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  #161  
Old 09-11-2017, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Chief Brody View Post
6 were sunk in the Norwegian campaign. It seems that c.20 were available around the commencement of the BofB, and never got above that number throughout the campaign. Losses outweighed production I believe.

Some were on convoy attack duty, so my presumption is they were not in real numbers in and around the Channel. The Royal Oak was sunk by U-47 in 1939 in Scapa Flow.

Edit - 7 U-Boots were lost during the BofB (May-Sep) (x2 North Sea, x2 Ireland, x1 North Atlantic, x1 Bay of Biscay, 1x Norway)
Remake of Das Boot on the way

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  #162  
Old 09-11-2017, 09:55 PM
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They weren't anywhere near accurate enough to target 'escape routes' especially at night. Pathfinders helped, volume was enough.

They needed to 'open another front' against Germany so that forces and resources where held back against Stalin, who was constantly complaining about the lack of army engagement, despite North Africa. Given the choice I'd rather have been on the ground tbh, 8% of the bombers went down per raid to flak traps and nightfighters, despite advancements and trickery. Bomber crew had to be the worst night shift you could get.
Sorry I wasn't clear there.Escape routes weren't targeted,which as you say was impossible,but the idea was to bring down buildings with the high explosives to block the streets and prevent escape/help before bombing with incendiaries.Whether killing civilians actually helped Stalin rather than placating him is a moot point.In fact Stalin wasn't impressed and constantly harangued his Anglo-American allies to invade Europe throughout 1943..,
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  #163  
Old 09-11-2017, 10:19 PM
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Thought I'd start a specific thread, as this has been a refreshing off-topic debate recently within other threads.

Some questions raised thus far;

1) was Great Britain actually in danger of being successfully invaded in 1940?

2) who had the most powerful naval forces?

Feel free to widen the debate.

I'll start by adding my post re the Battle of Britain.
So to answer the questions.
1. Not really. Germany was not equipped for seaborne invasion
2. Great Britain

Now onto this

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Try James Holland.

In-Exile is quite right that the Home Fleet was a significant concern of the Germans in preventing invasion. Without air superiority, an invasion fleet would have been seriously compromised.

To begin, RAF fighters (Hurricanes and Spitfires) were being built in increasing numbers in 1940 and were at least the equivalent of the Bf109e & Bf110c. German intelligence underestimated GB fighter production badly.

By Dunkirk, Fighter Command had also gained valuable experience in combat with the Luftwaffe, causing it significant losses.

More importantly, the infrastructure set up by the 'Dowding System', was an incredibly effective strategy in winning air superiority and exacerbated the operational problems faced by Luftflottes 2 (South) and 5 (North).

Intelligence was critical to our success. Enigma for strategic understanding of composition of Luftwaffe.

Whilst in combat, the Dowding System operated thus - Chain Home (radar) and Observer Corps reports went to Bentley Priory, were distilled and communicated to Group HQs and thus Sector Stations. On the ground, Group Commanders would select Squadrons to attack respective targets. Sector Ops would guide fighters to intercept with a 75%+ chance of success throughout the Battle.

In contrast, German intelligence was largely poor and they often went in blind or with limited info. They lost many a/c on recon missions that were easy prey for RAF. Ensuring the limited info was maintained.

The operational and production strengths of the RAF though, were undermined by poorer, inflexible tactics. The Germans were far superior in that regard (as, was often the case in other Arms too). A German mistake was believing the Dowding System was as inflexible and rigid as RAF tactical doctrine. It wasn't.

One reason why RAF tactics were so poor was that they expected bombers over GB, not fighters too. Outdated thinking from '30s. Tight 'vic 3' formation etc ('rows of idiots' according to LW pilots) and easy prey for LW 'finger four' of x2 pairs. RAF doctrine was straight jacket like in comparison to flexibility of LW combat style.

Squadron Leader Sailor Malan copied the LW formations that was adopted more widely by the RAF, so imitation and flattery etc helped reduce a key strength of the LW Geschwader.

