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|WorldWar2.ro Forum > WW2 in General > Seelowe|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 06, 2009 07:22 pm|
| *** split from Suvorov books ***
Seelöwe was never seriously contemplated in impementation, other than putting a show for a bluff.
|Posted by: MMM February 06, 2009 07:52 pm|
|I disagree. The German HQ's (OKW, Kriegsmarine, OKH, Luftwaffe) made their plans - quite late, it's true - and even requisitioned all the boats on the west coast. Why do you think it was just a bluff?|
|Posted by: dragos February 06, 2009 11:28 pm|
If 1) Dunkirk evacuation was not allowed to happen and 2) Luftwaffe would not lose the Battle of Britain then Seelöwe would have been a real opportunity. The key factor was air supremacy over the Channel.
|Posted by: MMM February 07, 2009 07:52 am|
|It is curious (to say the least...) why didn't anybody "pay" for those two events - I mean the Reichsmarschall remained on his post until the end of the war. And he could have been blamed for both events, although the stopping of the tanks at Dunkerque was somehow a common decision of von Rundstedt and Hitler (which confirmed each other their worst fears).|
|Posted by: Dénes February 07, 2009 10:20 am|
| This is a rethorical question.
The persons who could answer it died long ago.
|Posted by: dragos February 08, 2009 12:50 am|
|Perhaps the unexpected fall of France, which surprised both camps, and all the world, was enough to let such events, which appeared quite unimportant in this view, to pass as acceptable in the view of Hitler's expectancies.|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 08, 2009 12:19 pm|
| the "preparations" were made by assembling river barges which were not seaworthy. if by a conjuncture of fantastic weather, they would have managed to put 100.000 men ashore, they had no transport capacity to keep them resupplied. even without the interference by the RN.
they would have, with the merchant navy of 1914. but not 1940.
the whole thing was a bluff to scare the british politicians into a peace agreement.
|Posted by: MMM February 08, 2009 04:43 pm|
|May have been a bluff or not, but it worked quite well: both sides believed it. And the Battle of Britain was NOT a bluff!|
|Posted by: Imperialist February 08, 2009 08:02 pm|
|The British also had destroyed 10% of the German barges in the first 2 months of the battle of Britain.|
|Posted by: MMM February 08, 2009 08:28 pm|
|Yep. The Germans seem to have begun losing men/material even before the start of the operations...|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 08, 2009 09:01 pm|
BoB was no part of Seelöwe. It started much to late in the year for that. To take advantge of the weather, the invasion, with subsequent capture of some ports with intact unloading capacity, had to be over by the end of august. if they didn't invade in july, they certainly would not have done so in october or november, when the weather in the channel is much worse.
both sides knew very well what an invasion requires, what cargo space is needed to sustain it and both sides had extensive documentation on each others shipping. no surprises.
|Posted by: MMM February 09, 2009 01:59 pm|
|Oh, you make it seem as if it should have been planed all in advance and followed exactly afterwards... which was NOT the case with many brilliant victories (on both sides) attained in spite of careful planning and, most of all, against the odds! Seelowe was not made (IMO, at least) due to the lack of political will (and maybe fear?) from Hitler. Otherwise, how could one explain the bombing of London and cities?|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 09, 2009 09:38 pm|
| it has not been made for the lack of a possibility for military implementation.
to have everything required for a realistic chance of a successfull invasion, a massive naval programme would have been required, together with a strengthening of the luftwaffe, at the expense of the heer. this, given the industrial output geared for war in 1940 would take 3-4 years at least, time which adolf did not have.
the bombing of london and so forth was an attempt to convince the british to sue for peace, nothing else. it was no prerequisite for a landing, which was not possible for several years anyways.
for one, adolf didn't see much of a conflict of interest with britain. he demanded the imperial colonies back (not that they were worth anything) but would have gladly settled for much less if he didn't have to wage a resource-wasting naval war.
other than that, as britain is an island and the RN in the position to turn any landing into defeat, given the surface strength of the kriegsmarine, in 1940 there was no military possibility to attempt a successfull invasion.
both sides were very well aware of this.
|Posted by: MMM February 10, 2009 12:49 pm|
Is it so? Was it so in many other cases? And I have to disagree with you (of course, on the "vast" field of counter-factual history) on the impossibility of an invasion. It would have undoubtedly succeeded, but the costs would have been too high. They did NOT need more than a couple of divisions and some airfields, as the RAF was already cornered - only the Krauts didn't know that!
