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OT: In the begining..

 
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OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 3:10:52 AM   
Footslogger

 

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From what I have gathered, Hitler never wanted to invade Great Britain. Even though England decleared war in on Germany in 1939. If the Germans, in 1939, had already planned to invade England, would they have had better landing craft by then or even better parachute troops?

I always wondered what kind of losses the Germans would of had, both historically and hypotheticlly, in planes, tanks, ships, and men.

Then I saw this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QccmuiF77jI

< Message edited by Footslogger -- 8/5/2012 3:37:59 AM >
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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 3:48:56 AM   
hfarrish


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I think there are some big threads on this in sections about the War in the West game, albeit not under the scenario that the Germans would have somehow planned for it better than they did in real life...

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 5:02:10 AM   
Footslogger

 

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The Germans didn't really have any landing craift, atleast in great numbers. So if they started designing landing craft in 1939, what could of happened? Furthermore, what were the expected losses for both the German and England armies?

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 6:25:07 AM   
Tarhunnas


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I recommend "Invasion" by Kenneth Macksey. One of the best alternate history books about a German invasion of Britain IMHO.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 3:05:25 PM   
Klydon


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I think any good chance of success for Operation Sea Lion died on the beaches of Dunkirk after the British were able to get so many trained troops out.

Granted these troops did not have much left in the way of weapons, but they were trained and it meant any troops the Germans would get ashore would be in for a stiff fight against a large number of trained troops compared to all those troops going into the bag should the outcome of Dunkirk gone differently.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 3:18:19 PM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

Please read the following thread here from 3+ moths ago:


"OT: Operation Sealion"

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3087002



Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 5:30:58 PM   
Captain


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I don't think lack of specialized landing crafts was as major an issue as everyone seems to think, after all the Japanese conquered a big chunk of the Pacific in 41-42 with only basic landing barges.

The bigger issue was the fact that you needed air and naval superiority for the landings to succeed.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 6:56:30 PM   
Ralzakark


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Would a serious plan have assumed the defeat of France and hence German forces on the Channel coast? Or would it have been based on an invasion across the North Sea?

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 9:51:24 PM   
turtlefang

 

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There is no way to give a definitive answer on this one. There are a few things that you have to "take" into consideration:

a) The German economy was already streched by the current re-arming programing. If it focused on building better landing craft - or more planes, etc, then something had to give. While Germany didn't hit a war time economy until about 43, Hitler didn't do that to prevent internal dissent within Germany,

b) Any invasion across the North Sea has to assume that the British Navy is destroyed. After Norway, Germany simply didn't have navy to defend an assualt across the North Sea. And while the British Army was in bad shape, the British Navy - especially in the North Sea - would simply destroy any invasion fleet.

c) There's major debate about whether the British would commit major capital ships - or many destroyers - into the English Channel to break up a German invasion. We don't know. But you would have to assume that the British wouldn't. If they did, drown baby drown.

d) The German Air Force, in 1940 (and actually up till 43) simply did not preform well against naval units. Despite all its hype, the German Air Force didn't have the training, the right bombs, or the bomb sites to really attack naval units. So even with air superiority, the German Air Force would have had a problem defending the invasion fleet.

e) The German Army needed a broad front to land. The German Navy wanted as narrow a front as possible as it didn't have the resources to protect the fleet. Strategically, these two aims were NEVER reconcilled.

f) The German's never achieved air superiority. A given for the invasion.

g) The final plans for Sea Lion have about 70K troops landing. And with a second follow up wave. This represents about 7 to 9 divisions depending on they're configured. While the British Army was in bad shape, it doesn't look like this could achieve a break out. And I can't believe tht the second wave would actually land.

h) The Germans would have to capture a major port in decent shape to get the supplies needed to the troops that landed. Sea and air supply without a major port in decent shape wouldn't provide the needed supplies (actually, only about 1/20th in a combat situation).

No one in the German High Command actually thought this would work.

IMO, Best case - and I mean best case - the British let the first wave land and then seal off the landing. Worst case, you could see the majority or all sunk at sea.

I just have a hard time seeing this operation as realistic even in the best of circumstances. And the Germans never achieved the best.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 10:40:28 PM   
Footslogger

 

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So, if the Germans had not invaded Norway, would there be a better chance of the landings suceeding? And also, if Hitler had not halted the panzers to Dunkirk?

