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Thread: Germany could have won key battles?

  1. #1
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    Germany could have won key battles?

    So this is in the news today not sure why news must be slow.

    https://www.foxnews.com/science/germ...de-adjustments

    I wonder if that could be said about any war any battle just turning left or right could mean different consequences in your day as well. Was it really their tactics or just bad judgement in their approach or methods?
    I really wonder why the Germans never attempted a land invasion against the UK. Was it the lack of ships, landing areas too fortified, should they have concentrated more on bombing these targets than London? I am curious some older members here might have a better grasp as to why they think it never happened they might have known a few people that were involved for a better view.

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    The problem with these thesis is that they are always based on one sides actions and not the subsequent actions of the other side.

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    Bit of a wierd article.

    There are many ways in which Germany might have seen greater success during WW2. They were slow to react to the Normandy landings, they continued to push forward multiple times where a tactical withdrawal / regroup would have made more sense and they had vast numbers of soldiers sitting idle up in the Northern part of Europe, (Norway I think?) whilst the armies to the south desperately needed bolstering.

    As you say, this must have been a very slow news day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost Chilli View Post
    The problem with these thesis is that they are always based on one sides actions and not the subsequent actions of the other side.
    That is true to say if they had done this but never attempt to assume the other side may try X never justifies the argument. It still is an interesting topic of what could have happened though. I still wonder why an attempt at a land invasion never happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jk103 View Post
    That is true to say if they had done this but never attempt to assume the other side may try X never justifies the argument. It still is an interesting topic of what could have happened though. I still wonder why an attempt at a land invasion never happened.
    There but for the grace of God etc.

    I'm sure there was a recce / pathfinder force for a ground invasion but can't think of the out come in my slightly inebriated state. Also I seem to think there was a good reason Hitler binned off the invasion for other priorities.

    Sent from my G8441 using Tapatalk

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    The Germans needed air support to attack England, which they lost in the Battle of Britain, they didn't have the ships or specialist landing craft (they'd have had to have relied on whatever ships they could have found to cross the channel, and would have had issues landing any serious number of troops) and they took on Russia rather than taking out England.The Allies did a test run on Dieppe (the previous large-scale amphibious landing was at Gallipoli) and it went disastrously wrong. They did make some big decisions afterwards though, like not attacking heavily fortified ports or coastal defences, having tanks and vehicles able to actually get off a beach and landing craft capable of successfully retreating too. The Germans just never got round to it, and were successfully deceived into thinking D-Day was going to happen around Calais. That's another thing they hadn't really thought of, the quickest and easiest way into Germany once the Americans joined in was from England, where large forces could muster relatively undiscovered, fighters and bombers were within range of everything going on, battleships could pound the shore defences, there was a very close support network (there was actually a fuel line run across the channel from the New Forest via the Isle of Wight to Normandy) and reinforcements could cross quickly.
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    Regarding Hitler's invasion of the UK there is a book called Operation Sealion, which investigates the plans and likely outcome. Bottomline was that ultimately Germany would have lost. Why? because as long as the Royal Navy existed, it could not get sufficient supplies to hold Uk, plus the British had prepared very well for invasion and the Germany body count would have been horrendous. Check out GHQ Auxiliary Units.

    Many believe Hilter invasion of Russia would have also ultimately failed simply because Stalin would have continued to retreat, using his scorched earth policy, until the problems with logistics and the weather finally helped defeat them.

    I do however believe they could have done better during the Normandy Landing, however I have little doubt the Allies would have tried again, plus they were already making progress through Italy, as were the Russians in the East.

    Hilters biggest mistakes (other than attacking Poland) was attacking Russia before consolidating the West and failing to win in North Africa (including the oil fields in Libya and capturing Egypt). Plus he never invested in aircraft carriers.

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    ^^ Operation PLUTO! If you go to the Isle of Wight zoo, there is still one of the pumps in situ.

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    The idea that the Germans could have invaded in 1940 is silly. It always was.