And as for the bombing of the cities, I have my doubts that Hitler/Goring mistook the Brits for Spaniards at Guernica or Netherlands at Rotterdam, believing they'll subdue them w/ airpower alone. But BoB is another question, although it is clearly linked w/ Seelowe.
|Posted by: dead-cat February 10, 2009 01:56 pm|
nowhere i said a successfull invasion was genuine impossible. it was impossible with what the kriegsmarine and luftwaffe had at her disposal in 1940.
they had no landing craft, no transport capacity, not enough harbours in close range with loading capacity to sustain a sizable army on the british shore.
the kriegsmarine did not have enough forces to secure the channel.
the luftwaffe could not keep the RAF+RN from interfering with the landing and supply. the invasion force would not only have to land, they'd have to be sustained there, they needed to caputure ports with unloading capacity intact and keep them intact.
even with air superiority archived it would not be enough. the luftwaffe archived local air superiority over the eastern and central mediterannean. it didn't keep the RN from intercepting an invasion force for crete, which was much weaker defended than the british shore. it didn't keep the RN from interfering with the supply of the afrika korps to the point that supply shortage seriously hampered their operational capability.
obviously the RAF wasn't all that cornered if a few weeks later managed to make the aerial assault of britain a costly affair.
and, as i said, the RAF wasn't even the biggest problem. the RN was.
|Posted by: MMM February 12, 2009 02:47 pm|
| I have to - again - disagree! If the Germans would have succeeded in putting two divisions on the English soil (motorized and/or armored, of course), I really don't think there would have been forces to stop them! And, of course, provide a base for Luftwaffe to operate against RAF.
Anyway, this would have eventually led to a Soviet Republic of France (to get back to Suvorov...) - quite a nausea!
|Posted by: dead-cat February 12, 2009 05:14 pm|
| with what? river barges? ever seen one? William's boats were more seaworthy in 1066.
and armored divisions? tanks usually don't swim very far, or they'd belong to the KM instead of the Heer. A brief glance at the equipment used during "Overlord" will show all sort of specialized landig equipment, build after the experience of 2 and a half years of fighting amphibious operations in the pacific, of which the german army had none.
2 divisions, makes 30.000 men, give or take a few. certainly, although mauled in france, the british army had enough resurces of all sorts, to repell such a feeble landing attempt.
|Posted by: Imperialist February 12, 2009 05:41 pm|
Britain conquered with just 2 divisions? Come on.
|Posted by: MMM February 12, 2009 05:57 pm|
| All right, it was an understatement - maybe five divisions...
Was this a joke?
|Posted by: dead-cat February 12, 2009 09:52 pm|
| a brief glance at the british defence would suffice to dismiss the 5 divisions as much to few as well. the german command estimated to have to put around 100.000 men on british soil as the first wave only to have a chance to succeed. what it requires to sustain those 100.000 men could be easliyimagined, together with the required facilities to unload those.
|Posted by: MMM February 13, 2009 08:03 am|
| Perhaps the lessons of the Red Army in what concerns re-supplying would be of use...
Don't forget the ancient phrase of wisdom of English origin: "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it". Not very well applied to the Wehrmacht, but as the divisions landed, they would undoubtedly have captured some supplies.
Anyway, we're just wild goose chasing right now, aren't we?
|Posted by: dead-cat February 13, 2009 08:13 am|
| the Red Army hardly conducted many amphibious operations.
