E Boats for Sealion

The father of one of my friends was with the 8th army in africa and italy.
In Italy 2 of his friends came back from a nearby village, having had a bellyful of the local vino collapso.
Except the nearby village was still in german hands.
Our 2 heroes had sidestepped that problem by not drinking in places that had germans in them.
It not a problem unless someone makes it a problem.
 
I heard from a veteran about an oasis in the desert that by mutual agreement was neutral territory. Apparently it was quite common to see German, Italian, and British vehicles queuing and waiting there turn to fill up with water.
 
If that is from Cox's dramatisation of the game it looks a lot different to the original Telegraph writeup. In that the Germans were spotted at 11pm, codeword Cromwell was issued and the RN directed the Home Fleet South immediately. The invasion fleet was attacked by a Cruiser and Destroyers from the west (Portsmouth) and lighter forces including MTBs from Dover. The RN lost the Cruiser and 2 Destroyers, the Kreigsmarine lost 3 Destroyer, in addition the Germans lost 20 barges sunk and 20 cut adrift (from memory it was either 20 of each or 40 of each, I'm getting old, but I've posted the lower figure). It was estimated that at least half of the barges had difficulties landing and/or landed at the wrong location.

Not quite the "the Germans landed unmolested" that people think.
Only I don't think anyone said un molested, they said with far less forces than were available

However the point is if that was the damage inflicted by the artificially reduced first response, what do we think would happen with a more realistic one.

Someone mentioned that the barges would be spotted as they moved down the coast but at most they were expected to take 5 or 6 hours to go from embarkation ports to the start points and most of that journey would have been done via inland water ways. Again I'm thinking of this from memory.

IIRC they had they had to move them down the coast just while getting the barges into the vicinity (the RAF had run sorties against them) but I agree it make sense to move the barges through an existing canal system if possible. There are other factors though like were are the adaptions to the barges being done.

The embarkation itself would have take far longer than 5-6 hours, let alone leaving the home ports and forming up. Relying on inland water ways (assuming they are available) and setting your embarkation points further back might in theory protect them at that point but it would have slowed everything down further since you would have to wait for them to embark piecemeal, travel to the ports, mass and form up. Then you have the transit time


The annoying thing is with these damn threads is that in general we all agree on the final outcome... Sealion failure, but they just get bogged down in unrealistic assumptions and dredging over the same details over and over again.


Your right and to be frank you claims here that the RN was going to set some trap that involved letting large chunks of 9 German Divs land have also been gone over and debunked many times as well.

The RN has no need to stop the landings, only to prevent resupply, they knew that, they planned to do it that way, and everything I've read from contemporary documents shows that was the case. The war game in 1974 just confirms that.

Please provide a cite for the claim that RN is going to let the invasion fleet land almost unmolested and saw no need to stop the landing.

1). This would be counter to the primary role of the RN.

2) It also ignores the reality that the invasion fleet would be at it's most vulnerable to Britain's most powerful armed force (in operational context) that was most suitable to the task while the invasion fleet was transiting and attempting to land.

4). The corollary of 3, the most dangerous wing of the German armed forces and the one most important for the desired end result of the operation (the army) would be at it's most vulnerable and least able to operate or even resist while transiting and attempting to land .

5). It would require deploying the army/home defence to take out the landed troops, which they would be able to do but it would entail casualties for no good reason.

6). If the Germans troops landed it would more likely to necessitate the British forces sabotaging British facilities like ports than if the invasion fleet is destroyed in the channel, that's a resource cost for no reason.

7). If the Germans land in any numbers you will risk damage being inflicted on the local civilian population, and there will certainly be alarm and dislocation.

The wargame does not confirm your theory either, it was set up that that way give the army something more to game out than scouring the south coast for washed up flotsam, and buying the navy boys drinks. That by coincidence this looks like the RN deliberately holding back doesn't prove your trap theory.

Cheers, that's one I'd read previously but not the one I was looking for... The search continues 😊

It supports the point you disputed, so what quote are you looking for here?
 
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As for tanks Britain had built 2 Matilda IIs by Sept 39 - perhaps that's what you are thinking about?