    Just beating the RAF was beyond them. They didn't even come close. The standard myth, repeated endlessly after the Official History, set in stone after 'The Narrow Margin' and popularised in a certain 1969 blockbuster is bunk that doesn't stand up to historical analysis. The fundamental variable dictating loss rates was the weather, not tactics (apart from the tactical insanity of the Big Wing).

    Fighter command was in rude health and the changes in production and training driven forward by Freeman and Portal, that others took credit for, meant that production and pilot training were way ahead of losses and far outstripped German production. The Germans didn't have a Cranwell and they were operating without any serious tactical reserve - they started off with a small body of well blooded experienced pilots who cut their teeth in Spain and put them in the front line with rapidly predictable results. They didn't rotate and they were not geared up for a slog.

    Germany, on the other hand, were using exactly the wrong aircraft for the job - they were using twin engined tactical bombers in a strategic bombing role and the only decent fighter they had was a cramped short ranged point defence interceptor in an escort fighter role. The ME110 was a fine bomber destroyer but was a liability against day fighters.

    Even if that wasn't the case, the fundamental fact, repeatedly learned throughout the war, was that unescorted bombers always get cut to pieces when fighting in daylight and can't hit strategic, let alone tactical, targets much smaller than a city at night. London was easily defined and within range of radio direction aids. Very few other places were. Post war analysis demonstrated that the Luftwaffe was no more accurate than the Butt report showed the RAF were some years later.

    Even if fighter command had been beaten, which wouldn't have happened, and an invasion had started, the collection of Dutch barges arrayed for an attack were unsuitable, unstable and would have had to run the gauntlet of the navy and a coastline reinforced since The Armada and bristling with forts and cannon. The German army were comically overstretched, their armour in need of overhaul and their supply lines impossibly long. Sure, Hitler bluffed, but he was counting on a negotiated peace.

    And, of course, radar and the worlds first fully integrated real time air defence system, which, at the time no one had even thought about ways to spoof. The tool that allowed the RAF to intercept could also be used to attack any invasion when the sky was clear of enemy aircraft - you only have superiority or supremacy when you can contest the sky and 24 hour patrols would have been impossible.

    In short, I don't care how smart the algorithm was, the same rule applies: GIGO.


    Hell, just go to Woodley to see the front line fighter designed by Miles (M20) to replace the Hurricane and Spitfire should it have all gone badly wrong and the Germans even begin to get the upper hand. It was, like the Mossie, wooden and designed to be mostly made by furniture shops. However, it never got off the ground because the RAF was never put under any significant strain.

    In 1938 or 39, before there were enough Spitfires, sure, but a few weeks or months of mixed weather. No.
    Last edited by M4tt; 15th January 2020 at 00:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    The idea that the Germans could have invaded in 1940 is silly. It always was.

    Just beating the RAF was beyond them. They didn't even come close. The standard myth, repeated endlessly after the Official History, set in stone after 'The Narrow Margin' and popularised in a certain 1969 blockbuster is bunk that doesn't stand up to historical analysis. The fundamental variable dictating loss rates was the weather, not tactics (apart from the tactical insanity of the Big Wing).

    Fighter command was in rude health and the changes in production and training driven forward by Freeman and Portal, that others took credit for, meant that production and pilot training were way ahead of losses and far outstripped German production. The Germans didn't have a Cranwell and they were operating without any serious tactical reserve - they started off with a small body of well blooded experienced pilots who cut their teeth in Spain and put them in the front line with rapidly predictable results. They didn't rotate and they were not geared up for a slog.

    Germany, on the other hand, were using exactly the wrong aircraft for the job - they were using twin engined tactical bombers in a strategic bombing role and the only decent fighter they had was a cramped short ranged point defence interceptor in an escort fighter role. The ME110 was a fine bomber destroyer but was a liability against day fighters.

    Even if that wasn't the case, the fundamental fact, repeatedly learned throughout the war, was that unescorted bombers always get cut to pieces when fighting in daylight and can't hit strategic, let alone tactical, targets much smaller than a city at night. London was easily defined and within range of radio direction aids. Very few other places were. Post war analysis demonstrated that the Luftwaffe was no more accurate than the Butt report showed the RAF were some years later.