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 10:59:41 PM   
IronDuke

 

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There was no chance of Sealion ever succeeding. To be clear on this, there was no chance, under any circumstances whatsoever, of the Germans ever succeeding in invading the British mainland.

Anyone who says otherwise is either wrong, intellectually challenged, or under 6 years of age.

Any game under which it is possible with a historic set up is fundamentally flawed.

Regards,
IronDuke

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/5/2012 11:50:34 PM   
Footslogger

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke


There was no chance of Sealion ever succeeding. To be clear on this, there was no chance, under any circumstances whatsoever, of the Germans ever succeeding in invading the British mainland.

Anyone who says otherwise is either wrong, intellectually challenged, or under 6 years of age.

Any game under which it is possible with a historic set up is fundamentally flawed.

Regards,
IronDuke



So the Germans should of done of what then Duke? I mean taking it as far back as 1933, when Hitler took power.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/6/2012 1:40:49 AM   
turtlefang

 

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This goes back to my point one.

Even going back to 1933, the German economy was streched to max to field the forces that it fielded. For Sea Lion to work, the Germans would have had to:

1) Build a much larger surface navy
2) Develop an effective naval air force

Which, if they did, what would they give up? Thier panzer army?

While I'm not quite at the point that Sea Lion could never succeed - too many times in history we have seen miracles happen - logically, it just doesn't play out. The Germans simply started with too little even in 1933 to build everything - a major land force, a major air force, a major surface navy and a major submarine force. Pick two of the four - and they picked a major land force and air force with a smaller submarine force and a relatively minor surface navy.

The better questions is - how the hell did a relatively small nation in the middle of Europe start with a totally wrecked economy and rebuild a military force that took on the world for five years?

And then add in the naval tradition of Great Britian. You can discount the tready battleships as not the best in the world (KGV class), too many old battleships, carriers that have too few airplanes, undersize CA, smaller than average DD, etc...but time and time again, the British seaman just proved equal to whatever task assign them. And Britian had a LOT of warships to try and overcome. Depending on how you define the operational area, Britain (and I include the Commonwealth here) had about 100 DD and 50-75 DEs in the waters around the English channel during the potential Sea Lion time. The Germans had 22 if you assume that they didn't lose any in Norway (10). So you really would have to see a major expansion of the German Navy to get anywhere near the size of the British just around the home waters. And Germany couldn't afford it.

Even if the Germans decided in 1933 that they were going to cross the channel (and that meant predicting the lighting war that even surprised them), started planning for it, and devoted the resources to it, in my opinion, they had at best, a 1 in 10 chance of pulling it off. And frankly, that's being very generous as its assumes no impact on other German weapon production or manning - something that I think is impossible.

Miracles happen - so Sea Lion might have succeeded, but I don't understand how you model miracles except in hindsight. And most games that allow a Sea Lion due it for balance reasons.

So my belief is that Germany simply was never capable of successfully invading Britian even planning from 1933 (which isn't reasonable).

The only thing that Germany could had done is build a bigger U Boat fleet. Forget the invasion, forget the Bismark, built many more U Boats. That might have worked. And there is a lot of debate on that one.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/6/2012 6:35:10 AM   
aspqrz

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Footslogger

The Germans didn't really have any landing craift, atleast in great numbers. So if they started designing landing craft in 1939, what could of happened? Furthermore, what were the expected losses for both the German and England armies?


Easy answer. The Allies (well, the US, mainly) began producing Landing Craft in 1942 ... and, by 1943 had enough for .., *either* full scale operations in the PTO *or* operations in the ETO ... they had to ship LCs of various sorts from the Pacific to do Torch, then back for PTO ops.

By 1944 they could do *either* normal PTO amphibious ops and reduced scale PTO ops (Anvil/Dragoon and Anzio) *or* a *large* scale ETO op (aka Normandy/D-Day) OR reduced scale PTO op.

They never had enough of the assorted landing craft types to do major operations in both theaters.

Which sort of begs the question. Could the Germans have equalled the Allied performance of 1944 (Normandy) at any time?

Short Answer: No.

Medium Answer: Hell NO!

Note: The US and Western Allies built more combat and supports ships of all sorts between 1939 and 1945 than all the Axis Combatants combined. The US launched more ship and boat tonnage than all the other combatants, allied and axis, combined, between 1940 and 1945. The UK and Commonwealth launched more war and support vessels and greater tonnage than Italy and Germany combined between 1935-45.