They had built other tanks such as the A9 and A10

Britain started rearming for a return to the continent in late 38 / early 39 and did not start conscription until May 39 - they were never going to remotely match a continental army in a single year - it takes 3 and a half years.
Wouldn't they also have had A13 Mk II, aka Cruiser IV with the uprated turret armour and the 2pdr gun? And depending on the timing the A13 Mk III, aka the Covenanter? Also possibly some Valentine Infantry Tanks for that matter. Not huge numbers of any of them, but with the 2pdr gun versus the 20mm cannon of Panzer II I fancy their chances, the 37mm on the Panzer III was marginal at best versus the Infantry Tanks. And of course there's bound to be plenty of the Mk VI B Light Tank about. Useless against Panzers but shooting up lightly armed infantry was basically what they were built for. Apart from the Covenanter most of the British tanks actually gave pretty good service, it was continually being rushed into service with poorly trained crews and mechanics that tarnished their reputations. And at least the crew had a better chance in a Covenanter than a Mk VI B did when it came to facing other tanks. Yes, I have been watching an awful lot of David Fletcher tank chat videos lately.
 
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Wouldn't they also have had A13 Mk II, aka Cruiser IV with the uprated turret armour and the 2pdr gun? And depending on the timing the A13 Mk III, aka the Covenanter? Also possibly some Valentine Infantry Tanks for that matter. Not huge numbers of any of them, but with the 2pdr gun versus the 20mm cannon of Panzer II I fancy their chances, the 37mm on the Panzer III was marginal at best versus the Infantry Tanks. And of course there's bound to be plenty of the Mk VI B Light Tank about. Useless against Panzers but shooting up lightly armed infantry was basically what they were built for. Apart from the Covenanter most of the British tanks actually gave pretty good service, it was continually being rushed into service with poorly trained crews and mechanics that tarnished their reputations. And at least the crew had a better chance in a Covenanter than a Mk VI B did when it came to facing other tanks. Yes, I have been watching an awful lot of David Fletcher tank chat videos lately.
Sept 39?

I think it was just the A12 Matilda II, A9, A10 and A13 MK1 Cruisers that was under production (excluding the lights and the A11 Matilda I) on the day war was declared

Valentine Tank was first delivered in mid 1940 - not sure when but 109 had been delivered by Sept 1940

The 65 A13 Mark I were all delivered by mid 1939

The first of the 175 A10s entered service in December 1939

The first 2 A12s had been produced by Sept 1939 - 23 were sent to France - but


Total production

TotalCruiserInfantryLight
Pre-war1,14879671,002
1939​
September–December3147163180
1940​
January–March218924680
April–June34015912160
July–September39214722718
2,412​
548​
524​
1,340​

So as you can see....more than 2
 
Sorry crossed wires there, I was thinking of what would be available in September of 1940 to oppose an invasion. And of course by then there were enough Matilda IIs that a substantial number were sent to the Middle East at the height of the invasion scare.
 
Sorry crossed wires there, I was thinking of what would be available in September of 1940 to oppose an invasion. And of course by then there were enough Matilda IIs that a substantial number were sent to the Middle East at the height of the invasion scare.
When the Reinforcements were sent to North Africa which I think was Oct - the British no longer believed that an invasion was even remotely likely.

There was the following AFVs in Sept - from here - Majority of the Infantry tanks would be Matilda II and Valentine

Infantry
Cruiser
Light
Carriers
June 30th
140​
209​
582​
2,242​
July 31st
218​
284​
657​
3,181​
August 31st
274​
322​
659​
3,784​
 

nbcman

Donor
When the Reinforcements were sent to North Africa which I think was Oct - the British no longer believed that an invasion was even remotely likely.

There was the following AFVs in Sept - from here - Majority of the Infantry tanks would be Matilda II and Valentine

Infantry
Cruiser
Light
Carriers
June 30th
140​
209​
582​
2,242​
July 31st
218​
284​
657​
3,181​
August 31st
274​
322​
659​
3,784​
The 7th RTR left Liverpool on 21 August 1940 and arrived in Egypt on 24 September.

So they were sent at the height of the threatened invasion.
 
