Panther are saying opposite things ?!?!

Banger2004
08-25-2006, 06:04 AM
Many well argued and enlightening points here.

However, even if the RAF had been beaten (would never happen of course, I love the RAF), surely it would have been monumentaly difficult to stage an invasion in the manner the Germans were contemplating?

For instance, tides, currents etc would all be crucial, especially if coordinated landings across different locations were planned. Sea state would also be very critical since barges were to be employed (heavily laden ones, at that).

All the above would give the RN ample opportunity to make some sort of attack, even despite possible heavy losses. Just imagine what damage 2-3 destroyers travelling through the towed barges at 30-35 knots would inflict, just with their wakes?

I personally believe the RAF were fantastic in what they achieved in the defence of this country, and nothing can detract from that. The RN were not involved as events turned out, but had they been, they would also have been every bit as heroic in thier efforts, you can be sure of that.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
I didn't enter this topic until now because of what I feared it would be. I think Leitmotiv and Panther have right angle, but here's my take:

.

Lol leiftmotiv and Panther are saying opposite things ?!?! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Seems to me they're both saying the Royal Navy played a large role, but that it was the RAF that actually defeated the Luftwaffe, and that an invasion wasn't on the card because the LW couldn't beat the RN even if the RAf was out of the equation.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 06:09 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
I didn't enter this topic until now because of what I feared it would be. I think Leitmotiv and Panther have right angle, but here's my take:

.

Lol leiftmotiv and Panther are saying opposite things ?!?! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Seems to me they're both saying the Royal Navy played a large role, but that it was the RAF that actually defeated the Luftwaffe, and that an invasion wasn't on the card because the LW couldn't beat the RN even if the RAf was out of the equation. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ahh sorry I misunderstood what you meant http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Von_Rat
08-25-2006, 06:27 AM
some here seem to think it was within the lws power to totally destroy raf in 1940. it was not. the best lw could do would be to inflict enough losses to force the raf to withdraw north of london, out of range of the me109.

this would mean that over the channel and south england lw would have air superoity, but as soon as invasion was launched the raf would return in force. in a pinch they could operate from improvised airfields just like lw did late war. this might not be very efficent but it would work good enough to allow enough raf over channel to massicure the stukas etc going after rn. losses would be hi in both raf and rn, but as long as enough german transports are sunk the german invasion threat is finished for a long time.

all it would take is a small handful of brit destroyers getting among the barges and invasion is kaput. as good as some say lw was, no way were going to stop all the destroyers.

so theres no way the lw was going to get complete command of the air over channel, whether they won bob or not.


as far as minefields go, neither the british or germans put much faith in them to either stop the invasion or stop rn.

stathem
08-25-2006, 06:29 AM
It's interesting to see this debate being played out in the general media, having seen it many times on thesse boards. Letters to the papers from Veterans, Air-Vice marshals, and Royal Navy captains.

Anyhow, one of the lines in the paper in response to the debate;

"Crediting the RN with victory in the BoB is like crediting a goalkeeper who never had a save to make with victory in a football match"

Quite apt I thought. Defending the country, is like football, a team game. Although it helps if your goalkeeper is the naval equivalent of Peter Schmeichel.

Low_Flyer_MkVb
08-25-2006, 06:34 AM
Good analogy with Schmeichel there, old chum - let's not forget the many servicemen from occupied countries and the Commonwealth who played their part in what is all too often perceived as a purely British victory. Even a few Yanks involved http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 06:36 AM
Originally posted by Von_Rat:
some here seem to think it was within the lws power to totally destroy raf in 1940. it was not. the best lw could do would be to inflict enough losses to force the raf to withdraw north of london, out of range of the me109.

this would mean that over the channel and south england lw would have air superoity, but as soon as invasion was launched the raf would return in force. in a pinch they could operate from improvised airfields just like lw did late war. this might not be very efficent but it would work good enough to allow enough raf over channel to massicure the stukas etc going after rn. losses would be hi in both raf and rn, but as long as enough german transports are sunk the german invasion threat is finished for a long time.

so theres no way the lw was going to get complete command of the air over channel, whether they won bob or not.

Wrong. The RAF was at breaking point, at the very least you should appreciated the morale effect of withdrawing from Southern England on the RAF. The VVS always felt as though they were inferior because of the high casualties suffered in their camapains, up until about 1944 when the VVS finally felt that it wasn't incompetant cannon fodder anymore. Morale is more important than weapons, I find.

The RAF, if it had broken, would have lost all the production facilities within the range of the Bf-109, withdrawing to the North just encourages further pounding of Southern England, erroding Civillian faith in the leadership, etc, and granting the ability to eliminate British Army units with relative impunity. If it was just a matter of withdrawing North, the RAf would have. Losing Southern England to the Luftwaffe meant defeat, plain and simple.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 06:40 AM
Stathem, that is indeed a good analogy, although it's not quite as simple as that. Who's this "Schmeicel" fellow?

Oh and, who the hell wrote the stuff you were referencing, Xiolabu? I mean, he's a complete jerk off:

"Germany was never much of a seagoing merchant power"

Uh... sorry, weren't they the second largest Merchant power after Britain in 1914? Plus his theory that only the addition of a completely different ideology could have lead to a German victory in WWII is laughable, especially his interpretation that the differences between "Unity" and Communism or Facism (not sure which he was replacing at any given time, he wasn't very coherant) wouldn't cascade to totally change the face of the earth, but merely change minor details at first.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 06:43 AM
I have to agree with Vonrat, it was always the RAFs plan to withdraw North if things got too bad.

That way they could hit the invasion beaches if the worst happened.

What the RAF planned to do if it lost the Battle of Britain :- Quite simply, they would withdraw all surviving fighter groups to the north of Britain, out of range of German fighters, where they would be essentially invulnerable to attack. They would wait there until the Germans launched an invasion attempt, whereupon they would immediately fly south en masse to attack, denying the Germans air superiority. So due to this quirk of geography and German fighter range, there is basically no way for the Germans to get air superiority over the invasion (without, say, multiplying the size of their air force by many times - which would, again, require great advance planning and mean taking resources from some other part of the war effort), because the British would withdraw enough aircraft to safety to cause serious problems for an invasion. Something often overlooked about the Battle of Britain is that the British had multiple fighter groups, several of which were based to the north, out of range of attack. These were used as places where the pilots could rest, aircraft could be repaired, et cetera. They were at fairly high strength during the Battle, and thus even total annihlation of the aircraft actually in the fight would leave the RAF with plenty of aircraft in reserve for Sealion.

Withdrawing to the north would indeed leave the south of Britain vulnerable to bombing, but bombing was never decisive in the war even when the Allies launched thousand-bomber raids against poorly defended targets in 1944. In 1940 the Luftwaffe bombers, flying unopposed, would cause a good bit of damage and be very annoying, but they would not seriously impair Britain's ability to carry on the war, or to build up its defenses against German invasion. As such, if the bombing campaign continued unopposed before an invasion, it still would not be sufficient to weaken Britain's defenses (or, actually, prevent them from strengthening) to any great extent. Unopposed bombing would thus be of little to no help in preparing the way for a German invasion.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 06:47 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
Stathem, that is indeed a good analogy, although it's not quite as simple as that. Who's this "Schmeicel" fellow?

Oh and, who the hell wrote the stuff you were referencing, Xiolabu? I mean, he's a complete jerk off:

"Germany was never much of a seagoing merchant power"

Uh... sorry, weren't they the second largest Merchant power after Britain in 1914? Plus his theory that only the addition of a completely different ideology could have lead to a German victory in WWII is laughable, especially his interpretation that the differences between "Unity" and Communism or Facism (not sure which he was replacing at any given time, he wasn't very coherant) wouldn't cascade to totally change the face of the earth, but merely change minor details at first.

Whatever he said about Germany as a Merchent power (I dont know anything about that), I agree with his reasons for the failure of Operation Sealion.

I put the link there to show where I got the stuff I quoted from.

His reasons for the failure of Sealion are valid to me, I dont knwo about the rest of the stuff he wrote, I didnt quote it. (I didnt even read it)

I couldnt be bothered to write an essay on why I thought Sealion would fail, so I looked for someone with the same opinon as me and cut and pasted. I think its a good summary of why it would fail.

stathem
08-25-2006, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by Low_Flyer_MkVb:
Good analogy with Schmeichel there, old chum - let's not forget the many servicemen from occupied countries and the Commonwealth who played their part in what is all too often perceived as a purely British victory. Even a few Yanks involved http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

+1 to that. And an Israeli.

stathem
08-25-2006, 06:50 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
Stathem, that is indeed a good analogy, although it's not quite as simple as that.

Oh, aye, I know.


Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
Who's this "Schmeicel" fellow?

Ohh, you must be a Chelsea fan then http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 06:57 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

The RAF, if it had broken, would have lost all the production facilities within the range of the Bf-109, withdrawing to the North just encourages further pounding of Southern England, erroding Civillian faith in the leadership, etc, and granting the ability to eliminate British Army units with relative impunity. If it was just a matter of withdrawing North, the RAf would have. Losing Southern England to the Luftwaffe meant defeat, plain and simple.

I am guessing you are not British Biscuitknight?

The mood in Britain in 1940 was one of 'resistance at all costs', there was no question of losing faith in the leadership. Research the guy they sent over from America to assess the mood of the British people in 1940 and if they would give in or not. (I forget his name now)

Withdrawing North was often contemplated, but things never got that bad.

Von_Rat
08-25-2006, 06:57 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Von_Rat:
some here seem to think it was within the lws power to totally destroy raf in 1940. it was not. the best lw could do would be to inflict enough losses to force the raf to withdraw north of london, out of range of the me109.

this would mean that over the channel and south england lw would have air superoity, but as soon as invasion was launched the raf would return in force. in a pinch they could operate from improvised airfields just like lw did late war. this might not be very efficent but it would work good enough to allow enough raf over channel to massicure the stukas etc going after rn. losses would be hi in both raf and rn, but as long as enough german transports are sunk the german invasion threat is finished for a long time.

so theres no way the lw was going to get complete command of the air over channel, whether they won bob or not.

Wrong. The RAF was at breaking point, at the very least you should appreciated the morale effect of withdrawing from Southern England on the RAF. The VVS always felt as though they were inferior because of the high casualties suffered in their camapains, up until about 1944 when the VVS finally felt that it wasn't incompetant cannon fodder anymore. Morale is more important than weapons, I find.

The RAF, if it had broken, would have lost all the production facilities within the range of the Bf-109, withdrawing to the North just encourages further pounding of Southern England, erroding Civillian faith in the leadership, etc, and granting the ability to eliminate British Army units with relative impunity. If it was just a matter of withdrawing North, the RAf would have. Losing Southern England to the Luftwaffe meant defeat, plain and simple. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


the raf never was near the breaking point, they had large forces in the north, that they never committed all at one time.

you have a low opinion of british morale. the germans took much much worse for a lot longer., and their factorys increased production, so the brit people and factorys and army could take the much less pounding and survive also.
time was not on germans side, winter was coming, if raf withdrew the germans would of had to launch invasion soon. they didnt have months to pound southern england like usaaf did in germany.

the raf would only withdraw north is they had to, you dont just let enemy bomb you if you can stop it. withdrawing north was last resort to save raf so it could stop invasion. only a sucessful inasion meant defeat, NOTHING ELSE.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 06:59 AM
IRT Xiolablu

Fighter Command did intend to withdraw to the North in the event they were defeated, yes, but if it was that simple, why wasn't that the strategy they adopted?

Answer: they knew it was necessary to defend Southern England to protect production capacity, transport facilities, prepared defences, to defend the RADAR stations for early warning and to have bases that allowed short turnaround and transit times.

Withdrawing causes a ream of problems:

- Loss of confidence within the RAF
- Loss of confidence in the RAF by the Army and Navy (already unhappy, not 100% appreciating Dunkirk)
- Loss of confidence in the RAF with the Civillian population and Government
- Loss of production capacity as factories are open to attack
- Loss of transport infrastructure: Britain's railroads took quite a pounding in the Battle of Britain, and that was when they were defended. Imagine trying to manage a defence when you can't move food to the troops on the beaches.
- Loss of early warning - it'd be good to know of the invasion only when the boats are beaching and the Luftwaffe's already waiting for you, will the RN get there in time?
- If the RAF had folded, Hitler would have maintained the bombing of British production, again causing the Cockney rebellion and likely leading to an agreement.

IRT Stathem

Chelsea? Oh, you're talking about Soccer http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

WOLFMondo
08-25-2006, 07:01 AM
The RAF was using the North of England as bases anyway during BoB. Whole wings would be stationed north of London then fly down at prior to dawn to satelite airfields for the days operations then fly back to there northern bases at dusk.


Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
Uh... sorry, weren't they the second largest Merchant power after Britain in 1914? Plus his theory that only the addition of a completely different ideology could have lead to a German victory in WWII is laughable, especially his interpretation that the differences between "Unity" and Communism or Facism (not sure which he was replacing at any given time, he wasn't very coherant) wouldn't cascade to totally change the face of the earth, but merely change minor details at first.

Germany did have a large merchant shipping fleet but merchant shipping doesn't transport armies on a marine invasions. Germany didn't have enough and the right kind of shipping to mount an invasion. Even the allies in 1944 with there massive industrial capacity couldn't provide enough landing craft to meet demand in both the Mediteranean and European theatres. The seaborn invasions around Europe were planned around when and where the limit amount of landing craft could be as much as the weather and tides.

Churchill devotes a large volume in 'The Second World War' to this very topic.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by Von_Rat:
the raf never was near the breaking point, they had large forces in the north, that they never committed all at one time.

you have a low opinion of british morale. the germans took much much worse for a lot longer., and their factorys increased production, so the brit people and factorys and army could take the much less pounding and survive also.
time was not on germans side, winter was coming, if raf withdrew the germans would of had to launch invasion soon. they didnt have months to pound southern england like usaaf did in germany.

the raf would only withdraw north is they had to, you dont just let enemy bomb you if you can stop it. withdrawing north was last resort to save raf so it could stop invasion. only a sucessful inasion meant defeat, NOTHING ELSE.

Um, large forces? From memory, there was something like five squadrons north, some of them equipped with planes like the Paul-Boston defiant and Gladiators, and the vast, vast majority were South, where the RAF was going to keep them until they were unable to mount any sort of effective defence, IE when the squadrons had literally no planes left. That would leave the RAF completely wasted as an Air Force. The RAF never at breaking point, that's the most riddiculous thing I've read today, beating even the Germany never being a powerful Sea-trading nation.

About British morale: British published books, albeit only the good ones (pulp history that forgets the Hurricane existed are a pound for a pile, and generally miss the good stuff) admit that British morale in the lower classes was very low until Buckingham Palace was hit - what we see as World War Two now was at the time just the 1939-1940 War as far as anyone knew. There wasn't a feeling of an anti-Fascist crusade. Having read about the British communist party at the time, morale was very low during those years, especially among the Party-strong Cockneys, because it was in Communism's interest to keep it low, thereby causing a revolution, and they were highly successful in causing this.

The difference between 1940 Britain and 1945 Germany are impossible to cover in a single post, but largely, Britain wasn't feeling like a solid nation opposed to Germany, but very fractured, until the Blitz in which ALL Britions took a pounding, it was felt, and thus creating a sense of national identity. Germany had no such lack of support for the war.

Also, British factories totally undefended in 1940 are bound to take a larger pounding than German DEFENDED ones in 1945.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 07:10 AM
Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
The RAF was using the North of England as bases anyway during BoB. Whole wings would be stationed north of London then fly down at prior to dawn to satelite airfields for the days operations then fly back to there northern bases at dusk.

Germany did have a large merchant shipping fleet but merchant shipping doesn't transport armies on a marine invasions. Germany didn't have enough and the right kind of shipping to mount an invasion. Even the allies in 1944 with there massive industrial capacity couldn't provide enough landing craft to meet demand in both the Mediteranean and European theatres. The seaborn invasions around Europe were planned around when and where the limit amount of landing craft could be as much as the weather and tides.

Churchill devotes a large volume in 'The Second World War' to this very topic.

I'm not talking about Germany having the capability to launch a cross-channel invasion. I'm just pointing out that this "source" doesn't have a very good grasp of the World Wars if he thinks Germany was never a large maritime trader. Most of Germany's merchant fleet was confiscated after WWI, whatever was left, that is, after four years war. In 1940 Germany didn't have a large merchant fleet, no. But again, I was merely point out one of the most obvious examples of that author's lack of historical knowledge.

Von_Rat
08-25-2006, 07:23 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Von_Rat:
the raf never was near the breaking point, they had large forces in the north, that they never committed all at one time.

you have a low opinion of british morale. the germans took much much worse for a lot longer., and their factorys increased production, so the brit people and factorys and army could take the much less pounding and survive also.
time was not on germans side, winter was coming, if raf withdrew the germans would of had to launch invasion soon. they didnt have months to pound southern england like usaaf did in germany.

the raf would only withdraw north is they had to, you dont just let enemy bomb you if you can stop it. withdrawing north was last resort to save raf so it could stop invasion. only a sucessful inasion meant defeat, NOTHING ELSE.

Um, large forces? From memory, there was something like five squadrons north, some of them equipped with planes like the Paul-Boston defiant and Gladiators, and the vast, vast majority were South, where the RAF was going to keep them until they were unable to mount any sort of effective defence, IE when the squadrons had literally no planes left. That would leave the RAF completely wasted as an Air Force. The RAF never at breaking point, that's the most riddiculous thing I've read today, beating even the Germany never being a powerful Sea-trading nation.
__________________________________________________ ____________

i suggest you do some reading up on bob. yes they had large forces in the north and the west, and there were many hurricanes spits etc, that were never committed to the battle, i dont have time to look up the numbers, if you dont beleive me i dont care. it not my job to educate the ignorant.
__________________________________________________ _



About British morale: British published books, albeit only the good ones (pulp history that forgets the Hurricane existed are a pound for a pile, and generally miss the good stuff) admit that British morale in the lower classes was very low until Buckingham Palace was hit - what we see as World War Two now was at the time just the 1939-1940 War as far as anyone knew. There wasn't a feeling of an anti-Fascist crusade. Having read about the British communist party at the time, morale was very low during those years, especially among the Party-strong Cockneys, because it was in Communism's interest to keep it low, thereby causing a revolution, and they were highly successful in causing this.

The difference between 1940 Britain and 1945 Germany are impossible to cover in a single post, but largely, Britain wasn't feeling like a solid nation opposed to Germany, but very fractured, until the Blitz in which ALL Britions took a pounding, it was felt, and thus creating a sense of national identity. Germany had no such lack of support for the war.
__________________________________________________ ______
your not british are you? niether am i, but from history and meeting the people themselves, i can tell you your wrong to think that they couldnt take it just as much as germans.
__________________________________________________ ________


.



Also, British factories totally undefended in 1940 are bound to take a larger pounding than German DEFENDED ones in 1945. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


german factorys werent very well defended by lw in 45. some allied airmen never saw a lw plane.
the usaaf and raf had months, years even, to bomb germany with a huge amount of bombs, and still germans didnt break. you think that a few weeks of puny ju88 or he111 bombloads would break brits, it makes me laugh.

stathem
08-25-2006, 07:31 AM
For an indication of the strength of the RAF units in the North (and the north is generally considered to start somewhere between the extremes of Watford or Birmingham depending on where you live), Google the fate of Luftflotte 5.

WOLFMondo
08-25-2006, 07:58 AM
Britains moral wasn't low, it just didn't want a war. Since after the Great War, no one in Britain wanted any more conflict. Its not hard to see why since Britain was at war at somewhere or another around the world for centuries. If it wasn't the French kicking off, or the Irish throwing potatoes, it was a colony or some part of the Empire that didn't like being under British rule. its not hard to see why in the 20's and 30's the British really didn't have the stomach for even more conflict.

Still, the Royal Navy would have seen of an Invasion. Had Churchill played that card it could have wiped the invasion force from the map, despite the losses.

panther3485
08-25-2006, 08:04 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Von_Rat:
some here seem to think it was within the lws power to totally destroy raf in 1940. it was not. the best lw could do would be to inflict enough losses to force the raf to withdraw north of london, out of range of the me109.

this would mean that over the channel and south england lw would have air superoity, but as soon as invasion was launched the raf would return in force. in a pinch they could operate from improvised airfields just like lw did late war. this might not be very efficent but it would work good enough to allow enough raf over channel to massicure the stukas etc going after rn. losses would be hi in both raf and rn, but as long as enough german transports are sunk the german invasion threat is finished for a long time.

so theres no way the lw was going to get complete command of the air over channel, whether they won bob or not.

Wrong. The RAF was at breaking point, at the very least you should appreciated the morale effect of withdrawing from Southern England on the RAF. The VVS always felt as though they were inferior because of the high casualties suffered in their camapains, up until about 1944 when the VVS finally felt that it wasn't incompetant cannon fodder anymore. Morale is more important than weapons, I find.

The RAF, if it had broken, would have lost all the production facilities within the range of the Bf-109, withdrawing to the North just encourages further pounding of Southern England, erroding Civillian faith in the leadership, etc, and granting the ability to eliminate British Army units with relative impunity. If it was just a matter of withdrawing North, the RAf would have. Losing Southern England to the Luftwaffe meant defeat, plain and simple. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

As for the RAF being at 'breaking point', this is more a function of 'popular history for the masses' than a reflection of reality. It's not quite in the realms of mythology, because Fighter Command did indeed reach something approaching a crisis in the three weeks from mid August to early September.

And yes, the Luftwaffe switching its target priorities did take much of the pressure off 11 Group (covering the South East), which had copped by far the heaviest pounding.

But analysis of relative strengths and losses over the whole duration of the battle shows that if anything, the Luftwaffe was closer to breaking than Fighter Command. The British simply were not aware of this at the time.

The other three main groups of Fighter Command (10 Group covering the South West, 12 Group covering the Midlands, 13 Group covering Scotland and the North) were still in very good shape, with plenty of squadrons of Hurricanes and Spitfires.

(If you want, I can post a list showing what Squadrons were in what groups and the aircraft types used by those squadrons)

Suffice to say, Fighter Command was a much tougher nut to crack than even Fighter Command itself suspected! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

hop2002
08-25-2006, 08:32 AM
Um, large forces? From memory, there was something like five squadrons north, some of them equipped with planes like the Paul-Boston defiant and Gladiators, and the vast, vast majority were South,

As of 1st September, FC strengths were:

11 Group - 14 Hurricane squadrons, 6 Spitfire squadrons (11 Group was the one in the SE of England)

10 Group (West)4 Hurri squadrons, 6 Spit squadrons

12 Group (Midlands) 6 Hurri squadrons, 6 Spit squadrons

13 Group (North of England and Scotland) 9 Hurri squadrons, 2 Spit squadrons

That makes 20 squadrons in 11 Group directly opposed to the Luftwaffe, 33 squadrons in the rest of FC, some of which provided support for 11 Group from time to time.

leitmotiv
08-25-2006, 08:45 AM
My opinion is that the Cabinet would have overruled expending the fleet had Fighter Command been destroyed. Furthermore, Churchill would not have expended the last card of the Empire. British papers claimed years ago Churchill was prepared to use chemical warfare on the German invaders. Furthermore, plans were well in hand to the fight the Germans with partisan warfare. Unfortunately, many are assuming the British Army was miraculously rebuilt to its pre-Battle of France state by September. Not true. Peruse the British Army OFFICIAL HISTORY volume for the defense of the UK in 1940 and you will see it was in pitiable condition. The German Army planned a super river crossing with the object, as in Overlord, of seizing a port as quickly as possible. If Fighter Command had been destroyed, the essential prerequisite for an invasion, Bomber Command had not the power to do much except be destroyed trying to penetrate the German fighter screens (as they largely were in France earlier in the year). The German invasion craft plans were makeshift, but they had accumulated substantial numbers of barges and what-not for the crossing. Bereft of tanks, artillery, essential infantry weapons, and crucial motor transport, the British Army would have had a hard time even moving under the Luftwaffe umbrella. No doubt it would have been a bloody fight, but through sheer numbers the Germans had a good chance of prevailing. Again, the Royal Navy would not have been expended. Without it the world-wide possessions of the Empire would have had their lifelines cut, and the Empire was more important than the loss of the UK as catastrophic as that would have been. The stunning fact to me over the years was just how unprepared the Empire was for WWII. It had shot its bolt in WWI incurring huge debt to the USA. The country was literally on the verge of bankruptcy in the fall of 1940 (see Barnett's essential THE COLLAPSE OF BRITISH POWER). The UK could not afford WWII, but Chamberlain, first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and later as Prime Minister had set in motion a measured rearmament plan which assumed that France and Britain would have until around 1942 before having to deal with a German move. Thus, the fleet, the RAF, and the Army were only starting to be built up for war. A tremendous amount of money had been put into Home Defense, specifically Fighter Command and the radar network. Next, the Navy had benefitted, but, at the bottom, the Army was the Cinderella service. Had Hitler overcome his reluctance to smash the Empire, which he admired, I think he would have had a good chance of seizing the UK in September---assuming Fighter Command had been put out of action first.

The.Tyke
08-25-2006, 08:55 AM
I don't think you can say that one Service alone was responsible for stopping a Nazi invasion. My view as a purely amateur historian of why Hitler posponed the invasion of Britain is for three main reasons.

1. Firstly the lack of air suprmecy.

2. Secondly the dominance of the RN and the very real chance of the invasion barges being blown out of the water by the Navy.

3. Hitler was never really over enthusiastic about invading Britain. In fact he several times offered Britain the chance of a truce, as long as he could have a free hand in Europe. He could have totally annihalated the British Army at Dunkirk, but instead against the advice of his generals he held back (Thank God !).

4. I think a combination of the above factors gave Hitler the excuse to keep Britain on hold for later and do what he really wanted and that was, invade and destroy Russia.

WOLFMondo
08-25-2006, 09:08 AM
I don't think many in the Germany high command though they could invade. They didn't have the shipping to do so.

leitmotiv
08-25-2006, 09:23 AM
The army and the navy, especially, Raeder head of the navy, were outright hostile to the plan, and both proceeded reluctantly, but the operation was ready to go in September had Hitler given the go ahead. The main problem was Hitler, and, of course, the hardy RAF fighters which refused to go away.

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 09:26 AM
IRT Stathem

I'm aware that there was a Luftflotte, I think it's 5 you're referring to, was battered in the early(?) months. They operated mostly 110s, right?

I'm not saying the RAF didn't have frontline squadrons in the North, (Midlands, etc, not great at British geography in the sense of exact terminology, but I am aware of the difference between the midlands and the South where Bf-109s could engage in combat), but they also had a lot of units re-equipping.

IRT Von_Rat

Calling me ignorant is a laugh. Is English you second language?

I can't recall exact numbers at this time - I could go fetch six or seven books that focus in varying degrees on the BoB, but I honestly can't be buggered. I'm aware that the British had squadrons in the North. I'm aware they severly hurt the Luftflottes flying from Norway with Bf-110s. I'm also aware that they had (and this goes for Hop, too) units in the North that didn't operate hurricanes or spitfires, but older equipment.

About British morale. Funny, did I say the British were weaker? No. Don't put ****ing words in my mouth. I said the British morale was fairly low (Let's see - Poland was lost without Britain doing a damn thing, the spectre of WWI, the phony war, then suddenly the asskicking, Dunkirk was the only victory from the begin of the War, really, and that was a pell mell evacuation! Morale was LOW, you need only read some serious literature to find that out) at the time. The Blitz produced a sense of solidarity, every class had to send their kids to the country and hide in bombshelters and tube stations, hell some even kept doing it when there was barely a threat, just for the camraderie. Germany was a largely indoctrinated country that wasn't going to stop and say "but my [parent/partner/sibling/child] died in WWI, do I want my [partner/sibling/child/parent] to die in another pointless war?" they were thinking "Yes! A chance to beat stupid French and fix what happened in the Great War!"

IRT WOLFmondo

Britain tired of war? Gee, what an epiphany, why don't you write a book? Morale was LOW, you think after the disasters in France morale would be high? As for Irish throwing potatoes - maybe because the British were trying to force Anglicanism on them? Just a thought.

IRT Panther

I'd be interested to see what squadrons were operating what - we've got a list below, but no planes other than Hurricanes and Spitfires. Night fighters were under Fighter Command's umbrella weren't they? If so, where are those planes?

I respect what you say, but if fighter command wasn't at breaking point, don't get me wrong, I've always had trouble seeingit in the general terms of breaking point - it's not like an army that might rout one moment and rally the next, it's rather more about being able to replace losses and maintain efficiency. But from everything (worthwhile) I've read or watched the conclusions are the same: fighter command couldn't have survived another month or so being hit the way it was. I'm aware the Luftwaffe was taking a greater toll, but it was able to win an attrition battle for a time - obviously the Luftwaffe would eventually lose to attrition, but if they were able to wear down fighter command to the point where it couldn't defend Britain against invasion properly, and hold it at that level for a few weeks, the losses would be worthwhile.

Also, what Leitmotiv said about the rearmament stuff is very true: they didn't want to re-arm "too early" and end up with a large military with weapons like the Crusader Tank, Gloster Gladiator and 37mm anti-tank guns. Thus in 1940 Fighter Command was not as strong as the Luftwaffe.

leitmotiv
08-25-2006, 09:37 AM
Yes, you are right, it was Luftflotte 5 which was based in Norway, BisquitKnight. After the Ju 88s, He 111s, and 110s were mauled in that one operation in August they were, except for the 110s, redeployed south to France for the big push in September. I noticed in Ward's Osprey publication on the Ju 88 bomber units that some Ju 88C fighters had been along on that ill-fated mission in August escorting their bomber brethren.

WOLFMondo
08-25-2006, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

IRT WOLFmondo

Britain tired of war? Gee, what an epiphany, why don't you write a book? Morale was LOW, you think after the disasters in France morale would be high? As for Irish throwing potatoes - maybe because the British were trying to force Anglicanism on them? Just a thought.


YOU N1CE?! Take the attitude somewhere else.

leitmotiv
08-25-2006, 10:25 AM
Navalists unrepentent:

http://tinyurl.com/gmoxd

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
YOU N1CE?! Take the attitude somewhere else.