So, on the basis of "what they actually produced" the answer has to be "No way Jose!"

If one delves a little deeper, and asks, "Well, what if they built more Landing Craft than they did historically?"

Then the answer becomes a little more complex ...

To build those Landing Craft, well, see, you need (amongst other things) *engines* ... mostly diesels ... and they go in all sorts of other naval thingies as well. The rest, of course, used petrol engines.

OK, so produce more engines.

Um. Well. See, the Germans tried this. They tried to build a huge engine plant (IC engines) to equal the capacity (pre-war, *estimated* wartime US production, and those estimates were around an order of magnitude off *actual* US wartime engine production) ... and failed. They built the plant, but, for a whole variety of reasons, it never came close to even the estimates of US wartime production (which were too low anyway).

Lots of reasons for this. One, however, can't really be changed. To produce all those engines, the Germans needed high quality iron and steel in large quantities, and they didn't have it in anywhere even vaguely like the quantities they would have liked. For a start, most of the iron ore in Germany was "sour" and required additional chemical processing in the refining stage to make it usable, and, again, though the Germans built plants to do this, it was a new technology and was never perfected during the war ... so they had limited supplies of "good" ore from inside Germany and more, which they had to pay for, in something resembling real money, from the Swedes.

So, really, they were constrained at an even more basic level than engines ... they, literally, had Goering making Iron/Steel allocations from, IIRC, 1938 or so ... the Luftwaffe got all it needed, the Army got most of what it needed.

The Navy? It was at the end of the line.

The 1937 Z Plan was a fantasy, and it didn't moot the construction of thousands of Landing Craft, either ... and, by 1939, was at least 2 years behind schedule for the simple reason that, though money was budgeted for the plan, Fat Herman was allocating the limited amount of iron and steel available, and the Navy got the leftover scraps (ain't Command Economies wonderful!?!)

So, not enough steel for the engines, unless you produce fewer planes for the Luftwaffe and fewer Tanks and Artillery pieces for the Wehrmacht.

And, even then, not enough engines, unless you allocated fewer for the Luftwaffe, which means even fewer planes, and fewer for the Wehrmacht, which means even fewer tanks and artillery pieces.

And all that's before you even set sail into the Channel and North Sea to face off against the RN and RAF, and nowhere near landing on British soil and facing the Army.

Phil

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/6/2012 7:31:56 AM   
aspqrz

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang

There is no way to give a definitive answer on this one. There are a few things that you have to "take" into consideration:


And these actually do make a definitive answer!

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
a) The German economy was already streched by the current re-arming programing. If it focused on building better landing craft - or more planes, etc, then something had to give. While Germany didn't hit a war time economy until about 43, Hitler didn't do that to prevent internal dissent within Germany,


Mostly correct, see my post elsewhere about Iron/Steel and Engine shortages/hard production limits.

However, the bit about the Germans not going to a wartime economy until 1943 because Hitler didn't want to piss off the civilians is an old furphy, now widely discredited.

In fact, the reason why German production went up in 1943 was not so much that the Germans went to full wartime production (which they really didn't do till mid 1944), but because they hadn't planned for a war starting in 1939. They had planned for a war starting in 1943 or later, and they had devoted a chunk of their existing industrial capacity to expanding itself so that their overall capacity would be expanded from 43 on.

When war broke out in 1939, they had a choice ... keep with the plan, and soldier on with whatever production capacity they had, or ditch the plan, basically throwing away hundreds of millions of RM worth of incomplete expansion that would be ... wasted ... and which couldn't be caught up with later.

They chose to do the first ... keep with the plan. To manage this, and to keep the German civilians happy, they basically stripped the economies of the occupied countries bare to allow them to maintain wartime levels of expenditure on armaments etc. while also keeping civilian rationing less severe than it had to become later. In effect, the French, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Belgian, Polish etc. etc. civilians were rationed severely to keep the German civvies happy.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
b) Any invasion across the North Sea has to assume that the British Navy is destroyed. After Norway, Germany simply didn't have navy to defend an assualt across the North Sea. And while the British Army was in bad shape, the British Navy - especially in the North Sea - would simply destroy any invasion fleet.


Indeed. The British Navy had so many vessels in the Home Fleet, Channel Command, and Northern Approaches command that there is no way the Kriegsmarine, even if it had not lost a single ship in Poland or Norway, could have faced it down, not even with the Luftwaffe.