Wouldn't they also have had A13 Mk II, aka Cruiser IV with the uprated turret armour and the 2pdr gun? And depending on the timing the A13 Mk III, aka the Covenanter? Also possibly some Valentine Infantry Tanks for that matter. Not huge numbers of any of them, but with the 2pdr gun versus the 20mm cannon of Panzer II I fancy their chances, the 37mm on the Panzer III was marginal at best versus the Infantry Tanks. And of course there's bound to be plenty of the Mk VI B Light Tank about. Useless against Panzers but shooting up lightly armed infantry was basically what they were built for. Apart from the Covenanter most of the British tanks actually gave pretty good service, it was continually being rushed into service with poorly trained crews and mechanics that tarnished their reputations. And at least the crew had a better chance in a Covenanter than a Mk VI B did when it came to facing other tanks. Yes, I have been watching an awful lot of David Fletcher tank chat videos lately.
Considering just how few Tanks the Germans would actually successfully land ( and similar difficulties/ mass shortages of AA/AT/artillery guns, heavy mortars and pretty much everything heavier then some light mortars, MG34s and more rifle grenades and satchel charges) even old Rhomboids would if used well slaughtered the German infantry. Add in Vickers six tons and various armored cars ( both purpose built and the various " invasion emergency" models and it'd be pretty one sided for the most part.
 
Wouldn't they also have had A13 Mk II, aka Cruiser IV with the uprated turret armour and the 2pdr gun? And depending on the timing the A13 Mk III, aka the Covenanter?
Not really,,,,,,,,

Despite the unusual decisions made during the design process, the tank was deemed satisfactory by the Ministry of War. On April 17th, 1939, LMS received a contract to make 100 tanks with serial numbers ranging from T.7095 to T.7194. No prototype was to be built, and the tank would enter production immediately. However, later, a T.7195 pilot tank was built after all.

English Electric and Leyland Motors were going to be involved in the production starting in September of 1939. The first received a contract for 100 tanks (T.15295-T.15394) and the second for 151 tanks (T.15395-T.15545). The A13 Mk.III was accepted into service as the Cruiser Tank Mk.V before the first tank was even built.

The pilot tank T.7195 had both aluminium road wheels and a Wilson transmission. Turning was done with a steering wheel as opposed to levers. The engine compartment size was increased compared to mass production models, which had a positive effect on the engine cooling. The first two tanks also had a hull machinegun, presumably so the driver wouldn't be bored during battle.

The experimental tank arrived sans turret to the Farnborough proving grounds on May 23rd, 1940. It travelled 802 miles (1283 km) during trials, reaching a speed of up to 60 kph. Since it had experimental cooling equipment, no problems with overheating were observed. Later, an experimental Merritt-Brown transmission was installed on the tank, and it drove another 839 miles (1342 km).

The real problems began when the second tank, T.7095, arrived on September 29th, 1940. Aside from the driver's machinegun, this vehicle was exactly identical to mass production models. After 50 minutes of driving, the water temperature in the cooling system was 75 degrees Celsius. After 2.5 hours, the temperature reached 177 degrees! The oil cooling system was also overheating, and there were problems with the gearbox.

Attempts to correct the situation resulted in delays. The first tanks only left the factory in late December, and only 7 units were finished that year. They were sent directly to Bovington, where they took part in military trials. A torrent of unkind words followed. The compact layout of the engine compartment resulted in problems during service. There were also complaints about the fighting compartment, which was found equal to that of the competitor Cruiser Tank Mk.VI, which was already in use by the military at the time.

 
I find it staggerong that someone can suggest that a ramshackle armada moving at 1.5 knots across a warzone contested by a quantitavely and qualitatively superior enemy can arrive at its destination in good order. Ridiculous beyond words.
Also the Germans were looking at landings as far west as Hastings.
 
now here i would disagree; even though I vigorously reject sealion even being able to leave port before being pancaked by the Royal navy up to and including ships steaming into the french harbors at point blank actions

every British action in the first half of the war involved them leaving tons of booty to the enemy, I wouldn't be so quick to assume they would go all Alberich on their own territory any more than France was willing to go on theirs; keeping in mind that even legitimate psychotic nazi bootlickers like Speer and Guderian didn't go Alberich on their own territories, hell even the Russians didn't do it that much
There were plans to destroy anything of value in place if an invasion occurred. Fuel was limited in availability so tanks at service stations would not be anywhere near full anyway nor would there be large quantities of food in shops (rationing) - food warehouses were tightly controlled and plans were in place to move/kill livestock in the invasion area. There would not be much left for the Germans, admittedly there is always going to be things that get grabbed by surprise or overlooked but by September there would be thin pickings for the Heer.
 
