Operation Sea Lion

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Ringo, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. Ringo

    Ringo New Member

    Hi all...

    This is my first post. I like this forum, it is right up my street!

    I want to talk about Operation Sea Lion — the planned Nazi invasion of the UK.

    If Hitler had gone ahead with his invasion plans, what do you think would have happened?
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Had there been actual plans for German forces to invade and occupy UK the Wehrmacht probably would have won a very costly victory. But there were no detailed plans for Case Sealion as of 1 june. 1940. Adolf did not want to fight the English -- he considered as a part of the Master Race. After all, house of Winsor was GERMAN (before a name change it was the house of Sax-Colburg) when Queen Victoria married her German Husband.

    Had the Germans been serious about Sealion they should have done so immediately after the fall of France -- but they didn't. Adolf already was eyeing the Bolshevik Menace.
  3. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    At best, it would have been a hellaciously costly victory. Remember how bloodied the Wehrmacht was after the invasion of Crete. At worst, it would have been a monumental disaster that the Axis Powers in Europe wouldn't likely have recovered from in order to carry out other operations. Most of the analysis I've read of over the years points heavily toward the latter outcome.

    It is one of the most interesting of the "what ifs" of the war either way.
  4. Alexander

    Alexander Member

    Now and again the subject arises would he or not. Some claim there is no evidence of planning - the signals intercepts of the time suggest that there was intent - although phase one the domination of the air failed. The Royal Navy told leaders that it could or would not commit to fighting in the channel as it could not manoeuvre a fleet in such a confined sea area whilst under attack. Later plans were put aside for the assault.

    Op Seelowe:


    The objectives for assault of England (scroll down left for areas):


    The shipyards were ordered to concentrate on 'invasion' equipment which held up other building programmes - an odd thing to do if there was no intent:


    UK Government Threat of Invasion:

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/themes/defence-of-Britain.htm#Threat of invasion
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  5. Riggy

    Riggy Member

    If it were to go ahead and actually happen, the Nazis would only attempt to control the country. Not many people would be captured or sent to concentration camps like what was happening in mainland Europe. Hitler believed that the English were part of the Aryan master race and so he obviously wouldn't want to to kill what he wanted more than anything - a world of Aryan humans. Hitler only disliked Churchill. He didn't actually hate England. The only problem with England being taken over by the Germans would be that of defence and the English obviously not wanting to be part of the Reich. Also, the Germans would take a huge and costly victory as taking over England would not be easy what so ever.

    It's a complicated answer but it really comes down to how accepting England would be of Nazi occupation. Which obviously would be not at all.
  6. Alexander

    Alexander Member

    Up to 1938 Hitler did indeed court Britain with praise (he also offered a friendly open hand to the Poles before murdering them in droves) talk of joining hands post 1938 when he realized that Britain would probably stand up to him his speeches changed to threats and accusations - that we were criminals and he would wring England's neck like a chicken. Propaganda films were made to show the world who the real culprits were - full length feature films trying to get Ireland to throw the tyrant out. The idea that he liked the British is not backed up by the evidence. The British along with other nations had taken German territory post WW1 and handed it to others- if he did not hate England his attempts at bombing it back to the dark ages are an odd display of affection. There are plenty of propaganda films and the 'Wochenschau' which show the feelings he had for Britain. Mr Nice guy Hitler? - He would have made Britain pay for what he perceived as post WW1 criminal acts. It is all on record.

    The hated British in Ireland made to show the evil of the English to the people of Europe and that he was 'liberating' them from the tyrant who had the Jew standing behind them. The Avalon project lists and translates his speeches where his hatred for the English is apparent - the English and the French were both German hating according to Hitler a man who bombed and slaughtered Dutch people in their homes and not industrial areas a neutral ill equipped country after the Netherlands had surrendered:

    Hitler 1938 (pre Churchill) : We know to-day from historical records how the encirclement policy of that time had been systematically pursued by England. We know from numerous established facts and publications that in that land one was imbued with the conception that it was necessary to crush Germany militarily because its annihilation would assure to every British citizen a larger measure of this world's goods'

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  7. Peninha

    Peninha Member

    If the UK had fallen as well I think that not even the US could help. Luckily all the world united against the Nazis and that terror regime went down.
  8. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  9. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    If Britain was occupied in 1940, that would have indeed changed nearly everything with respect to the outcome of the war. The North African campaign and the battle of the Mediterranean, for example, would have played out very differently. The Soviets would have also been on their own, assuming Operation Barbarossa was launched.
  10. Ringo

    Ringo New Member

    Yes. I am English and I don't think I'd be too happy about people invading my country and trying to take it over.

    I don't think the British people would have just given in and offered the German Paratroopers a cup of tea — quite the opposite.

    There is some interesting information on this thread. It sure is a thought-provoking topic.

