Operation Sea Lion 1974 Sandhurst Wargame

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Not James Stockdale, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. CV12Hornet Well-Known Member

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    Closer to 180 for most of the battle, of which about two-thirds were Wildcat fighters, and most of the pilots trained to attack ground targets. But yes, against an exhausted force that had been under constant aerial and submarine attack for days.
     
  2. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    If we want to mention the Battle of the Phillipine Sea, then consider this: the USN's massive air attacks on Admiral Kurita's Center Force of five battleships at Leyte Gulf, with aircraft and pilots specialized for anti-ship warfare, only sank the battleship Musashi. The other four battleships, and their escorts, escaped and were able to penetrate to near the landing beaches. And then after chickening out against Taffy 3 they were still able to escape back home, with varying degrees of damage. What the Philippine Sea shows is that while WW2 air power can inflict attrition against major surface naval forces, it can't stop them. It wasn't just the Luftwaffe which didn't have the stopping power to outright defeat a 50-100+ ship-sized force before it would be able to reach the invasion fleet... no one in WW2 had that sort of air capability.

    There's no doubt that the RN would lose a bunch of ships to Stuka's, but since they would be committed to fucking up the invasion fleet no matter the cost that wouldn't have stopped them.
     
  3. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    The Royal Navy considered Destroyers, the old C and D class cruisers and the R class battleships disposable. Not much fun for the crews but the Admiralty probably expected high losses in the Channel. It would be interesting to find out what losses were acceptable for the virtual complete destruction of everything that floated under the German ensign.
     
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  4. Not James Stockdale Those Protestants... Up to no good, as usual

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    What are you talking about? Coral Sea, Midway, Philippine Sea, Cape Engano, and Ten-Go were all resolved exclusively by carrier aircraft.
    At that point, I doubt the RN would have considered any level of losses among the Channel forces unacceptable. My big question would be whether they would commit the Home Fleet or depend on ground forces if the Germans establish even a tenuous link across the Channel.
     
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  5. hipper Just running down the clock

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    they would attack at night and save themselves the bother.
     
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  6. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    Midway and Coral basically amounted to exclusively a contest between carrier vs carrier, not aircraft vs large, heavy SAG trying to break through to a third target. The Phillipine Sea was largely resolved between the American and Japanese heavy surface forces at Surigao Strait on the one hand and the light surface forces of Taffy-3 vs the heavy surface forces of Center Force at Samar on the other, with carrier aircraft playing a secondary role, which is a FAR cry from your claim of being settled "exclusively by carrier aircraft". Notably the one action within the Battle of the Philippine Sea which does match the description of aircraft vs a large heavy SAG, Surigao Strait trying to breakthrough to a third target, saw the American carrier aircraft fail to prevent Center Force from penetrating the San Bernadino Strait and had the taffy's not had the semi-happy luck of being in the way at Samar, they would have reached and butchered the American transport ships. The Ten-Go force was a grand total of six vessels, hardly a large force, and one of them still managed to get away. Cape Engano saw 8 vessels sunk of which 5 were by aircraft and took the course of the entire day in which the Americans were in no way pressured to sink these forces before they reached a extremely vulnerable third force, not to mention it was against a IJN force almost 1/3rd the size of the Royal Navy force in the Sandhurst game.

    If the Luftwaffe manages to match the American's feat at Cape Engano and sink 5 vessels in a force the size of the one dispatched in the Sandhurst Game in a single day, which is a worst showing then what I posited them achieving as a best case in my earlier post on this thread, then by the end of the day there would still be 69 Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers who merrily sail into the German barge fleet as it's partially across the channel and murder the ever loving fuck out of it. The Luftwaffe would have thus failed in stopping the Royal Navy from destroying the invasion force and causing the entire invasion to fail as assuredly as Halsey failed to prevent Kurita from passing through San Bernadino.

    The problem isn’t that the LW can’t sink British ships. If the entire Royal Navy were dumb enough to just anchor itself in the Channel and sit there for days and weeks on end, then the Luftwaffe would eventually destroy it. But for the task the Luftwaffe, the Luftwaffe has to utterly destroy virtually the entire home fleet in the short period between which it comes into range and when it would be amongst the invasion fleet. No Air Force in 1939-1945 could have achieved this. The fact the Luftwaffe is also being asked too provide CAS to the landing forces, hold off the RAF, and bomb London all at the same time their expected to perform this impossible task is just icing on the cake.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  7. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    The "armed auxiliaries" the Kriegsmarine would have sent along were basically trawlers and tugs with something strapped on (probably 20-40mm). Against other armed trawlers, they certainly would carry something of a sting. Against MTBs and MGBs (moving at high speed) these auxiliaries are unlikely to be very effective. Against any "real" warships these craft are marginally speed bumps. Sure there would be U-boats both south and north of the invasion lanes, and I expect they would have some success. However once the first ship (or two) is hit, you can expect a couple of destroyers/escorts to peel off and prosecute the submarine while the rest of the group motors off at 20-25 kts. This pretty much puts that boat out of play.