    Even if fighter command had been beaten, which wouldn't have happened, and an invasion had started, the collection of Dutch barges arrayed for an attack were unsuitable, unstable and would have had to run the gauntlet of the navy and a coastline reinforced since The Armada and bristling with forts and cannon. The German army were comically overstretched, their armour in need of overhaul and their supply lines impossibly long. Sure, Hitler bluffed, but he was counting on a negotiated peace.

    And, of course, radar and the worlds first fully integrated real time air defence system, which, at the time no one had even thought about ways to spoof. The tool that allowed the RAF to intercept could also be used to attack any invasion when the sky was clear of enemy aircraft - you only have superiority or supremacy when you can contest the sky and 24 hour patrols would have been impossible.

    In short, I don't care how smart the algorithm was, the same rule applies: GIGO.


    Hell, just go to Woodley to see the front line fighter designed by Miles (M20) to replace the Hurricane and Spitfire should it have all gone badly wrong and the Germans even begin to get the upper hand. It was, like the Mossie, wooden and designed to be mostly made by furniture shops. However, it never got off the ground because the RAF was never put under any significant strain.

    In 1938 or 39, before there were enough Spitfires, sure, but a few weeks or months of mixed weather. No.
    Very interesting! How do you know all that? Bit of a history buff sir?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jk103 View Post
    So this is in the news today not sure why news must be slow.

    https://www.foxnews.com/science/germ...de-adjustments

    I wonder if that could be said about any war any battle just turning left or right could mean different consequences in your day as well. Was it really their tactics or just bad judgement in their approach or methods?
    I really wonder why the Germans never attempted a land invasion against the UK. Was it the lack of ships, landing areas too fortified, should they have concentrated more on bombing these targets than London? I am curious some older members here might have a better grasp as to why they think it never happened they might have known a few people that were involved for a better view.
    Hitler wanted desperately to launch a land invasion against the UK, but couldn't cross the channel without air superiority. Hence the 'Battle of Britain' fought by the RAF, and Winston Churchill saying in his speech "...Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.." referring to the RAF gaining air superiority over the Luftwaffe. Hitler knew he couldn't cross the channel if the RAF could attack the invasion force from the air.
    Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

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    Others are probably better informed, but it always interested me from my reading how little details had surprisingly large effects in WWII, when there was not established state of the art parity between armies.

    In the Battle of Britain, the one that caught my eye was the relatively squadron size of the two Air Forces. Germany had squadrons of a dozen planes, the RAF 20.
    So what?
    Both assumed the other was organised the same way.
    So whenever the Germans bombed an RAF base and counted a dozen wrecked planes, they thought the job was done, that squadron would be out of business for quite a while, when on fact it still had 40% of its planes left to use. So the Germans left the base alone, not realising that with grass fields, it could be flying sorties in a matter of minutes.
    And vice versa, when the RAF bombed the German bases just over the channel, if they looked at a dozen wrecks and still believed the job was only half done, so they went back again to make sure the base was out of action, often able to inflict greater damage to the base infrastructure itself because when they returned, there were no planes left to bomb.

    Likewise (the other way around), tank refuelling in the German invasion of France.

    German tanks were refuelled using flatbeds stacked with hundreds Jerry cans - it was up to each crew to go and fetch their fuel, 2 cans at a time. End result was a whole tank company was refuelled in about 20 minutes from when the truck stopped.
    The French used a bowser with a hose - one tank at a time, and each tank went to the bowser, one at a time. So a French tank company refuelled in an entire morning. To make it worse, they also had small fuel tanks, so did not last long before it all needed to be done again.
    The French had more tanks than the Germans in 1939. Many were bigger, with better armour (totally impenetrable at the front to the early WWII Panzer III) and they had, by comparison, much more powerful guns, able to engage the enemy at greater range.

    However, hardly any of them fought effectively in the invasion of France. The Germans drove round them and destroyed the crew or the tanks from the side or rear, because many were unable to do anything with no fuel on board.

    Small details can make telling differences.