Considering just how few Tanks the Germans would actually successfully land ( and similar difficulties/ mass shortages of AA/AT/artillery guns, heavy mortars and pretty much everything heavier then some light mortars, MG34s and more rifle grenades and satchel charges) even old Rhomboids would if used well slaughtered the German infantry. Add in Vickers six tons and various armored cars ( both purpose built and the various " invasion emergency" models and it'd be pretty one sided for the most part.
The (fictional) Warmington on Sea Home Guard platoon was more motorized than much of the German army what with Jones's butcher's van.
 
Only I don't think anyone said un molested, they said with far less forces than were available

Please note I was responding directly to Vizzer’s post:

“Just had a look at Richard Cox's "Operation Sealion" write up of the wargame & it starts with the German forces arriving at the correct beaches at the correct time, which is more than the Allies managed at Normandy, with what seems to be total surprise on the British side then proceeds with the ground & airborne operations.”

Your right and to be frank you claims here that the RN was going to set some trap that involved letting large chunks of 9 German Divs land have also been gone over and debunked many times as well.

I’m not sure your understanding of the actual situation is in line with reality. There is no “trap” as you call it, it would just have been physically impossible given the RN disposition and standing orders at the time for there to have been a mass interception of the landing fleets.

From West to North East the main bases were at Plymouth, Portsmouth, Dover, Sheerness, Harwich, Immingham, Rosyth and Scapa. Only those bases between Portsmouth and Harwich could have got forces to the invasion area within time. The forces from Portsmouth were dispatched, Dover had nothing more potent than MTBs which were also dispatched. Sheerness and Harwich could count on a couple of Cruisers and 20 or so Destroyers at any one time (though many of the Destroyers were not on anti-invasion duties, they were primarily used for escort duties). Standing orders for the for Sheerness/Harwich forces were to stand by and wait for further orders in the event of invasion in case the Germans turned for the East Coast which was still a very viable threat in the eyes of the British at the time. These were all factors that would have been considered when deciding the RNs reaction during the game.

Please provide a cite for the claim that RN is going to let the invasion fleet land almost unmolested and saw no need to stop the landing.

1). This would be counter to the primary role of the RN.

2) It also ignores the reality that the invasion fleet would be at it's most vulnerable to Britain's most powerful armed force (in operational context) that was most suitable to the task while the invasion fleet was transiting and attempting to land.

4). The corollary of 3, the most dangerous wing of the German armed forces and the one most important for the desired end result of the operation (the army) would be at it's most vulnerable and least able to operate or even resist while transiting and attempting to land .

5). It would require deploying the army/home defence to take out the landed troops, which they would be able to do but it would entail casualties for no good reason.

6). If the Germans troops landed it would more likely to necessitate the British forces sabotaging British facilities like ports than if the invasion fleet is destroyed in the channel, that's a resource cost for no reason.

7). If the Germans land in any numbers you will risk damage being inflicted on the local civilian population, and there will certainly be alarm and dislocation.

The wargame does not confirm your theory either, it was set up that that way give the army something more to game out than scouring the south coast for washed up flotsam, and buying the navy boys drinks. That by coincidence this looks like the RN deliberately holding back doesn't prove your trap theory.

It supports the point you disputed, so what quote are you looking for here?

I have already provided the information you’ve requested attached to Post #402.

To take your points in turn:

1. See notes provided in Post #402

2. I agree

3. There seems to be no 3.

4. I agree.

5. I agree.

6. I’m pretty certain but can’t remember where I’ve read it but the south coast ports were already partially dismantled and certainly set for demolition in the case of invasion. They weren’t being used for shipping freight for this period anyway.

7. The majority of civilians had already been evacuated from the coastal areas and for quite a distance inland. I don’t think this was particularly an issue.

This is not a theory I have come up with it is the reality of the situation at the time. It was not a case of the game allowing a landing for the sake of a land battle, more of a considered response based on the information provided and agreed by the umpires as part of the game.
 