Other well known issues for the LW other than poor intelligence and inferior a/c production was the loss of aircrew over the UK and Channel. The RAF lost over 200 pilots in the Channel, let alone German losses.

Summary of BoB phases;

1) Kanalkampf (Channel Battles) 10 Jul - 11 Aug
2) Adlerangriff (Eagle Attack vs coastal airfields) 12 Aug - 23 Aug
3) Phase 3 interior airfields attacked 24 Aug - 06 Sep
4)* Phase 4 attacks switch to towns and cities 07 Sep onwards

*The period 13-19 September saw Bomber Command sink 200+ invasion barges.

By mid August the LW had reviewed the Battle and withdrew JU87s and reduced Bf110s. A clear sign of RAF fighter superiority. (Luftflotte 5 (North) were mauled around this time and did not re-appear in strength after this.)

That's why Phase 3 had the most ferocious attacks against our airfields, as the LW had to break Fighter Command and the integrity of the Dowding System. The key element to defeat was the supply of RAF fighter pilots. Hence, newly trained guys had as little as 9 hours flying time with no combat training. Foreign pilots and transfers from Coastal Command and Fleet Air Arm helped the bloodflow of men. A/c production and the quality of its machines meant this we were never in danger of being second to the LW in this regard. It was the one real opportunity for the LW, but given the previous detail provided, this was increasingly unlikely to succeed.

So, in hindsight, no, we were never really in danger of German invasion, but at the time, and given Dunkirk, it's understandable it was a concern.

I'm not a fan of Holland, he's a career historian and not a history buff. For instance he has in the past made grand claims about the superiority of the 109 in order to make himself more well known, but it is almost complete bollocks and is a scratch on the surface of fact.

There's a lot of truth in the above but it's a bit of distraction because what really made the difference was intelligence. Most people are not aware that in 1939 the enigma machines were being made, and that some Polish workers with German names had managed to infiltrate the factory and steal one or build a replica. They handed one to the British and by the time war had broken out we were reading their cipher. This and other intelligence was considered Ultra Secret, hence the name "ULTRA". This enabled the Allies to use what resources they had to fight as effectively as possible and play a longer game, and that sometimes meant a tactical retreat.

Goering loved enigma, he would wire everything on it feeling it was unbreakable, but of course it was only as strong as the users and some were very lazy, and their passcode was broken fast, rather like having a weak password to your computer. So with Goering literally explaining his tactics almost directly to Dowding (nobody below him had Ultra) he knew what sort of fight to put up. The Germans were also meticulous in inventory and so Dowding knew the strengths of what he was facing too, and he knew that he only needed to hold out until Der Kanal was impassable. This is why he used scant resource against bigger raids, and ignored the complaints of Leigh-Mallory and Badar to throw everything at the Germans, he KNEW that the objective was to knock out the RAF fighters to achieve air supremacy. So when you hear the stories about how stretched and outnumbered they were just try to think of it as a fighting retreat. It was brilliant play by Dowding using the tools that he had.




Buy it, it will change your view of WW2 forever.
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  #164  
Old 09-11-2017, 10:20 PM
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Sorry I wasn't clear there.Escape routes weren't targeted,which as you say was impossible,but the idea was to bring down buildings with the high explosives to block the streets and prevent escape/help before bombing with incendiaries.Whether killing civilians actually helped Stalin rather than placating him is a moot point.In fact Stalin wasn't impressed and constantly harangued his Anglo-American allies to invade Europe throughout 1943..,

Agreed
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  #165  
Old 10-11-2017, 09:06 AM
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So to answer the questions.
1. Not really. Germany was not equipped for seaborne invasion
2. Great Britain

Now onto this




I'm not a fan of Holland, he's a career historian and not a history buff. For instance he has in the past made grand claims about the superiority of the 109 in order to make himself more well known, but it is almost complete bollocks and is a scratch on the surface of fact.