    D

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    The biggest factor against a successful invasion was the Royal Navy. The RAF fought hard and well for air superiority, but without both air and naval superiority, the Germans would not have been able to get a sufficiently large invasion force across the Channel and onto the beaches, opposed by a Royal Navy force intent on defending the homeland. And, as others have observed, amphibious operations are complex - even with a history of several hundred years of combined operations, Britain failed at the Dardanelles and Dieppe; Germany had no prior experience in such operations

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    Bootstrapping some battles of WW1 would have altered the course of history in general: a bigger British attack on Ypres or later a slightly different wind direction would have killed private Hitler of the Bavarian Army... In short: what if.

    I think that HappyJack makes a valid point about the Navy and amphibious operations by the Germans. They had significant amphibious plans, but failed to execute them. Later on in the war, it became clear that amphibious operations would take thousands of lives (Dieppe)

    Interesting reading here: https://www.naval-encyclopedia.com/w...phibious-ships As always, the German material was very well-engineered and looked rock-solid. On the other hand, the intricate engineering was its downfall: too difficult to repair or replace when things went wrong.;

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    The “We have ways of making you talk” podcast with Al Murray and James Hollan may be of use. Covers WW2 items and questions like this.
    Not to everybody's taste but many new insights for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyJack View Post
    The biggest factor against a successful invasion was the Royal Navy. The RAF fought hard and well for air superiority, but without both air and naval superiority, the Germans would not have been able to get a sufficiently large invasion force across the Channel and onto the beaches, opposed by a Royal Navy force intent on defending the homeland. And, as others have observed, amphibious operations are complex - even with a history of several hundred years of combined operations, Britain failed at the Dardanelles and Dieppe; Germany had no prior experience in such operations
    I agree, This is the proper emphasis on the Navy. I made their potential role look less important. Even if it were just a nightly sally or dash from Dover to Portsmouth, and minelaying, the disruption would have been immense.

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    All of the above makes sense ^^^^^^^ but this did not help? The Wehrmacht were hooked on amphetamines and their officers worse! Read Blitzed it will certainly open yours eyes to a lot of Hitlers decision making! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blitzed-Dru...c=1&th=1&psc=1

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    Good points Happy Jack.

    Many RN / FAA aircrew and ground crew also involved in the Battle of Britain. It is arguable that if Germany had managed to gain air superiority, it would have been a matter of time before it could mount an invasion as RN bases could have been eroded and with little anchorage nearby from which to defend the channel. Thus, the BoB was decisive in that regard.

    I had a conversation with a German general not very long ago about Barbarossa, which he cited after a good few beers as one that should have been won. It got a bit awkward.

    Cheerio,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    The Germans needed air support to attack England, which they lost in the Battle of Britain,...
    This.

    I'm firmly of the opinion that the few won the war, or at least set us on the road to victory*. Operation Sealion (the invasion of Britain) was shelved shortly after the Germans realised they'd lost the air war. It wasn't long after this that Hitler made the disastrous decision to tear up his agreement with Stalin and attack Russia. The Eastern Front then slowly sucked the life out of the German Armed Forces.

    *Clearly there were other important victories too, El Alemein, The cracking of Enigma, St. Nazaire but the BoB was key as it effectively bought the Russians in to the war.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy67 View Post
    Operation Sealion was shelved shortly after the Germans realised they'd lost the air war.
    I believe they managed to get one in...
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I believe they managed to get one in...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I believe they managed to get one in...
    Very good
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I believe they managed to get one in...
    Unless that's a Hess reference (what an odd episode that was) you've lost me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy67 View Post
    Unless that's a Hess reference (what an odd episode that was) you've lost me.
    Don't worry, it's a private joke. Nothing to do with the serious subject of the thread. But as a more appropriate answer to your post, I believe Dunkerque (operation Dynamo) was an even more significant victory, and certainly a much more important mistake from the German military.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 15th January 2020 at 15:01.
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    A while back I watched Abandoned Engineering on Discovery. The Farnborough wind tunnel episode. This complex was very important during WWII developing and improving planes. There was an interesting observation in the program. In short: the British engineers kept on improving planes, sometimes with small upgrades, sometimes with major ones, where the Nazis went from one 'super weapon' to the next.