That's all you can say? Come on, mate, surely you could at least post something more substantial? Moreover, you're implying I'm some kind of in-you-face wise-assing bad-attitude self-assured pain. But seeing as I haven't acted in such a manner, or at least, I haven't posted in full caps (note - I used caps for emphasis on the word "low") or combinations of letters and numbers, I guess you must be grasping at straws, huh?

BiscuitKnight
08-25-2006, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Navalists unrepentent:

http://tinyurl.com/gmoxd

Again that begs the question - assuming the RAF was neutralised (ignoring all arguments for this hypothetical) could the Royal Navy, with no or minimal RAF support, have prevented a landing? (again, assuming for the purposes that the Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and Wehrmacht all agreed to plough ahead)

panther3485
08-25-2006, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

IRT Panther

"I'd be interested to see what squadrons were operating what - we've got a list below, but no planes other than Hurricanes and Spitfires. Night fighters were under Fighter Command's umbrella weren't they? If so, where are those planes?"

Night fighters did not play a significant role in the Battle of Britain, although they did start to come into their own with occasional kills during the 'Blitz'. Also, fighter types such as the Blenheim and Defiant, found inadequate for daytime operations, were more successful in the night fighter role.

So as far as the Battle of Britain itself goes, we're talking about British day fighters which means, overwhelmingly, Hurricanes and Spitfires, although small numbers of other types were on line, at least to begin with. hop2002 has already posted on the distribution of Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons.


To answer your question regarding the other types (Blenheim, Defiant and Gladiator), the following were deployed as Fighter Command's order of battle in August 1940:

11 Group (South East England)

Blenheim - Two squadrons (Nos. 25 and 600) Also one specialized FIU (Fighter Interception Unit - night fighters).


10 Group (South-West England and South Wales)

Blenheim - One squadron (No. 604)
Gladiator - One flight only (No. 247 Sqn)


12 Group (North Wales and the Midlands)

Defiant - One squadron (No. 264)
Blenheim - Two squadrons (Nos. 23 & 29)


13 Group (Scotland and Northern England)

Blenheim - One squadron (No. 219)
Defiant - One squadron (No. 141)


These other types can be seen to have been fairly evenly distributed between the four Groups. They generally played a relatively minor, peripheral role in the day fighting. The principal burden would fall on the Hurricane squadrons, supported by reasonable numbers of Spitfire squadrons.



"I respect what you say, but if fighter command wasn't at breaking point, don't get me wrong, I've always had trouble seeingit in the general terms of breaking point - it's not like an army that might rout one moment and rally the next, it's rather more about being able to replace losses and maintain efficiency. But from everything (worthwhile) I've read or watched the conclusions are the same: fighter command couldn't have survived another month or so being hit the way it was."

It was almost entirely 11 Group that was being hit - 10, 12 and 13 Groups were relatively unaffected. And even if 11 Group could not have taken another month of punishment, the Luftwaffe was arguably even less able to sustain the attrition.



"I'm aware the Luftwaffe was taking a greater toll, but it was able to win an attrition battle for a time - obviously the Luftwaffe would eventually lose to attrition, but if they were able to wear down fighter command to the point where it couldn't defend Britain against invasion properly, and hold it at that level for a few weeks, the losses would be worthwhile."

Trouble is, they couldn't achieve that, so the losses were not worthwhile.



"Also, what Leitmotiv said about the rearmament stuff is very true: they didn't want to re-arm "too early" and end up with a large military with weapons like the Crusader Tank, Gloster Gladiator and 37mm anti-tank guns."

Not too sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that the British delayed re-arming because they were waiting for better weapons to be developed?



"Thus in 1940 Fighter Command was not as strong as the Luftwaffe."

Fighter Command was much stronger than 'traditional' history has given credit for and, combined with Radar and outstanding CCC, proved itself well capable of stopping the Luftwaffe.


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

Von_Rat
08-25-2006, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
My opinion is that the Cabinet would have overruled expending the fleet had Fighter Command been destroyed. Furthermore, Churchill would not have expended the last card of the Empire. British papers claimed years ago Churchill was prepared to use chemical warfare on the German invaders. Furthermore, plans were well in hand to the fight the Germans with partisan warfare. Unfortunately, many are assuming the British Army was miraculously rebuilt to its pre-Battle of France state by September. Not true. Peruse the British Army OFFICIAL HISTORY volume for the defense of the UK in 1940 and you will see it was in pitiable condition. The German Army planned a super river crossing with the object, as in Overlord, of seizing a port as quickly as possible. If Fighter Command had been destroyed, the essential prerequisite for an invasion, Bomber Command had not the power to do much except be destroyed trying to penetrate the German fighter screens (as they largely were in France earlier in the year). The German invasion craft plans were makeshift, but they had accumulated substantial numbers of barges and what-not for the crossing. Bereft of tanks, artillery, essential infantry weapons, and crucial motor transport, the British Army would have had a hard time even moving under the Luftwaffe umbrella. No doubt it would have been a bloody fight, but through sheer numbers the Germans had a good chance of prevailing. Again, the Royal Navy would not have been expended. Without it the world-wide possessions of the Empire would have had their lifelines cut, and the Empire was more important than the loss of the UK as catastrophic as that would have been. The stunning fact to me over the years was just how unprepared the Empire was for WWII. It had shot its bolt in WWI incurring huge debt to the USA. The country was literally on the verge of bankruptcy in the fall of 1940 (see Barnett's essential THE COLLAPSE OF BRITISH POWER). The UK could not afford WWII, but Chamberlain, first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and later as Prime Minister had set in motion a measured rearmament plan which assumed that France and Britain would have until around 1942 before having to deal with a German move. Thus, the fleet, the RAF, and the Army were only starting to be built up for war. A tremendous amount of money had been put into Home Defense, specifically Fighter Command and the radar network. Next, the Navy had benefitted, but, at the bottom, the Army was the Cinderella service. Had Hitler overcome his reluctance to smash the Empire, which he admired, I think he would have had a good chance of seizing the UK in September---assuming Fighter Command had been put out of action first.

fleet wouldnt need to be expended, though churchill said he would. the local destroyers would be enough to destroy pig pile invasion fleet. it would only take a few destroyers gettin past lw and then bye bye barges.

imo no uk, no empire. churchill realised that, he even said as much in so many words.

Xiolablu3
08-25-2006, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
The German Army planned a super river crossing

And this is where we see the plan breaking down altogther.

You are comparing the English channel with a big river? Think again. Its a very rough sea when its windy. (You are making exactly the same mistake the German leadership did)

This was one of the faults in the plan which I saew a German soldier discussing on a program about sealion. He was saying how ridiculous it was to compare the English channel with a river, and the barges being converted to carry troops and trucks would most likely capsize on the journey across. The German commanders who envisaged htis 'river crossing' obviously knew nothing about the English Channel.

Trust me, Sealion would not have worked, even with the RAF pulled back to Northern Britain.

WWMaxGunz
08-26-2006, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by WWMaxGunz:
Since the BoB never got beyond the airwar stage...............

And the germans were not going to try to invade without first destroying the RAF...........

Then how is it that the RAF does not get the credit for winning the BoB?

Gee, I gotta be National Security to figure that out?

WWMaxGunz
08-26-2006, 12:55 AM
Originally posted by stathem:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Low_Flyer_MkVb:
Good analogy with Schmeichel there, old chum - let's not forget the many servicemen from occupied countries and the Commonwealth who played their part in what is all too often perceived as a purely British victory. Even a few Yanks involved http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

+1 to that. And an Israeli. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

How? Time travel 8 years backward?

BiscuitKnight
08-26-2006, 01:55 AM
Originally posted by panther3485:
Night fighters did not play a significant role in the Battle of Britain, although they did start to come into their own with occasional kills during the 'Blitz'. Also, fighter types such as the Blenheim and Defiant, found inadequate for daytime operations, were more successful in the night fighter role.

So as far as the Battle of Britain itself goes, we're talking about British day fighters which means, overwhelmingly, Hurricanes and Spitfires, although small numbers of other types were on line, at least to begin with. hop2002 has already posted on the distribution of Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons.

To answer your question regarding the other types (Blenheim, Defiant and Gladiator), the following were deployed as Fighter Command's order of battle in August 1940:

11 Group (South East England)

Blenheim - Two squadrons (Nos. 25 and 600) Also one specialized FIU (Fighter Interception Unit - night fighters).


10 Group (South-West England and South Wales)

Blenheim - One squadron (No. 604)
Gladiator - One flight only (No. 247 Sqn)


12 Group (North Wales and the Midlands)

Defiant - One squadron (No. 264)
Blenheim - Two squadrons (Nos. 23 & 29)


13 Group (Scotland and Northern England)

Blenheim - One squadron (No. 219)
Defiant - One squadron (No. 141)


These other types can be seen to have been fairly evenly distributed between the four Groups. They generally played a relatively minor, peripheral role in the day fighting. The principal burden would fall on the Hurricane squadrons, supported by reasonable numbers of Spitfire squadrons.

I'm fully aware that the Battle of Britain refers to the daylight operations between the RAF and Luftwaffe. I asked about the Night Fighters and squadrons not operating Spitfires of Hurricanes because someone mentioned RAF strength in squadrons, and then later the strength of Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons, without mentioning other fighter strengths.


It was almost entirely 11 Group that was being hit - 10, 12 and 13 Groups were relatively unaffected. And even if 11 Group could not have taken another month of punishment, the Luftwaffe was arguably even less able to sustain the attrition.

Trouble is, they couldn't achieve that, so the losses were not worthwhile.

Sure, it's blatantly obvious the Luftwaffe couldn't achieve victory: if they could have, we wouldn't be debating this.

The point is that, say the Luftwaffe had another 100 Bf-109s, most history books lean towards a German aerial victory. The facts are, they didn't, and thus, they couldn't win.

To another point: I'm well aware there's a glorious myth of a tiny RAF of three squadrons, two Hurricane and one Spitfire, fighting of endless waves of marauding Luftwaffe fighters and bombers. And yes, the reality is very different: the RAF fighter strength was about 650 planes at the start, to the Luftwaffe's 850 (those are the figures I find most common), but the Luftwaffe had a lot of Bf-110s that weren't very good for protecting bombers (if anything, they needed escorting) and the Bf-109s were handicapped in range. So yes, the disparity in strength isn't massive, although it's worth noting the RAF also had to deal with the German bombers, which dilutes their strength somewhat.

There's a strong faction here that believes the RAF was never near breaking point, but why then is it so easy to find quotes like this:

"The strain had almost reached breaking point. The usually good-natured George was quiet and irritable; Colin, by nature thin faced, was noticeably more hollow-cheeked; Desmond, inclined to be weighty, was reduced to manageable proportions; and I, though I had no way of knowing how I appeared to others, was all on edge and practically jumped out of my skin when someone shouted unexpectedly over the R/T. But we still continued to operate - there was no alternative."

You might say that Fighter Command felt like it was about to break, rather than actually about to. That doesn't change the fact that it's all about perception. A lot of routs are caused by perceived defeat, rather than actual defeat. If Fighter Command's pilots cracked up under the strain they felt, and it withdrew to the North, that would have an effect throughout the whole RAF and military. Morale is not something to mess with.

And it is worth noting that the Luftwaffe had morale issues too: but they weren't anywhere near nervous break down.


Not too sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that the British delayed re-arming because they were waiting for better weapons to be developed?

Not so much waiting for better weapons, it was more that Britain didn't want to re-arm only to find herself at war with last year's fashion, as it were. Certainly the view put forward most often.


Fighter Command was much stronger than 'traditional' history has given credit for and, combined with Radar and outstanding CCC, proved itself well capable of stopping the Luftwaffe.

Obviously it was capable of defeating the Luftwaffe - it did. The thing is that Von_Rat and others believe the RAF was an impervious bastion that could survive anything Germany could throw at it, and double that.

Again, there is the typical romanticised mythological perception of the Battle of Britain - it's the same with Gallipoli over here: a romantic myth that an Australia and New Zealand force innocently went over to beat the Turks, but poor British planning and decision making caused us immense casualties and despite the courage and determination of the average Aussie Digger, we had to pull out, which was then achieved by Australian ingenuity. That of course, is quite different to the reality. Same with the BoB. It wasn't a massively outnumbered RAF that beat insane odds. But it wasn't a forgone conclusion.

Xiolablu3
08-26-2006, 03:08 AM
Originally posted by WWMaxGunz:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by stathem:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Low_Flyer_MkVb:
Good analogy with Schmeichel there, old chum - let's not forget the many servicemen from occupied countries and the Commonwealth who played their part in what is all too often perceived as a purely British victory. Even a few Yanks involved http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

+1 to that. And an Israeli. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

How? Time travel 8 years backward? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif Hes got you there Stathem.



Of course we shouldnt forget all the Canadians/Aussies/Nzers/Poles/French/Yanks etc who gallantly fought in the Battle. Well said LF.

panther3485
08-26-2006, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

"I'm fully aware that the Battle of Britain refers to the daylight operations between the RAF and Luftwaffe. I asked about the Night Fighters and squadrons not operating Spitfires of Hurricanes because someone mentioned RAF strength in squadrons, and then later the strength of Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons, without mentioning other fighter strengths."


hop2002 covered the Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons. I covered the remainder, that were part of Fighter Command's order of battle. Those Blenheim and Defiant squadrons were, at least in part, converted over into the night figher role (sorry if I forgot to mention that), which I believe should now address your question.



"Sure, it's blatantly obvious the Luftwaffe couldn't achieve victory: if they could have, we wouldn't be debating this."

Or....if we were debating it, maybe it'd be from a different aspect and perhaps in a different language? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif



"The point is that, say the Luftwaffe had another 100 Bf-109s, most history books lean towards a German aerial victory. The facts are, they didn't, and thus, they couldn't win."


Of course, if they had an extra 100 Bf 109's, they'd also need extra trained pilots to fly them....

and jettisonable long-range external fuel tanks for all the 109's, available from the beginning of the battle, wouldn't have gone astray either....

and how about if they'd had a better appreciation of British radar and the way Fighter Command's CCC worked....

and what if they'd had someone of the calibre of Dowding in overall command, rather than Goering... and...and....

Or, you could ask the opposite....

What if the British had an extra 100 Spitfires, and the additional trained pilots to fly them?

What is the point of this whole exercise? Are you trying to reinforce the popular idea that the margin of Fighter Command's victory was very narrow?



"To another point: I'm well aware there's a glorious myth of a tiny RAF of three squadrons, two Hurricane and one Spitfire, fighting of endless waves of marauding Luftwaffe fighters and bombers."

I'm sure we've all heard the stories of how heavily outnumbered Fighter Command was, but I've never seen or heard anything to the effect that they only had three squadrons. Now that would be ridiculous!



"....And yes, the reality is very different: the RAF fighter strength was about 650 planes at the start, to the Luftwaffe's 850 (those are the figures I find most common)....


Counting serviceable single-engine fighters only, the Luftwaffe had somewhat superior numbers at the beginning of the battle but by the end, the numerical advantage was with the RAF.



"....but the Luftwaffe had a lot of Bf-110s that weren't very good for protecting bombers (if anything, they needed escorting) and the Bf-109s were handicapped in range. So yes, the disparity in strength isn't massive...."

As of 10 July, the Luftwaffe had 224 serviceable Bf 110's available for the battle. Not too sure if you'd call this a 'lot', but they did have their uses. But yes, in relation to single engine fighters, the two sides were not far from parity for much of the battle.



"....although it's worth noting the RAF also had to deal with the German bombers, which dilutes their strength somewhat."

I think I get what you mean here. Fighter Command was obliged to focus its primary attention on the German bombers, which often put the British fighters at a tactical disadvantage. On the other hand, and increasingly as the battle progressed, edicts from above tied the 109's more closely to the bombers, which tended to at least partly negate the advantages they should have enjoyed.



"There's a strong faction here that believes the RAF was never near breaking point...."

Depends what you mean by 'near breaking point' but if you mean close to collapse as an effective fighting force, the evidence appears to show that they are correct to conclude that Fighter Command never did approach defeat in that sense.



"....but why then is it so easy to find quotes like this:

"The strain had almost reached breaking point. The usually good-natured George was quiet and irritable; Colin, by nature thin faced, was noticeably more hollow-cheeked; Desmond, inclined to be weighty, was reduced to manageable proportions; and I, though I had no way of knowing how I appeared to others, was all on edge and practically jumped out of my skin when someone shouted unexpectedly over the R/T. But we still continued to operate - there was no alternative." "

You can find all sorts of quotes that show Fighter Command, specifically 11 Group, was under a lot of strain but they don't prove it was anywhere near breaking point as a force.



"You might say that Fighter Command felt like it was about to break, rather than actually about to. That doesn't change the fact that it's all about perception. A lot of routs are caused by perceived defeat, rather than actual defeat."

It's probably more accurate to say that many of the pilots in 11 Group would have felt, at times, that they couldn't take much more. But this was very far from being the case for the whole of Fighter Command. Certainly there is little if any evidence to show a collective sense of 'perceived defeat', even within 11 Group.



"If Fighter Command's pilots cracked up under the strain they felt...."

Pure fantasy. There was never, ever, any possibility of this occurring. Throughout the war, a very small number of individual 'crack ups' of RAF pilots and aircrew did occur, but as a group? You've got to be kidding, mate.



"And it is worth noting that the Luftwaffe had morale issues too: but they weren't anywhere near nervous break down."

By the mid-late stages of the battle, morale in the Luftwaffe was certainly not better than in the RAF and was possibly worse, especially among the bomber crews. They would have been just as close to breaking point, or closer, than the RAF. But as we know, neither side did break in this way, nor IMO would have, even if things had been much worse.



"Not so much waiting for better weapons, it was more that Britain didn't want to re-arm only to find herself at war with last year's fashion, as it were."

Britain re-armed as best it could, as completely as it could and as fast as it could, with whatever was available. If there was a better choice, they took it but if there wasn't, they took that as well.



"Certainly the view put forward most often."

Can't think of a single example from my reading, unless I've misunderstood what you're trying to say.


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

panther3485
08-26-2006, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:

+1 to that. And an Israeli.

How? Time travel 8 years backward?

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif Hes got you there Stathem.

IIRC, that pilot shown as an 'Israeli' was listed as a 'Palestinian' on the original Roll of Honour.

Von_Rat
08-26-2006, 07:04 AM
Reply

Obviously it was capable of defeating the Luftwaffe - it did. The thing is that Von_Rat and others believe the RAF was an impervious bastion that could survive anything Germany could throw at it, and double that.


talk about putting words in people mouths, get a clue dude. did you even read my posts.

i even talked about raf having to withdraw north is pressure got to great, how the fck does that translate into impervious bastion.

Monty_Thrud
08-26-2006, 07:14 AM
WOW! panther3485 that was a quote-athon http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

smokincrater
08-26-2006, 08:34 AM
Chaps you seem to forget A little incident in Feb 1942 when three German Captial ships sailed right up the English Channel in full daylight and they were only opposed by six swordfish aircraft and a clapped out destoryer(one thinks Drake and Nelson would have spinned in their graves). All three ships escaped and only one sustained damage when it tripped over a mine outside its own port. I believe an attempted invasion would have worked. The only requirment for success would be to establish a bridgehead near ethier Manston, Hawkinge or Lympne, capture an airfeild and then bring in supplies by air,establish a fighter base and gain control over the channel. You would only need to establish local air superority to make sure that the barges were not bombed. Stukas would easily account for captial ships of the Royal Navy. Dudley Pound was not going to commit them. If an invasion were to be succesful they were to go to Canda and contuine the war from there.
So destruction of Fighter Command was VITAL to a successful invasion.
But Hitler was late he needed his armed forces to complete his timetable for an invasion of Russia. With the insistence of Karl Doeintz and his U-boats he could slow down the imports to Britain and force them to the peace table.

joeap
08-26-2006, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by smokincrater:

So destruction of Fighter Command was VITAL to a successful invasion.


Agree with that, but don't agree that the Channel Dash proves anything. An invasion was very different and would have been opposed. Also no one clues in to the fact the RN could have operated at night.

Still it never came to that thanks to the Few.

leitmotiv
08-26-2006, 12:30 PM
The intervention of the Royal Navy is predicated on the idea it could have sortied to reach the Channel at night. (1) The capital ships and cruisers had been withdrawn north and south out of range of German bombers. (2) They would have had to sortie in the day to reach the Channel at night. The Germans, meanwhile, would have used destroyers, naval auxiliaries, and bombers to mine both ends of the Channel to impede the intervention of the heavies. (3) The German submarine force (now with working torpoedoes---in Norway their torps had an incredible failure rate) would have been waiting for the heavies. (4) Stukas (Ju 87s and 88s) would have had a field day against the heavy ships (of course, Fighter Command would have had to have been wiped out for the invasion to procede)---as they did in Norway. (5) As I noted in an earlier posting, the Royal Navy's Medium and light AA was completely ineffective. (6) The employment of heavy ships in battle in narrow waters runs contrary to all sound naval doctrine then and now. (7) If you want to see the probable result of running heavies through a sub screen and bombers, study the sortie of the Japanese main fleet in the Leyte Gulf battle---it was attrited and harassed to ruin by American submarines and aircraft. The attempt to run the ships through narrow waters in the face of a mere pair of U.S. subs resulted in disaster. In sum, I do not believe the fleet would have been expended to deter an invasion. As long as the fleet remained intact, the Empire's lifelines were protected. The fleet had just been mauled in Norway by German bombers. Of course, one can never rule out stupidity. Winston forgot the lesson of Norway and sent the fleet on a death ride off Crete in May 1941. At any rate, the intervention of the fleet would not have been the cavalry to the rescue as some believe.

MB_Avro_UK
08-26-2006, 05:35 PM
Hi all,

May I say that this has been the best thread on this forum in a long while http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

From my point of view, I have learned a lot and respect the views of all posters here who have obviously researched their responses.

But...let's keep it clean http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/touche.gif

Thanks,
MB_Avro.

hop2002
08-26-2006, 08:34 PM
The capital ships and cruisers had been withdrawn north and south out of range of German bombers.

The capital ships were at the RN Home Fleet's main anchorage: Scapa Flow in Scotland. Scapa Flow was chosen for it's location and natural harbour, and was the main naval anchorage in WW1, when the aircraft threat to the RN in home waters was non existant.

Scapa Flow wasn't out of the range of German bombers, indeed the first British civilian air raid casualties came when the Luftwaffe bombed some houses whilst trying to hit ships in Scapa.

Scapa was out of the range of escorted German bombers, of course.

Several cruisers, as well as a fairly large number of destroyers, were kept on anti invasion duties along the south and south east coasts, and even went as far as entering French harbours at night during the BoB to check on German invasion preperations.


They would have had to sortie in the day to reach the Channel at night. The Germans, meanwhile, would have used destroyers, naval auxiliaries, and bombers to mine both ends of the Channel to impede the intervention of the heavies.

The problem for the Germans is their very weak navy. Their destroyer force, already very small, was reduced to about half strength following the second battle of Narvik. IIRC, the Kriegsmarine had 8 destroyers in a seaworthy condition at the time of the BoB, the RN had 36 on anti invasion duties on the south coast alone, not counting those on convoy duties or those with the fleet at Scapa.

In terms of auxilliaries, the Germans were hugely outnumbered, with the RN having hundreds of armed trawlers, minesweepers, MTBs etc. These craft, though, are no match for even a destroyer, let alone a cruiser.

As to mines, German stocks were very low, they had expended most of them in the Norwegian campaign.


The German submarine force (now with working torpoedoes---in Norway their torps had an incredible failure rate) would have been waiting for the heavies.

Submarines don't do well against fast moving warships at the best of times. In the shallow waters of the channel, with a large number of RN destroyers and patrol craft about, they'd have a very tough time.


Stukas (Ju 87s and 88s) would have had a field day against the heavy ships (of course, Fighter Command would have had to have been wiped out for the invasion to procede)---as they did in Norway.

As they did in Norway? IIRC, the Luftwaffe managed to sink about 5 allied warships in the Norwegian campaign. If you look at the campaign as a whole, German naval losses were higher than allied naval losses, despite the Germans having air supremacy.

And the losses amongst RN armoured ships (heavy cruisers, battleships) in Norway to the Luftwaffe? None. Probably because at that time the Luftwaffe had no torpedo bombers and no armour piercing bombs capable of penetrating a battleship's deck armour.


If you want to see the probable result of running heavies through a sub screen and bombers, study the sortie of the Japanese main fleet in the Leyte Gulf battle---it was attrited and harassed to ruin by American submarines and aircraft.

There is an enormous difference in anti-ship capability between the USN in 1944 and the Luftwaffe in 1940.


The attempt to run the ships through narrow waters in the face of a mere pair of U.S. subs resulted in disaster.

It resulted in 2 sunk cruisers, and another damaged, irrc. And again, there's a big difference between Japanese anti-submarine capability and that of the RN.


In sum, I do not believe the fleet would have been expended to deter an invasion.

I don't think it would have needed to be "expended". But just look at the battle of Crete for an example of how far the RN was prepared to go. The RN committed practically the entire available Med fleet, 4 battleships, 10 cruisers and 30 destroyers. If they'd commit that sort of force for Crete what would they do for the UK?

And Crete is probably the closest example of what would happen in an attempt at Sea Lion. The Luftwaffe had total air superiority (there were no RAF aircraft on Crete for most of the battle). The RN suffered heavy losses, 3 cruisers and 6 destroyers, but they sank the first wave of the German invasion "fleet", operated in the waters around Crete throughout the battle, and took off 15,000 troops after the decision to evacuate was made.

And that was against a somewhat more effective Luftwaffe in 1941, and with no RAF presence at all.


As long as the fleet remained intact, the Empire's lifelines were protected.

Nearly all the Empire's industrial capacity was in Britain, carrying on the war without the UK would have been very difficult.


The fleet had just been mauled in Norway by German bombers.

With all due respect, the Luftwaffe sank a tiny number of destroyers and a light cruiser. The RN had 116 warships of destroyer size or larger in the Home Fleet on the outbreak of war. The Luftwaffe sank about 3% of those by number during the Norwegian campaign, and probably less than 1% by tonnage (as they didn't sink any of the heavies)

leitmotiv
08-26-2006, 09:33 PM
Sinking is not the only way to put a ship out of action. SUFFOLK, for example, was smashed so badly by dive bombers she crawled back to Scapa awash astern and out of action for months. My info is from Official internal Royal Navy monographs written after the battles:

NAVAL OPERATIONS OF THE CAMPAIGN IN NORWAY, APRIL-JUNE 1940, WHITEHALL HISTORIES: NAVAL STAFF HISTORIES. Editor: Captain Christopher Page. Frank Cass, London, 2000. ISBN 0-7146-5119-2

The list of British ships sunk or damaged runs from page 164 to page 167, including: 8 cruisers sunk or damaged by air action, 9 destroyers sunk or damaged by air action, and 3 sloops sunk or damaged by air action. Read the history of the campaign. Time and again operations were broken off due to German air attacks. Crete was such a debacle, and a well-known one at that that I'll leave it to any well-read person to draw their own conclusions. The Luftwaffe had the same arsenal of armor-piercing and semi-armor-piercing anti-ship bombs in 1940 as they had in 1941. In January 1941, a single day's intervention of some of von Richthofen's specialist dive bombers, available in 1940, knocked out fleet armored-deck carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and sank the modern light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON. The matter of Leyte Gulf is that merely two American submarines sank two first-line heavy cruisers (one the fleet flagship), severely damaged a third, and threw the Japanese main fleet into complete chaos. The daylight run under U.S. Navy air attack the day before the battle off Samar was devastating, as was Samar itself. Heavy ships with poor AA fitments were clay pigeons for dive bombers. The Japanese fleet makes an excellent comparison because their AA fitments were as mediocre as the RN in 1940, i.e., could not be expected to be effective against level or dive bombers. As I noted the loss in destroyers was not just in Norway but in the evacuations from France as well. The strength of the fleet's destroyer force was so desperate (the entire force of destroyers was not available in home waters most were being used on convoy duty) that Churchill made his well-known plea to Roosevelt for mothballed U.S. destroyers which was not granted until 1941. I would love to game out the intervention of the Home Fleet fleet using the U.S. Naval War College's super computer---as the German. I do not dislike the Royal Navy---I did my graduate work on the WWI Royal Navy and the WWII RAF Bomber Command. After reading Correlli Barnett's excellent history of the Royal Navy in WWII, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, I became aware of the technological deficiencies of the fleet as it went into the war. Captain Stephen Roskill, the RN official historian, was an anti-aircraft specialist, and he confirmed Barnett's analysis in his scathing CHURCHILL AND THE ADMIRALS. The spearhead of the Royal Navy's current newspaper offensive, Andrew Gordon, is a well-known controversialist, "bomb-thrower" who recently wrote an extremely disingenuous book about Jutland claiming the Grand Fleet was undone by a cabal of, of all things, Freemasons.

gkll
08-26-2006, 10:37 PM
Leitmotiv - you seem pretty interested in this topic - did you contribute to or read the other one which was heavy to this topic "Most decisive battle of ww2" or something like.... good thread and lots of details that haven't come up here...

Two things worth mulling over

You could well be quite wrong about whether the UK would have committed the RN to stop an invasion. IMO you are most definitely wrong... the RN is a longterm hobby, you got hundreds of years, literally, of aggressive behaviour... in ww2 it almost reached a peak if possible, the RN attacked everything in sight regardless of the odds, throughout the war... those boys simply threw themselves at the enemy. And the idea that the political end would not commit the RN seems completely laughable I would say.... the idea that the RN <wouldn't> be committed as necessary to stop an invasion... I just can't see how you could believe this... goes against 6 or 700 years of precedent i would say

As to the rest the other thread is more indepth and is worth a look, however on the technical side, take an empirical look at the luftwaffe vs RN, that is think about the occasions when the RN <didn't> carry off a major operation, because of the luftwaffe... not 'sunk this many ships etc etc' but 'failed to carry out the mission'.... these are quite different. Can you name instances where the Luftwaffe stopped the RN from carrying out a major operation?