"supplies" does not mainly mean food. it means also ammunitions, which, for a different caliber are not usable.
|Posted by: MMM February 13, 2009 09:07 am|
|I know, but the advancing troops usually capture some weaponry. I remain to my oppinion: if the Germans really wanted (political and militar will) to invade England, regardless the cost, they could have done it! IMO, at least!|
|Posted by: Radub February 13, 2009 09:41 am|
I think you underestimate the British, their resolve, their manufacturing power, their colonies and... their US friends.
Maybe the Germans could get a foothold and maybe even gain some ground for a while, but then the British would summon troops and resources from every corner of the empire, then ask for the help of their US allies and push the Germans back into Germany. Oh wait... that actually happened!
|Posted by: Imperialist February 13, 2009 10:23 am|
And you really expect 2 divisons to make up for their lack of supplies with captured weapons?
Come on, such a statement is worthy of Elena Udrea maybe (who is a so-called "expert" in national defense). For a person that will allegedly have a Ph.D. on a military-related subject, I do hope you're just joking.
|Posted by: MMM February 13, 2009 10:45 am|
| Imperialist, I honestly thought this entire thread was a joke! Counter-factual history is not really a science, right?! And I came back: I said 5 divisions - as much as the allied forces landed on D-Day! We're just talking, you know, "ne aflăm în treabă"...
As for Elena, the expert , two things:
1. She's a minister and a professor (at UCDC, this AC/DC of private universities...) - so she's a valuable asset of our nation
2. Shouldn't we just let her talk with the president of Norway and stop bothering her?
|Posted by: dead-cat February 13, 2009 11:04 am|
| actually, on D-Day the allies landed 130.000+ men, significantly more than 5 divisions.
the thread started as a split from another, with my affirmation that Seelöwe was nothing more than a bluff, that the german command never seriously contemplated actually conducting this operation during 1940, given the military realities of the day. as it didn't serve to subdue the british, BoB was initiated.
so far i see nothing, non-factual here.
|Posted by: MMM February 13, 2009 11:54 am|
|Indeed. The Germans didn't even expect to invade France, nevertheless UK. They hadn't planed it, therefore hadn't prepaired it. Otherwise, they would have had more naval capacity or something...|
|Posted by: mabadesc February 13, 2009 04:14 pm|
| I'm not going to speculate on this issue, as I don't have time right now to dig up the material I've read on the subject. However, just a couple of points:
1. There is a very interesting article in last month's WWII Magazine about Churchill's preparations for resisting a German invasion of Britain in 1940. According to it, Churchill and his military commanders were worried that just several (not many, but I don't recall the exact number quoted) German divisions could reach London.
2. As a consequence, they prepared for the short-term threat by organizing a paramilitary network of saboteurs/resistance fighters. Their tactic was not to prevent the Germans from reaching London, but rather to wage guerilla-type warfare against the potential occupation. If I recall, Ian Fleming's brother (future creator of James Bond) was one of the officers put in charge of this operation.
3. From a german standpoint regarding Operation Seelowe (all political hesitations implications left aside), the main problem was crossing the Channel, not land-based British military resistance on English soil.
4. As one poster noted above, the Germans did not have the Navy for it. However, in the 1930's buildup, Hitler allocated the majority of resources to the Army and Luftwaffe to the detriment of the Navy. Then again, had he allocated more to the Navy, perhaps the Army & Luftwaffe couldn't have pulled off their victories in France. Sort of a vicious circle...
P.S. I highly recommend the article in WWII Magazine, as it goes into details on Britain's preparation for a war of attrition on British soil.
|Posted by: MMM February 13, 2009 05:00 pm|
| 1+PS: Give me please the address of the magazine or a copy or something. I am really interested...