    The British approach was relatively easy and a lot of those improvement were 'retro fitted' into existing planes, making it easier to cover al large part of the RAF fleet with the latest equipment. The Germans had to build complete new machines, factories and they had to train people for that specific plane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I believe they managed to get one in...
    Very good!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    A while back I watched Abandoned Engineering on Discovery. The Farnborough wind tunnel episode. This complex was very important during WWII developing and improving planes. There was an interesting observation in the program. In short: the British engineers kept on improving planes, sometimes with small upgrades, sometimes with major ones, where the Nazis went from one 'super weapon' to the next.

    The British approach was relatively easy and a lot of those improvement were 'retro fitted' into existing planes, making it easier to cover al large part of the RAF fleet with the latest equipment. The Germans had to build complete new machines, factories and they had to train people for that specific plane.
    I'm not sure this is entirely the case. Take the BF109. This was constantly improved and, much like the Spitfire, went through a series of marks from A to K which were also upgraded within the Mark. Even at the end of the war, the K4 variant was still a hugely potent aircraft with a superior rate of climb to almost anything the allies had with a propeller on the front.

    The other major German fighter, and arguably one of the finest of the period was the FW190. This also had a substantial development history:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...w_190_variants

    Hitler certainly liked his wonder weapons, but at the heart of the Luftwaffe there were a small number of rock solid designs like the JU88, 109 and 190 that were incrementally improved throughout the war.

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    Hindsight?

    Yea, right.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    Hitler wanted desperately to launch a land invasion against the UK, but couldn't cross the channel without air superiority. Hence the 'Battle of Britain' fought by the RAF, and Winston Churchill saying in his speech "...Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.." referring to the RAF gaining air superiority over the Luftwaffe. Hitler knew he couldn't cross the channel if the RAF could attack the invasion force from the air.
    I'm not sure he did. He was clear both that the British were not Germany's natural enemy, that the British Empire was a good thing and that he really didn't like naval operations. The current consensus is that Hitler was never serious about an invasion, but was keen to pressure the British to negotiate.

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    We had air superiority. If you don't have it you are sunk..literally e.g. Bismarck, Prince of Wales/Repulse. Luftwaffe fighters only had 20 mins loiter time so the bombers had to go solo an issue we had over Germany until drop tanks were invented. Hitler became more and more convinced he was the greatest Commander ever and who was going to disabuse him of that idea? They were on a roll until Russia then it went wrong with overstretched lines of communication and supply

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.Pottinger View Post
    Good points Happy Jack.

    Many RN / FAA aircrew and ground crew also involved in the Battle of Britain. It is arguable that if Germany had managed to gain air superiority, it would have been a matter of time before it could mount an invasion as RN bases could have been eroded and with little anchorage nearby from which to defend the channel. Thus, the BoB was decisive in that regard.

    I had a conversation with a German general not very long ago about Barbarossa, which he cited after a good few beers as one that should have been won. It got a bit awkward.

    Cheerio,

    AP.
    I am glad to see you posting

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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    I'm not sure he did. He was clear both that the British were not Germany's natural enemy, that the British Empire was a good thing and that he really didn't like naval operations. The current consensus is that Hitler was never serious about an invasion, but was keen to pressure the British to negotiate.
    There are a lot of interesting replies here. Hitler not wanting to invade but to "bomb them into submission" sounds very reasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jk103 View Post
    There are a lot of interesting replies here. Hitler not wanting to invade but to "bomb them into submission" sounds very reasonable.
    Hitler was very nervous about bombing English cities for a range of reasons. Not least that most people at the time accepted the myth that, as Baldwin put it: 'The bomber will always get through'. The Blitz was a series of accidents and miscalculations from the 24th August 1940 onwards. Neither party wanted that route but both felt they had to respond to the other.

