• If you were leading German military operations after the fall of France how would you tackle the  problem of defeating England?

    My plan would be to use the Luftwaffe to close the North Sea and Channel to English convoys. Close the Thames River by bombing and heavy mining. Force the RAF to fight over convoys instead of friendly territory.

    Bomb the western English ports.

    Third priority would be to attack railroads, airfields and industrial areas.

    What’s your thoughts?


  • My priority would be RAF airfields first, ports 2nd, everything else a distant third.

    If Germany can destroy the RAF or prevent it from being used effectively, then they can bomb anywhere they like with less risk.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    I think having a plan and sticking to it is a good plan.
    Germans were having some success, then changed the targets, giving RAF Command the break they needed.

    That said, I think the Channel and convoys would have been my first priority.
    Losing pilots over England, while the English ones were rescued, was significant in my opinion.

    I had a Battle of Britain PC game years ago and I enjoyed trying to subjugate my adopted country using my beloved Luftwaffe.

    Good question again Worsham. Unfortunately, I am deep into your Civil War at the moment(Spotslyvania), so will not research WW2 for a while.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    I like it: bomb the lower classes.
    With any luck they revolt, overthrow the government and sue for peace.

    England would never have fallen.


  • I think Germany had no real chance to ‘defeat’ the UK. They certainly were never going to be in a position to invade them, and while they were wearing down the RAF, I think at some point the US would have entered the war - even if Japan had not attacked.

    I suppose their best shot would have been to put a stranglehold on the shipping lanes and the Channel and increase U-Boat production.

    I don’t see holding off attacking Russia as a ‘military’ option here. Yeah, that would have helped - but Hitler was driven to do it when he wanted to do it - it wasn’t a choice of if or even when. It is impossible to discuss strategy without assuming that Russia would be attacked. It didn’t make strategic sense - it was personal.


  • True about attacking Russia-  while there were spectacular victories in the East, there were strategic blunders- not planning long term (winter gear?), giving ‘stand your ground’ orders, etc.

    But yes, upping the U-Boat ante and targeting RAF facilities may have hurt England enough to sue for peace (or starve)…


  • I believe invasion with what the Germans had, a few destroyers and a fleet of barges would have been suicidal. The Royal Navy, with heavy losses, would have destroyed an invasion fleet.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    screw the invasion, Germany should have just continued in strangling U-Boat campaign, and doubled, or tripled it’s effort.

    With the airforce continuing to strike strategic targets.

    That would have got the job done.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Well follow Admiral Raeder’s Mediterranean strategy suggestions, which would have Germany dismantling the British out of the middle east and Africa. I call this the lost year ( June 40-June 41) where Germany really did nothing except send a few divisions taking crappy nations and underrepresented corps in North Africa. If they committed the same forces they used in France, they would have been knocking on India’s door. Letting Goering run an air campaign was the worst idea imaginable. What a failure.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Of the various bombing strategies the Germans used against Britain in the months following the fall of France (they switched plans about half a dozen times), the most effective one was to attack RAF bases.  That strategy nearly put Fighter Command out of business before the Luftwaffe switched to bombing London.  (I can’t recall if the Luftwaffe also attacked the Chain Home radar stations along the coast, or even realized how important they were, but if I had been Hermann Goering – a mental image which gives me a serious case of the giggles – I would have hit them hard.)

    That said, however, it’s been speculated that if the Luftwaffe had had the good sense to keep bombing RAF bases, to the point where Fighter Command would have started to crack, the RAF would have responded by withdrawing its fighters to the north and to the west, out of Luftwaffe bomber range.  This would have left southeastern Britain unprotected against air attack, and would thus have created the air superiority conditions which Germany needed to launch the Sea Lion cross-Channel invasion.  At first glance, one would therefore think that such an RAF withdrawl would have been a disastrous move.  Its purpose, however, would have been to “save the furniture” so that the RAF could then be thrown back into the fight at the critical moment: when the Sea Lion operation started.  The RAF’s aim under those circumstances wouldn’t have been to shoot down the Luftwaffe in the air (as was the case during the Battle of Britain); the prime objective would have been the destruction of the invasion forces at sea.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    Plan:

    Step 1: When becomes apparent that France will fall (late May 1940)

    1. Increase fighter production
    2. Increase u boat production
    3. increase FW “Condor” 200 production

    Step 2:

    1. Constant harassment of shipping in the channel, with fighter bombers, bombers, heavy artillery, torpedo boats and u boats

    2. Harassment of shipping with long range aircraft, like FW 200 and to some extent with other bombers (stay out of range of RAF fighter command). Better coordination with the U boats.

    3. Forcing Spain to enter the war / invading Spain by land, and securing Gibraltar to cut down the med.

    4. More decisive support in the med to take Suez, as opposed to engaging air force in the battle of Britain.


  • @wittmann:

    Good question again Worsham. Unfortunately, I am deep into your Civil War at the moment(Spotslyvania), so will not research WW2 for a while.