Just a couple of thoughts, little different perspective

WWMaxGunz
08-26-2006, 10:53 PM
How much LW strength was available at Narvik as opposed to would have been at the Channel?
How many 100's of bombers were staged at the BoB?
Between the bombers and being strafed by 20mm, would the RN have had such a field day?
Would they have taken too much damage and crew losses to make night attacks?
Would they have been able to conduct effective anti-sub operations?

gkll
08-26-2006, 11:04 PM
Hey Max

Let me paraphrase what you are saying...

"No I can't think of anytime the LW ever stopped the RN from doing what it wanted..., however the invasion fleet scenario would have been different, lot more luftwaffe, subs etc, not the same".

Let me respond generally... Both the RN and the LW would scale up somewhat in proportion, in an anti-invasion scenario. Eg Narvik or the Norwegian campaign generally.. you may say that there wasn't a ton of LW up there, I would point out there was no 50 destroyers, 20 cruisers, or 100 MTBs minesweepers etc in one 'action' up in norway either. The ratio might not be a ton different...

And you know even smaller actions are hard to find, where the RN was prevented from carrying out its tasks...

leitmotiv
08-26-2006, 11:31 PM
In a word, Norway. The RN was not able to continue the operation once the Luftwaffe had the bases to strike the invasion points in central Norway. The other factor not being considered is the world-wide commitment of the RN. No more than Jellicoe could have afforded to charge into the German smoke screen at Jutland, and possibly lost the bulk of the fleet, could the RN have afforded to stake all on one battle. That is the lesson of naval strategy. Wargamers think of one battle. Politicians and admirals have to think of many. The RN was stretched tight as a drum in the fall of 1940. Only in November 1940, after the successful Taranto air raid which rendered the Italian battleship fleet less than the Mediterranean Fleet's battleship strength was there room to relax just a little. In addition to Force H, which covered the Western Med, there was the Med Fleet. Convoys world-wide required battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Meantime, they had to look over their shoulder at Japan which was rattling her swords. Pre-war, the RN realized they had adequate strength to fight Germany, or Italy, or Japan, but not three or even two at once. In the fall of 1940 they had their nightmare, a war with Germany and Italy. If the Germans had sent SCHARNHORST into the Atlantic in the fall of 1940, if the Italians (pre-Taranto) had gone on the offensive in the Med, and if the Germans had tried their super river crossing, the RN would have been stretched to the breaking point. As for making a do-or-die for the UK, the loss of destroyers would affect convoys and fleet defense, the loss of cruisers would affect the protection of world sea lanes, and the loss of capital ships would have emboldened Japan in the Far East. The RN had already lost two of their big fleet carriers, COURAGEOUS and GLORIOUS. ARK ROYAL was sealing the western end of the Med. The old wreck, EAGLE, a mechanical disaster, was with the Med Fleet. This left ancient FURIOUS with the Home Fleet. Completing ILLUSTRIOUS was destined for the Med Fleet because EAGLE was too small and too old to do the work needed to be done. HERMES was on station in the Far East. Get the idea? The operative words among modern historians is "imperial overstretch." On top of all this, FDR was vexing Churchill about the fleet. As early as the summer he was worrying the RN would be destroyed or captured by the Germans (which brings to bear another factor, each ship badly damaged in the Channel had nowhere to go but to the east coast of North America---could the British have afforded having to deep six each ship which could not make the voyage?). The British did not fight to the death over Singapore; they did not have the strength to afford such a luxury. They had to withdraw and let the Japanese carriers run wild in the Indian Ocean in 1942. I think it is an illusory notion to think the Cabinet would have risked losing the fleet on the toss of the dice in 1940. The government was ready to bolt for Canada. Realism had to reign.

gkll
08-27-2006, 12:23 AM
Norway? That makes no sense at all. The army failed in Norway, not the RN. Ships don't take ports and countries, armies do.... navies just take orders and move stuff around. What the RN was asked to do in Norway it did, this is obvious.

This nonsense about Canada and the british 'retreating' to Canada.... just weird thinking man. The island was the island and the heart of the empire, and the part that counted most to the brits themselves (duh), I mean.... oh well you think the brits would <save the fleet> and <give up the island>, whats to say... just weird disproportionate thinking, not mindful of history...

Anyway thats my piece

BiscuitKnight
08-27-2006, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by panther3485:
hop2002 covered the Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons. I covered the remainder, that were part of Fighter Command's order of battle. Those Blenheim and Defiant squadrons were, at least in part, converted over into the night figher role (sorry if I forgot to mention that), which I believe should now address your question.

Like I said before (maybe I wasn't clear enough) I just wanted the numbers clarified because I'm honestly not interested enough to chase those numbers.



Or....if we were debating it, maybe it'd be from a different aspect and perhaps in a different language? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Most likely not: we'd probably call it the Fall of Britain or something, and it's virtually impossible to predict what would have happened if the UK had been captured.



Of course, if they had an extra 100 Bf 109's, they'd also need extra trained pilots to fly them....

and jettisonable long-range external fuel tanks for all the 109's, available from the beginning of the battle, wouldn't have gone astray either....

and how about if they'd had a better appreciation of British radar and the way Fighter Command's CCC worked....

and what if they'd had someone of the calibre of Dowding in overall command, rather than Goering... and...and....

Or, you could ask the opposite....

What if the British had an extra 100 Spitfires, and the additional trained pilots to fly them?

What is the point of this whole exercise? Are you trying to reinforce the popular idea that the margin of Fighter Command's victory was very narrow?

Yes, pretty much that's the point of the exercise. You could make a shopping list of what the Luftwaffe would have liked to defeat the RAF, I'm sure we could say "F-22s" or maybe a bit more "realistic" Me-262s, or Fw-190s. Or just Bf-109s. The "point of the exercise" was merely to show how little a force could have made the difference. The changes to history that would cause the Luftwaffe to have 100 more Bf-109s isn't really that much - maybe something as simple as a Bf-110 unit being torn apart in Poland causing a shift in production focus (again this is all hypothetical - even after the Bf-110s failings as a fighter were shown, it was left in production). Arguably 100 more planes wouldn't require the 100 extra pilots to fly them: if they were replacing Bf-110s the pilots would already be there, having undergone conversion training prior to the battle. If they just turned up magically, even then a quick conversion course and you have another 100 planes with trained fighter pilots (albeit still getting accustomed to their mounts)

Again, you seem convinced that the Battle of Britain was a foregone conclusion. Why then, do historians with much better grasp of the events than anyone here, beg to differ?



I'm sure we've all heard the stories of how heavily outnumbered Fighter Command was, but I've never seen or heard anything to the effect that they only had three squadrons. Now that would be ridiculous!

Any more riddiculous than the viewpoint that Britain was utterly impregnable? I've heard riddiculously run-away mythologised variations on the BoB and basically any other major battle you can name.



Counting serviceable single-engine fighters only, the Luftwaffe had somewhat superior numbers at the beginning of the battle but by the end, the numerical advantage was with the RAF.

If we use your numbers of 224 Bf-110s, subtract that from servicable fighters, is 626 Bf-109s, no? Naturally there'll be a degree of error there, but assuming that's right - it's lower than the RAF strenth! But wait, while we're comparing aircraft numbers and effectiveness:

The RAF lost 1/4 of its pilots during the Battle. That mightn't sound so bad, but 25% casualties are horrendous anywhere but in the Soviet Union. Moreover, the RAF was expanding rapidly with shorter training times - net result? A lot of the pilots trained in that period weren't nearly as good as their Luftwaffe counterparts. Even more, the Hurricanes couldn't touch the Bf-109s, and were relegated to attacking the bombers, the standard tactics being Spitfires engage the fighters while Hurricanes engage the bombers. But it rarely works out that way. And the Spitfire: several bombers returned to base with over 200 machinegun hits, but were flying again within days. The Spitfire, prior to cannon mounting, was completely inadequate for engaging bombers. Even when the first cannons were appearing, it took a long time for the cannon-armed spitfire to become effective, as the guns used to jam and freeze. Not only was the Bf-109 superior in most regards (yes, it had insufficient range and lack of manoeuvrability compared to the Spitfire, but it was faster and fuel injection made it easy to evade Spitfires) the pilots had combat experience from Poland to France, compared to only a select few RAF units had engaged in battle over France and Dunkirk.


As of 10 July, the Luftwaffe had 224 serviceable Bf 110's available for the battle. Not too sure if you'd call this a 'lot', but they did have their uses. But yes, in relation to single engine fighters, the two sides were not far from parity for much of the battle.

Yes, the Bf-110 had its uses. Shooting down Hurricanes and Spitfires wasn't its forte though, and that's primarily what the Battle of Britain was about: breaking fighter command.

So numbers were about parity - a stroke in the favour of those who argue the BoB was a forgone conclusion. But again, the disparity in aircraft quality and pilot quality. And, the next point: bombers.


I think I get what you mean here. Fighter Command was obliged to focus its primary attention on the German bombers, which often put the British fighters at a tactical disadvantage. On the other hand, and increasingly as the battle progressed, edicts from above tied the 109's more closely to the bombers, which tended to at least partly negate the advantages they should have enjoyed.

The RAF had to engage the bombers, which divides their strength, some engaging fighters in any given battle, some engaging bombers. That means from almost equal numbers on paper, the RAF had less available to engage the fighters, lowering their strength in numbers in a manner, while still having the disadvantages of the early Spitfires and the Hurricanes.


Depends what you mean by 'near breaking point' but if you mean close to collapse as an effective fighting force, the evidence appears to show that they are correct to conclude that Fighter Command never did approach defeat in that sense.

The evidence you present is based mostly on a very simplistic interpretation of numbers. Going by the 650 Hurricanes and Spitfires to 626 Bf-109s, for example, completely disregards the experience on the Luftwaffe's side, the technological advantage of the Bf-109 and another ream of factors.


You can find all sorts of quotes that show Fighter Command, specifically 11 Group, was under a lot of strain but they don't prove it was anywhere near breaking point as a force.

It's probably more accurate to say that many of the pilots in 11 Group would have felt, at times, that they couldn't take much more. But this was very far from being the case for the whole of Fighter Command. Certainly there is little if any evidence to show a collective sense of 'perceived defeat', even within 11 Group.

Pure fantasy. There was never, ever, any possibility of this occurring. Throughout the war, a very small number of individual 'crack ups' of RAF pilots and aircrew did occur, but as a group? You've got to be kidding, mate.

All three sections there can be grouped together. You're denying that 11 Group could have collapsed from strain or that the strain is indicative of anything. You've got to be kidding, mate.

11 Group felt strained for legitimate reasons. Strain did break the occasional man. The thing about mental states is that they're more infectious than the common cold. Look at things like the forced march to Dunkirk: everyone pulled through because they felt they could. If a few men had fallen out, a few more would have felt they mightn't be able to do it, either. It snowballs. That's why routs in battles seem to roll up from the point where it started, outwards, with increasing speed: everyone falls victim to the mood. If 11 Group had begun to crack up under the "perceived" strain, it would have spread until nearly every pilot in 11 Group was worthless. From there it would demoralise the other Groups and make them susceptible to the same thing. Sounds dystopian maybe.

Well, what happened to Red Army Aviation? Was is recruiting from suicide-watch? They saw the VVS collapse and the mood stuck with them for three years, until it wore off in 1944, long after the VVS had earned the respect of the other services.


By the mid-late stages of the battle, morale in the Luftwaffe was certainly not better than in the RAF and was possibly worse, especially among the bomber crews. They would have been just as close to breaking point, or closer, than the RAF. But as we know, neither side did break in this way, nor IMO would have, even if things had been much worse.

Again, I said Luftwaffe morale wasn't pristine. Even things like how the Luftwaffe treated a lost pilot compared to the RAF. The Luftwaffe would leave the pilot's seat empty at the mess table, put a glass of alcohol in front of it, and toast him. The RAF just closed ranks and continued as normal. The viewpoints I've heard is that the RAF attitude, at least in the short term, helped distract men from their own mortality, the opposite effect to the Luftwaffe method. Thus, Luftwaffe morale wasn't great. But I've yet to hear any serious historians write about 1940 Luftwaffe feeling incredibly strained.


Britain re-armed as best it could, as completely as it could and as fast as it could, with whatever was available. If there was a better choice, they took it but if there wasn't, they took that as well.

In the early 1930s, Britain began re-arming and putting projects in place to develop new weapons: that's why the Spitfire was available in 1940 in signifigant numbers, whereas the Fw-190 wasn't, Britain was preparing to re-arm. It's why the RAF had less fighters overall during 1940, despite having greater production capacity. When war broke out, Britain re-equipped with whatever there was, which is why the Hurricane outnumbered the Spitfire and the Cruiser and Infantry tanks were produced, despite the fact the former class was a mistake and the latter one arguably the same.


Can't think of a single example from my reading, unless I've misunderstood what you're trying to say.

You've never read that Britain didn't re-arm in the early or mid 1930s because they didn't want to produce equipment that would be obsolete by the time war rolled around? (Look at Italy: she re-armed in the early 1930s, and by 1939 her equipment was largely obsolete. That was never Italy's real problem though)

Sounds like you've avoided rather a chuck of books.

Anyway, I guess I'll bow out of this argument: I'll obviously never convince you that the BoB wasn't a foregone conclusion, nor you convince me of the opposite.

IRT Smokincrater

"capture an airfeild and then bring in supplies by air"

Stalingrad. The Luftwaffe couldn't provide an air-bridge there for defensive operations, hard to imagine providing them for offensive ops in Britain.

Lucius_Esox
08-27-2006, 01:37 AM
Just tried to google about something I read about Sealion, cant remember where http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Anyway it was wargamed in Britain in the 70's I think by the military, many of the actual commanders who were there at the time participated. This was the actual invasion,,, post landing!!! I think it was played 3 times and all resulted in a German loss.. If someone knows anything about it it makes interesting reading.

HellToupee
08-27-2006, 03:58 AM
did 11 group collapse, no they didnt.

Seriously if they were so close to collapse they would have cycled them out with pilots from a quiet area.


the technological advantage of the Bf-109 and another ream of factors.

Spitfire was every bit a match for the 109 faster various alts and much more manoverable.

BiscuitKnight
08-27-2006, 05:11 AM
Originally posted by HellToupee:
did 11 group collapse, no they didnt.

No one said they did.


Seriously if they were so close to collapse they would have cycled them out with pilots from a quiet area.

Oh yes, quite obviously you take experienced pilots and shift them elsewhere - when you're even aware of it. The RAF isn't a tight knit family, there's no one sending status reports on the mental health of each pilot up the chain of command to get the reassigned. Moreover what effect would that have on the pilots? The same as cracking up. They feel they've failed, their ego collapses, they're ineffective.


Spitfire was every bit a match for the 109 faster various alts and much more manoverable.

HA! Oh that's brilliant. "The guy in the 109 would just push the stick forward, his engine wouldn't cut, and he'd go downhill at a higher rate of knots, getting away from us in no time. We had to try to keep to keep positive g on the carburettors, so we'd half roll into the dive, using lots of aileron and losing lots of speed. Our rate of roll was quite sluggish and the 109 would begin to pull away. Once you'd half rolled through into the dive you'd then have to half roll again, to stay "upright" in the same sense as him."

Bf-109Es could climb higher, faster, a service ceiling 4,000 feet higher, at 15,000 feet the Spitfire and Emil were about matched in top speed, above that the Spitfire got an advantage, but the better climb rate of the Bf-109 made it a better E-fighter. The Spitfire had the advantage of better manoeuverability, but until 20,000 feet, inferior climb. The Bf-109s would sit at their maximum height, then dive on the Spitfires when they located them, giving greater speed - key to an energy fighter. Couple that with the heavier hitting cannon, fuel injection (especially critical: a Spitfire needed to keep the Bf-109 in its sights for a while to score a kill with the .303s, being able to dive away made that quite difficult) greater speed in a dive, etc, etc. The Spitfire was a capable plane, but it wasn't superior to the Bf-109 until after the BoB. Even a slight edge, paired with experienced pilots and tactics. Well. See where I'm going?

Beaufort-RAF
08-27-2006, 05:27 AM
Originally posted by Lucius_Esox:
Just tried to google about something I read about Sealion, cant remember where http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Anyway it was wargamed in Britain in the 70's I think by the military, many of the actual commanders who were there at the time participated. This was the actual invasion,,, post landing!!! I think it was played 3 times and all resulted in a German loss.. If someone knows anything about it it makes interesting reading.

"In wargames conducted at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1974, which assumed the Luftwaffe had not yet won air supremacy, the Germans were able to establish a beachhead in England by using a minefield screen in the English Channel to protect the initial assault. However, the German ground forces were delayed at the "Stop Lines" (e.g. the GHQ Line), a layered series of defensive positions that had been built, each a combination of British Home Guard troops and physical barriers. At the same time, the regular troops of the British Army were forming up. After only a few days, the Royal Navy was able to reach the Channel from Scapa Flow, cutting off supplies and blocking further reinforcement. Isolated and facing regular troops with armour and artillery, the invasion force was forced to surrender."

panther3485
08-27-2006, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

"Like I said before (maybe I wasn't clear enough) I just wanted the numbers clarified because I'm honestly not interested enough to chase those numbers."

So, are the numbers clarified enough now? Or do you require further explanation? And if you're too lazy to do the research yourself, what does that tell us?



"Most likely not: we'd probably call it the Fall of Britain or something, and it's virtually impossible to predict what would have happened if the UK had been captured."

Complete Axis victory in Europe and the Mediterranean, for a start, would not be too hard to predict. Perhaps not quite a forgone conclusion, but highly likely IMHO.



"Yes, pretty much that's the point of the exercise."

I suspected as much, and it's a point you've already lost - even if you refuse to recognize that.



"You could make a shopping list of what the Luftwaffe would have liked to defeat the RAF"

And when you put forward what you believe may have happened if they had an extra 100 Bf 109's? Lists could be drawn up for either side. We should be working with what they had and how they used it, not what they would have liked to have! Anyway, even with the extra 109's you mentioned, this arguably may still not have been enough to tip the scales decisively in favour of the Luftwaffe.



"The 'point of the exercise' was merely to show how little a force could have made the difference."

You failed. Miserably.



"The changes to history that would cause the Luftwaffe to have 100 more Bf-109s isn't really that much - maybe something as simple as a Bf-110 unit being torn apart in Poland causing a shift in production focus (again this is all hypothetical - even after the Bf-110s failings as a fighter were shown, it was left in production)."

Yes, it's all 'hypothetical'. And it doesn't help your argument in any substantial way.



"Arguably 100 more planes wouldn't require the 100 extra pilots to fly them: if they were replacing Bf-110s the pilots would already be there, having undergone conversion training prior to the battle. If they just turned up magically, even then a quick conversion course and you have another 100 planes with trained fighter pilots (albeit still getting accustomed to their mounts)"

You merely said 100 extra Bf 109's. You didn't say anything like "100 more Bf 109's and 100 less Bf 110's". Looks to me like you're dreaming up this $hit (and that's what it is) as you go along and making a band-aid amendment every time a fresh hole is shot in your argument.



"Again, you seem convinced that the Battle of Britain was a foregone conclusion. Why then, do historians with much better grasp of the events than anyone here, beg to differ?"


I have never said, or thought, that the Battle of Britain was by any means a 'forgone conclusion', as you so misleadingly put it. What I am saying is that the margin of victory wasn't anywhere near as close as 'popular' history, and some historians, have suggested.

If you read enough works on the subject, you will see, first, that historians do not all agree. You will also see that more recent works by historians such as Shores, Overy and Bungay take a rather different view on some key points than works produced in the 50's, 60's and 70's. This is partly because a modicum of fresh information has gradually become available from the 1980's onwards but also because contemporary historians are now less 'carried away' by the emotions and sentiments of those events and we can be a little more objective. [Notwithstanding the fact that in general, we still need to be on the alert for 'revisionism' - in this case pretty well checked out, though - the newer works, for the most part, do fit the known facts and figures.]



"Any more riddiculous than the viewpoint that Britain was utterly impregnable?"


I'm certainly not saying that. Simply that defeating the RAF and/or invading Britain would have been much more difficult than some have believed. Note carefully: MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. Not impossible!



"If we use your numbers of 224 Bf-110s...."

To clarify, these are not 'my' numbers. The source is 'Duel For The Sky', Christopher Shores, Grub Street Publications, 1999, ISBN 189869899X.



"....subtract that from servicable fighters, is 626 Bf-109s, no? Naturally there'll be a degree of error there, but assuming that's right - it's lower than the RAF strenth!"

No. There is no 'subtraction'. According to the above quoted reference, the serviceable totals for 10 August 1940 were:

Bf 109 - 805 and
Bf 110 - 224



"But wait, while we're comparing aircraft numbers and effectiveness:
The RAF lost 1/4 of its pilots during the Battle. That mightn't sound so bad, but 25% casualties are horrendous anywhere but in the Soviet Union."

Luftwaffe losses were higher, and even less easily replaced, making the overall attrition on skilled personnel even worse for the Germans.



"Moreover, the RAF was expanding rapidly with shorter training times - net result? A lot of the pilots trained in that period weren't nearly as good as their Luftwaffe counterparts."

Although there were plans already under way to expand the forces the RAF generally, and Fighter Command in particular, was not 'expanding rapidly' during the Battle of Britain. However, Fighter Command was generally able to replace lost pilots and the number of operational squadrons available at the end of the battle was actually a little greater than at the beginning. It is true that experienced pilots were, in many cases, replaced with 'green' trainees, but this was happening just as much in the Luftwaffe.



"Even more, the Hurricanes couldn't touch the Bf-109s"

Exaggeration here. Yes, the performance of the Hurricane was lower than the 109 and in the classic fighter-vs-fighter engagement, when the German pilot used his performance to good effect (as they generally planned to do), the Hurricane pilot was at a distinct disadvantage.

But this didn't prevent a fair number of 109's being shot down by Hurricanes during the battle! Sometimes, the restrictive tactics forced on the Jagdwaffe, especially in the mid-late stages of BoB (in flying close escort to the bombers), cancelled out much of the 109's performance advantage and put them in situations where the Hurricane pilot could gain the upper hand.



"And the Spitfire: Several bombers returned to base with over 200 machinegun hits, but were flying again within days."

Yes, that happened, but was true to some extent for both British fighters, not just the Spitfire. Even 8 x .303 MG's had to be used with a fair degree of expertise and skill, first to hit the target at all and then to do so effectively at 'harmonization' (the range at which all eight guns were set to converge), to concentrate the weight of shot. While it is true that the gun arrangement on the Hurricane was somewhat better suited to the task (and the Hurricane was also a slightly steadier gun platform), the difference in effect was not that great, especially when the shooting range was reasonably close to harmony. Results depended more on the tactical situation and pilot skill, than on whether the fighter was a Hurricane or Spitfire.



"The Spitfire, prior to cannon mounting, was completely inadequate for engaging bombers. Even when the first cannons were appearing, it took a long time for the cannon-armed spitfire to become effective, as the guns used to jam and freeze."

As stated above, the difference in effectiveness between the two British types was noted, but was not that significant when compared with the effects of pilot skill and other factors not related to the gun layout. To say that either type was 'completely inadequate against bombers' is, again, an exaggeration. German bombers in 1940 were not particularly well armoured and were generally fairly light on defensive armament. While many managed to limp home damaged, plenty were brought down, certainly more than enough to inflict unsustainable losses.



"Not only was the Bf-109 superior in most regards (yes, it had insufficient range and lack of manoeuvrability compared to the Spitfire, but it was faster and fuel injection made it easy to evade Spitfires)"

I'll agree that in 1940, the Bf 109 had a slight performance edge, more than slight at highest altitudes (where most of the combat didn't happen anyway). Further, at this time, both the principal British fighters suffered from the effects of negative G on their carburettors, which was another disadvantage. But while the 109 did enjoy somewhat of an edge in these aspects, it would be misleading to describe it as 'superior in most regards', vis-a-vis the Spitfire.



"....the pilots had combat experience from Poland to France, compared to only a select few RAF units had engaged in battle over France and Dunkirk."

You forgot to mention that a few of the German fighter pilots even had experience from the Spanish Civil War as well. Yes, on average the German fighter pilots were more experienced than their British adversaries. But perhaps more telling, especially in the earlier stages of the Battle, was the fact that the Germans used better fighter tactics.



"The RAF had to engage the bombers, which divides their strength, some engaging fighters in any given battle, some engaging bombers. That means from almost equal numbers on paper, the RAF had less available to engage the fighters, lowering their strength in numbers in a manner, while still having the disadvantages of the early Spitfires and the Hurricanes."

Yes, but the RAF was able to shoot down enough bombers to make the situation unsustainable for the Germans, while at the same time maintaining their own overall strength at a viable level to continue the battle. The Luftwaffe just couldn't beat this, and even though they had favourable 'kill ratios' against the British fighters (which were illusory anyway), their overall losses were much greater and had they continued, they would have been fatally weakened as a force. Indeed, some historians have argued that they never truly recovered from the combined losses sustained in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain.



"The evidence you present is based mostly on a very simplistic interpretation of numbers."

No. For a definition of 'simplistic', look in the mirror. What I've presented is based on the known facts, including the fact that Fighter Command was actually stronger at the end of the Battle of Britain than it was at the beginning, but the Luftwaffe was seriously weakened over the same period. Even at the stage of the battle that was the worst for Fighter Command (the three weeks from mid August to early September), the Luftwaffe was suffering more.



"Going by the 650 Hurricanes and Spitfires to 626 Bf-109s, for example, completely disregards the experience on the Luftwaffe's side, the technological advantage of the Bf-109 and another ream of factors."

(a) You got these numbers confused (see above).
(b) Greater experience on the Luftwaffe side has been acknowledged (again, see above).
(c) You greatly over-rate the 'technological advantage' of the Bf 109. It did have an edge, but not that much (once more, see above).
(d) If you take all of the main operating factors into account, some favour the attackers and others favour the defenders. Unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, the more telling factors favoured the RAF. And, given the historical situation, many of these factors could not have been changed, no matter what the Germans did.



"You're denying that 11 Group could have collapsed from strain or that the strain is indicative of anything."

All factors considered properly, and in the historical situation:

(a) Correct. 11 Group would never have been allowed to suffer to the extent that there would be any serious danger of the group, as a whole, 'collapsing' from the strain. The support of, and rotation from, the other groups helped and could have been increased if necessary. In the worst case scenario, 11 Group could be withdrawn northwards before such a critical point was reached. But it never came to that, nor did it really ever come close.

(b) The strain is what you'd expect in a tough battle. It was felt equally, on both sides.



"You've got to be kidding, mate."

No, I'm definitely not kidding. Mate. But if your'e not either, you need to do some much more serious reading. But you're too lazy for that, apparently.



"11 Group felt strained for legitimate reasons. Strain did break the occasional man."


All of which I have acknowledged and agreed with.



"The thing about mental states is that they're more infectious than the common cold. Look at things like the forced march to Dunkirk: everyone pulled through because they felt they could. If a few men had fallen out, a few more would have felt they mightn't be able to do it, either. It snowballs. That's why routs in battles seem to roll up from the point where it started, outwards, with increasing speed: everyone falls victim to the mood. If 11 Group had begun to crack up under the "perceived" strain, it would have spread until nearly every pilot in 11 Group was worthless. From there it would demoralise the other Groups and make them susceptible to the same thing. Sounds dystopian maybe."

Measures were in place to address problems with pilot strain, including the aforementioned rotations, so that such a phenomenon would not occur. 10, 12 and 13 Groups constituted a large pool of mostly less strained pilots, from and to which such rotations could and did take place.



"Again, I said Luftwaffe morale wasn't pristine. Even things like how the Luftwaffe treated a lost pilot compared to the RAF. The Luftwaffe would leave the pilot's seat empty at the mess table, put a glass of alcohol in front of it, and toast him. The RAF just closed ranks and continued as normal. The viewpoints I've heard is that the RAF attitude, at least in the short term, helped distract men from their own mortality, the opposite effect to the Luftwaffe method. Thus, Luftwaffe morale wasn't great. But I've yet to hear any serious historians write about 1940 Luftwaffe feeling incredibly strained."

Here again, you need to do some more serious and in-depth research. Oh yeah, I forgot. You're 'not interested enough'.



"You've never read that Britain didn't re-arm in the early or mid 1930s because they didn't want to produce equipment that would be obsolete by the time war rolled around? (Look at Italy: she re-armed in the early 1930s, and by 1939 her equipment was largely obsolete. That was never Italy's real problem though)
Sounds like you've avoided rather a chuck of books."

I've read plenty of books that deal with the economies, politics, military development and armaments policies of various nations during the 1930's, including all the major protagonists of WW2. Where we appear to differ is in our interpretations of, and conclusions drawn from, what we read. Based on your interpretations and conclusions regarding what others have posted here, not to mention the historical evidence, I see very little reason for faith in your judgement.



"Anyway, I guess I'll bow out of this argument"

Bye!

HellToupee
08-27-2006, 07:34 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

HA! Oh that's brilliant. "The guy in the 109 would just push the stick forward, his engine wouldn't cut, and he'd go downhill at a higher rate of knots, getting away from us in no time. We had to try to keep to keep positive g on the carburettors, so we'd half roll into the dive, using lots of aileron and losing lots of speed. Our rate of roll was quite sluggish and the 109 would begin to pull away.


109 also had disadvantages with reguards to diving, eg following a spitfire pull out of the dive, aka it couldnt.



Bf-109Es could climb higher, faster, a service ceiling 4,000 feet higher, at 15,000 feet the Spitfire and Emil were about matched in top speed, above that the Spitfire got an advantage, but the better climb rate of the Bf-109 made it a better E-fighter. The Spitfire had the advantage of better manoeuverability, but until 20,000 feet, inferior climb. The Bf-109s would sit at their maximum height, then dive on the Spitfires when they located them, giving greater speed - key to an energy fighter.


It never had a significant advantage in climb at any height over a spitfire with CSP propellor. The fact 109s were entering engagements from above the bombers gave it advantage as e fighter not its climb, this was not the case tho when it was ruduced to close escort.