    Either way, Germany lacked a strategic bomber throughout WWII and made do with tactical bombers. Hitler wanted to take advantage of his recent victories and tactical superiority to negotiate a peace. Had Lord Halifax not miscalculated and decided to give Churchill a chance to fail and thus remove a thorn from his side, we would almost certainly have negotiated a pragmatic peace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    I'm not sure he did. He was clear both that the British were not Germany's natural enemy, that the British Empire was a good thing and that he really didn't like naval operations. The current consensus is that Hitler was never serious about an invasion, but was keen to pressure the British to negotiate.
    To invade Britain he would need to defeat the British Navy and RAF, as otherwise he could never maintain supplies and logistics for any army he could have got across the channel. If he could have defeated the RAF in the Battle of Britain then the British navy would have been vulnerable to attack from the air. Having been unsuccessful he was faced with the prospect of the navy and air force, for which his limited seaborne transport (consisting of various wooden barges!) would have proved easy pickings. Even for Hitler it was a step too far.
    Did he stumble because he didn't push hard enough, or was he tripped? Probably a bit of both I think!
    Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

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    Suggest tgose who are interested read the excellent Liddell Hart book 'History of the Second World War'

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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    Hitler was very nervous about bombing English cities for a range of reasons. Not least that most people at the time accepted the myth that, as Baldwin put it: 'The bomber will always get through'. The Blitz was a series of accidents and miscalculations from the 24th August 1940 onwards. Neither party wanted that route but both felt they had to respond to the other.

    Either way, Germany lacked a strategic bomber throughout WWII and made do with tactical bombers. Hitler wanted to take advantage of his recent victories and tactical superiority to negotiate a peace. Had Lord Halifax not miscalculated and decided to give Churchill a chance to fail and thus remove a thorn from his side, we would almost certainly have negotiated a pragmatic peace.

    Would that have been similar to the "pragmatic peace" Russia and Germany negotiated in 1939

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    To invade Britain he would need to defeat the British Navy and RAF, as otherwise he could never maintain supplies and logistics for any army he could have got across the channel. If he could have defeated the RAF in the Battle of Britain then the British navy would have been vulnerable to attack from the air. Having been unsuccessful he was faced with the prospect of the navy and air force, for which his limited seaborne transport (consisting of various wooden barges!) would have proved easy pickings. Even for Hitler it was a step too far.
    Did he stumble because he didn't push hard enough, or was he tripped? Probably a bit of both I think!
    Pretty much this, I think - air superiority would ave given the Luftwaffe at least the chance of limiting the Royal Navy's options and ability to interfere. Without that air superiority, I doubt a single invasion barge would have made it across the Channel.

    In the broader context of WW2, I believe Hitler's major error was launching Barbarossa when he did. "Never start a land war with Russia", and all that. Having invaded, the Germans compounded this error by failing to focus their forces sensibly - had Moscow fallen in the autumn of 1941 (which it realistically might have, had the Wehrmacht had a bit more logistical and combat weight in that Army Group) the outcome would have been very, very different. Fundamentally I think this is down to a classic mistake in strategic thought: equating the acreage of territory you've conquered with your degree of success.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jk103 View Post
    There are a lot of interesting replies here. Hitler not wanting to invade but to "bomb them into submission" sounds very reasonable.
    Thanks for your kind message about posting again.

    Regarding your comment, I agree. Hitler had always hoped England ( what he really meant was the British Empire) would join Germany.
    Coercing or compelling terms was preferable to an invasion and best case was co-option via a negotiated settlement.
    The main tools were U-boats (proven in WWI, but would take time even if the importation of food (and raw materials)was a major weakness of the British Isles), and bombing (even if more immediate, Germany at that time had limited capacity in terms of numbers, crews and aircraft type).
    Defeat of the RAF et al, i.e. air forces, would have provided a greater possibility of coming to terms or preparing the way for invasion (and the political pressure this would bring to bear for the former), and the eroding of the RN beforehand (which would have been vulnerable to air attack once the RAF et al had been ostensibly defeated).

