Radius powers? Interesting name. I thought they were called the Entente in both wars.Hell to Pay - Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Britain
Map of Operation Downfall.
At the beginning of 1944, it was clear through their earlier defeats in the previous year, that the defeat of the Radius Powers was only a matter of time. By May, both Russia and France had surrendered, much of the Confederate States of America was under the Union Flag. Britain on the other hand neither had surrender or has it's territory under enemy control, but still it's defeat was only a matter of time. The Government of Winston Churchill and Oswald Mosley despite of the increasingly desperate situation still have a strong resolve to carry on the war until the bitter end. Around this time, the High Commands of both Germany and the United States would start putting together plans for a joint invasion of the British Isles which was codenamed Operation: Downfall. This operation was broken down into 4 different operations of the own, codenamed Sealion, Coronet, Olympic, and Felix. Sealion was scheduled to launch on September 14th, 1944 with landing areas planned all along the southern coast of England from Cornwall to Kent. The second operation, codenamed Coronet, was to take place on October 9th with landing zones in south-east Ireland was to be followed by landings in Norfolk County on the 11th under Operation Olympic. The final Operation codenamed Felix, was to take place sometime in the spring of 1945 along the eastern coast of Scotland.
The Plan for Defense:
With the Fall of France in April, the British High Command expected that the Central Powers were planning to invade England in the near future, and so they would begin to make preparations to defend Britain in the event of such an invasion were to occur. In June of 1944, the British High Command would divide the British Isles into 12 different areas of Army Control. The most important sectors were ones located along the southern part, where the British Leadership deduced that is where the German-American invaders were most likely going land. The overall commander of all British forces in the British Isles was Oswald Mosley, and under him commanding all units in the Southwestern, South, Southeastern, and London operational areas was General Bernard Montgomery. The ground forces for the British totaled to 4.2 million soldiers in addition millions more of recently raised civilian militia personnel, 62,000 field artillery pieces, 94,000 anti-aircraft weapons, and 1,100 barrels. The Royal Air Force had about 3,000 aircraft of all types as of July of 1944, but shortages of fuel and qualified pilots however meant that a small number were fully operational. The Royal Navy had it's Home Fleet, which on paper had 6 capital ships, 3 aircraft carriers, 5 heavy cruisers, 15 light cruisers, and 36 destroyers, and many other vessels. However, only the battlecruiser HMS Renown and battleship Royal Sovereign were fully operational along with 2 heavy cruisers, 5 light cruisers, and 19 destroyers. The other vessels were either sunk or damaged beyond any repair in the various naval bases in the region. The Royal Navy also suffered from a lack of fuel oil for it's warships and many of it's sailors have been forced in the role as serving as ground troops on land. To further augment their defenses, the British would construct a series of pillboxes, bunkers, anti-barrel traps, and other defenses fortifications and structures all across England in anticipation of an invasion. The British had also planned in making use their stockpile of the newly developed anthrax against the invasion forces, which was a biological weapon which they had developed to use against the food supplies of Germany and America. Another plan devised by the British when an invasion was to commence was to launch a full scale attack against the landing forces by using the large numbers of motor torpedo and gun boats. The end goal for these battle plans was to inflict enough casualties on the enemy to force them into accepting an armistice instead of facing a total defeat.
The Plan for Offense:
After the initial plans for Operation Downfall were agreed upon by senior German and American commanders, both nations would begin amass naval forces in European waters as well any form of transports they could get their hands on such as barges, ocean liners, landing ships, and other types. For Operation Sealion, five different army groups were planned to be landed all along Britain's southern coast which all of them were to be commanded by General Gerd von Rhunstedt. The armies involved included the American 3rd Army under Charles W. Ryder, the German 10th Army under Friedrich Paulus, the US 5th Army commanded by Oscar W. Griswold, the German 14th Army under Fedor von Bock, and the 7th Army under Erich von Manstein. In addition, the German-American 9th Army under General Ritter von Leeb was to land in the northern part of the Lizard peninsula in the event that Ryder's 3rd Army got bogged down. Also taking part in the Sealion Operation were four airborne divisions, the American 11th and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the German 1st and 2nd Parachute Divisions. Supporting the landings were the Task Forces 31 and 14, which constituted 4 battleships, 2 battlecruisers, 6 heavy cruisers 12 light cruisers, 35 destroyers, and other vessels from the navies of Germany, the United States, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. Also supporting the landings were the air groups from the carriers of Task Force 35 and the land based units of the German Luftwaffe and USAF and the air forces of Austria-Hungary and Poland which totaled to 3,600 aircraft. The landing forces for Operation Coronet was the US 9th Army under USMC General William H. Rupertus with the help of both the Paramarine forces and also the Irish Resistance (who were also planning to launch a nationwide uprising on the day that Coronet was to commence.) For Operation Olympic, the US 8th Army was to be commanded by Robert L. Eichelberger, and the German 6th Army was to land in Scotland during Operation Felix was to commanded by Ernst Busch. A grand total of 1.9 million US and 4.2 million German soldiers were planned to be used during Operation Downfall alongside with the supporting forces 195,000 artillery pieces, 2,900 barrels, and up to 10,000 aircraft in all types. For naval forces, the Central Powers had up to 20 battleships, 9 battlecruisers, 7 aircraft carriers, 12 light aircraft carriers, 15 escort carriers, 32 cruisers, and 281 destroyers for naval forces. In addition, the Central Powers could've operated up to 1,300 other vessels such as support ships, landing ship barrel, landing craft, and troopships. The High Command would also make preparations to use chemical weapons in the event that the British put up a stubborn resistance, and even planning on using the new Sarin nerve agent in that event. In addition, the Central Powers also drew plans for potential tactical use of the superbombs if the need arose during the invasion.
Preparations and Termination:
In the last week of May of 1944, the Central Powers would commence their preparations for Operation Downfall as the German Army began to amass their ground forces on the various ports along the English Channel and the North Sea such as Le Havre, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Dunkirk, and the Calais. At the same time, the US Navy would increase their forces in the region following the destruction of Confederate Atlantic Fleet off Currituck. By June 19th, the first elements of the American ground forces under the command of General Omar Bradley of the so-called American Expeditionary Force would arrive at the French port city of Brest. By July 14th, the preparations for Operation Downfall was estimated to be about 55% complete when the new British Government led by Sir Horace Wilson would make peace with the Central Powers after both Churchill and Mosley were ousted from power during a coup d'état on the night of July 13th. With Britain's surrender, the Operation would be scrapped and instead, both German and American forces would enter Britain and would begin an occupation of the country.
Even during the preparation stages for Operation Downfall, many commanders on both sides became fearful that they would suffer heavy casualties during the operation. On July 10th, Bradley's top aide would come to a conclusion in a report that the German-American forces alone might suffer at least a million casualties. Many post-war historians would also come to the conclusion that high casualties might've been suffered by both sides if the war lasted long enough for Operation Downfall to the executed. Historians would also highlight that millions of British might have also perished during the Invasion. Laurence Rees, a British historian, would note if chemical and biological weapons, and even Kernwaffern were used during Operation Downfall, he would be on record of stating that the British Isles would've been rendered inhabitable for life to exist there. He would also state that, "If Downfall had been allowed to go ahead by circumstances, this could've ended Britain not just as an Empire, but also a Nation altogether."