Couple that with the heavier hitting cannon, fuel injection (especially critical: a Spitfire needed to keep the Bf-109 in its sights for a while to score a kill with the .303s, being able to dive away made that quite difficult) greater speed in a dive, etc, etc. The Spitfire was a capable plane, but it wasn't superior to the Bf-109 until after the BoB. Even a slight edge, paired with experienced pilots and tactics. Well. See where I'm going?

A heavyer hitting cannon that many pilots felt was useless with a low rate of fire and a low velocity with reliability problems. They were shooting down he111s and ju88s with those mere 303s, they only had to damage the 109 and chances are it wasnt gona make it home.

It wasnt superior to the 109 in everything but it held advantages and was pretty much equal in performance.

Lucius_Esox
08-27-2006, 07:55 AM
"In wargames conducted at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1974, which assumed the Luftwaffe had not yet won air supremacy, the Germans were able to establish a beachhead in England by using a minefield screen in the English Channel to protect the initial assault. However, the German ground forces were delayed at the "Stop Lines" (e.g. the GHQ Line), a layered series of defensive positions that had been built, each a combination of British Home Guard troops and physical barriers. At the same time, the regular troops of the British Army were forming up. After only a few days, the Royal Navy was able to reach the Channel from Scapa Flow, cutting off supplies and blocking further reinforcement. Isolated and facing regular troops with armour and artillery, the invasion force was forced to surrender."



Thx for that Beafort http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I wish I remembered the link for a more in depth read on the subject.

Panther... lol http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

WWMaxGunz
08-27-2006, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by gkll:
Hey Max

Let me paraphrase what you are saying...

"No I can't think of anytime the LW ever stopped the RN from doing what it wanted..., however the invasion fleet scenario would have been different, lot more luftwaffe, subs etc, not the same".

Let me respond generally... Both the RN and the LW would scale up somewhat in proportion, in an anti-invasion scenario. Eg Narvik or the Norwegian campaign generally.. you may say that there wasn't a ton of LW up there, I would point out there was no 50 destroyers, 20 cruisers, or 100 MTBs minesweepers etc in one 'action' up in norway either. The ratio might not be a ton different...

And you know even smaller actions are hard to find, where the RN was prevented from carrying out its tasks...

You don't need to paraphrase, I was asking questions based on my partial knowledge.

The airforce assembled for BoB was freaking huge by standards of the time. Had they not gone
to bombing London and deep targets there was an unsustainable attrition rate of the RAF that
would have been a terrible problem. How many LW fighters and bombers would have been left
over though http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif is beyond me to say, but the heavy losses AFAIK were when they went
over to city bombing.

I do consider that with enough 110's remaining alone that the RN ships would be distracted
just a bit even from dodging Stukas let alone making anti-sub runs, etc. Whether the LW had
the training and doctrine to pull it off is another matter but they didn't have to sink the
ships to cut their effectiveness greatly. How armored were the gun directors? What happens
in terms of ability to find small boats and fight after the main bridge is shot up? What
does it take to send a destroyer packing for home?

So it's like numbers with how much local LW would have been left as unknown to compare to
what kind of LW force really was at Narvik.

It does seem obvious though that even had the Germans been able to land they would have had
a tough to impossible time of it depending on circumstances. If they had captured a port
then could merchants have brought enough arty, armor and supplies to support an effort?
With air bases and further air superiority would the Stukas have been able to supplant the
need for such until a buildup could have been made? Once and if the Brits could have gotten
decent amounts of artillery on the scene and somehow kept the planes off them then right
there I think maybe the invasion would have failed anyway. Hey, 25 lber's ain't so heavy.

Well Churchill did say the only thing that -really- worried him was the U-boats.

panther3485
08-27-2006, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by HellToupee:

Seriously if they were so close to collapse they would have cycled them out with pilots from a quiet area.


Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

"Oh yes, quite obviously you take experienced pilots and shift them elsewhere - when you're even aware of it. The RAF isn't a tight knit family, there's no one sending status reports on the mental health of each pilot up the chain of command to get the reassigned. Moreover what effect would that have on the pilots? The same as cracking up. They feel they've failed, their ego collapses, they're ineffective."

BiscuitKnight, it just wasn't like that.

Experienced pilots suffering from extreme fatigue were frequently rotated, almost always in groups rather than singly, occasionally whole squadrons. It wasn't a matter of 'picking' anyone out, rather a general perception on the part of higher commanders that the men in question had earned a break and were well and truly due for relief. They would simply be ordered to transfer, there would not be any bad talk or negative connotations. Quite the opposite, often, as those being rotated in were often seen to be 'eager to have a crack at Jerry'.

Others not rotated at that particular time would simply wait their turn.

There is no evidence that anyone seriously questioned these decisions or that they had a negative effect on morale in any way at all. In fact, this generally helped sustain morale, rather than damage it and ensured that no unit or sub-unit was pushed to breaking point.

Even in the worst times, these men had tremendous faith, both in each other and in their higher command and with good reason. Dowding and Park managed the battle brilliantly.






Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:

"Bf-109Es could climb higher, faster, a service ceiling 4,000 feet higher, at 15,000 feet the Spitfire and Emil were about matched in top speed, above that the Spitfire got an advantage, but the better climb rate of the Bf-109 made it a better E-fighter. The Spitfire had the advantage of better manoeuverability, but until 20,000 feet, inferior climb. The Bf-109s would sit at their maximum height, then dive on the Spitfires when they located them, giving greater speed - key to an energy fighter. Couple that with the heavier hitting cannon, fuel injection (especially critical: a Spitfire needed to keep the Bf-109 in its sights for a while to score a kill with the .303s, being able to dive away made that quite difficult) greater speed in a dive, etc, etc. The Spitfire was a capable plane, but it wasn't superior to the Bf-109 until after the BoB. Even a slight edge, paired with experienced pilots and tactics. Well. See where I'm going?"

Yes. Down the wrong road.

That the Bf 109 had an edge in certain areas in 1940 is undeniable. That the German fighter pilots were, on average, generally more experienced is also true. That they used better fighter tactics (when they were free to do so)? True again.

But you're missing the essential points here. In the Battle of Britain, particularly in the middle-later stages, much of their performance and tactical advantage was cancelled out or nullified by other factors. Even their superior kill ratios counted for little, when the British fighters were readily replaced and a good proportion of the pilots baled out over friendly territory, to fly and fight again! Prospects were much more grim for the German figher pilot if he had to jump. In most cases, at best if he was lucky, POW. Either way, out of the war.

And, as each day, week and month went by, the effective toll (including, and perhaps especially, bomber losses) was much more telling on the Luftwaffe.

Which is why, in the end, the Germans abandoned large scale daylight raids. And they had failed, by miles and a month of sundays, to smash Fighter Command.

rcocean
08-27-2006, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by jasonbirder:
I don't see how commenting on the overwhelming disparity of Naval Strength between the RN and the Kreigsmarine in any way denigrates the acheivement of the RAF during the Battle of Britain...
The German Army and Navy would have struggled in 1940 to land and supply an army on the west side of the English Channel unopposed let alone into the teeth of what was at that point the most powerful and experienced Navy in the World.
Don't forget that the German's were relying on Towed Rhino barges for a majority of their lift capacity...vessels that would struggle to deal with the English Channel on a choppy day...and they would not only have had to land a force (and it would have necessetated multiple use of all craft as they simply didn't have the lift capacity to land a force large enough to secure a sizeable beachhead in one landing) but they would have had to supply it across open beaches for weeks...(Experience in Normandy showed that it could take weeks if not months to get a suitably demolished port working again)
When you factor in the number of destroyers the RN had available in home waters (50+ I believe) against the Germans (4 if I am not mistaken) and the likelihood most of them would have been driven with reckless bravado if it really had been Britains final hour (If the Glowworm was prepared to ram the Hipper during the Invasion of Norway, what likeihood their commanders being any less brave if the Germans were descending on the home counties) it is very difficult to believe that regardless of the strength of the Luftwaffe vs the RAF that an operation Sealion would have been anything other than a diasasterous defeat for the Germans.


This is one the best posts in the whole thread. All fighter command had to do was provide air cover for a couple hours in order for the British Destroyers to get to the beachhead. Then it would have been a slaughter. Assuming the destroyers were based 150 miles away, it would have taken them 10 hours to get the beachhead and back. Assume 10 hours of darkness, they would only have vulernable to attack for 3 hours of daylight steaming, that still gives them 3 hours to shoot up the barges, and German landing craft. Meanwhile, bomber command would have dropping massive amounts of bombs, and British subs and MTB would having been having a field day. And let's not even talk about the RN carriers would could kept out of range while launching attacks. The fact is the German fighters would have been overtasked, having to defend the beachhead, escort the stuka's attacking the RN, and escorting Stuka's trying to provide ground support.

As for the Luftwaffe destroying the RN, the Luftwaffe couldn't even keep the RN from supplying Malta, or from evacutating most of their troops from Crete. And US Navy couldn't keep the bulk of the Japanese Navy Center force from coming through the San Bernidino Straits.

Kurfurst__
08-27-2006, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by panther3485:
But analysis of relative strengths and losses over the whole duration of the battle shows that if anything, the Luftwaffe was closer to breaking than Fighter Command. The British simply were not aware of this at the time.

The British only become aware of this after they started to re-write the history of the July-October 1940 into a myth national heroic saga, with creative use of statistics turning the event into a glory march.

Analysis of the loss statistics show the RAF was loosing around twice as many fighters than the LW, the trend was increasingly unfavourable as they lost far too many experienced pilots in the Battle of France and over dunkerque, and already in August some 25% of their Wing Commanders and Squadron leaders. It was a deadly spiral of attrition, it was difficult to replace the pilots, who's place was taken by rookies, who took even heavier losses, and needed to be replaced by even more worser trained ones. The situation was quite similiar to the attritition battles the Germans faced in 1944.

What was happening after that British factories, were desperetely pumping out as many fighters as possible, but there were only rookie pilots to fly them. British training programme for fighter pilots was simply inaduquate, and given it's long term (many months to train a pilot) programme, fighter schools just couldn't be 'switched' to higher output like fighter factories; a pilot was trained for some half year originally, those who were sent as replacements in July/August to Squadrons started their training at around February, before any significant air war was happening. As the school outputs just couldn't keep up with the losses, Dowding as forced to just send semi trained pilots with just 6 weeks of training into combat - he had to fill up the ranks. They were desperately gardening bomber, recce and every sort of unit for pilots to be retrained for fighters, who has never used to fly a fighter previously. These replacements by September were typically having 5-10 hours flight time in a fighter, and their gunnery training was either non-existent or was limited to firing a 3 seconds bursts (conserve ammunition!) once. The Germans were at a definiate advantage at here, their combat pilot programm was already running at much higher capacity, with more graduates and they were receiving much longer training (andthey learned modern tactics from combat-experienced instructors!).

Sure, Fighter Command had a lot of so-called 'fighter pilots' in September. On paper at least, as the statistics are quite revealing.

In August the Germans lost 177 Bf 109s and 114 Bf 110s (294) to enemy action in total, plus 24/32 (56) damaged. The RAF lost (Cat3) 355 fighters in air combat, (and 27 to ground strafing), with 122 damaged (Cat2) in air combat. The ratio of combat losses was 1 : 1.2, for damaged planes it was 1 : 2.17 in damaged.

In September the Germans lost 187 Bf 109s and 81 Bf 110s (268) to enemy action in total, plus 17-17 (34) damaged. The RAF lost (Cat3) 360 fighters in air combat, with 175 damaged (Cat2) in air combat.
The ratio of air combat losses was 1 : 1.34, for damaged planes it was 1 : ~5 in damaged.

In August the RAF FC lost 157 dead in combat, 137 wounded - 22.4% of the available pilot strenght.
In September the RAF FC lost 156 dead in combat, 150 wounded - 24.4% of the available pilot strenght.
They were replaced by ones who only received a fraction of the training these lost pilots got.

(What's more important - German bomber losses were decreasing by September, and they were flying more missions. One just wonders if going after London was mistake after all, it worked pretty much the way it worked 4 year later against the LW. The LW was attacking something the British HAD TO defend, and the fact that the British had to concentrate on the LW bombers, which were escorted by a Gruppe of 109s sweeping ahead, one flying top cover and one flying close protection made their job easier to get the British fighters in front of their guns. They no longer had to search for the enemy, or bother getting into advantagous position.)

This pool cannon fodder that boosts so nicely the 'number of pilots available' coloumn statistics and let British historians play with 20-40-60 years does not change the fact that the British were running out of trained fighter pilots, who could offer effective resistance, not just fly in circles until shot down.

HellToupee
08-27-2006, 02:05 PM
so what ur saying kurfust is outnumbered raf with poor pilots and obsolete hurricanes scored nearly 1:1 in combat with lw fighters while focusing on shooting down lw bombers.

ploughman
08-27-2006, 02:21 PM
Which British historians do you specifically have a problem with and which aspects of their works do you specifically want to contest?

berg417448
08-27-2006, 03:22 PM
Adolf Galland has an opinion on this subject. From his biography:

" For the Jagdwaffe pilots September had been a disaster. They started the month with a base of 735 pilots avaialable for the 740 operational Bf109s on strength; by the end of the month they had lost 229 men, a staggering 31%. The monthly attrition rate had now reached 23.1 %, up from 15% in August and 11% in July. For Galland this began to look like the situation that had faced the fighter units at the end of the Battle of France. There were simply more aircraft being lost than could be immediatley replaced from reserve, and too few pilots coming through the training schools...."


Sounds like the situation was getting tough for the Luftwaffe as well.

luftluuver
08-27-2006, 06:35 PM
Oh dear, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif does Kurfurst have his shovel in use again?

Why the smokescreen with the comparison FC to Jadgs?

Len Deighton's book Fighter has LW losses:

July 10 > Aug 7 - 192
Aug 8 > Aug 23 - 403
Aug 24 > Sept 6 - 378
Sept 7 > Sept 30 - 435


What's more important - German bomber losses were decreasing by September and they were flying more missions. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Sure Kurfurst. Post stats (with references) Kurfurst.


so what ur saying kurfust is outnumbered raf with poor pilots and obsolete hurricanes scored nearly 1:1 in combat with lw fighters while focusing on shooting down lw bombers. Got to agree 100% HellToupee. Not bad for a bunch of 'noob pilots against all those LW experten. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Strength Summary - 13 Aug 40 / 7 Sept 1940
Number Type Strength Svcble / Strength Svcble

Kampfgruppen: 42, 1/3 1482 1008 / 43 1291 798 > -191 -216 (Gruppen increased by 2/3)
Stukagruppen: 9, 365 286 / 4 174 133 > -191 -153 (Gruppen decreased by 9)
Schlachtgruppe: 1, 39 31 / 2 59 44 > +20 +13 (Gruppen increased by 1)
Jagdgruppen: 26, 976 853 / 27 831 658 > -146 -195 (Gruppen increased by 1)
Zerstrergruppen: 9, 244 189 / 8 206 112 > -38 -77 (Gruppen decreased by 1)

smokincrater
08-27-2006, 06:50 PM
Does anyone still believe that coming around from Harwich even that ships of the RN with a top speed of perhaps 55km/h (30 knots) would be able to interdicate barges that on a clear day would be seen from fighter bases in Calais standing on the ground. Be able to survive a stuka counter attack! I don't think so! You only have to go 32 km from Calais to Dover. With local air surpority and surrport from medium bombers and stukas the channel would clear open for the invasion barges. Landing would be possible and if they could land panzers and find open ground the subjection of the home isles was assured. Remember Britain did not have a dive bomber and few tanks, with the establishment of a fighter base on Southern England local keeping in mind local air surpority the scope of operations was vast. The germans could have engaged the old men and young boys of the home ground or simply bypass them.

Adam906
08-27-2006, 09:50 PM
I doubt very much my opinion will count for much as the assumption that the BoB was part of Sealion is too well ingrained.

BoB was about the destruction of the RAF and the achievement of air superiority over southern England and the proposed invasion sites. Only when this was achieved would Sealion be put into effect. Ergo, the Battle of Britain and Sealion are two totally separate and distinct operations!! So any talk of the RN and its role in the Battle is ridiculuos.

The Royal Navy showed that it was virtually impotent to stop the horrendous losses (both in terms of damaged ships and actual sinkings) during July in the Channel, thus leading to its abandonment in mid-August and as the Condor proved over the Atlantic, the RN was unable to do much in that theatre of operations, either. The Luftwaffe gave the RN such a kick in the pants it forced it to withdraw, tail between its legs, from the Channel and lower North Sea basin for a time and, in the Atlantic, to rely on wasteful and dangeruous ideas which achieved almost nothing in the time frame of BoB/Blitz.

For further reference, see my post:
http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=26310...781002674#2781002674 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=26310365&m=3711057574&r=2781002674#2781002674)

blakduk
08-27-2006, 11:11 PM
This really is a silly argument by these historians- it's a bit like saying 'Carl Lewis's left leg won the gold medal in the olympics, all the right leg had to do was keep up'.
Without both the RAF and the RN the chances of success, and therefore the likelihood, of an invasion of Britain in 1940 would have been greatly increased.
If the RAF hadn't remained an effective fighting force throughout 1940 the RN would have been decimated if it had dared come within range of the LW.
If the RN hadnt remained as a menacing presence ready to strike an invasion fleet in the channel then Sealion might have had a chance of success- if the RAF tried to do it alone, going low and slow against the ships on the water, the LW would have torn them apart very quickly. The RAF was VERY careful about combat over the channel as they knew they couldnt afford the losses.
These historians may be mislead by the numbers of combatants in the BOB- the killed/wounded among the airmen number in the hundreds rather than the thousands as in other campaigns. This may lead people to believe that it was a 'sideshow' rather than a main theatre of combat. However, the strategic implications for the loss of air superiority for either side would have been catastrophic. In that sense, neither side lost air superiority over their own territory in the BOB- and the LW didnt lose it until quite late in the war.
What really destroyed the French and Polish airforces was the overrunning of their airfields- something the Wermacht couldnt do to the British because of the channel/moat.

WWMaxGunz
08-27-2006, 11:17 PM
WWII was won by factory workers.
Honorable mention goes to Merchant Marine.
All the rest was sideshow.
Uh-huh.

panther3485
08-28-2006, 02:37 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:

"The British only become aware of this after they started to re-write the history of the July-October 1940 into a myth national heroic saga, with creative use of statistics turning the event into a glory march."

Actually, the British generally, together with most of the English-speaking World at least, have been re-assessing the Battle of Britain in the last couple of decades, without the ' myth national heroic saga ' etc, that you refer to. [This had admittedly been part of the problem before, and often tended to cloud objectivity, particularly in the decades immediately following the war; the 50's, 60's and 70's.]



"Analysis of the loss statistics show the RAF was loosing around twice as many fighters than the LW...."

Yes, if you average out the stats for the whole of the Battle of Britain, the British did in fact lose around twice as many fighters shot down, compared to the Germans. BUT

(a) Even though the loss of British fighter planes was higher, they were nevertheless still able to replace their lost figher planes more readily than the Germans could replace theirs!

(b) Although the British lost about double the number of fighters, a somewhat lower ratio is reflected in pilot losses, because many of the British pilots baled out over friendly territory and, provided they were not badly wounded, were back in action soon. [Occasionally, even on the same day!]

(c) Taken over the full course of the battle, despite the fact that experienced British pilots that were lost were often replaced with 'green' trainees (which happened on both sides, by the way), they had still been better able to find replacements than the Germans.

(d) Although replacement of experienced pilot losses with inexperienced men had the effect of overall dilution in pilot quality, this was also happening to the Germans at the same time. But neither side ever had whole squadrons, or anywhere near it, that were 'green'. The new guys were mixed in among more experienced and seasoned men. And although many of these newer pilots were also lost (to be replaced, in many cases again, by another 'green' recruit), those who did manage to survive became seasoned very quickly.

(e) Perhaps most important of all, the British fighters were also shooting down significant (and, for the Germans, unsustainable) numbers of bombers. It wasn't just a fighter-vs-fighter battle, and should not be assessed as such.



"....British factories, were desperetely pumping out as many fighters as possible, but there were only rookie pilots to fly them."

Only rookie pilots? The stupidity of that gross exaggeration must be obvious, even to you.



"....British training programme for fighter pilots was simply inadequate...."

But still good enough to maintain viable unit strengths, continue to shoot down substantial numbers of German bombers, continue to deny the Germans air superiority over SE England, increase the overall strength of Fighter Command and, ultimately, win the vital struggle.



"....and given it's long term (many months to train a pilot) programme, fighter schools just couldn't be 'switched' to higher output like fighter factories; a pilot was trained for some half year originally, those who were sent as replacements in July/August to Squadrons started their training at around February, before any significant air war was happening. As the school outputs just couldn't keep up with the losses, Dowding as forced to just send semi trained pilots with just 6 weeks of training into combat - he had to fill up the ranks. They were desperately gardening bomber, recce and every sort of unit for pilots to be retrained for fighters, who has never used to fly a fighter previously. These replacements by September were typically having 5-10 hours flight time in a fighter, and their gunnery training was either non-existent or was limited to firing a 3 seconds bursts (conserve ammunition!) once."

Yes, but most of this was relatively short-term expedient, to meet what was seen as a relatively short-term emergency. It was not long-term policy. Some of the impetus came from the nature of the British leadership itself. Dowding and Park tended to err on the side of conservatism and caution, over-estimating the strength of the Luftwaffe and under-estimating their own strength.

If you really want to see the damaging long-term effects of a seriously flawed fighter pilot training policy, you need look no further than the Lufwaffe. However, if you find that upsetting, look at the Japanese instead because they were just about as bad. Taken over the war as a whole, both the British and the Americans had much better training policies in place than either the Germans or the Japanese, both of whom seemed to be depending on the war being very short.


The remainder of your post only gets worse and has in any case been adequately answered by others here, who got in before me.


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panther3485

BiscuitKnight
08-28-2006, 03:10 AM
Originally posted by blakduk:
This really is a silly argument by these historians- it's a bit like saying 'Carl Lewis's left leg won the gold medal in the olympics, all the right leg had to do was keep up'.
Without both the RAF and the RN the chances of success, and therefore the likelihood, of an invasion of Britain in 1940 would have been greatly increased.
If the RAF hadn't remained an effective fighting force throughout 1940 the RN would have been decimated if it had dared come within range of the LW.
If the RN hadnt remained as a menacing presence ready to strike an invasion fleet in the channel then Sealion might have had a chance of success- if the RAF tried to do it alone, going low and slow against the ships on the water, the LW would have torn them apart very quickly. The RAF was VERY careful about combat over the channel as they knew they couldnt afford the losses.
These historians may be mislead by the numbers of combatants in the BOB- the killed/wounded among the airmen number in the hundreds rather than the thousands as in other campaigns. This may lead people to believe that it was a 'sideshow' rather than a main theatre of combat. However, the strategic implications for the loss of air superiority for either side would have been catastrophic. In that sense, neither side lost air superiority over their own territory in the BOB- and the LW didnt lose it until quite late in the war.
What really destroyed the French and Polish airforces was the overrunning of their airfields- something the Wermacht couldnt do to the British because of the channel/moat.

Actually the argument is more analoguous to say Carl Lewis' legs won the medal and all his arms had to do was not weigh him down or fall off. Of course that oversimplifies because it's more like Carl Lewis' arms need only have stayed attached, because his legs won the race, but even then it's only if the sport was running, but the actual medal could be won if someone beat the other at javelin throwing. And then couple that with javelin throwing by points vs getting the fastest lap time. So it'd be more like "Carl Lewis' legs won the race, all the arms need do was stay attached in case the legs lost and it went to a javelin throw, but if the arms fell off, it'd default the javeling throw"

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IRT Panther

You raise some good points, you really do, but all I'm saying is that the Battle of Britain wasn't a forgone conclusion, or even close. It was fairly even, it was not as close as the myth/romanicised version, or nearly as close or desperate as that makes out.

You're prepared to be quite aggressive and confrontational over it all, I just don't have the time or inclination right now to research every little detail of every loss of every day or week for the duration of the battle to form highly detailed conclusions. I think what I've posted stands for itself against your arguments. Especially in light of the fact that the Bf-110 numbers DO need be subtracted: the 850 figure is of German fighters at the beginning of the battle, not single engine fighters, therefore if there were 226 Bf-110s, that figure of fighters need be subtracted from operational fighters. More interestingly, a lower figure of Luftwaffe fighters supports your argument that the Battle of Britain was in the RAF's favour to an unspecified degree (you reject that it was a forgone conclusion, and yet even a signifigant increase in LW Bf-109 numbers apparently wouldn't alter the battle. So where DO you stand?)

panther3485
08-28-2006, 06:43 AM
Originally posted by BiscuitKnight:
"IRT Panther

You raise some good points, you really do, but all I'm saying is that the Battle of Britain wasn't a forgone conclusion, or even close."


As I've already said, I don't think it was a 'forgone conclusion' either. As for 'close', I guess my position on that would depend on how close you really mean. But if what you've posted up until now is any indication, we certainly don't agree here.



"It was fairly even, it was not as close as the myth/romanicised version, or nearly as close or desperate as that makes out."

The weight of evidence, all factors considered, shows that while some aspects of the battle could indeed be described as 'close', the chances of the final outcome were not. The odds favoured the defenders considerably. The full extent and significance of this was not appreciated by either side at the time and has only relatively recently been highlighted by more balanced and thorough evaluation, from a fresh group of historians, with access to somewhat improved amounts of information. In short, there is a new 'take' on the battle that isn't mere revisionism. It is well based in clear, logical, thorough and (now) more detached analysis. We really need to take a fresh look at this battle, casting aside some of our previously formed notions.



"I just don't have the time or inclination right now to research every little detail of every loss of every day or week for the duration of the battle to form highly detailed conclusions."

OK, but just because you haven't got recent detailed research of your own to draw on, or the time/resources to do that research, doesn't mean nobody else has.



"I think what I've posted stands for itself against your arguments."

You can continue to hold that view as you please, but I for one don't think that some of what you've posted stands up all that well.


"....you reject that it was a forgone conclusion, and yet even a signifigant increase in LW Bf-109 numbers apparently wouldn't alter the battle. So where DO you stand?"

My position is that an extra 100 Bf 109's, taken just on its own with all other factors unchanged, might still not have been enough to turn the final outcome in favour of the Luftwaffe. Harder for the RAF? Yes, obviously, but possibly still not enough IMHO, such was the weight of the factors favouring the defence. All evidence considered, I just don't believe the margin was that narrow.


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panther3485

WWMaxGunz
08-28-2006, 07:32 AM
I like the comparison of fighter losses to fighter losses.
Because it was more than 2:1 in total planes lost in favor of RAF.
Perhaps because the RAF was busy mostly fighting bombers.
There were much fewer RAF fighters than LW bombers and fighters by far which may be where
the 'mythic' element came in. That happens when you are heavily outnumbered and still go
to defend whether you drive the enemy off or not.
But please, play that down.

panther3485
08-28-2006, 08:07 AM
Originally posted by WWMaxGunz:
I like the comparison of fighter losses to fighter losses.
Because it was more than 2:1 in total planes lost in favor of RAF.
Perhaps because the RAF was busy mostly fighting bombers.
There were much fewer RAF fighters than LW bombers and fighters by far which may be where
the 'mythic' element came in. That happens when you are heavily outnumbered and still go
to defend whether you drive the enemy off or not.
But please, play that down.

Well said, WWMaxGunz. Knocking down the bombers, at rates the Luftwaffe could not sustain (while at the same time maintaining the viability of the British fighter force and denying air superiority to the enemy), was what it was really all about.

And at the rates of overall loss the Luftwaffe was suffering, they really had little choice but to quit.

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panther3485

hop2002
08-28-2006, 09:27 AM
The airforce assembled for BoB was freaking huge by standards of the time. Had they not gone
to bombing London and deep targets there was an unsustainable attrition rate of the RAF that
would have been a terrible problem.

It's true. The RAF was suffering from unsustainable attrition for the two weeks prior to the switch to London. Not very unsustainable, as losses were not exceeding replacements by much, but unsustainable nonetheless.


How many LW fighters and bombers would have been left
over though is beyond me to say,

That's the problem for the Luftwaffe. Whilst the RAF was suffering unsustainable losses for that two week period, the Luftwaffe had been suffering from unsustainable losses much longer, and the gap between their replacements and their losses was much larger.

In other words, the Luftwaffe's strength was declining faster than the RAF's.


but the heavy losses AFAIK were when they went
over to city bombing.

The worst month for the Luftwaffe during the BoB was August, which started off with the Luftwaffe still attacking convoys, (and for those who think the RN couldn't survive in the channel in daytime, they were still running merchant convoys through until some time in August). August ended whilst the battle of the airfields was going on, so apart from some scattered night bombing of British cities, August was almost entirely a counter air campaign from the Luftwaffe.


You've never read that Britain didn't re-arm in the early or mid 1930s because they didn't want to produce equipment that would be obsolete by the time war rolled around?

No. Britain rearmed with what was available at the time. Hence the Battle, Blenheim, Hurricane etc. If they had waited for better equipment, the Hurricane would never have been ordered, as it was ordered at almost the same time as the Spitfire. The Hurricane was essentially a stop-gap.

Likewise, re-arming after Dunkirk was the top priority. Several important projects, such as the 6 lber anti tank gun, were put on hold to ramp up production of interim weapons like the 2 lber.


In a word, Norway. The RN was not able to continue the operation once the Luftwaffe had the bases to strike the invasion points in central Norway

The RN continued the operation to the end, it was the ground forces' difficulties that caused an end to the operation.