    This stated, Germany had some experience in bombing opposition into submission or bombing contributing in no small way to this. Spain and Guernica, and Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
    As others have noted, expectations about the strategic use of bombing from the air did not match reality for either side.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    Would that have been similar to the "pragmatic peace" Russia and Germany negotiated in 1939
    Exactly the same. Cabinet notes suggest that the plan was to wait until Hitler was weakened, while putting the Empire on a war footing, and then
    do what perfidious Albion always did best...

    Oh, you meant Hitler?

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Suggest tgose who are interested read the excellent Liddell Hart book 'History of the Second World War'
    While Liddell Hart was the military genius responsible for developing the precise tactics used by the Germans in France, oops, he simply didn't have access to the documentary sources available to contemporary academics and as such his history is, at best, incomplete.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    While Liddell Hart was the military genius responsible for developing the precise tactics used by the Germans in France, oops, he simply didn't have access to the documentary sources available to contemporary academics and as such his history is, at best, incomplete.
    But it’s still a good read. Interesting to note that it wasn’t published till after his death, I assume that’s because some of the content was still controversial in 1971?

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    Perhaps, but, for example, you will find no mention of ultra, Bletchley, Magic, the minor detail that we were reading almost all Luftwaffe radio traffic throughout the Battle of Britain, that we had the majority of the German battle plan in the Low Countries or indeed that the Americans were slightly better informed about Japanese ship and air movements than anyone knew. All of this became public years after he died.

    That Churchill knew Hitler’s intentions in 1940 or that we knew the precise order of battle, loss rates and strategic, and often tactical, intentions of the forces arrayed against us throughout the Battle of Britain is quite a key thing to know. That we knew Coventry was to be bombed, were fully aware of the Holocaust from the off and assassinated Yamamoto on the basis of ultra and Magic decrypts are slightly surprising details lacking from all but the most recent histories. In fact any history written before thirty years after the war is, at best, under informed and repeating myths that are now long debunked. Some key information has only become available in the last decade or two and definitive books on aspects of the war are still being published today as historians sift and collate the sources.

    Consider this:

    https://fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/docs/97-0609F.pdf

    which debunks some myths repeated in this thread, let alone in Liddell Hart’s book.
    Last edited by M4tt; 17th January 2020 at 06:58.

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    Have to admit I hadn`t considered the information that's come to light in more recent years, I obviously don`t think like a historian. I have a passing interest in 20th century military history, my father was in te Royal Navy in WW2 and my grandfather was in the army in WW1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Have to admit I hadn`t considered the information that's come to light in more recent years, I obviously don`t think like a historian. I have a passing interest in 20th century military history, my father was in te Royal Navy in WW2 and my grandfather was in the army in WW1.
    Don’t get me wrong, the chap was a genius and his writing is supremely readable.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    Perhaps, but, for example, you will find no mention of ultra, Bletchley, Magic, the minor detail that we were reading almost all Luftwaffe radio traffic throughout the Battle of Britain, that we had the majority of the German battle plan in the Low Countries or indeed that the Americans were slightly better informed about Japanese ship and air movements than anyone knew. All of this became public years after he died.

    That Churchill knew Hitler’s intentions in 1940 or that we knew the precise order of battle, loss rates and strategic, and often tactical, intentions of the forces arrayed against us throughout the Battle of Britain is quite a key thing to know. That we knew Coventry was to be bombed, were fully aware of the Holocaust from the off and assassinated Yamamoto on the basis of ultra and Magic decrypts are slightly surprising details lacking from all but the most recent histories. In fact any history written before thirty years after the war is, at best, under informed and repeating myths that are now long debunked. Some key information has only become available in the last decade or two and definitive books on aspects of the war are still being published today as historians sift and collate the sources.

    Consider this:

    https://fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/docs/97-0609F.pdf

    which debunks some myths repeated in this thread, let alone in Liddell Hart’s book.
    If you're referring to Spain, the difficulty was while the German Luftwaffe had learned some lessons, these did not necessarily reach or were absorbed by the political leadership.
    Unfortunately, Hitler used bombing to further his political vision including strategically such as during the BoB, and prior to this, but not necessarily in accordance with what some in the Luftwaffe had learned earlier.
    Military adaptation is seldom even and still less the link with policy-makers and political leadership.

