Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
United Kingdom Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: Operation Sealion would not have succeeded?
JTR~~    9/9/2011 4:18:26 PM
i have here the details/results collected after the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst conducted an extensive experimental war game mimicking the exact plans of Operation Sealion in order to determine a long sought answer to the "what if?" situation. it makes for truly interesting reading and i would be interested to hear your opinions on the matter. Personally when all things are considered it does indeed make a great deal of sense. Regards JTR~~
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Factfinder    The Sandhurst Sealion   10/2/2011 12:24:28 PM
One interesting fact about the Sandhurst exercise is that the actual dispositions of the Royal Navy in 1940 were not used in the wargame.
One of the organizers was later one of my university tutors and he would quite happily discuss the exercise at great length. The most interesting point, however, was that in the pre-planning it became obvious that, had the actual RN dispositions been applied to the exercise, then it was unlikely in the extreme that any organized German forces would have reached shore at all.
Consequently, as the whole idea of the game was to bring about a land battle in Southern England (this was at Sandhurst, after all!) the bulk of the RN forces were moved back in order to give the landing forces a window of opportunity to get ashore.
In the 'real' September 1940, there were in the region of seventy RN destroyers and cruisers within 6 hours of the Dover Straits, together with several hundred smaller auxiliaries ranging from sloops & minesweepers to gunboats, armed trawlers, and armed yachts.
Quote    Reply

StobieWan       11/2/2011 8:59:36 AM
Not a chance -the landing preps for the Germans were very amateur hour - they could have put a reasonable force on the beach assuming the RN and RAF took a nap but getting that second wave in would have been almost impossible.
More than likely the RN would have gotten in among the landing zones quite rapidly and the results would have been a massive reversal for the Germans. Even with local air superiority to the Germans, the RN could still have beached some obsolete battleships nearby and pounded the area flat in an all out run.
If you look at the preparations the allies put in to the Normandy invasion vs the amount of shipping the Germans had, you can see the problems - they physically need to put in two or three waves of towed craft to make up a beachhead and if RN MTB's, subs and destroyers start chopping that lot up on either the initial landings or as they head back, that cuts down the reinforcements they can potentially bring. Match prediction, total bloodbath for the Germans...
Quote    Reply

JTR~~    true StobieWan   11/2/2011 10:42:38 AM







the only way i could ever see this working out for the Germans would be highly dependent upon the levels of damage that the Luftwaffe could inflict upon the Royal Navy without their newly lost air superiority with the presumed destrcution of the effective fighting capability of the RAF. to this end one would also  have to question as to what losses could the Royal Navy sustain before it too was rendered useless as a fighting entity. worst case scenario, they lose must of their major fleet units, including all of the captial/battleships and the aircraft carriers and most of the cruisers available to them, would the reamaining destroyers MTBs and other small craft be able to mount the same effective repulse of the invading German forces.
in regards to this, my guess would be yes, but it would be a closer run thing, the focus would have to  be aimed at the landing vessels and if the Army was maybe able to offer a limited degree of highly mobile inshore counter battery fire with units from the Royal Artillery, the same devestating consequences may have been experienced by the German landing troops as would have been seen should the major fleet assets still been available to the Royal Navy. it would probably place money on saying that the Germans would have stood a better chance and indeed would have landed a larger quantity of troops thus meaning that the land campaign would have been far fiercer, but i still believe the British would have inevitably prevailed, there is always such a bitter outlook in terms of Britain's position in regards to the prospect of the presumed German invasion, just so turns out things were not so clear cut afterall.
the consequences of this operation however could have been disastrous for more than one reason. the Germans would have lost manny of their best troop,s their entire amphibious capability, many resources (which could be replaced but would take vital time), their most experienced initial panzer units and vast swathes of the Kreigsmarine, it would certainly buy Britain vital time,  if not putting the question of a renewed invasion effort completely out of the question altogether, further losses would have been seen against the already severely mauled Luftwaffe. this would leave both reeling from the operation. Britain, would have committed all imediate resources available to her, this would most likely result in the destruction of most of the Home Fleet and other vital  naval resources and almost the entirity of the RAF rendering the former in a hihgly vulnerable state, the damage done to which may be irreparable and would certainly comprimise Britain's ability to conduct further operations, the latter would have been rendered almost useless as a fighting force altogether however would have been invariably easier to put right once more. The Army would recieve the least scathing and would retain a reasonably effective stance with strenght being increased over the next few months as the re-armament process begins, however initial efforts would in all likeliness be diverted to rebuilding the Navy and Air Force at first one would imagine.
one must question however, that in this perilously weakened state, having given her all to stay in the fight and considerably weaken the German war effort, our attentions must be drawn to the vital Battle in the Atlantic to which the effective and continuous operation of the Royal  Navy was vital, i would seem to think that under such circumstances that the U Boat threat would have prevailed and Britain starved into submission at a later point.
anyway that is just my take on things, apologies for any typos etc i was doing this in a rush.
Quote    Reply

LB       11/3/2011 3:58:04 AM
Kenneth Macksey in "Invasion" puts forth the notion the Germans real chance was to invade in July 1940 and that by September the window had closed; moreover, instead of the broad front invasion notion he uses a smaller narrow front invasion in July as something that could have worked.  It's just his idea as I believe Kesselring supported the notion.
Jodl created a very cogent staff paper regarding prosecuting the war against the UK and in my view Sealion was not required to bring down Churchill's government in favor of one willing to negotiate a settlement.
Quote    Reply

Factfinder       11/3/2011 6:50:14 PM
Unfortunately, when Mackesy wrote his rather silly and implausible book, he seems not to have known that, at a meeting with Hitler, Keitel & Jodl on 20 June 1940, Raeder reported that the German navy had no suitable vessels capable of transporting an invasion force, but that it was hoped that forty five barges could be made available within the next two weeks!
It would have been a very narrow narrow front indeed.
Quote    Reply