Churchill's summing up of the Norwegian campaign:

" The superiority of the Germans in design, management, and energy were plain. They put into ruthless execution a carefully prepared plan of action. They comprehended perfectly the use of the air arm on a great scale in all its aspects. Moreover, their individual ascendancy was marked, especially in small parties. At Narvik a mixed and improvised German force, barely six thousand strong, held at bay for six weeks some twenty thousand Allied troops, and though driven out of the town lived to see them depart. The Narvik attack, so brilliantly opened by the Navy, was paralysed by the refusal of the military commander to run what was admittedly a desperate risk. The division of our resources between Narvik and Trondheim was injurious to both our plans. The abandonment of the central thrust on Trondheim wears an aspect of vacillation in the British High Command for which, not only the experts, but the political chiefs who yielded too easily to their advice, must bear a burden. At Namsos there was a muddy waddle forward and back. Only in the Andalsnes expedition did we bite. The Germans traversed in seven days the road from Namsos to Mosjoen, which the British and French had declared impassable. At Bodo and Mo, during the retreat of Gubbins' force to the north, we were each time just too late, and the enemy, although they had to overcome hundreds of miles of rugged, snow-clogged country, drove us back in spite of gallant episodes. We, who had the command of the sea and could pounce anywhere on an undefended coast, were outpaced by the enemy moving by land across very large distances in the face of every obstacle. In this Norwegian encounter, our finest troops, the Scots and Irish Guards, were baffled by the vigour, enterprise, and training of Hitler's young men.

We tried hard, at the call of duty, to entangle and embed ourselves in Norway. We thought Fortune had been cruelly against us. We can now see that we were well out of it. Meanwhile, we had to comfort ourselves as best we might by a series of successful evacuations. Failure at Trondheiml Stalemate at Narvikl Such in the first week of May were the only results we could show to the British nation, to our Allies, and to the neutral world, friendly or hostile. Considering the prominent part I played in these events and the impossibility of explaining the difficulties by which we had been overcome, or the defects of our staff and governmental organisation and our methods of conducting war, it was a marvel that I survived and maintained my position in public esteem and parliamentary confidence."

"From all this wreckage and confusion there emerged one fact of major importance potentially affecting the whole future of the war. In their desperate grapple with the British Navy, the Germans ruined their own, such as it was, for the impending climax. The Allied losses in all this sea-fighting off Norway amounted to one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, one sloop, and nine destroyers. Six cruisers, two sloops, and eight destroyers were disabled, but could be repaired within our margin of sea power. On the other hand, at the end of June, 1940, a momentous date, the effective German Fleet consisted of no more than one eight-inch cruiser, two light cruisers, and four destroyers. Although many of their damaged ships, like ours, could be repaired, the German Navy was no factor in the supreme issue of the invasion of Britain."

At several points Churchill talks about the "luck" that German air attacks on ships were so unsuccessful, for example:

"I now spoke for the first time at any length in these conferences, pointing out the difficulties of landing troops and stores in the face of enemy aircraft and U-boats. Every single ship had to be convoyed by destroyers, every landing-port continuously guarded by cruisers or destroyers, not only during the landing, but till ack-ack guns could be mounted ashore. So far the Allied ships had been extraordinarily lucky and had sustained very few hits."
(Churchill at a meeting in Paris on 22nd April)


No more than Jellicoe could have afforded to charge into the German smoke screen at Jutland, and possibly lost the bulk of the fleet, could the RN have afforded to stake all on one battle.

Why would they need to? The RN was many times the size of the Kriegsmarine, even a small part of RN strength was sufficient to overwhelm the KM.

And the job of the Home Fleet was the defence of Britain. That's the role that a large part of the RN had been kept in British waters for for centuries.


The RN was stretched tight as a drum in the fall of 1940. Only in November 1940, after the successful Taranto air raid which rendered the Italian battleship fleet less than the Mediterranean Fleet's battleship strength was there room to relax just a little. In addition to Force H, which covered the Western Med, there was the Med Fleet. Convoys world-wide required battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Meantime, they had to look over their shoulder at Japan which was rattling her swords.

That's why the RN had the Med fleet, and Force H, and the Far East fleet, and the Western Approaches command, and the Home Fleet. The Home Fleet had no responsibilities in the Med, or the Far East, its job was the defence of the UK.


Pre-war, the RN realized they had adequate strength to fight Germany, or Italy, or Japan, but not three or even two at once.

No, pre war they had the strength to fight at least 2 at once.

On the outbreak of war, the RN had:

15 battleships
7 carriers
66 cruisers
184 destroyers
60 submarines

The Kriegsmarine had:

2 battleships
8 cruisers
22 destroyers
57 submarines

The Italian Navy:
2 battleships
19 cruisers
59 destroyers
105 submarines

The RN was much, much stronger than the KM and RM combined.


In the fall of 1940 they had their nightmare, a war with Germany and Italy. If the Germans had sent SCHARNHORST into the Atlantic in the fall of 1940,

Scharnhorst was undergoing repair in the autumn of 1940, after being torpedoed in the Norwegian campaign. She went to sea again in late November. Following another work up, she and Gneisenau tried to break out into the Atlantic in December, but suffered damage from the weather and had to turn back. They finally got into the Atlantic in Feb 1941.


On top of all this, FDR was vexing Churchill about the fleet. As early as the summer he was worrying the RN would be destroyed or captured by the Germans (which brings to bear another factor, each ship badly damaged in the Channel had nowhere to go but to the east coast of North America---could the British have afforded having to deep six each ship which could not make the voyage?).

FDR was concerned the Germans might capture the fleet, not that it might be destroyed (just as the British were concerned with the French fleet)

As to scrapping ships which couldn't make it to America, why? There were shipyards capable of repairing ships in Britain. Whilst some ships went to the US for repair to free up capacity, many were repaired in the UK.


Analysis of the loss statistics show the RAF was loosing around twice as many fighters than the LW

The British lost 1,023 fighters, including Defiants and Blenheims, on operations, to all causes. The Luftwaffe lost 873 fighters on operations to all causes. My maths might be out, but that's 1.17 to 1, not 2 to 1.

The Norwegian campaign is a good example of just how poor an anti-shipping force the Luftwaffe was in 1940. Over a period of a month and a half, the Luftwaffe sank British ships at a rate slightly less than the replacement rate (the RN averaged about one new destroyer a week during the war).

To quote from Engage the Enemy More Closely by Correlli Barnett:

"In the course of her withdrawal, Suffolk [heavy cruiser] had to endure 7 hours of continuous Luftwaffe attack before Fleet Air Arm Skuas arrived to protect her; and finally arrived back in Scapa so badly damaged that her quarterdeck was awash"

That's 7 hours of attacks on a single ship, and they still didn't sink her.

"Although the Luftwaffe had bombed Andalsnes each day of the evacuation, and on 30th April and 1st May even at night, they had failed to prevent the Royal Navy from completing it's mission of rescue, or to sink or damage a single ship"

"But the Luftwaffe did not let go so easily. At 0845 that forenoon, when offshore fog had lifted, it began a relentless onslaught on Cunningham's ships that lasted until 1530 and the force was 200 miles out to sea."

<snip Vian's diary>

"As the Afridi [destroyer] went to pick up survivors from Bison she too was hit and sunk. Nevertheless the Stukas and Ju88s failed to destroy any of the cruisers and transports laden with soldiers, and on the 5th the convoy sailed safely back into Scapa"

Again, nearly 7 hours of air attack, and whilst one destroyer was sunk whilst manoeuvering, and another whilst stopped to pick up survivors, the vast bulk of the ships got through.

There was a similar tale around Crete. Hours and hours of air attacks, a few ships sunk, the vast majority continued to carry out their tasks, and whithdrew after they had been completed.

And both these lasted much longer than the RN intervention in the Channel would have. Norway dragged on for weeks, Crete for over a week. There's probably little need for the RN to have even operated in the channel in daylight, night time patrols would probably have been sufficient.

panther3485
08-28-2006, 09:36 AM
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luftluuver
08-28-2006, 02:47 PM
Well said Hop. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Adam906
08-28-2006, 04:34 PM
The Norwegian campaign is a good example of just how poor an anti-shipping force the Luftwaffe was in 1940. Over a period of a month and a half, the Luftwaffe sank British ships at a rate slightly less than the replacement rate (the RN averaged about one new destroyer a week during the war).

To quote from Engage the Enemy More Closely by Correlli Barnett:

"In the course of her withdrawal, Suffolk [heavy cruiser] had to endure 7 hours of continuous Luftwaffe attack before Fleet Air Arm Skuas arrived to protect her; and finally arrived back in Scapa so badly damaged that her quarterdeck was awash"

That's 7 hours of attacks on a single ship, and they still didn't sink her.

"Although the Luftwaffe had bombed Andalsnes each day of the evacuation, and on 30th April and 1st May even at night, they had failed to prevent the Royal Navy from completing it's mission of rescue, or to sink or damage a single ship"

"But the Luftwaffe did not let go so easily. At 0845 that forenoon, when offshore fog had lifted, it began a relentless onslaught on Cunningham's ships that lasted until 1530 and the force was 200 miles out to sea."

<snip Vian's diary>

"As the Afridi [destroyer] went to pick up survivors from Bison she too was hit and sunk. Nevertheless the Stukas and Ju88s failed to destroy any of the cruisers and transports laden with soldiers, and on the 5th the convoy sailed safely back into Scapa"

Again, nearly 7 hours of air attack, and whilst one destroyer was sunk whilst manoeuvering, and another whilst stopped to pick up survivors, the vast bulk of the ships got through.

There was a similar tale around Crete. Hours and hours of air attacks, a few ships sunk, the vast majority continued to carry out their tasks, and whithdrew after they had been completed.

And both these lasted much longer than the RN intervention in the Channel would have. Norway dragged on for weeks, Crete for over a week. There's probably little need for the RN to have even operated in the channel in daylight, night time patrols would probably have been sufficient.


No, actually, the invasion of Norway is NOT a good example of how poor an anti-shipping strike force the Luftwaffe was.

The assumption you make, supported by quotes, that the Luftwaffe failed/was a poor anti-shipping force is fundamentally flawed as you base your conclusion on the premise to be successful, the attacking force had to sink the ships they attacked. Not only this, but the example you sight of the Suffolk makes no mention of how many sorties were flown over the 7 hour period (less than 90) and that the Sussex was in the company of a destroyer screen (depending on what source you read) and not restricted in a confined region, but had the run of the entire North Sea. Just because the Sussex was not sunk does not mean the Luftwaffe's efforts were a failure. In fact it was the opposite. The damaged Sussex, when returned to port, took up valuable 'dock-time' resources and workers to fix the damage and it also convinced the Admiralty not to launch their planned assulat on Trondheim. All in all, hardly commesurate with the term 'poor', don't you think?

Churchil in his V.3, Grand Alliance, around page 100 or so discusses the effects that anti-shipping attacks and the Condor were having on British ship building capacity. He gives reasonably accurate figures as to the effects damaged ships were having on the industry... I am reminded here of an old Viet Cong theory that it is better to wound an enemy and not kill him. A dead soldier can be left were he is, but wound a soldier and you will automatically take out at least 2 other soldiers: one to carry/care for him, and another to hump his equipment to safety. Same principle. While damaged ships werre not entirely lost to the British, they did take up space in dockyards that could have been better employed in the construction of replacement ships. Ergo, by damaging ships and occasionally sinking some, your enemy was not able to expand his merchant fleet.

At Andalsnes, the primary target was the dock area and troop embarkation points - NOT the ships, they were of secondary importance. You also ignore the efforts of British fighter patrols that, while weak, still upset the balance of pwer in central and northern norway for a time.

It is all fine to argue that the minimal list of ships sunk represents a failure but you don't explore the reason for that failure. Having written my thesis on Luftwaffe anti-shipping ops, I can with confidence say that much of what has been surmised about such operations is both inaccurate and flawed.

What was a failure of the Luftwaffe's anti-shipping oeprations in Norway was the OKW's minimal force assignment to Weserubung, inclement weather, the ranges involved and the need to support land-based operations, as was the case in Narvik. Perhaps most important was the lack of a adequate planning and the adherance to Blitzkrieg theories. As you rightly point out in the cases above, attacks on some ships lasted for 7 hours without sinking anything. While 88 sorties were launched against Suffolk, it was done so over 7 hours which produced less pressure on the defenders and did not force them to split their attentions, and it gave time for basic repair in between attacks. At no stage during the attacks did the Luftwaffe concentrate maximum forces at a single point at a given time - this was a failure of planning (though in the case of Suffolk, it is somewhat different as surprise overtook planning.)

When the Luftwaffe was let off its leash to pursue anti-shipping operations that were properly planned and coordinated (as was the case on 9 April) the results were, not necessarily materially, but most certainly strategic or tactical, beyond reproach. Minimal sorties on 9 April sunk 1 destroyer, damaged several more and forced other ships to return to Scapa Flow having fired off up to 40% of their AA ammunition. Again, given Forbe's fleet was split up, and the order he followed the attack with on the morning of 10 April, withdrawing all surface vessels from southern Norwegian waters for fear of Luftwaffe attack completely undermines the theory that the Luftwaffe was rather a poor anti-shipping strike force.

Comparing Norway to a cross-Channel assualt is useless as 1) the distances involved are not anywhere near the same scale, 2)virtually the whole of the Luftwaffe could be brought to bare at a single point, unlike in Norway, (which also had France and the Low Countries to contend with) and 3) a greater concentration of U-boats and more reliable torpedoes, again in a confined area, would have played havoc with the RN

you don't have to sink ships to be a successful antishipping force and the Luftwaffe more than proved that during Weserubung Nord. If you can force the withdrawal of your enemy to allow your own naval lines unhindered sailings, while at the same time perhaps damage a few ships and thereby take up dockyard space otherwise used for the expansion of your enemy's naval fleet then how can that be determined poor?

gkll
08-28-2006, 10:42 PM
Hi Adam

Couple of thoughts to you and others

Forbes may have gotten cold feet on April 10 or whenever it was, ceding the sea area to the Germans, however is this relevant comparison to stopping an invasion? Forbes had no idea what the impact was of his decision.... had he known would the LW have stopped the RN from doing whatever necessary to stop the German forces? And in case of invasion I am sure the RN would have been committed no matter the threat percieved or real... committed fully and completely, and enthusiastically.... the chance always sought, coming to grips with the enemy always the first goal of every RN captain....

You got all the figures, Adam?... how many trained aircrew to throw at the Brit destroyers and cruisers, in the all critical first day or two..... ie you say the whole luftwaffe 'concentrated on one point' but consider how important training and tactics are to making successful anti-ship squadrons... maybe we can discount pretty heavily the bomber boys just involved in BOB ... in your thesis work - the all-important effect of training must have been pretty obvious?

Your opinion: do you think the Luftwaffe could've stopped the RN from either intercepting the first wave of Sealion or effectively interdicting supply over the next few days? Or are you chiming in to just point out some things about the LW..?

Just an RN note: little has changed? Fast forward to the Falklands in 82, and we see more Brit ships taking **** and losses from the air, in support of an objective (land and support the army, the usual...) Took the losses, achieved the objective, another day at the office.... and you have the army's gratitude once again, and a few more battle honours...

Adam906
08-28-2006, 11:14 PM
GKLL -
You miss the point, while at the same time present the crux of the problem related to this whole argument. Whether the Luftwaffe could have intercepted and held the RN at bay long enough for Sealion to work is irrelevant - that is a different battle. Hence, the Battle of Britain and Sealion.

As I have stated time and again, the Battle of Britain was an air campaign waged in pursuit of air superiorty. It was not a part of Sealion. What then was done with that air superiorty is irrelevant. The goal of BoB was air superiorty in order to lay the foundations for Sealion. The attacks on transport and airbases in France in May 1944 was not part of Overlord - it was a seperate operation designed to facilitate Overlord's success. Nobody ever confuses those campaigns so why confuse the BoB and Sealion? I realise there is a tendency in Allied histories to lump the two together as one operation but that is incorrect.

Once air the preconditions for Sealion were achieved by the Germans then the Battle of Britain would have been over and the Luftwaffe's operations would have been flown in support of Sealion. Once Sealion commenced then the Luftwaffe was tasked with confronting the RN, and only then. The Royal Navy has almost nothing to do with the Battle of Britain beyond the Kanalkampf and losses suffered/inability to protect shipping. Even the threat of the RN only plays heavily on the OKM - which, again, has nothing to do with the Battle of Britain, but instead Sealion.

As for your question, I don't think the Luftwaffe could have stopped the RN from influencing the first wave of invasion IF the Germans were found out early enough for the RN to intercept it. And to intercept properly and influence the operation in any meaningful way, then mass force was necessary or else what happened to Suffolk during April would have been repeated but with far more success given a)ships crew would have faced twin tasks of defence and offense, and b)a lot more German aircraft within range, and ranges being thus that an almost continual attack could be launched if necessary.

This of course overlooks the question of what 2 days of intense raids on the Home Fleet could have achieved once all other pre-conditions for Sealion had achieved.

As for how many aircraft and crews were available - that is an unanswerable question as it would mean a)the whole course of BoB must have changed and there is no way to tell how that change would have effected both the RAF and the Luftwaffe, and b)as a result, when was the exact date of the operation.

If the Luftwaffe kept up on 11 Group for two weeks longer than it did - maybe even less - what would Dowding have done? Withdrawing from south-eastern England leaves a lot to chance and changes dramatically the casualty and interception rate suffered by the Luftwaffe. And that is just one unanswerable..So long as the Germans could land enough forces in the first wave (and let's not forget just how efficient air transport had become thanks to Norway, irrespective of losses) then it really was anybody's guess. As events around Narvik, and later in Stalingrad, showed, German forces, grossly underequipped and outnumbered were very adept at holding out and surviving for long periods of time in unfavourable positions, cut off from direct supply lines.

gkll
08-28-2006, 11:26 PM
just another thought - about the uboats

uboats transited around the channel for the length of the war (or used french ports) - far too dangerous in the channel, this is common knowledge.

how many uboat sinkings of destroyers, for the whole war, when travelling at 25 knots or better - and I mean destroyers <not> trying to get closer to the uboats, ie hunting them, just destroyers hustling along trying to get to someplace else in a hurry... its not a big number

How many u-boats operational in fall 1940? My rough recollection is it was low numbers, little changed if not lower than the start of the war.

Of course you can't discount the uboat threat, just how serious was it? The destroyers would have maintained high speed and erratic courses, no need whatsoever to slow down at any point to sink river barges, heh heh

BiscuitKnight
08-28-2006, 11:39 PM
Originally posted by gkll:
Hi Adam

Couple of thoughts to you and others

Forbes may have gotten cold feet on April 10 or whenever it was, ceding the sea area to the Germans, however is this relevant comparison to stopping an invasion? Forbes had no idea what the impact was of his decision.... had he known would the LW have stopped the RN from doing whatever necessary to stop the German forces? And in case of invasion I am sure the RN would have been committed no matter the threat percieved or real... committed fully and completely, and enthusiastically.... the chance always sought, coming to grips with the enemy always the first goal of every RN captain....

You got all the figures, Adam?... how many trained aircrew to throw at the Brit destroyers and cruisers, in the all critical first day or two..... ie you say the whole luftwaffe 'concentrated on one point' but consider how important training and tactics are to making successful anti-ship squadrons... maybe we can discount pretty heavily the bomber boys just involved in BOB ... in your thesis work - the all-important effect of training must have been pretty obvious?

Your opinion: do you think the Luftwaffe could've stopped the RN from either intercepting the first wave of Sealion or effectively interdicting supply over the next few days? Or are you chiming in to just point out some things about the LW..?

Just an RN note: little has changed? Fast forward to the Falklands in 82, and we see more Brit ships taking **** and losses from the air, in support of an objective (land and support the army, the usual...) Took the losses, achieved the objective, another day at the office.... and you have the army's gratitude once again, and a few more battle honours...

Comparing the RN at the Falklands to the RN in WWII is like comparing Nelson and Trafalgar to Jellicoe and Jutland, if not less analoguous.

The RN at the Falklands was lucky, but its equipment was shocking. Sea Dart was probably their best AA weapon, but the Argentines countered this by flying in a wave top level (the crew of one of the frigates actually thought a Skyhawk had crashed into the sea, but then it popped up and hit them with bombs). At low level the British had Sea Wolf, Sea Cat and Sea Slugs. Sea Wolf was abysmal: if two aircraft were sensed at the same time, it would become confused and the computer would crash. Brilliant. Especially when modern tactics usually don't separate wingpairs and the Argentines attacked in 2s or 4s.

The RN was designed at that stage around Anti-submarine warfare, to counter the USSR's large submarine fleet. No thought was really given to a war without NATO, where the RN would be supported by anti-aircraft units, aircraft and AWACS/AEW. Falklands was something of a learning experience for navies, as a result ships are more heavily armed and the Phalanx or similar CIWS is considered a stapel, because it's apparently able to counter weapons like Exocet, and had it been mounted on the British warships the Argentine bombers would have been slaughtered conducting attacks in the manner they did.

The RN was also very lucky: the 1,000 pound bombs provided to Argentina by the US were not fused for anti-shipping strikes, but ground targets, and the "user manuals" weren't provided with the bombs, so the Air Force didn't know how to re-fuse them. As well, Argentina wasn't able to secure large supplies of Exocets in time to use them. Even if Broadsword and the Atlantic Conveyor situations were indicative of how correct reaction to Exocet would have made damage unlikely, the British ships only had seven rounds of Chaff, and losses amongst ships without Chaff would be high, if, again, the sole incident of Conveyor is indicative of anything. Also, were it not for Argentina's mis-handling of the South Georgia situation that forced the junta's hand, the invasion would have gone ahead in July or October with the Super Etendards and Exocets delivered from France, god only knows what else, while Invincible would have been sold to the Royal Australia Navy, it seems (although it's possible she would simply have been scrapped). The difference in terms of Harrier support and Argentine strength might have been enough to discourage the even to sending the Task Force.

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I just handed in a thirteen page essay on the Falklands for a Politics class, had to condense the info down to avoid exceeding the word limit.

BiscuitKnight
08-28-2006, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by gkll:
just another thought - about the uboats

uboats transited around the channel for the length of the war (or used french ports) - far too dangerous in the channel, this is common knowledge.

how many uboat sinkings of destroyers, for the whole war, when travelling at 25 knots or better - and I mean destroyers <not> trying to get closer to the uboats, ie hunting them, just destroyers hustling along trying to get to someplace else in a hurry... its not a big number

How many u-boats operational in fall 1940? My rough recollection is it was low numbers, little changed if not lower than the start of the war.

Of course you can't discount the uboat threat, just how serious was it? The destroyers would have maintained high speed and erratic courses, no need whatsoever to slow down at any point to sink river barges, heh heh

Good points, Wikipedia says 57 operation boats at the outbreak of war, and I'm sure it was still well under 100, with one third being rested or repaired at any given time. Combine that with the fact that the boats were never (this is from memory) ordered to cease normal operations to prepare for channel operations, which adds transit times and means that of the operational boats, probably not all that were available, smaller than the operational number, would even be ordered to participate, let alone actually reach the area and hit anything. Also, quite a few early boats were Type IIs with only five torpedos, and you fired in a spread of three, usually, so that means at best, two spread, or two and one alone, so the odds of doing a lot of damage to the RN, especially when all the torpedo failures were factored in, aren't fantastic.

gkll
08-28-2006, 11:56 PM
Adam you read my posts for some 'greater thread' content when it is not there half the time. As usual this thread has several arms, the one I thought I was pursuing was a scenario where for whatever reason (I couldn't care less) the RAF is out of the way in time for the original Sealion projections. At that point with no RAF and the LW more or less as it was at that date, could the LW have stopped the RN? Anyways that was all I was going on about, not all this other stuff...

Point I try and make is that when you consider that, for eg, the Germans might have needed support from <friendly> British forces to get the army safely across, is to consider the issue from the point of view of the 'sea' as apposed to the 'air' view you have. Poor Germans might have had a regular disaster unless friendly sea forces were there to help... start from that viewpoint. There are so many factors that can go wrong for the poor Germans, no wonder the Kriegsmarine was antsy... it looked a mountain, it was... the 'sea' factors to this are underrated

So considered this way, an intact LW for the start of Sealion, on schedule.. how many trained squadrons/aircrew going after the 70 25 knot warships descending on the wallowing barges....?

Anyway your training shows I think, you do agree that if the Brits knew the barges were there the Luftwaffe wouldn't have stopped them, chances are... and that's the ball game isn't it? Where's a scenario where the Brits miss the invasion fleet? They'll be spotted at touch down, latest, plenty of time to get to the site, it takes hours in a smoothly run well practised operation, like the americans in the pacific in 45, or Overlord, to get troops ashore (and these represent landings carried out as a science after <extensive> experience, with the finest equipment tactics and training), not the poor Germans with unfit equipment no practise no navy etc etc etc, so absolutely there are Brit destroyers getting to the fleet. And then its a bad day to be in a barge.

Anyway just promoting a bit of a sea viewpoint in this air forum, I know some about it, its good for balance.

gkll
08-29-2006, 12:05 AM
Yeah sure Biscuit, ive studied the falklands thing too.... but geez don't be so literal, the point I make (try to make) is that the Brits have a remarkable commonality in approach to these things, and a good track record to boot, so yeah maybe it <is> pretty analagous to every other time those boys put themselves in harms way to get the job done. And century in and century out, they have got the job done. The Falklands thing <is> kind of cool, when you see it that way

Was <real> lucky about those bombs though, agree there. Still, half the fleet, whatever, those boys might have spent the ships for the islands back, you never know.... the Brits have always been a little crazy that way

EDIT< Biscuit nice summary thansk for posting>

BiscuitKnight
08-29-2006, 12:13 AM
Originally posted by gkll:
Yeah sure Biscuit, ive studied the falklands thing too.... but geez don't be so literal, the point I make (try to make) is that the Brits have a remarkable commonality in approach to these things, and a good track record to boot, so yeah maybe it <is> pretty analagous to every other time those boys put themselves in harms way to get the job done. And century in and century out, they have got the job done. The Falklands thing <is> kind of cool, when you see it that way

Was <real> lucky about those bombs though, agree there. Still, half the fleet, whatever, those boys might have spent the ships for the islands back, you never know.... the Brits have always been a little crazy that way

Sorry, I did come off a little rudely and pedantic. The results sure are about the same as Trafalgar, Jutland and WWII operations if you cut it in a general sense of casualties, strategic victory, everyone praises the RN again for a while.

Aaron_GT
08-29-2006, 02:27 AM
If they had waited for better equipment, the Hurricane would never have been ordered, as it was ordered at almost the same time as the Spitfire. The Hurricane was essentially a stop-gap.

Just to amplify this, a little:

It was also standard practice to have at least two of any one type in development to guard against problems. Hence you also had the Halifax precursor (unnamed) and Manchester being produced to P.13/36.

It was also standard practice to have the replacement for a type to be in development even before the type entered service, hence the development of the Tornado/Typhoon series began in 1937, and also in parallel with 4 cannon armed designs based on the Hurricane and Spitfire. Supermarine was late in designing the Spitfire replacement, though, and the Spiteful wasn't an entirely new design.

So in some senses the Spitfire was also seen as an interim design, likely to be replaced by the Tornado or Typhoon, or something else. In the end the Typhoon didn't do well, and the development of the Tempest from around 1941 took a while, and so the Spitfire soldiered on with a series of performance enhancements, and supplemented by the likes of the -hawk series and Mustang series as appropriate.

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 03:27 AM
Originally posted by panther3485:
Actually, the British generally, together with most of the English-speaking World at least, have been re-assessing the Battle of Britain in the last couple of decades, without the ' myth national heroic saga ' etc, that you refer to. [This had admittedly been part of the problem before, and often tended to cloud objectivity, particularly in the decades immediately following the war; the 50's, 60's and 70's.]

Attempts has been made from the sixties, as a matter of fact, usually failed as after a few pages the authors could not restrain themselves from repeating the same national bravado and angrily jumping the evil 'continental historians' who's been questioning the bed time story's validity, horribile dictu saying that it was not a small elite of flamboyant heroes saving the world from an invasion of evil, perhaps noting that the 'we were outnumbered' story was not true at all, or casting doubts about how serious the allaged invasion plans were (which kinda kills the saga's main storyline)

Yes there's been attempts, but reading your posts, they were not a stunning success.



<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> "Analysis of the loss statistics show the RAF was loosing around twice as many fighters than the LW...."

Yes, if you average out the stats for the whole of the Battle of Britain, the British did in fact lose around twice as many fighters shot down, compared to the Germans. BUT

(a) Even though the loss of British fighter planes was higher, they were nevertheless still able to replace their lost figher planes more readily than the Germans could replace theirs! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Which was not much of a conform as they could not replace they trained pilots flying them. What they could do, is to produce a lot of fighters, and then send someone semi-competent to fly it. Quality of these pilots, having just 5-10 hours in a fighter, was even worser than those notorious 44/45 Luftwaffe fighter rookies.




(b) Although the British lost about double the number of fighters, a somewhat lower ratio is reflected in pilot losses, because many of the British pilots baled out over friendly territory and, provided they were not badly wounded, were back in action soon. [Occasionally, even on the same day!]

True. But end of it is again that despite the advantage enjoyed by shotdown RAF pilots in landing/jumping out over friendly turf, is that they were still loosing more fighter pilots, and their training capacity was much less than in Germany.

Fighter Command's loss rate in pilots was well above the training capacity

July :

RAF fighters : 90 killed, wounded or missing
LW fighters : 44 killed, wounded or missing

August :


RAF fighters : 256 killed, wounded or missing
LW fighters : 184 killed, wounded or missing

Sept/October :

RAF fighters : 368 killed, wounded or missing
LW fighters : 272 killed, wounded or missing





(c) Taken over the full course of the battle, despite the fact that experienced British pilots that were lost were often replaced with 'green' trainees (which happened on both sides, by the way), they had still been better able to find replacements than the Germans.

Wishful thinking.

The RAF FC lost some 80% of it's flight and Squadron leaders following the week of Adlertag. Formations were led by COs without the slightest idea how to do their job. Some Hurricane squadron leaders didn't even fly a Hurricane before they were assigned to lead a Hurricane unit. The pilot replacement had just 10 hours of practice in their operational aircraft, which is about one-third an 1944 LW rookies was getting.

The only RAF could replace it's manpower losses during the Battle of Britian to take trainees from fighter schools who didn't even finish their course there. On August 10 Dowding issued the order to shorten the training programme of a fighter pilot to just two weeks - this has been a 6 month long course up to July. This occured already in August, and when these untrained trainees would be shot down in action, there was nobody standing behind in the que to replace them - the fighter schools were already robbed out in advance.