    Notably, leading scholarship regards Liddell Hart's work as hardly exemplary (e.g., see Professor Sir Hew Strachan's 'The Direction of War').
    Some of the best works on air power in WW2 are by Richard Overy, including several addressing the Battle of Britain.
    More recently, Phillips O'Brien's work has been well received, including: How the war was won: air-sea power and Allied victory in World War II.
    Last edited by A.Pottinger; 18th January 2020 at 10:37.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.Pottinger View Post
    If you're referring to Spain, the difficulty was while the German Luftwaffe had learned some lessons, these did not necessarily reach or were absorbed by the political leadership.
    Unfortunately, Hitler used bombing to further his political vision including strategically such as during the BoB, and prior to this, but not necessarily in accordance with what some in the Luftwaffe had learned earlier.
    Military adaptation is seldom even and still less the link with policy-makers and political leadership.

    Notably, leading scholarship regards Liddell Hart's work as hardly exemplary (e.g., see Professor Sir Hew Strachan's 'The Direction of War').
    Some of the best works on air power in WW2 are by Richard Overy, including several addressing the Battle of Britain.
    More recently, Phillips O'Brien's work has been well received, including: How the war was won: air-sea power and Allied victory in World War II.
    I was attempting to be conciliatory.

    Liddle Hart wasn't a historian. Richard Overy certainly was and his 'The Battle of Britain: Myth and Reality' is the finest short account of the Battle available and should be required reading for anyone who has even the slightest interest. I don't think we are disagreeing; I think my only reference to Spain was this:

    they started off with a small body of well blooded experienced pilots who cut their teeth in Spain and put them in the front line with rapidly predictable results.
    I was talking about the pilots being blooded and adoption of tactics like the rotte and the finger four which gave German pilots a significant initial advantage against RAF pilots flying in close vics of three. My point was that this advantage, and the pilots were squandered. So yes, I agree that lessons were not learned.

    So what were we disagreeing about?

  47. #47
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    The US would have wiped the Germans out at some stage anyway so even if the Nazis had overrun Britain they were always doomed as the US would have taken them. The US was a major contributory factor in the victory in Europe against Hitler and I find it odd that it hasn't been mentioned until now?!!?

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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    The US would have wiped the Germans out at some stage anyway so even if the Nazis had overrun Britain they were always doomed as the US would have taken them. The US was a major contributory factor in the victory in Europe against Hitler and I find it odd that it hasn't been mentioned until now?!!?

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    The American army was tiny at the start of WWII.

    If Britain had been invaded the US would have had no way of fighting back on the other side of the Atlantic would they?

    Plus after 1941 they had the Japanese empire to worry about.

    The United States main input to the war prior to Pearl Harbour and Hitler declaring war on them was as the arsenal of democracy, their huge manufacturing capability.
    Cheers,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    The American army was tiny at the start of WWII.

    If Britain had been invaded the US would have had no way of fighting back on the other side of the Atlantic would they?

    Plus after 1941 they had the Japanese empire to worry about.

    The United States main input to the war prior to Pearl Harbour and Hitler declaring war on them was as the arsenal of democracy, their huge manufacturing capability.
    Neil is spot on as ever and, had the UK been invaded, the Germans would have had one thing they needed: a competent strategic bomber in the Halifax, or even the Stirling. They also wouldn't have had to station over a million 88mm guns (which were equally competent as anti tank and antiaircraft pieces) and crews in Germany but could have used them in their anti tank role.

    They came very very close to beating Russia; with a decent strategic bomber, a million extra antitank guns and no destruction and dislocation caused by bombing, they'd have taken Russia and fully consolidated their hold on Europe. At that point, they'd have had little to worry about from the US and could have worked their way around the Middle East and Asia at their leisure...

  50. #50
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    I had to undertake a two hour drive today and that gives one enough time to think things over - even this thread.

    Here's the question that came up in my mind: is there/was there ever a detailed German plan how to invade GB? Everything they did was written down - even the smallest details. So, if there's a plan, it would be interesting to 'recalculate' the chances of success!

    Menno

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