Book Review: We March Against England: Operation Sea Lion, 1940–41


by Robert Forczyk

Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2018. Pp. 368+. Illus., maps, tables, diagr., chron., appends., notes, biblio., index. $16.00 paper. ISBN: 9781472829832

The Ultimate “What If” of the Second World War

A retired U.S. Army officer and author of several works on World War II, Dr. Forczyk follows up his Case Red: The Fall of France with a look at the most important event that didn’t happen during the war, Hitler’s planned invasion of Britain.

Forczyk lays out the respective resources, plans, and preliminary actions in very great detail. He often covered matters frequently overlooked in earlier works, such as the importance of British code breaking, the “utter failure” of German intelligence efforts, and Hitler’s attempt to get Spain into the war as a preliminary to an invasion of Britain.

Forczyk does rather overstate British mistakes and short comings, while overrating German abilities. He argues the Germans could have secured a bridgehead, but that the British would have contained it, but would have been unable to eliminate it. Forczyk concludes that the British would have found themselves on the losing end of a war of attrition, with far reaching consequences.

Forczyk’s analysis is interesting. It is, however, contrary to that of most writers on the subject, and the results of the famous 1973 wargame of the operation at Sandhurst. In fact, he claims the Sandhurst wargame ignored the ability of the Luftwaffe to sustain the invaders by air, neglecting that fact that the Luftwaffe had suffered heavy loses -- perhaps 50 percent -- to its Junkers Ju-52 fleet during operations in Norway and the just concluded campaign against The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, and in any case its subsequent performance at aerial resupply proved rather poor.

Forczyk does, however, make several valuable observations, perhaps most notably that the planning for the invasion helped the German Army hone its amphibious and river crossing capabilities.

We March Against England is a useful work for those interested in World War II in Europe.


Note: We March Against England is also available in hardcover and several e-editions.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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