The Germans did not have to use such desperate measures. True that their no. of pilots slightly fell during the battle, but the replacements they got were fully trained rookies, quite capable just not combat experienced. The Jagdwaffe could fight for months at that rate of decrease in the pilots, RAF FC only until their 'storage' of pilots would last, there were no more replacements.



(d) Although replacement of experienced pilot losses with inexperienced men had the effect of overall dilution in pilot quality, this was also happening to the Germans at the same time.

Wishful thinking. The LW did not decrease the lenght of the course of the training programme at all during the battle. There's quite a bit of difference between the replacements the LW and two-week cannon fodder the RAF got. LW rookies were receiving some 10 times as long training compared to their RAF counterparts.



But neither side ever had whole squadrons, or anywhere near it, that were 'green'. The new guys were mixed in among more experienced and seasoned men. And although many of these newer pilots were also lost (to be replaced, in many cases again, by another 'green' recruit), those who did manage to survive became seasoned very quickly.

This was a definiate advantage for the LW, that they were lead by some very experineced officers who could pass on a wealth of knowladge. The RAF however




(e) Perhaps most important of all, the British fighters were also shooting down significant (and, for the Germans, unsustainable) numbers of bombers. It wasn't just a fighter-vs-fighter battle, and should not be assessed as such.

No, it wasn't just a fighter-vs-fighter battle - the Germans did shot down a large number of Bomber Command bombers which were doing crucial attacks against German barge concentration, curiously enough, British historians don't like to add British bomber losses into the final tally, but they do add German bomber losses.

Hardly were the bomber losses unsustainable for the LW.

In July they lost 76 bombers (and 12 Stukas), a total of 88 to enemy action.
in August they lost 183 bombers and 47 Stukas, a total of 230 to enemy action.
In September they lost 165 bombers and no Stukas to enemy action. or
In October they just lost 64.

We know they flew 11 037 bomber sorties in September, and 7210 in October.
That works out as just as little as 1.5% loss rate in September, and 0.08% for October to enemy action, quite marginal and readily sustainable. The losses in the Battle of France as a matter of fact was worser or comparable, and they could sustain that quite well, judging from the hammering England got on the summer of 1940.



<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> "....British training programme for fighter pilots was simply inadequate...."

But still good enough to maintain viable unit strengths, continue to shoot down substantial numbers of German bombers, continue to deny the Germans air superiority over SE England, increase the overall strength of Fighter Command and, ultimately, win the vital struggle. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Seems like I hit a nerve, and schoolboy bravado is the answer.

If you mean just numbers under unit strenght then I agree it's technically correct. However we all know that a Squadron made up by 10 hour rookies and a lost Commander is not the same as fully trained pilots lead by an able commander.

From the German loss statistics (which were decreasing in both absolute and relative number), and the course of the battle (the Germans were bombing everything pretty much at will in SE England including London, Fighter Command did not succeed denying them from this even once), I have doubts that in this question, you have any connection to reality.



Yes, but most of this was relatively short-term expedient, to meet what was seen as a relatively short-term emergency. It was not long-term policy. Some of the impetus came from the nature of the British leadership itself. Dowding and Park tended to err on the side of conservatism and caution, over-estimating the strength of the Luftwaffe and under-estimating their own strength.

I think you underestimate Dowding and Park, I think they were very capable of judging their own situation of simply running out of fighter pilots. It nevertheless a fine fictionary element that one can read in those old 1960ish BoB books... And where did the overhyped British Intellgence disappeared all the sudden, with you claiming it was unable to give correct picture on the LW at all?



If you really want to see the damaging long-term effects of a seriously flawed fighter pilot training policy, you need look no further than the Lufwaffe. However, if you find that upsetting, look at the Japanese instead because they were just about as bad. Taken over the war as a whole, both the British and the Americans had much better training policies in place than either the Germans or the Japanese, both of whom seemed to be depending on the war being very short.

Well I fail to see how this claim of yours would connect to the discussion we rest of us having on the Battle of Britain, apart from it's a kind of a typical grudging fanboi reaction, bravado about a subject you don't know at all, just repeating that your side was superior, with very vogue and equally ignorant judgements on whole air force training organisations, handling them like they were all the same, when they were not at all.


The remainder of your post only gets worse and has in any case been adequately answered by others here, who got in before me.

Oh I am sure of that, just slow down and catch your breath, then you can tell me why the loss figures reported by each side were 'only getting worse' (to whom?).

HellToupee
08-29-2006, 04:39 AM
kurfust u do know there were bombers in the bob right?

Since by your accounts they were winning easily, why did they lose.

HellToupee
08-29-2006, 04:46 AM
and they could sustain that quite well, judging from the hammering England got on the summer of 1940.

well no they couldnt sustain it quite well, they had to spend months putting themselfs back together, if they had sustained it well they would have been hammering britian right away before they could prepare.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 04:49 AM
So then, Kurfurst, why did the Luftwaffe lose the battle of britain?

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 04:57 AM
It's good to see that even the 8-year olds add their arguements to the discussion. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif

HellToupee
08-29-2006, 05:03 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
It's good to see that even the 8-year olds add their arguements to the discussion. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif

good to see u have no answer

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 05:05 AM
Im 21. That is the response of an 8 year old. I think we are just asking that after all the information you have provided you should give an explanation of how the Luftwaffe managed to lose the battle of britain when they were having such a great and easy time beating up the RAF?

Lucius_Esox
08-29-2006, 05:10 AM
It's good to see that even the 8-year olds add their arguements to the discussion.

Kurfurst...Lol.... what you mean as opposed to the ten year olds.

I notice you didn't answer the above questions,,, well except with a bit of name calling http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 05:14 AM
I did not see any questions. I've seen innuendo from guys who can't deal in anything else but absolutes.

There's no need to waste time on such childish reactions.

I am wondering at what point the LW lost the BoB. Maybe when the English decleared they lost it, LOL? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

John_Wayne_
08-29-2006, 05:21 AM
Like the Romans and Hannibal you mean Kurfy? An interesting supposition.

WOLFMondo
08-29-2006, 05:58 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
Im 21. That is the response of an 8 year old. I think we are just asking that after all the information you have provided you should give an explanation of how the Luftwaffe managed to lose the battle of britain when they were having such a great and easy time beating up the RAF?

You have to understand Kurfurst. He doesn't like the English or the British and will do everything and anything to down play any acheivement the British have ever had, and pick out any negative point he can, where the British are concerned.

He is right on one point, there was nothing absolute about the Battle of Britain in regards to why it was won by the British. There are dozens of contributing reasons why the British won or the Germans lost (Goering being an idiot, local air superiority, Royal Navy, Radar support, superior British guidance and control of its pilots etc). Same as in the final outcome of any conflict or war, there is always more too it than one overiding absolute that wins or looses a battle or war. The BoB is a great example of this.

What is important is the British did win. In war you don't get a grade for effort, just a grade for attainment.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 06:11 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
I did not see any questions. I've seen innuendo from guys who can't deal in anything else but absolutes.

There's no need to waste time on such childish reactions.

I am wondering at what point the LW lost the BoB. Maybe when the English decleared they lost it, LOL? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I think the point they lost it is universally acknowledged as the point where Seelowe was postponed indefinately.

luftluuver
08-29-2006, 06:12 AM
Sure Kurfurst, what ever you say. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

.....they could sustain that quite well, judging from the hammering England got on the summer of 1940.
Strength Summary - 13 Aug 40 / 7 Sept 1940
Number Type Strength - Svcble / Strength - Svcble

Kampfgruppen: 42, 1/3 1482 - 1008 / 43, 1291 - 798 > -191 -216 (Gruppen increased by 2/3))
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">decrease of 12.9% & 20.8%</span>

Jagdgruppen: 26, 976 - 853 / 27, 831 - 658 > -146 -195 (Gruppen increased by 1)
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">decrease of 14.9% & 22.9%</span>

Zerstrergruppen: 9, 244 - 189 / 8, 206 - 112 > -38 -77 (Gruppen decreased by 1)
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">decrease of 15.6% & 40.7%</span>

LOL, the LW could not even replace its a/c losses.


Come on Kurfurst, lets hear your hobnailed goosestepping revisionist version of who won the BoB.

Adam906
08-29-2006, 06:35 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
I think the point they lost it is universally acknowledged as the point where Seelowe was postponed indefinately.

Yet another misconception. The idea that the Battle of Britain was lost by the Germans is only universally accepted because nobody has ever bothered to research what actually went on and differentiate BoB from Sealion.

Hitler didn't turn his attention to Russia as a result of the failure of BoB, the battle for air supremacy waned over England and the Channel as a result of a redirection of effort and policy as early as October 1940 to Russia and the growing unrest in Bulgaria/Hungary/Romania and Yugoslavia. It is not the otherway around. While armchair historians might like to argue otherwise, there has been a lot of historical research done on the events surrounding the shift in German policy and the role eastern Europe played in downgrading German ambitions against Russia. The idea that Britain won the Battle of Britain is only universally acknowledged by those who are not historians, or inversally are historians of limited scope and understanding.

I'm tired of arguing and restating the point that BoB was not won by anyone. It's all fine and dandy to trot out operational readiness figures and overal strength of the Luftwaffe and RAF but they are meaningless unless taken in context. The fact still remains that even as late as May 1941 the Germans were still a formidable opponent to British aerial hegomany both over England, the Channel and coastal regions. If the Germans had have lost the battle then this simply would not have been the case.

No one side won the Battle of Britain - and certainly the Royal Navy had about as much to do with the outcome as I do to the war in Iraq. Instead of coming out with rather bland and unsubstantiated statements such as the above quoted, why not trying to press your argument, supported by fact, for an educated discussion? To be sure, don't think that supplying strength figures, losses, production out-put and pilot training figures will count for much unless you put them in context.

The Battle of Britain was a battle for air supremacy over the Channel and south-eastern Britain. The Luftwaffe was unable to hold complete air superiority over Britain, though it achieved local air supremacy in regions at various times, but it did so over the Channel, Western Approaches and North Sea far beyond May 1941. These later places were all geographically defined by various Fuhrer Directives and subsequent OKW and OKL planning as part of the war against Britain and the German attempt to gain air superiorty in the region.

To win something you must have something to show for it. The losses in shipping and the fact the Channel still remained a very dangerous place to sail as late as early 1942 condems the theory that the British won the BoB to the realm of fantasy. Likewise, the fact that German a/c could operate at night without suffering debilitating losses on an aggregate scale supports this. Inversely, the fact the Germans could not operate their bombers in daylight hours over England counters the claim the Luftwaffe won the Battle. Even the leaders of Britain at the time noted they had not won, merely they had forced a ceasefire. What more evidence do you lot need?!

WWMaxGunz
08-29-2006, 06:43 AM
Siege was made and siege was quit. You want to say not won or lost that is games.
Had the Germans not taken France then I guess no one would have won that round either.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 06:51 AM
I have not quoted any figures. I am certainly not the type of person to argue in absolutes.

My understanding is that the germans lost the bob because they did not achieve sufficient air superiority to carry out an amphibious invasion. Obviously, the viability of an amphibious invasion even with air supremacy is a huge argument that has been brought up countless times before....

Any other arguments about the relative strength of each side in numbers is of no consequence as Seelowe did not go ahead. The winding down of German efforts over southern England is indication that they felt the operation could no longer be successful. If it was possbile, in their mind, they would have done it!

German plans toward Russia have nothing to do with this argument. Hitler wanted to invade England, but couldn't because he ran out of time.

WOLFMondo
08-29-2006, 06:52 AM
Originally posted by Adam906:

No one side won the Battle of Britain - and certainly the Royal Navy had about as much to do with the outcome as I do to the war in Iraq.

Wrong! Your one guy and unless your the utmost highest Islamic leader and can call of all sectarian violence in Iraq you can do squat, unlike the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy in 1940 was the biggest in the world and could take on anyone and win, there is no point arguing against that fact. Regardless of projected losses it was a massive advantage the British had and cannot be ignored. ANYTHING going through the English channel or North sea was a viable target for the RN. The Luftwaffe had to have complete control of the air to consider taking on the Royal Navy. Imagine the Royal Navy massing at Portsmouth then ram raiding the kreigsmarine invasion boats. Just the wake of 15 20,000-35,000 ton Battleships steaming past at 20knots, followed by over 200 cruisers and destroyers could have wiped the invasion force out.

With the size of the channel and the range of the Navies guns they could hit any part of the invasion force, run right through it, hit the landing beaches and the departure ports.

Look at it this way, the RAF had to be defeated to consider taking on the worlds largest navy in a very small stretch of water.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 06:54 AM
Maybe we are becoming confused with the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic and the war between the UK and Germany as a whole? I am just talking in terms of the period between July-September 1940.

WOLFMondo
08-29-2006, 07:07 AM
I don't think so. In the time period of the Battle of Britain the Royal Navy was key to long term strategy of the UK. The Battle of the Atlantic was different, as by the time it was in full swing the Royal Navy was overstretched around the world also fighting Japan. In 1940 much of its power was in the Home Fleet so a direct problem for any invasion force.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 07:20 AM
Basically I think the point Adam906 and Kurfurst are trying to make is that nobody won the BoB. I totally agree with this in terms of the air war.

But what was it for? Why did Hitler try to destroy the RAF?

I would be really interested to hear what either of you, or indeed anyone else, has to say on this point.

Reason 1:
Hitler wanted to do it just because he thought he could. A warning to the rest of the world. A total waste of resources but this man wasn't exactly a genius in strategic matters.

Reason 2:
Hitler wanted to invade Britain using the plans laid out for Operation Seelowe. He would have to gain air superiority, if not supremacy, over the channel and southern England in order to allow his armies to reach the shore and then support it with tactical airforces.

Here I can see the point that nobody won or lost the BoB.
...IF Germany had sufficient landing craft and shipping and the Royal Navy was not an issue then the RAF would not have been able to stop the invasion. They would have inflicted losses on the Luftwaffe suporting the landing and ground battles, as they inflicted losses on the Germans in the actual BoB.

However, the Royal Navy was a major issue as WOLFMondo sets out. There was no answer to it from the beginning. Therefore I follow the argument that started this whole thread.

The mystery is why Hitler even tried to destroy the RAF knowing full well he could do nothing about the Royal Navy. Maybe it simply because of reason 1 I set out earlier in my post...

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 07:34 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
My understanding is that the germans lost the bob because they did not achieve sufficient air superiority to carry out an amphibious invasion.

It's curious to state someone they lost because not being able to make an invasion they never considered seriously. Problem is that the Germans did not want to carry out an amphibious invasion at all. The early Hitler directive uses the phrase as 'an if neccesary, carry out an invasion'. Doesn't sound to eager about it early on already.

There were never any detailed plans made for Seelowe, this has been shown decades ago by West German historians, just scetchy projection to be presented to the Wehrmacht 3 services, which was discussed and it was concluded that with its current resources the KM is not able to provide enough cover for a wide landing zone, and the Heer thought that it would be stupid to attempt a landing on a narrow invasion front. In brief, the fall of France brought them to a new situation that they were not prepeared to carry out.

The whole story of that the LW failing to grasp complete air superiority is the only reason Britain was not invaded is complete bullocks. They simply didn't have the means to carry out such an offensive operation, nor did anybody else in mid-1940.


Any other arguments about the relative strength of each side in numbers is of no consequence as Seelowe did not go ahead. The winding down of German efforts over southern England is indication that they felt the operation could no longer be successful. If it was possbile, in their mind, they would have done it!

Problem is that the German staff did not believed that the invasion could be successfull from the start. You cannot really wind down something that wasn't even started.


German plans toward Russia have nothing to do with this argument. Hitler wanted to invade England, but couldn't because he ran out of time.

Unfortunately they do. Hitlers strategic plan changed in July-August 1940 already because of the increasing Russian threat and expansion in Eastern Europe (Rumania etc), before BoB would even seriously start.
That Britain would not be invaded - it was not neccesary, having them neutralized already - was a done deal by that time, irrespective of outcome of the air battle. Like it or not, Hitler had no reason to consider England a serious threat to German expansion plans. Not after Dunkerque. The Army was beaten, and they could never possible mount an invasion alone by themselves. Certainly Hitler had hopes that the LW would put enough pressure on Britain to convince them there's no point in continouing this war; Hitler did not want to invade England, he did not want war with them in the first place (just look through 1930s diplomacy, the Anglo-German naval pact was just about assuring the Brits the pre-WW1 German threat would not repeat itself) he just wanted that the British would 'get reasonable', sack the warmongering Churchill for someone more willing to negotiate, with England and Germany coming to terms and leave each other alone. He was far more concerced that by shattering the British Empire, only Germany's rivals - the US and USSR - would feed on the remnants of the colonial empire. That was not Germany's interests at all.

Low_Flyer_MkVb
08-29-2006, 07:36 AM
If the Luftwaffe attempted a sustained campaign to destroy the RAF's capability to interfere with airborne incursion over the United Kingdom and failed would it constitute a British victory?

A simple yes/no answer would suffice.

luftluuver
08-29-2006, 07:42 AM
he just wanted that the British would 'get reasonable', sack the warmongering Churchill for someone more willing to negotiate, LOL, Churchill, a war mongerer. That is quite the statement considering it was Hitler and his cronies that were the war mongering aggressors. Oops, I forgot Hitler was a pacifist. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Sure Kurfurst. That is why the Germans sent barges and shipping that could have been put to better use transporting goods in and around Germany.

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 07:51 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
Basically I think the point Adam906 and Kurfurst are trying to make is that nobody won the BoB. I totally agree with this in terms of the air war.

Yes that's the point. BoB was an ongoing air war campaign that is difficult to broke down into phases, esp. as the British themselves count itself different (July-October), whereas the air operations lasted until May 1941, when the LW transferred to the EF. It's a very poorly covered period by Anglo-Saxon literature, and hard to explain why the LW air campaign that took so many forms at that period would not be part of the Battle of Britain. It's also difficult to proclaim a winner, given that neither air force was seriously breaking, altough taking casulties and suffering attrition, it would be difficult to say that either would have lost it's combat potential. The BoB was the first air campaign that showed how difficult is to bring down an enemy air force that has a proper industrial basis behind it for support. How hard such task is was shown in the coming years of contest for the air superioty over Europe. Winning it was certainly not a matter of months.


But what was it for? Why did Hitler try to destroy the RAF?

It doesn't seem that the goal was to destroy the RAF. The Hitler Directives as well as the others speak of a very wide variety of targets from harbors through industry, naval targets and of course the RAF. The notion that it was set out only to destroy the RAF is most likely a creation of post-BOB literature.

As for what the goal was, it was probably to put pressure on British leadership to 'come to their minds'. Hitler gave speeches where he outlined his wish for peace with Britain before the battle, and in general in his ideology he thought of the British as 'fellow aryans'. He perhaps felt that the LW can be a tool to persuade to English for making peace under fair conditions, which might explain why the Luftwaffe continued it's campaign through the winter of 1940, right up until the invasion of the USSR. Obviously, with the bad wheater and sea state prohibiting any large scale shipping (ie. invasion), it was certainly not for prepearing an imminent invasion, and from November 1940, after the much ignored (failed) talks with Molotov in November, it was clear that conflict between Germany and the USSR was a matter of time.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 07:57 AM
This I completely agree with. The whole thing, essentially, was a strategic blunder by Hitler and a waste of Luftwaffe resources. Strategic blundering was certainly something Hitler would repeat throughout the rest of the war.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 08:03 AM
Originally posted by luftluuver:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">he just wanted that the British would 'get reasonable', sack the warmongering Churchill for someone more willing to negotiate, LOL, Churchill, a war mongerer. That is quite the statement considering it was Hitler and his cronies that were the war mongering aggressors. Oops, I forgot Hitler was a pacifist. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Sure Kurfurst. That is why the Germans sent barges and shipping that could have been put to better use transporting goods in and around Germany. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think he means thats how the Germans saw it. Churchill the warmongerer whilst the British public just wanted peace.

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 08:13 AM
I am sure it was costly for the Luftwaffe (this is quite a bit exaggrevated again, the French campain was much shorter, and just as costly as the BoB!), but this is pretty much 20/20. In mid 1940, it made good sense to try to convince to Brits to get more neutral. The LW was their only real means for that, and - back in 1940 - it was very successfull in putting pressure on foreign goverments - the very rearmament of Germany and Hitler's first moves was made under the shadow of fear from LW bombers levelling whole towns - , and it's limits were not yet known or experienced. They overestimated the effect of the LW, but so did the Allies later on, one can say everyone had to learn from it's own experiences.

What BoB really showed is how hard it is to defeat a modern air force with industrial backing, and the limitation of the air force as a single 'war winning' weapon. If anything was defeated in the BoB period, it was Douhetism and the 'Bomber Baron' mentality. The air force could not win the war alone.


This one below is the Fuhrer-directive outlining the goals against German plans and intentions towards Britian :


DIRECTIVE No. 16


The Fuhrer and CINC of the Wehrmacht
OKW/WFA/L #33 160/4O g. Kdos
Secret Führer Headquarters
16 Jusly 1940
Office Courier only

Concerning preparations for an amphibious operation against England.

Since Britain still shows no sign of willingness to come to an agreement in spite of her hopeless military situation, I have decided to prepare and if necessary carry out an amphibious operation against England.

The purpose of this operation will be to eliminate the English mother country as a base for continuation of the war against Germany and, if it should become necessary, to occupy the entire island.

To this end I order as follows: [....]

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 08:17 AM
So maybe you could argue the Luftwaffe lost the BoB, not because Operation Seelowe did not go ahead, as it was never seriously considered anyway, but because they did not break the will of the British and make peace?

If there is an aim to a campaign, and it is not achieved, then it could be said they have lost. From Britain's point of view you could not really say if they lost or won. To imagine a world today where Churchill had made peace with Hitler in late 1940, early 41 would be far beyond the imagination of anyone I feel.

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:

I think he means thats how the Germans saw it. Churchill the warmongerer whilst the British public just wanted peace.

Yep. Keep in mind that in 1940, Churchill was hardly a very popular figure, he had become prime minister much more because of political compromise between the parties rather than preference for his person. He was a real 'hawk' though, the invasion of Norway was very much of his idea which he proposed already in September 1939 to the War Cabinet to cut of German ore shipments.

The Germans were quite convinced that the war-lijke Churchill would be soon sacked if the Brits would taste the tears he promised (a misjudgement of British characters, indeed, but so far it worked out for them), and then they could make peace with someone 'more reasoable', like Halifax. See also the poor, naive Rudolf Hess flight.

Xiolablu3
08-29-2006, 08:24 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
I did not see any questions. I've seen innuendo from guys who can't deal in anything else but absolutes.

There's no need to waste time on such childish reactions.

I am wondering at what point the LW lost the BoB. Maybe when the English decleared they lost it, LOL? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

WHen they failed the objective that they set for themselves.

I guess it was more of a stalemate, but the fact is that Britain successfully defended herself against the Luftwaffe aims.

I think a successful defence is definitely a victory. Also it allowed Britain to stay in the fight and eventually hit back.

Xiolablu3
08-29-2006, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by lyceum1985:

I think he means thats how the Germans saw it. Churchill the warmongerer whilst the British public just wanted peace.

Yep. Keep in mind that in 1940, Churchill was hardly a very popular figure, he had become prime minister much more because of political compromise between the parties rather than preference for his person. He was a real 'hawk' though, the invasion of Norway was very much of his idea which he proposed already in September 1939 to the War Cabinet to cut of German ore shipments.

The Germans were quite convinced that the war-lijke Churchill would be soon sacked if the Brits would taste the tears he promised (a misjudgement of British characters, indeed, but so far it worked out for them), and then they could make peace with someone 'more reasoable', like Halifax. See also the poor, naive Rudolf Hess flight. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think you will find Churchill was very popular, the mood in Britian in 1940 was one of 'fight on at all costs'

What wa the name of that American guy they sent over to check if Britian would fight or capitulate? He went back to Washington absolutely concvinced that the British people would fight on alone whatever the cost, and told this to Roosevelt, allowing even more US aid to Britian.

Maybe someone can tell us his name, I have seen an interview with him before.

lyceum1985
08-29-2006, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
I am sure it was costly for the Luftwaffe (this is quite a bit exaggrevated again, the French campain was much shorter, and just as costly as the BoB!), but this is pretty much 20/20. In mid 1940, it made good sense to try to convince to Brits to get more neutral. The LW was their only real means for that, and - back in 1940 - it was very successfull in putting pressure on foreign goverments - the very rearmament of Germany and Hitler's first moves was made under the shadow of fear from LW bombers levelling whole towns - , and it's limits were not yet known or experienced. They overestimated the effect of the LW, but so did the Allies later on, one can say everyone had to learn from it's own experiences.

What BoB really showed is how hard it is to defeat a modern air force with industrial backing, and the limitation of the air force as a single 'war winning' weapon. If anything was defeated in the BoB period, it was Douhetism and the 'Bomber Baron' mentality. The air force could not win the war alone.


This one below is the Fuhrer-directive outlining the goals against German plans and intentions towards Britian :


DIRECTIVE No. 16


The Fuhrer and CINC of the Wehrmacht
OKW/WFA/L #33 160/4O g. Kdos
Secret Führer Headquarters
16 Jusly 1940
Office Courier only

Concerning preparations for an amphibious operation against England.

Since Britain still shows no sign of willingness to come to an agreement in spite of her hopeless military situation, I have decided to prepare and if necessary carry out an amphibious operation against England.

The purpose of this operation will be to eliminate the English mother country as a base for continuation of the war against Germany and, if it should become necessary, to occupy the entire island.

To this end I order as follows: [....]

Interesting. Taking note of your highlighted sections it seems the BoB was a serious attempt to prepare Britain for an invasion, but if the British did not sue for peace during this 'softening up' period then the invasion would have to go ahead.

So you could say Germany lost on both counts in that Britain did not sue for peace and the invasion never took place for various reasons.

Kurfurst__
08-29-2006, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
So maybe you could argue the Luftwaffe lost the BoB, not because Operation Seelowe did not go ahead, as it was never seriously considered anyway, but because they did not break the will of the British and make peace?

I'd say it was the failure of the German decision makers who gave a task impossible to succeed with for the air force to achieve, rather than the air force's failure alone. Yet I can't blame them, they did the reasonable thing of the time. No air force succeeded in breaking the will of the enemy to fight, nor in completely neutralizing an enemy air force just in 2-3 months. That's a 20/20 again, in mid-1940, nobody knew if this was possible or not. The LW was doing quite good in BoB, it was just not possible to achieve so much in so little time than what was available.


If there is an aim to a campaign, and it is not achieved, then it could be said they have lost.

I'd say it's a failure for the Germans, and success for the Brits, but not a defeat for either. For a defeat it takes a more active, decisive moment than just that the enemy, having things to do elsewhere, packs up and fights at other places. It would need at the minimum that the LW/RAF would suffer such losses that it simply could not keep up with the air campaign anymore, but this didn't happen. The RAF may or may not got a setback due to the pilot situation over time, but this would not materialize; Dowding was quite correct when he mobilised what was available from pilot schools, as the danger of the invasion, and possibilty to maintain an intense airial warfare would cease to exists from the setting in of the automn anyway, with bad weather being a prohibitive factor.



From Britain's point of view you could not really say if they lost or won. To imagine a world today where Churchill had made peace with Hitler in late 1940, early 41 would be far beyond the imagination of anyone I feel.

Indeed it would not be a lucky case, yet I feel that Churchill was right even while being wrong, based on what he know back then, if you get what I mean. There was little point for Britain to continue with war based on what they know in mid-1940, Churchill reasoning was hardly as much rational than emotional rooted. Yet, he happened to make the correct decisions, even if his reasoning were incorrect. I feel it a bit like Patton, of whom I don't have a high opinion as a military commander, but his rather silly 'kick their ***' uber-agressiveness was the right way of using the overwhelming material superiority he had access to.

ploughman
08-29-2006, 08:53 AM
I find myself largely in agreement with you Kurfy. The Germans gave the Luftwaffe an objective they could not reasonably hope to acheive and by doing so they handed Britain a victory that played extremely well in the USA and meant the war in the west would continue. Following that up with a campaign of bombing that merely underlined German 'beastliness' throughout the world and cemented British resolve was another error. Better I think to have left us Brits on our island as we were largely impotent at the time. That would have perhaps been more effective, but hindsight's 20/20.

panther3485
08-29-2006, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by Low_Flyer_MkVb:
If the Luftwaffe attempted a sustained campaign to destroy the RAF's capability to interfere with airborne incursion over the United Kingdom and failed would it constitute a British victory?

A simple yes/no answer would suffice.

yes

panther3485
08-29-2006, 09:17 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by lyceum1985:
Basically I think the point Adam906 and Kurfurst are trying to make is that nobody won the BoB. I totally agree with this in terms of the air war.

Yes that's the point. BoB was an ongoing air war campaign that is difficult to broke down into phases, esp. as the British themselves count itself different (July-October), whereas the air operations lasted until May 1941, when the LW transferred to the EF. It's a very poorly covered period by Anglo-Saxon literature, and hard to explain why the LW air campaign that took so many forms at that period would not be part of the Battle of Britain. It's also difficult to proclaim a winner, given that neither air force was seriously breaking, altough taking casulties and suffering attrition, it would be difficult to say that either would have lost it's combat potential. The BoB was the first air campaign that showed how difficult is to bring down an enemy air force that has a proper industrial basis behind it for support. How hard such task is was shown in the coming years of contest for the air superioty over Europe. Winning it was certainly not a matter of months.


But what was it for? Why did Hitler try to destroy the RAF?

It doesn't seem that the goal was to destroy the RAF. The Hitler Directives as well as the others speak of a very wide variety of targets from harbors through industry, naval targets and of course the RAF. The notion that it was set out only to destroy the RAF is most likely a creation of post-BOB literature.