2. I supposed Churchill thought at that, but I never knew precisely.
3. My point of view, as well.
4. True, but had they organised their economy from like Speer did it, only 5-6 years sooner, they would have had more. Fortunately, they didn't!
|Posted by: dead-cat February 13, 2009 06:42 pm|
there was the anglo-german naval treaty of 1935, which specified exactly how much of what type the germans could build. in 1939 hitler renounced the treaty, but a naval build-up is a long term investment which takes quite some time. imperial germany started in the 1890ies and reached a level which was becoming dangerous to british supremacy after 1910. all this while imperial germany had a much larger merchant navy and a pool of experienced seamen to draw from.
ships have to be build, sailors trained etc. this is a gap which cannot be closed short-term.
|Posted by: dragos February 13, 2009 06:44 pm|
|Regarding mabadesc's point 4, would not a total Luftwaffe supremacy over the channel deter British warships intervention against an invasion fleet in the narrow areas? As far as I know, Hitler was more terrified by the perspective of his landing crafts being blown up by RAF rather than the Royal Navy.|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 14, 2009 04:29 am|
|the axis had supremacy over the eastern mediterranean and didn't prevent the RN from interfering, just as they didn't prevent the Dunkirk evacuation, despite Göhring's promises.|
|Posted by: MMM February 14, 2009 08:27 am|
|Please spare me Göring's promises! He didn't deliver ANY of them. But I thought of an effort made to invade England similar to the effort made with Crete in 1941. The last push did it, in spite of heavy losses; don't get me wrong, I don't compare the islands between them, but neither the distance from the main theater of operations wouldn't have been the same. It seems that in 1940 the Germans wanted only easy victorie, with extremely small losses - if any heavy damage was at risk, they wouldn't do it. IMO, at least...|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 14, 2009 08:43 am|
| the defences of crete are not similar to those of england, nor was the mobilization potential
crete was a different kind of operation. i brought it as an example, that air superiority does not necesarily annihilate the enemy's navy. the RN was weaker in the mediterannean than in home waters also.
other than that, everybody wants easy victories at small losses, except perhaps, the honourable Sir Dougle Haig (this is a flamebait).
|Posted by: MMM February 14, 2009 08:59 am|
I knew that; I only wanted to underline that the conquest of Crete was made with heavy losses in spite of many contrary circumstances. I also know that RN was/is stronger in the Channel, and I also know that the Germans had Italian naval help, which in summer 1940 they would not have had.
|Posted by: dead-cat February 14, 2009 09:50 am|
|to what effectively amounts the Italian help, there is a quote from Churchill, who, when told that Italy joined the germans, said: "That’s fair; we had them last time."|
|Posted by: Dénes February 14, 2009 10:46 am|
That's hillarious! Great observation.
|Posted by: dragos February 14, 2009 10:47 am|
The Mediterranean was a much larger area than the channel so the chances to detect and attack enemy ships decrease accordingly.
At Dunkirk (5 destroyers sunk by Luftwaffe), the evacuation was still under protection of RAF, so Luftwaffe did not act unopposed.
|Posted by: dead-cat February 14, 2009 11:09 am|
|they would hardly be able to destroy every british aircraft. however, they did have supremacy over dunkirk. 5 (or 6) destroyers i'm sure wasn't regarded a very high price. the invasion of norway costed the KM 10 destroyers, 1CA and 2CLs. again, while german aircraft archived air supremacy.|
|Posted by: MMM February 14, 2009 08:25 pm|
| Why should anyone destroy
As for the Supermarina, I never regarded it too high, as well (I mentioned it only for fear of being accused I didn't do it ) - and Churchill's memories, even in the abridged version translated in Romania, one could find many such remarks. I remember reading it when I was student and writing down the interesting quotations. Unfortunately, I lost them However, it is a book well-worth reading!