The Home Fleet and Humber Force could have sortied south during the hours of darkness and slaughtered the landing craft and support craft (see why below) and been back far enough north for the Luftwaffe to only be able to attack them with unescorted bombers against the RAF providing top cover.

Note: The RN didn't even need to shoot at the landing craft the Germans had. The Rhine River barges they gathered for the op had such a low freeboard that anything over Sea State 2 (a light chop) and they'd be taking on water ... a high speed pass by a DD doing 33+ kts and they're swamped ... hello Davy Jones' locker!

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
c) There's major debate about whether the British would commit major capital ships - or many destroyers - into the English Channel to break up a German invasion. We don't know. But you would have to assume that the British wouldn't. If they did, drown baby drown.


Not really a major debate. Not much of a debate at all ... see above and below as to why it would have been a minimal risk, then consider ...

"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition. The Navy always supports the Army. The evacuation continues." Admiral ABC Cunningham, on the evacuation of Crete in the face of total German air supremacy (note especially the second and third sentences, which rarely get quoted).

There is no doubt at all that the RN would have sortied south, nor is there any doubt that they would have slaughtered the Kriegsmarine.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
d) The German Air Force, in 1940 (and actually up till 43) simply did not preform well against naval units. Despite all its hype, the German Air Force didn't have the training, the right bombs, or the bomb sites to really attack naval units. So even with air superiority, the German Air Force would have had a problem defending the invasion fleet.


The German aerial torpedo was completely useless. So useless, in fact, that after 1940 they had to but *Italian* aerial torpedoes to use ... the Italian ones actually worked. The German ones almost universally porpoised (and missed) or broke up on hitting the water. As for the bombs, as you note, they were the wrong sort ... they bounced off even light armour or penetrated but didn't explode, largely, depending on which of the two basic wrong sorts they used.

As to training and equipment. Well. See. The Luftwaffe had *one* unit trained, sort of, in Aero-naval combat. But the aircraft it was equipped with and the weapons it had ... were piss poor ... and the training wasn't all that effective, either.

The aircraft? He-111 Torpedo Bombers. Floatplanes.

Against Spits and Hurricanes?

Yeah. Right.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
e) The German Army needed a broad front to land. The German Navy wanted as narrow a front as possible as it didn't have the resources to protect the fleet. Strategically, these two aims were NEVER reconcilled.


The Kriegsmarine planners were so frustrated by Army wishful thinking "planning" (almost as good, if not better, than Japanese wishful thinking wargaming of ops like Midway etc!) that, since they were forbidden by Hitler from actually explaining why what the Army wanted couldn't be done, could only resort to writing rude comments on the "planning" documents that were submitted to them.

As for the plans. Some of the more outstanding idiocies ...

* Landing Tanks by blowing the bows off the Rhine River barges that carried them, then, the tank totally sealed up with no escape tube, completely blind, and an air tube linking the engine to the surface, has to crawl ashore under water. Can one understand why the Kriegsmarine planners were writing rude comments?

* The River Barges, towed by Tugs, Fishing Trawlers and small Coasters, could barely manage 4-6 kts, and, for significant portions of the route they had to take, would have been sailing against a current that would have reduced this to 2-3 kts or less.

In fact, the units sailing from the nearest invasion ports required the best part of 24 hours to get from said ports to the destination beaches. The units sailing from the ports in the Low Countries required something more like 36 hours. One way.

Which means that, inevitably, they had to make a significant part of the journey in *broad daylight* ... with almost a literal handful of DDs and some E- and S- boats to "protect" then against the Home Fleet, Humber Force, Channel Force, Western Approaches Command and, probably, forces based in Gibraltar. Dozens and Dozens and Dozens and Dozens of DDs and light combatants, not including CLs, CAs, BCs, BBs and CVs ... and not mentioning the RAF.

Given that they have to make the journey there *and* back ... 24-36 hours *each way*, the barges would also sailing across one, possibly two, nights ... and that means that the RN will be able to sortie south, from behind RAF aircover, further north than the Luftwaffe can send fighters to escort the few bombers it has that, theoretically, could attack them ... if only their torpedoes and bombs actually *worked* ... slaughter the German landing craft by making 30+ kt high speed passes and swamping them if they run out of ammo, and, well, you get the picture.