As for what the goal was, it was probably to put pressure on British leadership to 'come to their minds'. Hitler gave speeches where he outlined his wish for peace with Britain before the battle, and in general in his ideology he thought of the British as 'fellow aryans'. He perhaps felt that the LW can be a tool to persuade to English for making peace under fair conditions, which might explain why the Luftwaffe continued it's campaign through the winter of 1940, right up until the invasion of the USSR. Obviously, with the bad wheater and sea state prohibiting any large scale shipping (ie. invasion), it was certainly not for prepearing an imminent invasion, and from November 1940, after the much ignored (failed) talks with Molotov in November, it was clear that conflict between Germany and the USSR was a matter of time. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Kurfurst, sometimes you make very good posts, which makes it very hard to respond when you post nonsense.

panther3485
08-29-2006, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
So maybe you could argue the Luftwaffe lost the BoB, not because Operation Seelowe did not go ahead, as it was never seriously considered anyway, but because they did not break the will of the British and make peace?

If there is an aim to a campaign, and it is not achieved, then it could be said they have lost. From Britain's point of view you could not really say if they lost or won. To imagine a world today where Churchill had made peace with Hitler in late 1940, early 41 would be far beyond the imagination of anyone I feel.


As far as the air fighting in the Battle of Britain is concerned, the German objective was clearly to destroy Fighter Command's ability to defend British airspace. This was, as others have pointed out, part of an overall strategy to get Britain out of the war, by 'persuading' her that she should - using force if necessary!

The British objective, within these same paramaters, was to successfully resist the German effort, maintain a viable defence and deny the Luftwaffe the degree of air superiority it was trying to attain in the air fighting.

The Germans failed in their objective and that failure helped Britain to remain in the War as a viable enemy of the Third Reich.

Simply put, it wasn't necessary, nor was it ever thought possible at that early stage of the War, to 'defeat' the Luftwaffe in the sense of destroying it. It was merely necessary to survive the Luftwaffe's effort to severely cripple (if not destroy) Fighter Command's capability to defend British airspace.

By considering these criteria, it is clear that the Germans failed in their aim and the British succeeded in theirs.

Therefore, by any reasonable measure IMHO, this is a British victory and a German defeat.


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif
panther3485

panther3485
08-29-2006, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
I did not see any questions. I've seen innuendo from guys who can't deal in anything else but absolutes.

There's no need to waste time on such childish reactions.

I am wondering at what point the LW lost the BoB. Maybe when the English decleared they lost it, LOL? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

WHen they failed the objective that they set for themselves.

I guess it was more of a stalemate, but the fact is that Britain successfully defended herself against the Luftwaffe aims.

I think a successful defence is definitely a victory. Also it allowed Britain to stay in the fight and eventually hit back. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Perfect answere, Xiolablu3! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

panther3485
08-29-2006, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by lyceum1985:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
I am sure it was costly for the Luftwaffe (this is quite a bit exaggrevated again, the French campain was much shorter, and just as costly as the BoB!), but this is pretty much 20/20. In mid 1940, it made good sense to try to convince to Brits to get more neutral. The LW was their only real means for that, and - back in 1940 - it was very successfull in putting pressure on foreign goverments - the very rearmament of Germany and Hitler's first moves was made under the shadow of fear from LW bombers levelling whole towns - , and it's limits were not yet known or experienced. They overestimated the effect of the LW, but so did the Allies later on, one can say everyone had to learn from it's own experiences.

What BoB really showed is how hard it is to defeat a modern air force with industrial backing, and the limitation of the air force as a single 'war winning' weapon. If anything was defeated in the BoB period, it was Douhetism and the 'Bomber Baron' mentality. The air force could not win the war alone.


This one below is the Fuhrer-directive outlining the goals against German plans and intentions towards Britian :


DIRECTIVE No. 16


The Fuhrer and CINC of the Wehrmacht
OKW/WFA/L #33 160/4O g. Kdos
Secret Führer Headquarters
16 Jusly 1940
Office Courier only

Concerning preparations for an amphibious operation against England.

Since Britain still shows no sign of willingness to come to an agreement in spite of her hopeless military situation, I have decided to prepare and if necessary carry out an amphibious operation against England.

The purpose of this operation will be to eliminate the English mother country as a base for continuation of the war against Germany and, if it should become necessary, to occupy the entire island.

To this end I order as follows: [....]

Interesting. Taking note of your highlighted sections it seems the BoB was a serious attempt to prepare Britain for an invasion, but if the British did not sue for peace during this 'softening up' period then the invasion would have to go ahead.

So you could say Germany lost on both counts in that Britain did not sue for peace and the invasion never took place for various reasons. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Another excellent answer! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

hop2002
08-29-2006, 10:34 AM
Interesting. Taking note of your highlighted sections it seems the BoB was a serious attempt to prepare Britain for an invasion, but if the British did not sue for peace during this 'softening up' period then the invasion would have to go ahead.

Exactly. Even Hitler knew how much of a risk an invasion attempt was, which is why he wasn't exactly overjoyed by the idea. But he was prepared to launch one if neccessary, and if the preconditions (air superiority) had been met.

William Shirer goes into this in some detail in Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

"Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for posterity and the truth, the mountainous secret German military files leave no doubt that Hitler's plan to invade Britain in the early fall of 1940 was deadly serious and that, though given to many hesitations, the Nazi dictator seriously intended to carry it out if there were any reasonable chance of success. Its ultimate fate was settled not by any lack of determination or effort but by the fortunes of war, which now, for the first time, began to turn against him."

Order from Keitel detailing planning:

" Preparations for Sea Lion are to be continued and completed by the Army and Air Force by September 15.

Eight to fourteen days after the launching of the air offensive against Britain, scheduled to begin about August 5, the Fuehrer will decide whether the invasion will take place this year or not; his decision will depend largely on the outcome of the air offensive ."

"In the German Naval War Diary there is a laconic entry for September 17.

The enemy Air Force is still by no means defeated. On the contrary, it shows increasing activity. The weather situation as a whole does not permit us to expect a period of calm ... The Fuehrer therefore decides to postpone "Sea Lion" indefinitely"

"Finally on October 12, the Nazi warlord formally admitted failure and called off the invasion until spring, if then. A formal directive was issued.

Fuehrer's Headquarters
October 12, 1940

TOP SECRET

The Fuehrer has decided that from now on until the spring, preparations for "Sea Lion" shall be continued solely for the purpose of maintaining political and military pressure on England.

Should the invasion be reconsidered in the spring or early summer of 1941, orders for a renewal of operational readiness will be issued later ..."

Shirer's book goes into this in great detail. There's no doubt whatsoever that the invasion was seriously planned and prepared for, that the main reason it was called off was because the Luftwaffe had not secured air superiority.


Yep. Keep in mind that in 1940, Churchill was hardly a very popular figure,

Churchill was extremely popular in 1940, because he had spent the 30s warning about the dangers of Nazi Germany.


this is quite a bit exaggrevated again, the French campain was much shorter, and just as costly as the BoB!

Nowhere near in combat aircraft. The Germans lost a lot of transports in the BoF, but in terms of combat aircraft, they lost about 340 fighters compared to over 800 in the BoB, about 600 bombers compared to about 800 in the BoB.

Above all, though, was the difference in crew losses. In the BoF, most of the baled out crew were returned when the French surrendered. In the BoB, most of the baled out crew were lost to Germany completely.


It doesn't seem that the goal was to destroy the RAF. The Hitler Directives as well as the others speak of a very wide variety of targets from harbors through industry, naval targets and of course the RAF. The notion that it was set out only to destroy the RAF is most likely a creation of post-BOB literature.

No, it's the focus of the operational orders issued to the Luftwaffe.

For a start, whilst Hitler's directives talked about other targets, the defeat of the RAF was the central priority, the rest were to be attacked only afterwards:

"DIRECTIVE No. 17

FOR THE CONDUCT OF AIR AND NAVAL WARFARE AGAINST ENGLAND

For the purpose of creating conditions for the final defeat of Britain, I intend continuing air and naval warfare against the English motherland in a more severe form than hitherto.

For this purpose I order as follows:

1. The Luftwaffe will employ all forces available to eliminate the British air force as soon as possible. In the initial stages, attacks will be directed primarily against the hostile air forces and their ground service organization and supply installations, and against air armament industries, including factories producing AAA equipment.

2. Once temporary or local air superiority is achieved, operations will continue against ports, particularly against installations for the storage of food, and against food storage installations farther inland. In view of intended future German operations, attacks against ports on the south coast of England will be restricted to a minimum.

3. Air operations against hostile naval and merchant ships will be considered a secondary mission during this phase unless particularly lucrative fleeting opportunities offer or unless such action will achieve increased effects in the operations prescribed under Item 2, above, or in the case of operations serving to train aircraft crews for the continued conduct of air warfare."


As for what the goal was, it was probably to put pressure on British leadership to 'come to their minds'. Hitler gave speeches where he outlined his wish for peace with Britain before the battle, and in general in his ideology he thought of the British as 'fellow aryans'. He perhaps felt that the LW can be a tool to persuade to English for making peace under fair conditions, which might explain why the Luftwaffe continued it's campaign through the winter of 1940, right up until the invasion of the USSR. Obviously, with the bad wheater and sea state prohibiting any large scale shipping (ie. invasion), it was certainly not for prepearing an imminent invasion, and from November 1940, after the much ignored (failed) talks with Molotov in November, it was clear that conflict between Germany and the USSR was a matter of time.

Which is why the phases of the BoB. Preparatory phase whilst the Luftwaffe was preparing the main attack, a main attack against the RAF airfields, when that failed a switch to bombing London to try to concentrate the RAF for a knockout blow, when that failed a switch to area bombing British cities at night to try to force Britain out of the war.


It's curious to state someone they lost because not being able to make an invasion they never considered seriously. Problem is that the Germans did not want to carry out an amphibious invasion at all. The early Hitler directive uses the phrase as 'an if neccesary, carry out an invasion'. Doesn't sound to eager about it early on already.

Of course he wasn't eager. Unlike some here who think the Luftwaffe could deal with the RN easily, the German commanders were a lot less sanguine. Hitler didn't want to fight a battle he knew he might well lose, and if there was an easier option he would rather have used that.


There were never any detailed plans made for Seelowe, this has been shown decades ago by West German historians, just scetchy projection to be presented to the Wehrmacht 3 services, which was discussed and it was concluded that with its current resources the KM is not able to provide enough cover for a wide landing zone, and the Heer thought that it would be stupid to attempt a landing on a narrow invasion front.

On the contrary, there were very detailed plans, and preperations made. There are the diary entries of the senior German commanders detailing the discussions and the planning procedures that went on.


Hitler didn't turn his attention to Russia as a result of the failure of BoB, the battle for air supremacy waned over England and the Channel as a result of a redirection of effort and policy as early as October 1940 to Russia and the growing unrest in Bulgaria/Hungary/Romania and Yugoslavia.

The BoB had been lost by September (by August with hindsight).


I'm tired of arguing and restating the point that BoB was not won by anyone. It's all fine and dandy to trot out operational readiness figures and overal strength of the Luftwaffe and RAF but they are meaningless unless taken in context.

The context is, the Germans planned to launch an air offensive in August that would eliminate the RAF, and enable them at least to "carry out economic warfare from the air" against Britain, and if that failed to launch an amphibious invasion.

They failed. Within a month of launching that campaign they effectively gave up on trying to destroy the RAF, and switched to area bombing cities at night to try to break morale.

To quote Williamson Murray:

"The failure of the daylight offensive in September led to the cancellation of "Sea
Lion" and to a rethinking ofGerman air strategy against Britain as part of an overall
reassessment ."


The fact still remains that even as late as May 1941 the Germans were still a formidable opponent to British aerial hegomany both over England, the Channel and coastal regions.

By 1941 the Luftwaffe had largely given up day flying over Britain, and would never manage to do so in numbers again.


The Battle of Britain was a battle for air supremacy over the Channel and south-eastern Britain. The Luftwaffe was unable to hold complete air superiority over Britain, though it achieved local air supremacy in regions at various times, but it did so over the Channel, Western Approaches and North Sea far beyond May 1941.

No. The Luftwaffe never achieved air superiority of any scale over the UK, and from early 1941 gave it up over the channel. They never had air superiority over the North Sea (except very close to the German and occupied coasts)


I am wondering at what point the LW lost the BoB. Maybe when the English decleared they lost it, LOL?

They lost it when this:

"These preparations will include the creation of conditions which will make a landing in England possible:


1. The British air force must be so far neutralized, both actually and in morale, that it will offer no appreciable resistance to the German crossing operation;"

and this:

"Preparations for Sea Lion are to be continued and completed by the Army and Air Force by September 15.

Eight to fourteen days after the launching of the air offensive against Britain, scheduled to begin about August 5, the Fuehrer will decide whether the invasion will take place this year or not; his decision will depend largely on the outcome of the air offensive "

turned into this:

"The enemy Air Force is still by no means defeated. On the contrary, it shows increasing activity. The weather situation as a whole does not permit us to expect a period of calm ... The Fuehrer therefore decides to postpone "Sea Lion" indefinitely"


Which was not much of a conform as they could not replace they trained pilots flying them. What they could do, is to produce a lot of fighters, and then send someone semi-competent to fly it. Quality of these pilots, having just 5-10 hours in a fighter, was even worser than those notorious 44/45 Luftwaffe fighter rookies.

In fact it was the same quality as German replacements during the BoB. Milch notes the complaints that replacement pilots were being sent to the JGs in August 1940 with only 10 landings in fighters (how long is a typical training flight?) and who had never fired a cannon in training.


True. But end of it is again that despite the advantage enjoyed by shotdown RAF pilots in landing/jumping out over friendly turf, is that they were still loosing more fighter pilots,

Fighter pilot losses were similar.


and their training capacity was much less than in Germany.

Actually much more than Germany's. From Murray:

"Not only had the
Germans lost many of their most experienced combat crews but by September
1940, the percentage of operational ready crews against authorized aircraft had
dropped to an unacceptable level. On September 14, Luftwaffe Bf 109 squadrons
possessed only 67 percent operational ready crews against authorized aircraft. For
Bf 110 squadrons, the figure was 46 percent ; and for bombers, it was 59 percent .
One week later, the figures were 64 percent, 52 percent, and 52 percent,
respectively."


The RAF FC lost some 80% of it's flight and Squadron leaders following the week of Adlertag.

Source for this preposterous claim? In a month that saw about 20% losses, a week saw 80% losses amongst leaders?


Formations were led by COs without the slightest idea how to do their job. Some Hurricane squadron leaders didn't even fly a Hurricane before they were assigned to lead a Hurricane unit. The pilot replacement had just 10 hours of practice in their operational aircraft, which is about one-third an 1944 LW rookies was getting.

And yet they still won.

How bad must the Luftwaffe have been?


The Germans did not have to use such desperate measures.

But they did. See Milch's comments. 10 landings in fighters. No cannon firing. And some of these were even sent to elite units like Erpro 210.


Wishful thinking. The LW did not decrease the lenght of the course of the training programme at all during the battle. There's quite a bit of difference between the replacements the LW and two-week cannon fodder the RAF got. LW rookies were receiving some 10 times as long training compared to their RAF counterparts.

Hmm, who to believe, a Hungarian lawyer or a Luftwaffe Field Marshall, serving as inspector general of the Luftwaffe?


I think you underestimate Dowding and Park, I think they were very capable of judging their own situation of simply running out of fighter pilots.

So do I. Dowding on the morning of the 7th Sept believed FC was capable of fighting at the current rate for months to come. He didn't know that the Luftwaffe were not.


If the Luftwaffe kept up on 11 Group for two weeks longer than it did - maybe even less - what would Dowding have done?

Carried on as he had been. That was exactly what the conference on the morning of 7th September decided. In the afternoon, the Luftwaffe switched to attacking London.

Dowding, at that point, had instituted the reserve squadron scheme. The squadrons outside the battle area were to have a small number of experienced pilots, and take in rookies and train them up, before posting them on the squadrons in the SE.

Stephen Bungay, The Most Dangerous Enemy:

"There are many who believe that Fighter Command was on its knees after the attacks on the airfields. It was a strange way of kneeling. Given Evill's calculations, and taking the worst scenario of no increase in output from the training units, if the Luftwaffe had continued its attacks on the airfields and continued to destroy aircraft in the air at the most favourable rate it ever achieved, there would still have been about 725 Hurricanes and Spitfires ready to take to the air in the third week of September."


As events around Narvik, and later in Stalingrad, showed, German forces, grossly underequipped and outnumbered were very adept at holding out and surviving for long periods of time in unfavourable positions, cut off from direct supply lines.

I'm not sure Narvik and Stalingrad are examples the Germans would feel comfortable with. The Germans were driven out of Narvik before the allies decided to cut their losses (they had the BoF to worry about, after all) and Stalingrad was a disaster for the Germans.

I've no doubt the Germans could land some troops. I've no doubt they would have held out for a time. I've no doubt they would have ended up prisoners.


Not only this, but the example you sight of the Suffolk makes no mention of how many sorties were flown over the 7 hour period (less than 90) and that the Sussex was in the company of a destroyer screen (depending on what source you read) and not restricted in a confined region, but had the run of the entire North Sea.

So 90 sorties to not sink one ship. How many sorties to put an end to the RN anti-invasion force? 30+ destroyers, about 10 cruisers, several hundred smaller craft.

And what happens to the German invasion fleet in the meantime?

What happens when the RN is in amongst the German fleet? When a cruiser needs a direct hit, but a German barge can be swamped by a not so near miss? Do the Germans keep bombing when they are finding it hard to distinguish targets?

And what happens at night?


All in all, hardly commesurate with the term 'poor', don't you think?

Well, it depends what your standards are. By the standards some here expect, of a small portion of the Luftwaffe stopping the RN operating in the channel (whilst also keeping the RAF away, bombing targets in support of the army, etc), then very poor. By the standards of the day, probably not so bad.


Churchil in his V.3, Grand Alliance, around page 100 or so discusses the effects that anti-shipping attacks and the Condor were having on British ship building capacity. He gives reasonably accurate figures as to the effects damaged ships were having on the industry.

On merchant ships, yes. But there's a world of difference between attacking merchants, which were slow, unmanoeverable and poorly armed, and attacking warships.


dead soldier can be left were he is, but wound a soldier and you will automatically take out at least 2 other soldiers: one to carry/care for him, and another to hump his equipment to safety. Same principle. While damaged ships werre not entirely lost to the British, they did take up space in dockyards that could have been better employed in the construction of replacement ships.

The analogy doesn't work. Injured soldiers are given support and care beyond a rational analysis of costs because they are human beings, and countries are rarely willing to kill them off out of sentiment. Thus a wounded soldier might cost more than it costs to train 2 replacements.

A ship is different. There is a very rational analysis of the costs of repair vs scrapping and building new, and if repair uses more resources than building new, then no repair is made. Thus nearly every ship that gets back to port is a bonus, either they have cargo that can be salvaged, or the ship can be repaired, or the crew are safe. Even scrapping can recover some value from the ship.


you don't have to sink ships to be a successful antishipping force and the Luftwaffe more than proved that during Weserubung Nord. If you can force the withdrawal of your enemy to allow your own naval lines unhindered sailings, while at the same time perhaps damage a few ships and thereby take up dockyard space otherwise used for the expansion of your enemy's naval fleet then how can that be determined poor?

If you don't fulfill your objectives, like stopping the enemy landing troops where they want, evacuating them when they want, and sink only a tiny number of ships, how can that be good?

There may be mitigating circumstances, but the end result is that the British withdrew from Norway because of the situation on the ground, not at sea.

luftluuver
08-29-2006, 03:41 PM
From the Willianson Murry link I posted in its own thread:

The figures in Tables VII and VIII only hint at the problem. Not only had the Germans lost many of their most experienced combat crews but by September 1940, the percentage of operational ready crews against authorized aircraft had dropped to an unacceptable level. On September 14, Luftwaffe Bf 109 squadrons
possessed only 67 percent operational ready crews against authorized aircraft. For Bf 110 squadrons, the figure was 46 percent; and for bombers, it was 59 percent.

One week later, the figures were 64 percent, 52 percent, and 52 percent, respectively.

see also Table IX, Aircraft Losses-July-September 1940. For fighters this was 47% and 45% for bombers destroyed on operations (to all causes) of the operational strength as of 29.6.40. if damaged on operations is added in it becomes 64% and 69% respectively.

Adam906
08-29-2006, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Adam906:

No one side won the Battle of Britain - and certainly the Royal Navy had about as much to do with the outcome as I do to the war in Iraq.

Wrong! Your one guy and unless your the utmost highest Islamic leader and can call of all sectarian violence in Iraq you can do squat, unlike the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy in 1940 was the biggest in the world and could take on anyone and win, there is no point arguing against that fact. Regardless of projected losses it was a massive advantage the British had and cannot be ignored. ANYTHING going through the English channel or North sea was a viable target for the RN. The Luftwaffe had to have complete control of the air to consider taking on the Royal Navy. Imagine the Royal Navy massing at Portsmouth then ram raiding the kreigsmarine invasion boats. Just the wake of 15 20,000-35,000 ton Battleships steaming past at 20knots, followed by over 200 cruisers and destroyers could have wiped the invasion force out.

With the size of the channel and the range of the Navies guns they could hit any part of the invasion force, run right through it, hit the landing beaches and the departure ports.

Look at it this way, the RAF had to be defeated to consider taking on the worlds largest navy in a very small stretch of water. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

"Wrong"? Good to see you are articulate and can support your argument with detailed facts and not random supposition and misinformed propoganda...

What the hell did the Royal Navy have to do with an air campaign in the first place? As you rightly point out the RAF had to be dealt with first before the RN could be taken on. HOWEVER! taking on the RN was part of SEALION not the BATTLE OF BRITAIN. All the BoB asked was the clearance of the Channel which was achieved for a time and was only lost when operational policy was re-directed.

Stop confusing and/or merging the battle for air supremacy with an invasion. Not also the shift to night bombing was not an admission of defeat by the Germans it was an acknowledgement that their policy of daylight raids was not working to their best advantage, hence the shift in their policy - IN LINE WITH THEIR BLITZKRIEG PHILOSOPHY of finding the weakest point and exploiting it: in this case, the lack of adequate night defence systems.

As I keep saying, the BoB was about air supremacy, as the raids on Coventry, London and Birmigham and the fact that constant and heavy raiding took place well up until May 1941 does not support the fact that the RAF was able to stop the Luftwaffe from gaining a measure of air superiority and then overturn the situation. Ergo, no-one lost, thus no-one won.

No one more time for the blinkered - the Royal Navy had, and could do nothing about a campaign waged in the air: the Battle of Britain. Its role in the period was on Sealion and the threat it represented to an invasion - as you rightly point out. The two campaigns, one launched and one not, are two very separate entities and should be treated like this which people don't seem to be doing.

gkll
08-29-2006, 10:51 PM
Good points made by many. Interesting to try and read German intentions these many years later. I expect that Hitler certainly ordered full-scale preparations for Seelowe. I expect the boys did their best to deliver. Accounts I have read show the Army impatient and eager to show the boss that they, at least, were ready to go... The Kreigsmarine, already in bad graces post the Norwegian campaign, was forced into patiently explaining the realities of the sea.... Hitler glowering over the scene and demanding his will be done....

Ironic that Hitler always bashed his navy, his irritation at the Nowegian campaign for eg was completely misplaced, it was the KM's finest hour truth be known, the invasion being the perfect application of the principles of seapower.

Anyway as for Hitler's actual intentions, it seems likely that he probably started off intending invasion (if necessary, peace would have been desirable of course) but perhaps gradually came to understand the consequences likely to befall an invasion attempt, RAF or no. And it is valid to point out that as this was becoming obvious, Russia then occupied German attention anyways, the boys really did have better things to do.

However the BOB was important for morale, and did indeed represent a defeat. I bet the fat guy promised the boss some stuff, and for a while I expect they both held their breath to see if the LW could deliver... meaning I expect there was a time period in which Hitler really did intend Seelowe. Of course the careful, polite, but relentless negative feedback from the Kreigsmarine would have been eating at his resolve, and so I expect when the air offensive ended inconclusively (meaning a victory for defence, this is why the 'win' is tallied to the Brits), he was happy enough to turn his attention back to the land, and east.


As to the original premise to the article that started this post (went back and re-read it) I guess it worth stating something over again, in the simplest terms possible: It has been obvious to a lot of 'sea' people, for a long time, that BOB, whatever it was, certainly could have been 'lost' (whatever you choose to mean by that) and that <regardless> Seelowe wasn't going to be on.... I have read this so many times, in so many different places, it stretches back to war correspondence from the time. So revisionist history the article is not, common knowledge amongst 'sea' historians it <is>.

panther3485
08-30-2006, 12:59 AM
Originally posted by hop2002:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Interesting. Taking note of your highlighted sections it seems the BoB was a serious attempt to prepare Britain for an invasion, but if the British did not sue for peace during this 'softening up' period then the invasion would have to go ahead.

Exactly. Even Hitler knew how much of a risk an invasion attempt was, which is why he wasn't exactly overjoyed by the idea. But he was prepared to launch one if neccessary, and if the preconditions (air superiority) had been met.

William Shirer goes into this in some detail in Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

"Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for posterity and the truth, the mountainous secret German military files leave no doubt that Hitler's plan to invade Britain in the early fall of 1940 was deadly serious and that, though given to many hesitations, the Nazi dictator seriously intended to carry it out if there were any reasonable chance of success. Its ultimate fate was settled not by any lack of determination or effort but by the fortunes of war, which now, for the first time, began to turn against him."

Order from Keitel detailing planning:

" Preparations for Sea Lion are to be continued and completed by the Army and Air Force by September 15.

Eight to fourteen days after the launching of the air offensive against Britain, scheduled to begin about August 5, the Fuehrer will decide whether the invasion will take place this year or not; his decision will depend largely on the outcome of the air offensive ."

"In the German Naval War Diary there is a laconic entry for September 17.

The enemy Air Force is still by no means defeated. On the contrary, it shows increasing activity. The weather situation as a whole does not permit us to expect a period of calm ... The Fuehrer therefore decides to postpone "Sea Lion" indefinitely"

"Finally on October 12, the Nazi warlord formally admitted failure and called off the invasion until spring, if then. A formal directive was issued.

Fuehrer's Headquarters
October 12, 1940

TOP SECRET

The Fuehrer has decided that from now on until the spring, preparations for "Sea Lion" shall be continued solely for the purpose of maintaining political and military pressure on England.

Should the invasion be reconsidered in the spring or early summer of 1941, orders for a renewal of operational readiness will be issued later ..."

Shirer's book goes into this in great detail. There's no doubt whatsoever that the invasion was seriously planned and prepared for, that the main reason it was called off was because the Luftwaffe had not secured air superiority.


Yep. Keep in mind that in 1940, Churchill was hardly a very popular figure,

Churchill was extremely popular in 1940, because he had spent the 30s warning about the dangers of Nazi Germany.


this is quite a bit exaggrevated again, the French campain was much shorter, and just as costly as the BoB!

Nowhere near in combat aircraft. The Germans lost a lot of transports in the BoF, but in terms of combat aircraft, they lost about 340 fighters compared to over 800 in the BoB, about 600 bombers compared to about 800 in the BoB.

Above all, though, was the difference in crew losses. In the BoF, most of the baled out crew were returned when the French surrendered. In the BoB, most of the baled out crew were lost to Germany completely.


It doesn't seem that the goal was to destroy the RAF. The Hitler Directives as well as the others speak of a very wide variety of targets from harbors through industry, naval targets and of course the RAF. The notion that it was set out only to destroy the RAF is most likely a creation of post-BOB literature.

No, it's the focus of the operational orders issued to the Luftwaffe.

For a start, whilst Hitler's directives talked about other targets, the defeat of the RAF was the central priority, the rest were to be attacked only afterwards:

"DIRECTIVE No. 17

FOR THE CONDUCT OF AIR AND NAVAL WARFARE AGAINST ENGLAND

For the purpose of creating conditions for the final defeat of Britain, I intend continuing air and naval warfare against the English motherland in a more severe form than hitherto.

For this purpose I order as follows:

1. The Luftwaffe will employ all forces available to eliminate the British air force as soon as possible. In the initial stages, attacks will be directed primarily against the hostile air forces and their ground service organization and supply installations, and against air armament industries, including factories producing AAA equipment.

2. Once temporary or local air superiority is achieved, operations will continue against ports, particularly against installations for the storage of food, and against food storage installations farther inland. In view of intended future German operations, attacks against ports on the south coast of England will be restricted to a minimum.

3. Air operations against hostile naval and merchant ships will be considered a secondary mission during this phase unless particularly lucrative fleeting opportunities offer or unless such action will achieve increased effects in the operations prescribed under Item 2, above, or in the case of operations serving to train aircraft crews for the continued conduct of air warfare."


As for what the goal was, it was probably to put pressure on British leadership to 'come to their minds'. Hitler gave speeches where he outlined his wish for peace with Britain before the battle, and in general in his ideology he thought of the British as 'fellow aryans'. He perhaps felt that the LW can be a tool to persuade to English for making peace under fair conditions, which might explain why the Luftwaffe continued it's campaign through the winter of 1940, right up until the invasion of the USSR. Obviously, with the bad wheater and sea state prohibiting any large scale shipping (ie. invasion), it was certainly not for prepearing an imminent invasion, and from November 1940, after the much ignored (failed) talks with Molotov in November, it was clear that conflict between Germany and the USSR was a matter of time.

Which is why the phases of the BoB. Preparatory phase whilst the Luftwaffe was preparing the main attack, a main attack against the RAF airfields, when that failed a switch to bombing London to try to concentrate the RAF for a knockout blow, when that failed a switch to area bombing British cities at night to try to force Britain out of the war.


It's curious to state someone they lost because not being able to make an invasion they never considered seriously. Problem is that the Germans did not want to carry out an amphibious invasion at all. The early Hitler directive uses the phrase as 'an if neccesary, carry out an invasion'. Doesn't sound to eager about it early on already.

Of course he wasn't eager. Unlike some here who think the Luftwaffe could deal with the RN easily, the German commanders were a lot less sanguine. Hitler didn't want to fight a battle he knew he might well lose, and if there was an easier option he would rather have used that.


There were never any detailed plans made for Seelowe, this has been shown decades ago by West German historians, just scetchy projection to be presented to the Wehrmacht 3 services, which was discussed and it was concluded that with its current resources the KM is not able to provide enough cover for a wide landing zone, and the Heer thought that it would be stupid to attempt a landing on a narrow invasion front.