There's a lot of truth in the above but it's a bit of distraction because what really made the difference was intelligence. Most people are not aware that in 1939 the enigma machines were being made, and that some Polish workers with German names had managed to infiltrate the factory and steal one or build a replica. They handed one to the British and by the time war had broken out we were reading their cipher. This and other intelligence was considered Ultra Secret, hence the name "ULTRA". This enabled the Allies to use what resources they had to fight as effectively as possible and play a longer game, and that sometimes meant a tactical retreat.

Goering loved enigma, he would wire everything on it feeling it was unbreakable, but of course it was only as strong as the users and some were very lazy, and their passcode was broken fast, rather like having a weak password to your computer. So with Goering literally explaining his tactics almost directly to Dowding (nobody below him had Ultra) he knew what sort of fight to put up. The Germans were also meticulous in inventory and so Dowding knew the strengths of what he was facing too, and he knew that he only needed to hold out until Der Kanal was impassable. This is why he used scant resource against bigger raids, and ignored the complaints of Leigh-Mallory and Badar to throw everything at the Germans, he KNEW that the objective was to knock out the RAF fighters to achieve air supremacy. So when you hear the stories about how stretched and outnumbered they were just try to think of it as a fighting retreat. It was brilliant play by Dowding using the tools that he had.




Buy it, it will change your view of WW2 forever.
I take your point re Holland. He is marmite.

And yes, intelligence was key, which many people overlook.

Thanks for the book recommendation, I shall get this.
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  #166  
Old 10-11-2017, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Chief Brody View Post
Thought I'd start a specific thread, as this has been a refreshing off-topic debate recently within other threads.

Some questions raised thus far;

1) was Great Britain actually in danger of being successfully invaded in 1940?

2) who had the most powerful naval forces?

Feel free to widen the debate.

I'll start by adding my post re the Battle of Britain.



1. We was a hairs-bredth of being invaded. If we had lost the Battle of Britain, the German airforce would have crushed us.
Plus Operation Sealion was already geared-up and ready to go.
So many heroic and individual tales contributed to our survival,...and some good fortune

The Graf Spey was ****** awesome. We lost a few vessels sinking her
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  #167  
Old 10-11-2017, 09:30 AM
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6 were sunk in the Norwegian campaign. It seems that c.20 were available around the commencement of the BofB, and never got above that number throughout the campaign. Losses outweighed production I believe.

Some were on convoy attack duty, so my presumption is they were not in real numbers in and around the Channel. The Royal Oak was sunk by U-47 in 1939 in Scapa Flow.

Edit - 7 U-Boots were lost during the BofB (May-Sep) (x2 North Sea, x2 Ireland, x1 North Atlantic, x1 Bay of Biscay, 1x Norway)
Apols - I misread my figures on U-Boot strength. The c.20 boats relates to those combat ready and on operations.

At the start of the War, there were c.60 U-Boots available. Am not aware of total strength in May 1940.

I see from Dim's interesting document that for Sealion, 27 U-Boots were slated to protect the invasion fleet.
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  #168  
Old 10-11-2017, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by foresthillbilly View Post
1. We was a hairs-bredth of being invaded. If we had lost the Battle of Britain, the German airforce would have crushed us.
Plus Operation Sealion was already geared-up and ready to go.
So many heroic and individual tales contributed to our survival,...and some good fortune

The Graf Spey was ****** awesome. We lost a few vessels sinking her
At the risk of being boring, we weren't that close. Plenty of posts providing detail.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:51 AM
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From Dim's CIA appraisal of German plans re Sealion.

page 55 - 'The effect of the enemy's air war and the inadequate German air cover against enemy naval forces caused the Naval Staff on the 30 August (1940) to report to the Supreme Command that the terminal date for Sealion preparations (15 Sep) could not be kept. The elimination by the Luftwaffe of activity by enemy sea and air forces in the Channel and along the embarkation coast had not yet materialised; and there was no early prospect of improvement while the Luftwaffe pursued its present operational objectives.'

The above broadly sums up previous detail posted.

Further reading shows how poor German intelligence was in their appraisal of the situation.