* Oh. Did I mention that the German plan was to land "elements" of 9 (later 12) Divisons ... equal to around 3 (later 4) Divisions in the "first wave" ... across either a narrow or broad front, but, regardless, at three or more separate sites ... and, then, well ...

Reinforcements? Two to three *weeks* after the first landing! Yes. *W*e*e*k*s*. I kid you not. It's all in what passes for the "plan".

Oh, and that means *no resupply* for the same period. So, 3, maybe 4, divisions ... even as damaged and unprepared as the British Army is supposed to have been, and wasn't, when you examine it closely, it still had several fully trained, fully equipped, Divisions on hand, including a complete Armoured Division plus lots more partly equipped and partly trained units.

(Note: German Infantry Division = about 10000 men, give or take. UK Infantry Division = about 20,000 men, give or take. German Infantry Division = Foot and Horse Waggon transport. UK Army = 100% motorised)

* Panzers? No resupply = no fuel. Even if they landed 20-30 and they all managed to get ashore, they'd soon be out of fuel. Matildas can take them out, and, though there weren't many, there were enough to handle the few the Germans could hope to land in the first wave. The rest of the Brit armour was Bren Gun Carriers and MG armed light tanks, but they were better armour than most of the German bridgeheads would have had.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
f) The German's never achieved air superiority. A given for the invasion.


And they needed Air *supremacy*. The Luftwaffe had to do three impossible things before Brekkie ...

* Defend the Kriegsmarine and Landing Craft from the RN and RAF, day and night.
* Defend the Wehrmacht beachheads against the RN, RAF and British Army, day and night.
* Act as Artillery for the Wehrmacht initial invasion forces, which were being landed with little artillery, less shells, and none of it heavy stuff.

The Luftwaffe, historically, was incapable of doing even one of the above, committing 100% of its available strength in attempts to do so, let alone all three simultaneously, all three requiring, individually and separately, a 100% effort from the whole Luftwaffe.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
g) The final plans for Sea Lion have about 70K troops landing. And with a second follow up wave. This represents about 7 to 9 divisions depending on they're configured. While the British Army was in bad shape, it doesn't look like this could achieve a break out. And I can't believe tht the second wave would actually land.


Yep, around 3-4 Division equivalents over several separate beachheads, or perhaps 20-30,000 men in the first wave, with the second wave ... two to three weeks later.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
h) The Germans would have to capture a major port in decent shape to get the supplies needed to the troops that landed. Sea and air supply without a major port in decent shape wouldn't provide the needed supplies (actually, only about 1/20th in a combat situation).


And the only major(ish) port in the landing area was Dover, which was, at best, a minor port incapable of meeting German requirements. The rest? The Cinque Ports? Silted up and capable, at best, of taking some fishing trawlers.

Great planning

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
No one in the German High Command actually thought this would work.


The Kriegsmarine planners certainly didn't, see comments above about how they scrawled rude comments on the plans the Army submitted!

The Wehrmacht? There's some doubt. It seems as if they couldn't *really* have taken it seriously, but, on some levels, they seem to have done so ... more seriously than the Kriegsmarine, at least.

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
IMO, Best case - and I mean best case - the British let the first wave land and then seal off the landing. Worst case, you could see the majority or all sunk at sea.


Yep.

And consider the flow on effects!

Hitler's rep for invincibility takes a nose dive! Even if he survives *this* time, a failure against Russia in 1941 would become much much more problematic

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
I just have a hard time seeing this operation as realistic even in the best of circumstances. And the Germans never achieved the best.


Yep. Agree 100% with *that*

Phil

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(in reply to turtlefang)
Post #: 15
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/6/2012 8:14:23 PM   
turtlefang

 

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aspqrz -

We may have to disagree on the German economic issue. Hitler, and his top officials, feared a potential German worker revolt. Its what they used to get into power, and its what he and the Nazi's went to great pain to prevent. Specific examples include:

Setting up the German Labor Front. To ‘protect’ those in work, the German Labour Front was set up. This was lead by Robert Ley. The GLF took the role of trade unions which had been banned. To an extent, the GLF did this. Ley ordered that workers could not be sacked on the spot but he also ordered that a worker could not leave his job without the government’s permission. Only government labour exchanges could arrange for a new job if someone did leave his employment.

However, the GLF increased the number of hours worked from 60 to 72 per week (including overtime) by 1939. Strikes were outlawed. The average factory worker was earning 10 times more than those on dole money and few complained – though to do so was fraught with potential difficulties.