On the contrary, there were very detailed plans, and preperations made. There are the diary entries of the senior German commanders detailing the discussions and the planning procedures that went on.


Hitler didn't turn his attention to Russia as a result of the failure of BoB, the battle for air supremacy waned over England and the Channel as a result of a redirection of effort and policy as early as October 1940 to Russia and the growing unrest in Bulgaria/Hungary/Romania and Yugoslavia.

The BoB had been lost by September (by August with hindsight).


I'm tired of arguing and restating the point that BoB was not won by anyone. It's all fine and dandy to trot out operational readiness figures and overal strength of the Luftwaffe and RAF but they are meaningless unless taken in context.

The context is, the Germans planned to launch an air offensive in August that would eliminate the RAF, and enable them at least to "carry out economic warfare from the air" against Britain, and if that failed to launch an amphibious invasion.

They failed. Within a month of launching that campaign they effectively gave up on trying to destroy the RAF, and switched to area bombing cities at night to try to break morale.

To quote Williamson Murray:

"The failure of the daylight offensive in September led to the cancellation of "Sea
Lion" and to a rethinking ofGerman air strategy against Britain as part of an overall
reassessment ."


The fact still remains that even as late as May 1941 the Germans were still a formidable opponent to British aerial hegomany both over England, the Channel and coastal regions.

By 1941 the Luftwaffe had largely given up day flying over Britain, and would never manage to do so in numbers again.


The Battle of Britain was a battle for air supremacy over the Channel and south-eastern Britain. The Luftwaffe was unable to hold complete air superiority over Britain, though it achieved local air supremacy in regions at various times, but it did so over the Channel, Western Approaches and North Sea far beyond May 1941.

No. The Luftwaffe never achieved air superiority of any scale over the UK, and from early 1941 gave it up over the channel. They never had air superiority over the North Sea (except very close to the German and occupied coasts)


I am wondering at what point the LW lost the BoB. Maybe when the English decleared they lost it, LOL?

They lost it when this:

"These preparations will include the creation of conditions which will make a landing in England possible:


1. The British air force must be so far neutralized, both actually and in morale, that it will offer no appreciable resistance to the German crossing operation;"

and this:

"Preparations for Sea Lion are to be continued and completed by the Army and Air Force by September 15.

Eight to fourteen days after the launching of the air offensive against Britain, scheduled to begin about August 5, the Fuehrer will decide whether the invasion will take place this year or not; his decision will depend largely on the outcome of the air offensive "

turned into this:

"The enemy Air Force is still by no means defeated. On the contrary, it shows increasing activity. The weather situation as a whole does not permit us to expect a period of calm ... The Fuehrer therefore decides to postpone "Sea Lion" indefinitely"


Which was not much of a conform as they could not replace they trained pilots flying them. What they could do, is to produce a lot of fighters, and then send someone semi-competent to fly it. Quality of these pilots, having just 5-10 hours in a fighter, was even worser than those notorious 44/45 Luftwaffe fighter rookies.

In fact it was the same quality as German replacements during the BoB. Milch notes the complaints that replacement pilots were being sent to the JGs in August 1940 with only 10 landings in fighters (how long is a typical training flight?) and who had never fired a cannon in training.


True. But end of it is again that despite the advantage enjoyed by shotdown RAF pilots in landing/jumping out over friendly turf, is that they were still loosing more fighter pilots,

Fighter pilot losses were similar.


and their training capacity was much less than in Germany.

Actually much more than Germany's. From Murray:

"Not only had the
Germans lost many of their most experienced combat crews but by September
1940, the percentage of operational ready crews against authorized aircraft had
dropped to an unacceptable level. On September 14, Luftwaffe Bf 109 squadrons
possessed only 67 percent operational ready crews against authorized aircraft. For
Bf 110 squadrons, the figure was 46 percent ; and for bombers, it was 59 percent .
One week later, the figures were 64 percent, 52 percent, and 52 percent,
respectively."


The RAF FC lost some 80% of it's flight and Squadron leaders following the week of Adlertag.

Source for this preposterous claim? In a month that saw about 20% losses, a week saw 80% losses amongst leaders?


Formations were led by COs without the slightest idea how to do their job. Some Hurricane squadron leaders didn't even fly a Hurricane before they were assigned to lead a Hurricane unit. The pilot replacement had just 10 hours of practice in their operational aircraft, which is about one-third an 1944 LW rookies was getting.

And yet they still won.

How bad must the Luftwaffe have been?


The Germans did not have to use such desperate measures.

But they did. See Milch's comments. 10 landings in fighters. No cannon firing. And some of these were even sent to elite units like Erpro 210.


Wishful thinking. The LW did not decrease the lenght of the course of the training programme at all during the battle. There's quite a bit of difference between the replacements the LW and two-week cannon fodder the RAF got. LW rookies were receiving some 10 times as long training compared to their RAF counterparts.

Hmm, who to believe, a Hungarian lawyer or a Luftwaffe Field Marshall, serving as inspector general of the Luftwaffe?


I think you underestimate Dowding and Park, I think they were very capable of judging their own situation of simply running out of fighter pilots.

So do I. Dowding on the morning of the 7th Sept believed FC was capable of fighting at the current rate for months to come. He didn't know that the Luftwaffe were not.


If the Luftwaffe kept up on 11 Group for two weeks longer than it did - maybe even less - what would Dowding have done?

Carried on as he had been. That was exactly what the conference on the morning of 7th September decided. In the afternoon, the Luftwaffe switched to attacking London.

Dowding, at that point, had instituted the reserve squadron scheme. The squadrons outside the battle area were to have a small number of experienced pilots, and take in rookies and train them up, before posting them on the squadrons in the SE.

Stephen Bungay, The Most Dangerous Enemy:

"There are many who believe that Fighter Command was on its knees after the attacks on the airfields. It was a strange way of kneeling. Given Evill's calculations, and taking the worst scenario of no increase in output from the training units, if the Luftwaffe had continued its attacks on the airfields and continued to destroy aircraft in the air at the most favourable rate it ever achieved, there would still have been about 725 Hurricanes and Spitfires ready to take to the air in the third week of September." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

Absolutely, first-class, top-quality post, hop2002. I would have battled to do as well and I certainly could not have said it better.

And I appreciate it very, very much, as I was mentally groaning at the potential workload!
{Even though many parts of that post from Kurfurst should have been seen for the self-evidently proposterous rubbish that they were and therefore, I thought to myself, could perhaps just have been left unanswered as monuments to the inanity of their author. But another side of me just saw that as a cop-out and the temptation to respond may have proven too much!}


Best regards, mate! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif
panther3485

panther3485
08-30-2006, 01:05 AM
Originally posted by Adam906:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Adam906:

No one side won the Battle of Britain - and certainly the Royal Navy had about as much to do with the outcome as I do to the war in Iraq.

Wrong! Your one guy and unless your the utmost highest Islamic leader and can call of all sectarian violence in Iraq you can do squat, unlike the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy in 1940 was the biggest in the world and could take on anyone and win, there is no point arguing against that fact. Regardless of projected losses it was a massive advantage the British had and cannot be ignored. ANYTHING going through the English channel or North sea was a viable target for the RN. The Luftwaffe had to have complete control of the air to consider taking on the Royal Navy. Imagine the Royal Navy massing at Portsmouth then ram raiding the kreigsmarine invasion boats. Just the wake of 15 20,000-35,000 ton Battleships steaming past at 20knots, followed by over 200 cruisers and destroyers could have wiped the invasion force out.

With the size of the channel and the range of the Navies guns they could hit any part of the invasion force, run right through it, hit the landing beaches and the departure ports.

Look at it this way, the RAF had to be defeated to consider taking on the worlds largest navy in a very small stretch of water. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

"Wrong"? Good to see you are articulate and can support your argument with detailed facts and not random supposition and misinformed propoganda...

What the hell did the Royal Navy have to do with an air campaign in the first place? As you rightly point out the RAF had to be dealt with first before the RN could be taken on. HOWEVER! taking on the RN was part of SEALION not the BATTLE OF BRITAIN. All the BoB asked was the clearance of the Channel which was achieved for a time and was only lost when operational policy was re-directed.

Stop confusing and/or merging the battle for air supremacy with an invasion. Not also the shift to night bombing was not an admission of defeat by the Germans it was an acknowledgement that their policy of daylight raids was not working to their best advantage, hence the shift in their policy - IN LINE WITH THEIR BLITZKRIEG PHILOSOPHY of finding the weakest point and exploiting it: in this case, the lack of adequate night defence systems.

As I keep saying, the BoB was about air supremacy, as the raids on Coventry, London and Birmigham and the fact that constant and heavy raiding took place well up until May 1941 does not support the fact that the RAF was able to stop the Luftwaffe from gaining a measure of air superiority and then overturn the situation. Ergo, no-one lost, thus no-one won.

No one more time for the blinkered - the Royal Navy had, and could do nothing about a campaign waged in the air: the Battle of Britain. Its role in the period was on Sealion and the threat it represented to an invasion - as you rightly point out. The two campaigns, one launched and one not, are two very separate entities and should be treated like this which people don't seem to be doing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

With respect, I must disagree but I think we can be gentlemanly about this. We shall simply agree to disagree! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

panther3485
08-30-2006, 01:10 AM
Originally posted by gkll:
Good points made by many. Interesting to try and read German intentions these many years later. I expect that Hitler certainly ordered full-scale preparations for Seelowe. I expect the boys did their best to deliver. Accounts I have read show the Army impatient and eager to show the boss that they, at least, were ready to go... The Kreigsmarine, already in bad graces post the Norwegian campaign, was forced into patiently explaining the realities of the sea.... Hitler glowering over the scene and demanding his will be done....

Ironic that Hitler always bashed his navy, his irritation at the Nowegian campaign for eg was completely misplaced, it was the KM's finest hour truth be known, the invasion being the perfect application of the principles of seapower.

Anyway as for Hitler's actual intentions, it seems likely that he probably started off intending invasion (if necessary, peace would have been desirable of course) but perhaps gradually came to understand the consequences likely to befall an invasion attempt, RAF or no. And it is valid to point out that as this was becoming obvious, Russia then occupied German attention anyways, the boys really did have better things to do.

However the BOB was important for morale, and did indeed represent a defeat. I bet the fat guy promised the boss some stuff, and for a while I expect they both held their breath to see if the LW could deliver... meaning I expect there was a time period in which Hitler really did intend Seelowe. Of course the careful, polite, but relentless negative feedback from the Kreigsmarine would have been eating at his resolve, and so I expect when the air offensive ended inconclusively (meaning a victory for defence, this is why the 'win' is tallied to the Brits), he was happy enough to turn his attention back to the land, and east.


As to the original premise to the article that started this post (went back and re-read it) I guess it worth stating something over again, in the simplest terms possible: It has been obvious to a lot of 'sea' people, for a long time, that BOB, whatever it was, certainly could have been 'lost' (whatever you choose to mean by that) and that <regardless> Seelowe wasn't going to be on.... I have read this so many times, in so many different places, it stretches back to war correspondence from the time. So revisionist history the article is not, common knowledge amongst 'sea' historians it <is>.

If you refer to the press article itself, then I agree with much of what you say but disagree with your closing comment.

But, we also, can be gentlemen and 'agree to disagree' eh? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

stathem
08-30-2006, 02:32 AM
Originally posted by Adam906:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Adam906:

No one side won the Battle of Britain - and certainly the Royal Navy had about as much to do with the outcome as I do to the war in Iraq.

Wrong! Your one guy and unless your the utmost highest Islamic leader and can call of all sectarian violence in Iraq you can do squat, unlike the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy in 1940 was the biggest in the world and could take on anyone and win, there is no point arguing against that fact. Regardless of projected losses it was a massive advantage the British had and cannot be ignored. ANYTHING going through the English channel or North sea was a viable target for the RN. The Luftwaffe had to have complete control of the air to consider taking on the Royal Navy. Imagine the Royal Navy massing at Portsmouth then ram raiding the kreigsmarine invasion boats. Just the wake of 15 20,000-35,000 ton Battleships steaming past at 20knots, followed by over 200 cruisers and destroyers could have wiped the invasion force out.

With the size of the channel and the range of the Navies guns they could hit any part of the invasion force, run right through it, hit the landing beaches and the departure ports.

Look at it this way, the RAF had to be defeated to consider taking on the worlds largest navy in a very small stretch of water. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

"Wrong"? Good to see you are articulate and can support your argument with detailed facts and not random supposition and misinformed propoganda...

What the hell did the Royal Navy have to do with an air campaign in the first place? As you rightly point out the RAF had to be dealt with first before the RN could be taken on. HOWEVER! taking on the RN was part of SEALION not the BATTLE OF BRITAIN. All the BoB asked was the clearance of the Channel which was achieved for a time and was only lost when operational policy was re-directed.

Stop confusing and/or merging the battle for air supremacy with an invasion. Not also the shift to night bombing was not an admission of defeat by the Germans it was an acknowledgement that their policy of daylight raids was not working to their best advantage, hence the shift in their policy - IN LINE WITH THEIR BLITZKRIEG PHILOSOPHY of finding the weakest point and exploiting it: in this case, the lack of adequate night defence systems.

As I keep saying, the BoB was about air supremacy, as the raids on Coventry, London and Birmigham and the fact that constant and heavy raiding took place well up until May 1941 does not support the fact that the RAF was able to stop the Luftwaffe from gaining a measure of air superiority and then overturn the situation. Ergo, no-one lost, thus no-one won.

No one more time for the blinkered - the Royal Navy had, and could do nothing about a campaign waged in the air: the Battle of Britain. Its role in the period was on Sealion and the threat it represented to an invasion - as you rightly point out. The two campaigns, one launched and one not, are two very separate entities and should be treated like this which people don't seem to be doing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

But the point is; in the extremely unlikey event that the Luftwaffe had acheived air supremacy over SE England, and Sealion had been launched, up to and including landing (or not) some troops in England, that whole Battle (now with air, sea and land components) would now still be known as the 'Battle of Britain', much as the whole French campaign is known as the Battle of France.

The only way it would have been named differently is if the Germans had conquered the Island, which, as most of us agree (apart from the few who have never been on a boat at sea) was an almost non-existant chance in 1940.

WOLFMondo
08-30-2006, 02:41 AM
Adam906, to plan a battle and win a war every thing has to be taken into consideration, each engagement after the next and thats why the Royal Navy did play such an important part. The RAF was the first and most immediate line of defence but the Royal Navy was the trump card. Just read Churchills war diaries and you'll see this yourself.

The air battle was the first phase of the Battle of Britain. Its not a battle that has defined lines or defined meaning. The operation that the Germans were going to mount first involved reducing the RAF to rubble, then getting across the channel and then beating the British Army.

Had the RAF been defeated that wouldn't have ended the battle of Britain. It would have entered is next phase, the Royal Navy vs the Luftwaffles and Kreigsmarine.

You could and probably safely argue that the Battle of Britain ended after the Germans chucked out plans to invade the UK. The night bombing offensive wasn't in support of a planning invasion.

panther3485
08-30-2006, 03:59 AM
Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
The night bombing offensive wasn't in support of a planning invasion.

Correct. It simply followed the large-scale daylight offensive, which had failed in its objectives and proved too costly to maintain.

It was hoped that pounding cities by night would crack civilian morale and achieve a similar overall goal (i.e. - get Britain out of the war) at a much lower cost.

Further significant attrition of the Lufwaffe was to be avoided as much as possible, as these resources would be sorely needed for Hitler's Eastward-looking plans. As far as Adolf was concerned, he had 'bigger fish to fry' in Russia!


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

WOLFMondo
08-30-2006, 04:16 AM
I think substituting fish for chicken is more appropriate in this case...."some chicken, some neck", to quote a certain figure.

panther3485
08-30-2006, 04:53 AM
Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
I think substituting fish for chicken is more appropriate in this case...."some chicken, some neck", to quote a certain figure.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Yes, and while the chicken may have given him a bad case of indigestion, the fish just about flattened him!


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

Adam906
08-30-2006, 07:28 AM
WOLFMondo - I won't embarrass you too much (regardless of my tone - I'm not out on a flame war or anything else), nor will I bother taking this any further than is necessary.... I've had about enough of this topic and the blinkered thinking and 'armchair historion' views expressed here.

1) The Royal Navy played NO part in the Battle of Britain as the BoB was about air supremacy. Period. Regardless of what people would like to think

2) Churchill is hardly a reliable source and is generally acknowledged amongst academia to be prone to exageration and bending of the truth for the purpose of strengthening morale/his own political ends. Look no further than his account of Dieppe - or lack there of

3) the "air battle" was not the first phase of the Battle of Britain - it was the ONLY phase. You are confusing historical fact/operations with British/Churchillian proganda - refer to point 2. The "Battle of Britain" (as in the air campaign) was solely a Luftwaffe affair designed to facilitate the OKW/Hitlers next operational objective which was Sealion - ie. an invasion. Hence:

4) Getting across the channel and beating the British Army was not part of the "Battle of Britain" in anything but Churchill's eyes (again, refer point 2). Getting across the Channel and beating the Brit. Army was part of Sealion, not the "Battle of Britain".

Allied history and propoganda has a tendancy to assume the air battles of July - October were paert of the Sealion plan. This is not the case. Sealion was developed whilst the Battle of Britain was being fought. Ergo, the BoB could NOT BE PART OF BoB. They are two separate campaigns. I would suggest you make the effort and read academic investigations and histories of the time frame concerned and not rely on popular literature on the subject. Better yet, try primary sources, and forgo the secondary sources/interpretations. I spent many years researching this time frame for my thesis and have been through a fair amount of high level German and British documents concerning the time period and have a good understanding of what they say and what they represent, so please don't try and peddle your RN influenced the BoB garbage here.

You, and many others, are confusing the popular myth and propganda of the "Battle of Britain" as enunciated by Churchill, with actual combat operations. What many people see as the 'Battle of Britain' (including Sealion) is derived from Churchill's famous speech about fighting them on the beaches. That was a pure propganda effort/speech aimed at galvonising the country. It was NOT a recognition of a true operational campaign. Even RAF leaders of the time recognised as such.... The 'Battle of Britain' was about air supremacy and is directly relatable to the Allied campaign against transport and aircraft networks in France in May 1944. Sealion was a separate campaign, as was Overlord.

My advice would be to rely less on Churchill's propoganda and war speeches and concentrate more on operational policy of both the RAF and the Luftwaffe. You might also want to come to grips with Royal Navy policy and where it stood in relation to the period. Bluntly, the RN was concerned with Sealion - not BoB. If, as you claim, an invasion was part of the Battle of Britain, then why did the Germans bother giving it its own planning staff and operational code-name?

I'm not going to convince anyone - I already know that. Allied myth and Churchill's oratory legacy have ensured that

Xiolablu3
08-30-2006, 07:51 AM
I am confused about what the argument is here.

Are we now debating the NAMES of the battles?

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

panther3485
08-30-2006, 08:10 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
I am confused about what the argument is here.

Are we now debating the NAMES of the battles?

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Hmmm.... yes, indeed. In particular, the previous post has me wondering a little, I must say.

WOLFMondo
08-30-2006, 08:44 AM
Originally posted by Adam906:
WOLFMondo - I won't embarrass you too much

Your too kind. I bow to your superior intellect.


Originally posted by Adam906:
I've had about enough of this topic and the blinkered thinking and 'armchair historion' views expressed here.


And your armchair strategy is blinkered also! A Proffessor from KCL and former Lt Cmdr of the Royal Navy who says the Royal Navy stopped any invasion. I take it your academic credentials equal or surpase his?!


Originally posted by Adam906:
Ergo, the BoB could NOT BE PART OF BoB. They are two separate campaigns.


Que?


Originally posted by Adam906:
The 'Battle of Britain' was about air supremacy and is directly relatable to the Allied campaign against transport and aircraft networks in France in May 1944.

If you aim was to confuse the hell out of me then you've achieved your objective. For I am confused Sir! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/touche.gif

I quote from the article by Brian James: "He said it was Adolf Hitler's fear of British naval strength that prevented a Second World War invasion."

True or not true? I don't think anyone ever said that the victory in the air war also known as the Battle of Britain was directly attributed to the Royal Navy, what he did say was the Royal Navy stopped any invasion. In fact no where in the original article did anyone say the RN won the Batle of Britain, only the original thread poster said that!!

I'm sure if the RAF lost but the British RN repelled and invasion they would have refered to that as the 2nd phase of the Battle of Britain.

ploughman
08-30-2006, 08:47 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

flyyinmick
08-31-2006, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by Monty_Thrud:
I'm serious when i say...i would dearly love to cut Brian James' balls off, with a blunt knife, to remove him from the gene pool, is my new quest in life(there we go, i've finally found a new hobby)...if anyone knows where this man lives, i would appreciate his address, so i could also harrass his family...thank you for your time.

Blunt knife? Do what I do; use a rusty chisel. Or a spoon.
By the way, I saw that photo of the Mossie making a low pass years ago in some magazine. I've hunted everywhere since then but no luck.
All I can remember is that the location was Seletar.
Is there anyway you could point me at the source or, better yet, email me a copy?


I also like the little pilot emoticon. Where'd ya get that?
Thanks,

leitmotiv
08-31-2006, 01:54 PM
Adam906---how about a citation, old boy, since you are carrying the flag of historiography? I can give you the lineage of your interpretation: David Irving. No, I am not torpedoing you with association with a known fascist, because Irving is not a half bad historian when he isn't sticking his boot in his gob over the Holocaust (recall his being proved resounding right about what he wrote in his PQ-17 book by the opening of the books on Ultra, despite having been crushingly defeated in a court trial previously). Irving and his successors have made an excellent case for Sealion being a ruse to pressure the British government into negotiating. Unfortunately, you are leaving out the catch. The catch was Hitler was ready to make an opportunistic invasion if the British were still defiant but their defenses were crumbling. Irving and the rest maintain Hitler shelved ruse and opportunistic attack when it was clear Fighter Command still had teeth. From this point onwards Hitler bet he could defeat Britain by cutting the UK off by air and sea blockade and by destroying the USSR---the last remaining threat to German hegemony in Europe. Thus, the summer/autumn battle was of consequence, and not just an illusion cooked up by Winston.

Adam906
09-01-2006, 05:24 PM
leitmotiv: While I can see and appreciate where you are coming from, you also are missing the catch that the term "Battle of Britain" was a propoganda device attached to Germany's overall strategy at the time by the British. As such, it is not a battle in that sense. So asking the question who won the BoB is a loaded question as it automatically discounts German operations as they were not conducted beyond the time period ascribed to the term by the British.

German air operations continued against Britain well past October and into 1941 after the British had claimed the 'battle' was over. As previously noted the aim of the air battles during summer 1940 was about air superiority and destroying the RAF - see numerous Fuhrer and Goring directives and Luftflotte/Fliegerkorps operational orders. This they achieved over the Channel (by forcing the British to evacuate shipping from the region for a time) and local air superiority over certain sectors of England for time. However, as the raids on Coventry, London, etc suggest air superiority at night was much easier to gain and hold, so while the RAF beat the Luftwaffe during daylight hours, the inverse is true at night.

As you quite rightly point out Seelion was more of a ruse to force Britains politcal hand but it would also have been taken as an opportunistic gamble had the time been right but as you yourself point out - it was because the RAF still had teeth that the operation was cancelled. This, then, brings the Soviet Union into play.

Hitler did not, as many have claimed, turn his attention to the Soviet Union as a response to failure over Britain, he turned his attention to the East to deal with a growing crisis looming there, through the defeat of which, he would better be able to deal with Britain. The Russian campaign was an opportunistic way of dealing with the Bolshevic threat and at the same time re-inforcing the threat to Britain and hopefully force, where threat of invasion could/did not, Britains political hand. As Halder noted about Hitler, when it appeared unavoidable to Hitler to deal with an emerging problem, he used, as far as possible, to enter simultaneously upon all the avenues which would lead to the solution of the problem, in order to have some practicable solution at hand in case of final decision. In this light, then, is seen the build up of an inasion force and the campaign in the Balkans/Russia. Not wanting to get too far off topic here, but the best article to read concerning this are is: H Koch, 'Hitler's 'Programme' and the Genesis of Operation Barbarossa' in The Historical Journal, Vol.26, No.4 (dec. 1983), pp.891-920

What this has to do with the "battle" is that whilst Hitler had lost the political initiative by late 1940 and was forced to divert his attention to the Balkans and Russia by external factors, he still was mindful of operations against Britain - as noticable by his transfer of the Condors to Donitz' tactical command during Jan 41 to better serve the seige of Britain. Halder and some others refer, in some cases obliquely, that once the Soviet Union was defeated then Hitler, once more with the political initiative, could finish what he started in July 1940. In that sense, the loss of the political initiative through Italies invasion of Greece, Soviet pressure in the Balkans, and to a lesser degree on Finland at the same time necessarily forced Hitler away from his Anglo-centric strategic/direction. Thus, the Royal Navy had stuff all to do with winning the Battle of Britain.

A quick perusal of sortie levels by the Luftwaffe - even during daylight hours - and the losses they inflicted after October shows that, while efforts fell off as units withdrew west, comparable victories and efforts were still being achieved to that of July-Sept period. As you pointed out, the fact the RAF still had teeth (ie, could intercept German efforts to stop the Royal Navy during an invasion) forced Hitler to cancel Seelowe, but only because Hitler realised the growing problems alluded to above in the east had forced his hand and required him to withdraw a significant proportion of his forces away from the theatre.


Also - I fail to see the meaning/relevance of your David Irving comparison. Are you saying that my thesis is not currently supportable, and only will be vindicated in the future?

As for me missing the catch on the opportunistic launching of Seelow - you crush your own argument (if indeed you are supporting the RN won the battle theory) by citing Irving's conclusion of Hitler's actions (clearly overshadowed by more resent research beginning with the above cited article).

panther3485
09-01-2006, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by Adam906:
"Thus, the Royal Navy had stuff all to do with winning the Battle of Britain."

Although I disagree at least partly with some of the statements you've made along the way, I substantially agree with the above. And this, after all, was what started the thread!

So agreement on that should be good enough, I guess! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

leitmotiv
09-01-2006, 09:08 PM
Adam906---a great deal of bunk does not make it less bunk. Like most undergraduates, you mistake quantity for quality.

Adam906
09-02-2006, 01:26 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Adam906---a great deal of bunk does not make it less bunk. Like most undergraduates, you mistake quantity for quality.

Who says I'm an undergraduate? I certainly never did.... I also find it interesting you decided to take a shot at me personally than actually put the effort into debunking my "bunk"

leitmotiv
09-02-2006, 01:42 AM
I've graded enough undergraduate history papers to tell one. The first sign is a tremendous amount of verbiage and 0 citations. When there is no substance, I'm not going to waste my time with a time-consuming point-by-point refutation.

Kurfurst__
09-02-2006, 03:19 AM
Something that you'd be not able to. Adam has raised very good points, and I can largely agree with those points.

I certainly find his argumentation far more refined than the implied nazi callings as arguements, and the unashamed licking of their buddies hand like a lapdog or the primary school textbook bravado some display here instead of arguements, lacking a serious historical interest.

Ruy Horta
09-02-2006, 05:07 AM
The posts on page 10 by Adam look pretty good to me, most views I can fully support and find evidence for in my own collection.

What I find academic is the different meaning of the name "Battle of Britain". The Kriegsmarine was about spent after the Norway campaign, unable to support any major amphibious assault on Britain in 1940. In that very real sense the original post is pretty much correct, regardless of who won air superiority (or even parity).

If Seelowe had succeeded, the subsequent land battle would still have been "The Battle of Britain", just like "The Battle of France" preceeding it.

It is interesting how some people fall for a word. A couple of weeks ago I read Alistair Horne's "To Lose a Battle - France 1940" and although a reasonable book (apart from a strong bias for the British compared to the French), it was obsessed with the word "Sichelschnitt". Using every opertunity to use the word when discussing German operations in may 1940.

Seelowe sounds more interesting than "Battle of .......".

luftluuver
09-02-2006, 05:20 AM
Agree Ruy, much better than the ramblings of leitmotiv. He should learn how to format his posts better > line after line after line of text is hard to read.


I've graded enough undergraduate history papers to tell one. The first sign is a tremendous amount of verbiage and 0 citations. When there is no substance,..............

leitmotiv, should take his own advice.

Kurfurst, how did those hobnailed boots get so shinny? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

leitmotiv
09-02-2006, 06:09 AM
What a gaggle of unsystematic, mutually reinforcing, Germanophile wet hens---a marvel!

panther3485
09-02-2006, 06:54 AM
Originally posted by Ruy Horta:
"If Seelowe had succeeded, the subsequent land battle would still have been "The Battle of Britain", just like "The Battle of France" preceeding it."

Agreed. In addition, I think it would have continued to be called the 'Battle of Britain', even if Seelowe was launched and then failed!

Apart from the reasons raised by Adam, which I partly agree with, I also believe that another reason the British mostly go with October 1940 as the date for the end of BoB is, that's what was seen to be the end of any serious invasion threat.

So, rightly or wrongly, consciously or unconsciously, in most British minds at least, the Battle of Britain and the invasion threat are seen as inextricably interwoven in that sense.


Best regards, http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
panther3485

Adam906
09-02-2006, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
I've graded enough undergraduate history papers to tell one. The first sign is a tremendous amount of verbiage and 0 citations. When there is no substance, I'm not going to waste my time with a time-consuming point-by-point refutation.

This is not an academic board so I saw no reason to include citations. Besides which, what do you spose the Halder reference was? I have given sortie levels, journal references and a choice quote by Halder... what more do you want on a lay-board? If this were an aademic board then by all means your criticism would be justified but you just seem to be clutching at straws.

As for so much verbiage - I could have been very much more succinct in my responses but again, this is not an academic board and there may be those amongst this topic's readers that would have difficulty following, either for lack of education, language barriers or whatever

Finally, the fact you chose to ignore the references cited in my argument seems to indicate that you are either unaware of them or have never taken the time to research them. If you want an academic, point-by-point argument supported by full scale references then so be it, but this is not the place.