    I think Hitler knew that it would be very costly; he would have lost a lot of men. He made the right choice in not going ahead with Sea Lion. He fought against the British in WW1 and may have had some bad memories.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2014
  11. Peninha

    Peninha Member

    Hitler made many good moves, but I believe that the Japanese lost the war for him when they attacked Pearl Harbor and got the Americans in the war.
  12. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    Germany, and her ally Italy, declaring war on the United States was indeed a large factor. However, the launch of Operation Barbarossa pretty much was the end of the Reich's possibility of victory.
  13. Riggy

    Riggy Member

    This is pretty much what I was going to write. He was already heavily focused on the west and knew that he was safe on the east side. Yes, he also knew he was going to go to war eventually with them due to their governmental differences and the fact that their 10 year peace treaty/pact was coming to an end but declaring war on them at the time he did was pretty much confirming his own loss and defeat. His economic understanding and methods were amazing, however his military tactics and overall command of the military was very, very poor.
  14. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    Forgive the momentary tangent, but a really good book on the topic of why the Allies were victorious, and the Axis war effort was eventually decimated, is Why the Allies Won, by. Richard Overy. If you haven't read it yet, its worth picking up. Cheers.
  15. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Sealion would have failed. The Royal Navy's surface fleet was the ace up the sleeve of the British. Even with air superiority, the Luftwaffe would not have been able to stop their invasion fleet being torn to shreds by the big guns and torpedoes of the Royal Navy. The Luftwaffe was not equipped to stop the RN. It had few torpedo bombers and level bombers were no use against warships. The Stuka dive bombers were a threat but the remaining RAF fighters and shipborne AA defences would have made life very difficult for them. The Germany Navy would have had to engage in a stand up fist fight with the Home Fleet if it was going to be involved and that would have been suicide. Remember no Bismark or Tirpitz in 1940 but there was Nelson, Rodney, Warspite, Hood, Renown and Repulse, and a large force of cruisers and destroyers. Had Sealion been launched the RN would have fought in the Channel if it had to. The world's most powerful Navy (in 1940) would not have refused to intercept an invasion of the homeland because it did not like confined waters.
  16. Peninha

    Peninha Member

    I think that if Germany had won the war the course of our race would be something too dark, I can't even imagine.
  17. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    I'm not entirely sure I understand this posts. Be that as it may, if you mean the course of human events, yes, things would have been very different in the "New Order" of the world. I recall seeing the account of a young airborne soldier from American (101st) who said, upon seeing the Nazi atrocities, that we would have been "hurled back into the Dark Ages" if the Allies lost. We, thankfully, will never know, but his statement probably isn't too far off the mark.
  18. Actually, a German invasion in 1940 was never a realistic possibility. In September 1940, the Kriegsmarine was virtually non-existent, consisting of one heavy cruiser unfit for extended operations due to defective engines, two light cruisers, one training cruiser, seven or eight fleet destroyers and eight or nine torpedo boats ( the Wolf/Mowe class, not S Boats, by the way.)

    By way of contrast, the Admiralty had some 70 destroyers and cruisers immediately available to respond to any attampt by the Sealion towed barges to set sail, and this does not include the Home Fleet, which was based at Rosyth & Scapa, and Force H at Gibraltar.

    The Germans had no reserves at all of towing vessels, and the Kriegsmarine estimated that it would require eleven days simply to ferry the first wave across!

    Admittedly, some protection might have been supplied by the Luftwaffe in daylight hours, although their performance at Dunkirk rather demonstrated their inability to hit ships at sea with any consistency, but at night the RN would wave been free to operate against the invasion convoys unhindered.
  19. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Cuthbert, thank you for that reasoned and informative post.

    It has bothered me for some years that the 'definative' book on Operation Sealion was writen not by a historian nor a military man but a known authour of propaganda: Peter Fleming. He worked in the British 'information' group stationed in NYC (1939-41) with the mission to plant newspaper stories and other information with the purpose of getting America into the war on the British side. Please recall the issue of American support for Britain was unsettled up to Pearl Harbour due to the influences of the German-American Bund and the America-First Movement.

    Peter Fleming worked for the Intrepid Organization along with his brother Ian -- who later wrote "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang", along with some other novels.
  20. There have been a number of books in recent years which have looked at 'Sealion' more dispassionately, without the propagandist approach of 'Britain was saved from defeat by the Few, and the Royal Navy was kept out of the way in Scapa Flow' which tended to permeate the writings of the immediate post-war period.

    Indeed, the earliest of these, 'Silent Victory,' by Duncan Grinnell-Milne, was published as early as 1958. Grinnell-Milne himself was a WW1 Ace with the Royal Flying Corps, and served in the RAF in WW2. His book, however, presents a clear case for the argument, which I would contend is generally accepted amongst present-day historians, that it was the overwhelming superiority of the Royal Navy in Home Waters, rather than the failure of the Luftwaffe to achieve air supremacy over the Channel, which really made a successful German invasion of the British Isles in WW2 an impossibility.

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