The leisure time of the workers was also taken care of. An organisation called "Kraft durch Freude" (KdF) took care of this. Ley and the KdF worked out that each worker had 3,740 hours per year free for pursuing leisure activities - which the state would provide. The activities provided by the state were carefully and systematically recorded.

Nazi engaged in massive "price fixing" for leisure goods during this time.
Cheap holidays and the offer of them was a good way to win the support of the average person in the street. A cruise to the Canary Islands cost 62 marks - easily affordable to many. Walking and skiing holidays in the Bavarian Alps cost 28 marks. A two-week tour of Italy cost 155 marks.

The KdF also involved itself in introducing a scheme whereby the workers could get a car. The Volkswagen - People's Car - was designed so that most could afford it. The Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche, cost 990 marks. This was about 35 weeks wages for the average worker. To pay for one, workers went on a hire purchase scheme. They paid 5 marks a week into an account. (This program, BTW, wasn't discontinued until 43 with large amounts of Beetles being sold to civi market).

Literally, the Nazi party accepted massive inefficiencies and payments to keep the German worker happy - and these programs continued until about 43 (phased out at different times).



Next, the statistics just don't bear out that industrial expansion plan.

Other economic studies confirm that the German military industrial expansion was fairly steady from 1938 onwards. The net utilization of resources supplied to the war effort as a share of the net national product in Germany was:

1938 17 percent
1939 25 percent, an increase of 8 percent
1940 44 percent, an increase of 19 percent
1941 56 percent, an increase of 12 percent
1942 69 percent, an increase of 13 percent
1943 76 percent, an increase of 13 percent

And if you go back to 1936, a similar pattern emerges. The expansion pattern for the military was relatively constant over an extended period of time. Which matches the general economic plans of the Party.

Next, this - which was an official order:

2 weeks after start of French campaign made the German War Economical and Armament Agency (WiRüAmt) a favourable assessment on the common war situation and came to the solution NOT to extend war production-facilities which only would come into use during the running year or later, because traded the opinion to end the war with available capacities. (MY NOTE: THIS JUST DOESN'T MATCH THE MILLIONS OF INVESTMENT DOLLARS - DON'T THROW THEM AWAY NOW THROW THEM AWAY?) 5 weeks after start of French campaign calculated also Hitler with a soon and victorious end, stating that "the tasks of Heer shall generally be completed". Consequently was a Heer-reduction to 120 divisions ordered. (MY NOTE: THIS REDUCTION DID HAPPEN BUT IT WAS ON AGAIN/OFF AGAIN - CERTAIN UNITS WERE RELEASED WHILE OTHERS WERE FORMED IN RESERVE WITH LESS THAN FULL SUPPORT UNITS - THESE LATER WERE ACTIVATED - SO THE NET EFFECT WAS TO CREATE APPROXIMATELY AN ADDITIONAL 45 DIVISIONS THAT EVENTUALLY SERVED IN BARBAROSSA) A commission was set up to supervise the common armament reduction, the first step for demobilization and return to peace-time economy. The available industrial capacities were ordered to focus on air-armament against GB, all previous Führer-orders regarding production of munition, weapons and equipments got suspended, like also raw material allocations for 3rd quarter 1940. Commander Reserve Army, Fromm, signed on 20.6.1940 a regulation: "Ersatz-Heer gets dissolved asap".

Of course, Hitler did invade Russia which caused a massive problem and showed a disconnect between production planning and war planning. But, hey, what's a Dictator going to do?

And the big expansion in 1940 appears fueled by the SOVIETS of all people:

"As can be read in the standard work of the Military History Research Office at Freiburg im Breisgau "Das deutsche Reich and der Zweite Welkrieg" (The German Reich and World War II), the Soviet Union had supported Hitler’s Germany "to a high degree" and indeed through political propaganda as well as economically. The figures indicated there actually appear gigantic: 1 million tons of oil, 800,000 tons of iron ore, 500,000 tons of phosphate, 100,000 tons of cotton, 100,000 tons of chrome ore (!), 80,000 tons of manganese, 10,800 tons of copper, 1,575 tons of nickel, 1,300 tons of Indian rubber, 985 tons of tin, etc. as well as 2.22 million tons of grain. Molotov, the foreign minister at the time and architect of the disreputable Hitler-Stalin Pact, several times recalls quite openly that the Soviet deliveries "were not without influence on the great German victories." And the German author of that contribution noted: "Of vital importance for Germany up until 1941 was the fact that the Soviet Union sent the Reich economic goods of the broadest range - raw materials it lacked - to make it capable of waging a long war of attrition against the Western Powers." And Hitler rejoiced that the British blockade would be thwarted completely as a result."