Yes, it was a tough battle, yet we were never in a position of losing it.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:56 AM
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1. We was a hairs-bredth of being invaded. If we had lost the Battle of Britain, the German airforce would have crushed us.
Plus Operation Sealion was already geared-up and ready to go.
So many heroic and individual tales contributed to our survival,...and some good fortune

The Graf Spey was ****** awesome. We lost a few vessels sinking her
She wasn't sunk and wouldn't have been, she would've been taken as prize and used against Germany so she was scuttled at River Plate by her skipper.

We weren't a hairs breadth, it was never on and we weren't close to losing the BOB at any point despite exhaustion from pilots (long days and pissed up nights) thanks to Dowdings tactical battle
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:10 AM
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A complex character Harris.Totally unrepentant after the war he was a dour and gruff man who was married to a strikingly beautiful woman half his age but seemed to prefer the company of his dog..,
Agree.

He was also the single biggest obstacle to the improvement of Bomber Command's re-structure, operations and results.

I refer, of course to the Pathfinder Force.

The Air Ministry via the Chief of Air Staff, Charles Portal had, after lengthy discussions, cause to overule his pig-headed intransigence, to enable the progressive evolution of Bomber Command.

He remained a pain in the arse to the end of the War.

I admire some of his qualities (the positive elements of stubbornness, his single-minded determination and loyalty), but I view him as somewhat fortunate in retaining his role.

I am no fan.
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:29 AM
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A hair the breadth of the English Channel and as strong as the people of these Islands and their friends who daily put their lives on the line to prevent them having any realistic chance of crossing. The CIA document is interesting as it paints the mood of the German Navy in defining the circumstances in which they might cross, the plan may as well have started with "we put the anti-gravity machine here".
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:39 AM
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She wasn't sunk and wouldn't have been, she would've been taken as prize and used against Germany so she was scuttled at River Plate by her skipper.

We weren't a hairs breadth, it was never on and we weren't close to losing the BOB at any point despite exhaustion from pilots (long days and pissed up nights) thanks to Dowdings tactical battle
Agree regarding Sealion but not the Battle of Britain.If Goering had kept bombing the airfields rather than switching to London the battle could well have been lost.An interview with one of Dowding's staff for the World at War series shows what a close run thing it was.And if the Luftwaffe had succeeded in destroying the radar installations then that would really have been game over...
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:48 AM
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WW2 Quiz Question 2:

Who said (and when):
"The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage."
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:51 AM
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WW2 Quiz Question 2:

Who said (and when):
"The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage."
Just a guess.Roosevelt after the Battle of Midway?
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:52 AM
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WW2 Quiz Question 2:

Who said (and when):
"The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage."
Or Trueman after Hiroshima?
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:58 AM
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To add colour as to why the Pathfinder Force was paramount as a necessary target finding and marking element of Bomber Command, here's some info on the results prior to their inception.

August 1941 saw the Butt Report commissioned by the Air Ministry. Mr Butt's task was to review recently taken aerial bombing photos.

He assessed 633 photos (10% sample) from Jun-Jul 41. 28 targets were analysed, over 48 different nights and over 100 raids.

The target was deemed as a circle, with a 5 mile radius (5 miles!) centred on the target.

194 photos (31%) were within the target area. 113 (18%) were 'measurably' outside and 326 (51%) were unplottable.....

In terms of aircraft, this represented 6,103 bombers despatched. 4,065 'claimed' to have identified and attacked the target. But only, 1,200 had actually done so.

These 1,200 'successful' aircraft had deposited their bombs over a 75 square mile 'target' area.

The report was understandably unwelcome amongst Bomber Command and the results challenged. Essentially, CAS Portal viewed that even with some tolerance for analytical error, they essentially illustrated our bombing offensive was highly ineffective.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:02 PM
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Agree regarding Sealion but not the Battle of Britain.If Goering had kept bombing the airfields rather than switching to London the battle could well have been lost.
That would have been problematic, sure.

Yet does not account for our winning the intelligence war, production of aircraft, retention of experienced pilots and provision of new ones.

The LW were not winning on any of these points.

Lots of info provided that substantiates this.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:13 PM
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:30 PM
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Emperor Hirohito, August 1945 after the second atomic bomb,was dropped on Japan.
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