Winston Churchill - Al doilea război mondial, vol. I-II, Ed. Saeculum I.O., Bucureşti, 1997.
|Posted by: dragos February 14, 2009 08:45 pm|
I was talking the kind of air supremacy Allies had on D-Day.
|Posted by: MMM February 14, 2009 10:45 pm|
|Let's not compare D-Day (06.06.44) with Dunkirk (29.05 to 04.06 in 1940), more precisely not after two and a half years of US war production... for which the Germans had no match.|
|Posted by: dragos February 14, 2009 11:57 pm|
|MMM, I was obviously not comparing D-Day with Dunkirk (one was a large scale invasion, the other one was an evacuation). I was referring to the dead-cat's implication that Luftwaffe had to eliminate every single aircraft of the RAF, which, of course, was not the case. Luftwaffe had a number of operational aircraft in 1944, but far insufficient to interfere with the landings or to do anything at all in the area of the beacheads. On the opposite, during the Dunkirk operation, it appears that RAF shoot down 132 planes with the cost of 145 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_evacuation#Losses|
|Posted by: MMM February 15, 2009 09:41 am|
|I know very well that, as I already had written an essay (for my PHD studies) about the Dunkirk evacuation in january 2008! I was just stating the difference between the militar and industrial powers involved in the conflict.|
|Posted by: dragos December 27, 2009 09:39 pm|
|Posted by: MMM January 16, 2010 07:16 pm|
| I must admit this/these changes my views - still, I wish I had access to a contemporary German study/oppinion...
Nevertheless, some aid could have come -if it were the case - from the "cousins" over the Atlantic. I doubt that Roosevelt would have just stood and watched...
My whole "beef" with the German side comes for not even seriously trying or considering it!
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 January 19, 2010 04:08 pm|
Isn't that the point?
I don't see anywhere in this thread a reference to Hitler's famous "vacation" post the fall of France. What the "German side" did was what Hitler odered. (in this case, nothing).
Also, I think it's been observed that Hitler held a sort of grudging admiration for the Brits and the fortitude they so often displayed, WERE displaying in 1940!
Some have speculated that stayed der Fuhrer's hand re invasion, irrespective of all the tactical obstacles that have been hashed over here.
Hitler had a radio; presumably he could hear Churchill's famous June 18, 1940 speech: "......We shall not flag or fail....we shall defend ot our island whatever the cost may be. WE shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We will NEVER surrender!"
strong stuff. And he/they meant it. If you have never heard/seen a recording of that speech, please do so. (I suppose it's on Utube somewhere). This was what stopped the madman.
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 January 19, 2010 04:24 pm|
| sorry; that speech was June 4, 1940
here's a downloadable mp3 link
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 January 19, 2010 04:32 pm|
|Posted by: MMM January 24, 2010 09:22 am|
| Oh, thanks, but... no thanks! This quote/speech is also at the beginning of an Iron Maiden song, "Aces High" - of which I learned at the tender age of 15
So, I'm quite familiar with Churchill's activity, career and speeches; he's also one of the historic personalities I really like and admire, in spite of his (numerous) flaws!
What I intended to "conclude" was that I finally agreed that an invasion was never seriously considered by the German side; the Brits, on the other hand, were as prepared as they could've been - given the circumstances.
PS: as far as I know, he said "We shall never surrender"
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 January 24, 2010 08:17 pm|
yeah....Iron Maiden vid was the second link I posted above...was wondering if anyone would open/comment on it,
....check it out..it's really a great video, imo...dramatic shots of dogfights, etc while Winnie delivers those famous lines, cuts to vid of a spirited live performance of that famous IM anthem.
Of course the full speech (mp3 from The Guardian archives) is much longer, quite dramatic.
And not to split hairs, but maybe Germans did "seriously consider" doing it, but Hitler never acted.....for one or all the reasons we've been discussing?
|Posted by: Florin June 17, 2012 05:05 am|
Regarding the stopping of the tanks at Dunkerque:
The Blitzkrieg theory applied by Guderian supposed daring advances even when the rear was not fully secured.
The shape of the German advance in northern France in May 1940 was a kind of wedge: long and thin, with barely protected frontlines above and below the route of supply and reinforcements. It was attacked by the French from the south (under the command of De Gaulle) and by the British from the north (also known as the battle of Arras / offensive at Arras). The British attack was quite a problem, but both German frontlines survived, at north and at south.