This, BTW, is for late 1939 and 1940. The chrome and phosphates, especially, were critical. These, BTW, represents a huge amount of raw material to the Germans - without these, the German economy would literally have broken down due to the British blockade - Germany literally didn't have many reserves of raw materials.

And it gave the Germans time to set up alternative sources, including effective organization of plundering conquer territories.

As far as when the German economy finally hit "wartime footing" - depends on how you define it. 43 is fine for me - I can also accept 44.

In any case, so additional thoughts on the subject.

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Post #: 16
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/6/2012 8:55:24 PM   
turtlefang

 

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Regarding the commitment of capital ships to the English Channel

The debate centers on whether the Admiralty would allow its capital ships into the English Channel. Per the official defense documents for against SeaLion, NO CAPITAL SHIPS and very few destroyers were to be committed to stop the invasion. At the time, the assumptions was that the RAF had withdrawn from combat and the German Air Force would destroy any ships sent into the Channel. (German Air Force ineffectiveness against naval forces wasn't known or understood at that time - that is defined post WW2 understanding).

The flip side to this one is the orders given the Rodney, the movement of the Nelson and Hood plus a supporting cruiser and destroyers. While the official stance was that no capital ships would be committed, the Rodney was given very direct orders to "be prepared to enter and engage the German Fleet if necessary in the Channel as directed". These orders were issued during the time period of the SeaLion invasion. And its clearly targeted at the invasion fleet. And the Rodney was acting as a task force command vessel - with the Nelson and Hood assigned as well as destroyers.

So, at the very least, the British Navy wanted to keep it options open.

And given the tradition of the British Navy, IMO, these vessels would have been committed. But officially, they were not to be sent in under the current defense plan. Hence, the debate.

Alfred Jodl, Chief of Operations in the OKW, remarked, after Raeder said Kriegsmarine could not meet the operational requirements of the Army, "then a landing in England must be regarded as a sheer act of desperation"

A highly realistic conclusion.

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Post #: 17
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/7/2012 12:25:39 AM   
aspqrz

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang

aspqrz -

We may have to disagree on the German economic issue. Hitler, and his top officials, feared a potential German worker revolt. Its what they used to get into power, and its what he and the Nazi's went to great pain to prevent.


Actually, I don't think we really disagree ... I think we are talking about slightly different aspects in slightly different ways.

Forex, I don't disagree that Hitler needed (or thought he needed) to pander to the German worker ... he does seem to have believed that ... what I said was that this was largely done by working them harder (as you note) and putting more German industries into wartime production while stripping civilian "luxuries" from the conquered countries to support a higher *civilian* standard of living for the German workers ... at the expense of the workers in the conquered countries, who really did it tough.

This largely worked until around 1943(ish), but, by then, the German workers realised they were riding a tiger, and simply dumping Hitler was not going to change the retribution that they faced if they surrendered/lost (no, it's not that simple, but that's a simplified way of looking at the issue that does a reasonably good job of stating the basics).

As for the information you provide, if I look at it through my slightly different lens, it supports what I have said, just as it supports your slightly different viewpoint.

That's my .02 pacific pesos, anyway

Phil

< Message edited by aspqrz -- 8/7/2012 12:33:43 AM >


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Post #: 18
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/7/2012 12:32:26 AM   
aspqrz

 

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Yes, I am not relying on official plans re commitment of capital ships, but on indicative behaviour in face of a crisis ... as indicated by the ABC Cunningham quote, which, I feel, makes it more likely than not that, if the Nazis were crazy and desperate enough to attempt Sealion, the RN would pull out all the stops *needed* to stop them. If Corvettes and Light Forces could manage it, along with the RAF, then, fine ... if not, then the heavier vessels would have been committed.

The Italians and, to a lesser degree, the Germans fought naval WW2 with the intention of not wanting to scratch the brightwork on their shiny, expensive, executive toys ... the RN has, for the last 4 centuries or more, taken the attitude that the best place for one of HMG's warships is to be taken "in harms way" ...