    If the Germans try and make the passage at night to arrive at dawn, they are going to have a huge issue with trying to keep this mish-mash of ships and landing craft together, even if the Channel is calm as a pond. With any sea running and the British interfering, this will be "interesting". At some point British shore batteries are also going to add their two cents worth.
     
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  8. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    Your ignoring some details in regard to Dunkirk. Like that the weather over the beaches was shit for air operations, with fog, low cloud and occasional thundershowers for all but two of the days of Operation Dynamo. In that regard the British were highly fortunate. The Luftwaffe actually made the situation even worse for themselves by bombing the crap out of the town of Dunkirk itself, which started huge fires and created an impromtu smokescreen over the water.

    It's no co-incidence that it was on one of those clear days the Luftwaffe scored nearly all their major shipping kills, sinking 4 destroyers (3 British and 1 French) and a passenger liner, all on 01 June. After that, the British discontinued daylight sailings of major ships and continued the rest of the evacuation at night, which denied the Stukas any further chances at the destroyers. Had the entire evacuation been conducted under clear skies and in daylight, British losses would have been much higher. Not high enough to fail, probably, but higher nonetheless.

    German performance against ships wasn't OMG amazing or anything, but it certainly wasn't bad. Average is about right.

    Me either. Not because the Germans are bad at killing ships though, but because 40s aircraft as a whole just weren't good enough at killing ships to outright stop a massed battle fleet. In order to fulfill the task set for Sealion, the Luftwaffe would have to be far more then average, good, or even amazing. They’d have to be downright inhuman.
     
  9. Mike D Well-Known Member

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    Who's going to crew them? The Germans are already having to man their proper ships and the existing invasion fleet with anyone who's ever so much as pushed a model boat onto a pond before because they're so short of experienced sailors. Inexperienced sailors are going to be lucky to hit the sea with a Flak gun/HMG roughly bolted to the deck of a trawler, never mind an aggressively manoeuvring MTB/MGB that's shooting back.
     
  10. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Fair comments - but 'summer' weather in the channel is not likely to be any better in Sept!

    I will try to look up what the weather was doing in Sept 1940 and if it was any better than Late May / early June

    And again several of those vessels sunk in Dynamo were stationary or manouvering slowly when hit

    70 odd Crusiers and DDs making maxiumun revs are not going to be remotely as good a target
     
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  11. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

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    Is it time to break out the standard Cunningham quote?
     
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  12. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    Are those stukas to be allowed to line up and dive on warships without interruption? somehow i Believe that the RAF will throw every airplane at the invasion. RAF bombers will attack just as well as stukas. I think that the RN will send every ship they have around the British isles towards the invasion.
     
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  13. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    Fail? They hardly tried as they thought center force was withdarwing
     
  14. tallthinkev In a band Donor

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    One thing I've wondered about it how were the barges going to be unloaded? They are towed across then what?
     
  15. hipper Just running down the clock

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    lashed together then pushed into the beach by the tug.
     
  16. Glenn239 Well-Known Member

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    So would I assume so, but the RAF was better at doing interceptions over London. This is off the coast of Pas de Calais, so more like the Dunkirk standing patrols, which were only partly effective.
     
  17. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    The RAF over the Channel, intercepts by the RN won't be right off the French coast for the most part, are still going to be under radar control.
     
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  18. CV12Hornet Well-Known Member

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    And there's the fact that even partially effective interceptions is still a massive reduction in the number of hits the Germans can expect.
     
  19. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Stukas, the most effective Luftwaffe weapon against ships, are sitting ducks for fighters, and if there starts to be a tangle the Stukas will dump their bombs and run away.
     
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  20. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    The chart below is drawn from several sources. The four columns on the far right are from Hooten 'Eagle in Flames'. The other numbers are from misc on line sources. The information relevant to the thread is probably confined to rows 13, 114, & 15; and perhaps on to row 17. From those three rows you can get a crude sense of the effectiveness of the a general air campaign, mostly vs cargo ships. Unfortunately I did not sift out what sank the ships, aircraft bombs or mines. Including mine laying sorties a total 1524 were flown Aug-Oct. 16 ships sunk equals 95 sorties each. Against some rough estimates for the Pacific war in 1942 this is not as good as either the IJN or USN carrier wings. Depending on how I added it up they were nailing warships with between 25 & 50 sorties per sunk. The percentage sunk out of attacked looks a bit better. 18% or near one of five. this is offset in that the Germans were trying for optimal conditions & choose not to attack were odds of success were clearly unfavorable. That luxury would not exist when protecting the ferry fleet against a RN action.

    My take is the German attack techniques in 1940 sucked. Dive bomber pilots were used to stationary targets & had not the appropriate technique for hitting moving ships, even slow ones. Level or shallow dive techies were near useless against moving ships. A few German air crew were trained for extreme low level attacks - "skip bombing" in the US vernacular. But, only a few had mastered the technique. & of course Germany had no useful torpedo for its aircraft.

    A lot more refinement of the data is needed to really prove anything, but this crude look is not favorable for the German bomber groups.

    Air Strike Analysis.png
     
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