Please note I was responding directly to Vizzer’s post:

“Just had a look at Richard Cox's "Operation Sealion" write up of the wargame & it starts with the German forces arriving at the correct beaches at the correct time, which is more than the Allies managed at Normandy, with what seems to be total surprise on the British side then proceeds with the ground & airborne operations.”



I’m not sure your understanding of the actual situation is in line with reality. There is no “trap” as you call it, it would just have been physically impossible given the RN disposition and standing orders at the time for there to have been a mass interception of the landing fleets.

From West to North East the main bases were at Plymouth, Portsmouth, Dover, Sheerness, Harwich, Immingham, Rosyth and Scapa. Only those bases between Portsmouth and Harwich could have got forces to the invasion area within time. The forces from Portsmouth were dispatched, Dover had nothing more potent than MTBs which were also dispatched. Sheerness and Harwich could count on a couple of Cruisers and 20 or so Destroyers at any one time (though many of the Destroyers were not on anti-invasion duties, they were primarily used for escort duties). Standing orders for the for Sheerness/Harwich forces were to stand by and wait for further orders in the event of invasion in case the Germans turned for the East Coast which was still a very viable threat in the eyes of the British at the time. These were all factors that would have been considered when deciding the RNs reaction during the game.



I have already provided the information you’ve requested attached to Post #402.

To take your points in turn:

1. See notes provided in Post #402

2. I agree

3. There seems to be no 3.

4. I agree.

5. I agree.

6. I’m pretty certain but can’t remember where I’ve read it but the south coast ports were already partially dismantled and certainly set for demolition in the case of invasion. They weren’t being used for shipping freight for this period anyway.

7. The majority of civilians had already been evacuated from the coastal areas and for quite a distance inland. I don’t think this was particularly an issue.

This is not a theory I have come up with it is the reality of the situation at the time. It was not a case of the game allowing a landing for the sake of a land battle, more of a considered response based on the information provided and agreed by the umpires as part of the game.
You forgot Chatham on the Thames estuary, which was a major RN dockyard and base.
 
Please note I was responding directly to Vizzer’s post:

“Just had a look at Richard Cox's "Operation Sealion" write up of the wargame & it starts with the German forces arriving at the correct beaches at the correct time, which is more than the Allies managed at Normandy, with what seems to be total surprise on the British side then proceeds with the ground & airborne operations.”



I’m not sure your understanding of the actual situation is in line with reality. There is no “trap” as you call it, it would just have been physically impossible given the RN disposition and standing orders at the time for there to have been a mass interception of the landing fleets.

From West to North East the main bases were at Plymouth, Portsmouth, Dover, Sheerness, Harwich, Immingham, Rosyth and Scapa. Only those bases between Portsmouth and Harwich could have got forces to the invasion area within time. The forces from Portsmouth were dispatched, Dover had nothing more potent than MTBs which were also dispatched. Sheerness and Harwich could count on a couple of Cruisers and 20 or so Destroyers at any one time (though many of the Destroyers were not on anti-invasion duties, they were primarily used for escort duties). Standing orders for the for Sheerness/Harwich forces were to stand by and wait for further orders in the event of invasion in case the Germans turned for the East Coast which was still a very viable threat in the eyes of the British at the time. These were all factors that would have been considered when deciding the RNs reaction during the game.



I have already provided the information you’ve requested attached to Post #402.

To take your points in turn:

1. See notes provided in Post #402

2. I agree

3. There seems to be no 3.

4. I agree.

5. I agree.


Your post 402 just sets out your basic claim it doesn't support it

if you think loading up 9 divisions onto barges ill-suited for the task, massing them at their departure ports, forming up an invasion fleet that involves daisy chaining a good percentage of them with tug boats, and having whatever covering craft the KM can muster and providing air cover for all this with the LW is going to to look anything like regular channel barge traffic you are kidding yourself.

If you think all that is going to be done quicker than it takes the British to spot it and mobilise the RN you are kidding yourself again.

and that's before we even take into account the actual transit time of the fleet, that will be heading generally speaking towards the RN!