However, these British and French attempts had a result. The German High Command and Hitler decided that the communication lines are too stretched, and they ordered to the armored divisions (ready to enter in Dunkerque and smash everything in their way) to stop for two days, to get the help of the infantry coming from behind.
After these two days, a heavy rain started, turning the ground into soft mud. Worried that the tracks of the armor may bog down, Hitler ordered two additional days of delay, until the ground will get better.
These combined 4 days of delay made a life or death difference around all Dunkerque matter.
|Posted by: MMM June 17, 2012 05:05 pm|
| Slightly OoT, but really ironic: the 2-nd Officer from the Titanic has helped at Dunkirk:
As for the "weather problem", this might be the prelude for the General Winter in 1941! I must check out my copy of Frieser's "Myth of the Blitzkrieg" book - perhaps he says something about that!
L.E.: Mr. Frieser confirms the five days of bad weather, but his "final" approach towards the STOP order is that Hitler needed to consolidate his authority over the Wehrmacht's generals, at any cost: if he said STOP, they must STOP! Well, the truth might be beyond our reach, because every hypothesis tends to have a little truth in it: Goering's pride, Runstedt's fear, Hitler's will to command etc. etc. etc.
|Posted by: Florin June 17, 2012 06:42 pm|
| I also recommend a book: "Blitzkrieg" (subtitle: From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk)
Author: Len Deighton
My 2000 edition was published by Castle Books.
That matter with soft ground after rain fall is in other sources as well.
Years after 1940, Hitler felt the need to justify himself regarding the stop order at Dunkirk, but when historians later checked the rain story, it was correct.
Considering the "Seelowe" operation, in August-September 1940 the British attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto was yet to happen, same about the attack at Pearl Harbor, or the sinking of the Prince of Wales. I am saying that the German military leadership was not yet sure that airplanes are able to sink battleships, questioning the ability of the Luftwaffe to stop the Royal Navy.
It is interesting that at war start the Germans and the Japanese accepted engaging a land battle only if they had the total aerial superiority, and if that superiority in the air was not total, they backed off.
I am considering the Seelowe operation, or the canceling of landings at Port Moresby after the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Later in the war, both the Germans and the Japanese had to accept carrying battles with no aerial superiority, simply because they had no choice.
My conclusion is that the Germans should dare to push ahead with the invasion, even with some Spitfires or Hurricanes still messing around.
It is bad to lose. It is also bad when you are not trying at all.
|Posted by: junior June 19, 2012 06:39 am|
The effect of de Gaulle's attack is up for debate, from what I understand. While some (including de Gaulle, unsurprisingly... ) claim that his attack helped influence the Germans to pause the armored columns, there are historians who claim otherwise. For instance, Alistair Horne, in "To Lose a Battle", states that the order to halt Guderian had already gone out when de Gaulle launched his first attack. He also states that the German archives didn't contain any real notes of concern along the lines of that expressed at other trouble areas during the offensive, and that it appears that the High Command wasn't even aware of de Gaulle's attack until after they had already told Guderian to resume his advance.
According to Horne, any alarm over de Gaulle's attack got no further than the 1st Panzer Division, which was de Gaulle's target.
|Posted by: Florin June 22, 2012 01:54 am|
| Junior, I agree that de Gaulle's attack almost got unnoticed by the Germans.
The British attack was a different story. The Matilda tanks were much heavier than what the Germans could show in May 1940, and they were almost impervious to the shells fired by Panzer III. Some Matilda tanks kept fighting after 20 hits from Panzer III.
|Posted by: junior June 25, 2012 05:39 am|
From what I've heard, you're correct. If the British Matildas had been properly supported when they counterattacked into the German lines, they may have caused some serious havoc. Unfortunately, they weren't. And after the initial shock, the Germans managed to scrounge up some 88s to deal with the tanks.