    I found the subject of the Bloody Angle a grim situation, the most intense hand to hand combat in the War Between The States.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    It was the first time Lee got it wrong. He thought Grant was pulling out, so withdrew 2nd Corps’ artillery, with disastrous consequences.
    It was only the sterling defence and grit of his Infantry and quick and cool thinking of his Subordinates that saved his army on the 12th.
    Until now it had been Grant wrongly guessing Lee’s moves and positions. The main reason for this being that he sent Sheridan off with all but 2 regts of cavalry as he had boasted if let go he could defeat Stuart.
    Except for the wounding of Stuart, this escapade was a massive mistake and led to the loss of thousands of Union soldiers in futile frontal assaults as Grant tried to vainly outguess Lee.
    It was a Gettysburg in reverse(according to Rhea).

    I am still reading his Spotsylvania, but will move on to his North Anna. If only Lee had been well that week!
    Not that I think the loss of a Corps(think it was 2nd Corps, will check) would have stopped Grant, but it would have been a great blow and morale victory for the South.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Germany focused alot of resources to starve England, but left a string of bases intact for UK to bring reinforcements and resources from her crown colonies. If the Suez was closed and UK had to get supplies from around cape horn, the additional U-boats would have alot of additional room to sink all these ships heading to and from England and with all that ocean, the British navy could never protect that new distance that ships would need to travel as a result. Additionally, commanders like Rommel would be operating in Russia and the closed off Mediterranean would allow the Italians to protect against invasion from American forces.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Yeah a closed suez would mean a free hand for the Italians, and no “soft” under belly for the Axis at all.

    That would have been the ticket.


  • I think you guys are really onto something here. If Germany would have thrown half of their forces for the Russian invasion into Africa/Middle East it would have been a relative cake walk. Not to mention it would give Germany the oil it desperately while at the same time completely demoralizing the English people into a possible surrender. I have read in a couple of books that evidence has been discovered that Stalin was going to attack Hitler the following year. He might have done it sooner if the Germans were getting too close for comfort in the South.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @GoSanchez6:

    I have read in a couple of books that evidence has been discovered that Stalin was going to attack Hitler the following year.

    Could you provide a few more details?

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


  • Stop Giving China Helmets

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Imperious:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy

    Hmm.  Not very convincing. Stalin’s behaviour in the summer of 1941 is consistent with the idea that he was trying to avoid a war with Germany at that time, not start one.  He kept shipping to Germany (right up until the time of the invasion) all the important resources that were stipulated in the trade agreements between the two countries, and he largely avoided actions on the border that could be seen as provocative by Germany (the occupation of Bessarabia being an exception).  Stalin’s priority was to delay war for as long as possible so that the reforms of the Red Army he had started in the late 30s/early 40s (to correct the damage he himself had inflicted during his purges) could be completed; they were not yet finished in 1941.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Stalin was planning for war and directed Zhukov to prepare studies on how to attack Germany. The foreign policy was banking on Germany getting into another war of attrition ala WW1 western front and hoping to exhaust Germany while Stalin rebuilds his armed forces. He would give Hitler anything he wanted so as to avoid any provocation. The problem with that plan is to the dismay of the Soviets, the German army wiped up the French and had the British on her heels in a few short months. This is why Stalin was even more careful not to provoke Hitler.

    However, Stalin did have designs against Germany and the Balkans ( among others things to get a warm water port). Yet Stalin was also pragmatic- If the Molotov/Ribbentrop meetings went well, they might have signed on with Germany to carve out the middle east but Germany and the Soviets would need to agree on spheres of influence over Scandinavia. This Hitler could not accept, nor any claims for more parts of Romania.


  • Yes, similar to all of the ‘Plan colors’ of the US military from the beginning of the 20th century.  The US even had a plan to fight the UK.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @rjpeters70:

    The U.S. military has literally hundreds of concept plans and operational plans, and variants thereof.  That in and of itself doesn’t indicate any nefarious intentions.  It’s just what militaries do; they plan.

    Yes, peacetime planning is the strategic equivalent of peacetime training: something you do to keep your people sharp and ready to go at short notice if trouble ever breaks out (which in most cases is something you hope won’t happen in the first place).  Modern war is very complex and requires a lot of detailed planning if you want to get it right, so advance planning (even for wars you don’t anticipate happening) is an enormous time-saver if the real thing ever happens. And I imagine that it might also serve as a useful training and assessment tool for talented officers who show lots of promise as they rise through the ranks: give them the task of devising a plan for a hypothetical war between their country and such-and-such an opponent.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Yea just like the Schlieffen Plan, which was just an operational plan or study. Nothing more. Barbarossa was another “study”.

    More like intentions in case of war and not innocently “training”. Comparing the plans of Stalin and those of the United States with the intention of saying these are innocuous “training” missions and nothing more is shallow reasoning. Stalin was just as corrupt as Hitler. He wanted to attack everybody if he had the clear advantage. It is a bit of the thinking Chamberlain had in 1938 and look what happened.


  • @Imperious:

    Yea just like the Schlieffen Plan, which was just an operational plan or study. Nothing more. Barbarossa was another “study”.

    More like intentions in case of war and not innocently “training”. Comparing the plans of Stalin and those of the United States with the intention of saying these are innocuous “training” missions and nothing more is shallow reasoning. Stalin was just as corrupt as Hitler. He wanted to attack everybody if he had the clear advantage. It is a bit of the thinking Chamberlain had in 1938 and look what happened.

    We practiced spying and firing tomahawks at Waikiki on the Submarine.  Isn’t that similar to planning for higher level staff officers?  Practicing their art?

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