You attachment is just your own notes I can't really test the veracity of them but since they basically spell out plenty of ship within striking distance in the context of the timeline as per above it's moot


however a few quotes from your document in regards general defensive plan and basic principles of engagement:


The first role of the Navy was to destroy the enemy tanks and troops before they could get ashore. As tanks posed the greatest threat, tank transports were to be the first priority. Enemy escorts were to be ignored unless they needed to be engaged first to get at the transports. The general instruction was “no Captain can do very wrong if he engages enemy transports at close range” – an obvious play on Nelson’s Trafalgar memorandum of Oct 9th 1805 when he wrote “….no Captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy”.
If an indication of a landing was received the warning “Stand by “Purge” (location)” would be issued. If a landing was in progress the signal “Carry out Operation “Purge”” would be issued. On receipt of the signal all vessels in the threatened area would proceed immediately to the attack.

Cruisers, destroyers and motor torpedo boats would at first be under command of C.I.C Nore Command but it was expected that when the enemy was engaged it would be down to the initiative of local commanders. Auxiliary patrol vessels would be under the command of Flag and senior officers in command of the area. Additional support would be provided by convoy escorts if the convoy was within 30 to 40 miles of the position in which the enemy was reported. Any units at sea and not in contact with the enemy, and if no specific orders were received, were expected to ‘March to the sound of the Guns’ i.e. head to the nearest area in which the enemy were known to be attempting a landing.

If ships ran short of fuel or ammunition they were to return to the most convenient port to replenish and then set to sea again to engage the enemy. This would be critical if the enemy invasion fleet numbered hundreds of steamers and perhaps thousands of barges – a quick turn around would be vital. If enemy ships entered an estuary or harbour, ships were to follow and destroy them. If a destroyer or larger ship was mined or torpedoed it was up to the smaller vessels to pick up survivors – on no account were destroyers to stop to help if this would delay its attack on the enemy.

Instructions for destroyers:
Any destroyer on patrol at night was to proceed and immediately attack the enemy. During daylight it would rendezvous with the nearest approaching destroyers.



Honestly that sounds pretty in keeping with my interpretation!

6. I’m pretty certain but can’t remember where I’ve read it but the south coast ports were already partially dismantled and certainly set for demolition in the case of invasion. They weren’t being used for shipping freight for this period anyway.
I think they suspended commercial shipping, but that's not the same as not removing them as a wartime resource

I can believe they were prepared for demolition, but that's not the same as being demolished

7. The majority of civilians had already been evacuated from the coastal areas and for quite a distance inland. I don’t think this was particularly an issue.
That is somewhat overstating it

A second evacuation effort started during and after the fall of France. From 13 to 18 June 1940, around 100,000 children were evacuated (and in many cases re-evacuated). Efforts were made to remove the vulnerable from coastal towns in southern and eastern England facing German-controlled areas. By July, over 200,000 children had been moved; some towns in Kent and East Anglia evacuated over 40% of the population.

Plenty of people left to get caught in the crossfire

This is not a theory I have come up with it is the reality of the situation at the time. It was not a case of the game allowing a landing for the sake of a land battle, more of a considered response based on the information provided and agreed by the umpires as part of the game.

You have not supported your theory, and the reality at the time doesn't support it either



EDIT: You note also reference the suggestion for ships ramming ships

It was noted that in conditions of bad visibility, destroyers and other vessels could ram any larger warship (from amidships aft to the propellers). Capture by boarding was also an option although both these forms of attack should only be considered after all the transports had been dealt with.

I may be wrong but I think you earlier dismissed that as part of you general point about people overstating the RN's possible response in these discussions?
 
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There was at least 300 armed vessels of the Coastal forces in the Channel region - possibly more (the force had 900 vessels at this time)

It was not just a few dozen MTBs - it was also mine sweepers, HMTs (His Majesties Trawlers), armed vessels of all types - and this littoral force alone would likely overwhelm the landing force and its limited escorts.
 
There was at least 300 armed vessels of the Coastal forces in the Channel region - possibly more (the force had 900 vessels at this time)

It was not just a few dozen MTBs - it was also mine sweepers, HMTs (His Majesties Trawlers), armed vessels of all types - and this littoral force alone would likely overwhelm the landing force and its limited escorts.
Not to mention, the cliffs of Dover can be easily defended, mined, or placed with other booby traps.
 
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