I think that tradition would trump caution, and decisively. Which is why I think any debate on "official" ROEs misses the point.

YMMV, of course!

Phil

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Post #: 19
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/7/2012 12:10:35 PM   
Offworlder

 

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Agreed. And given that the British did not really mind that much committing light warships to the evacuation Dunkirk, when they were very vulnerable to the Luftwaffe, I don't think that they would have hesitated to send their surface fleet into the Channel to stop the invasion of the homeland.

One must also see the actions that the RN performed even in cases where air superiority was not existant (ex the evacuation of Crete) or the way they didn't hesitate to commit their capital ships to offensives (ex see the support the RN gave to the landings in Sicily and Southern Italy where they did risk some of the major units). Frankly, I don't think that they would have hesitated to defend their homeland.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/7/2012 2:27:33 PM   
turtlefang

 

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And, as I stated, that's my opinion also.

But the point is that two different views do exist, and very much existed within the Admiralty at the time. The British had a very bad experience in Gallipoli regarding capital ships and narrow waters - which the Germans were trying to repeat on by bringing in heavy guns on the coast. And, in theory, mining the ends of the Channel. A very long debate was going on regarding this issue so its not as clear cut as it appears.

And the orders to the Rodney were cut while the RAF remain south to contest the invasion. Would these orders have changed if the RAF had withdrawn? I don't know that we have a definitive answer. (For that matter, I'm not convinced the RAF would have stayed NORTH if an invasion threat actually materialized.)

In any case, that's the issue I was raising - two points of view exist. And, at the time, a very convoluted command structured existed within the Home Waters which was never rationalized until literally IKE took over (and all the command structures were re-visited - I'm not implying that IKE revised them - it just happened at the same time). So there was a lot of unknowns at the time.



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Post #: 21
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/8/2012 1:47:12 AM   
aspqrz

 

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Technically speaking, the RN didn't have a bad experience at Gallipoli, they had a bad experience trying to force the Hellespont on the other side of the Gallipoli peninsula.

And the two situations are not even vaguely similar.

But, indeed, two POVs did exist, though I don't take the reluctant commitment one at all seriously. At worst, all that would do would be to delay commitment of heavy forces until the Germans were committed ... remembering that it will take them 24-36 hours to cross the Channel and, once landed, two-three weeks for the second wave to be sent!

However, again, I suspect we're simply arguing around the margins rather than on key issues.

YMMV of course!

Phil

< Message edited by aspqrz -- 8/8/2012 1:48:32 AM >


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Post #: 22
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/8/2012 2:46:44 AM   
turtlefang

 

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The official British Naval deployments to counter Sea Lion (British Naval Planning Resources, WW2, 1952 Review):

At the beginning of September the Admiralty had disposed sixty-seven destroyers (plus six cruisers) for immediate response to an invasion alarm. The first warning of the invasion’s sailing would come, it was hoped, from RAF reconnaissance over the assembly ports. But in case – as was likely – the Germans waited until after dark before commencing their 12-hour toil across to England, the Royal Navy had a pool of 700 armed patrol craft (requisitioned motor yachts and trawlers) of whom around 200 were on picket duty “off the north coast of France” every night. So, owing to either the air reconnaissance or the trip-wire patrols, there was a high likelihood that the German invasion armadas would have found British destroyers between them and their intended landing-beaches when they approached on the morning of D-Day. As well as torpedoes and guns, each destroyer carried 40 depth-charges filled with 600-800lbs of Amatol (depending on Mk) which could have demolished the tows of wallowing barges packed with soldiers and horses.

The second tranche of RN interventions would have been the thirty-four corvettes and sloops, and the MTBs, employed on East Coast and Channel convoy routes. Finally, up to thirty-five submarines based in home waters would have headed for the Channel to disrupt the shuttling back and forth of barges required by the German build-up for the next ten days.

On top of that standard force, the British established a “quick reaction” force at Rosyth for possible commitment. On Aug 11, the Battleship NELSON, battlecruiser HOOD, anti-aircraft cruisers NAIAD and BONAVENTURE, and destroyers KASHMIR, KIPLING, ZULU, SIKH, SOMALI , and ESKIMO Rosyth for anti invasion duties. Later that day, the destroyers MATABELE, ASHANTI, TARTAR, and PUNJAB arrived. These were joined a week later by the destroyers JACKAL and ELECTRA. On Aug 25, the battleship RODNEY, DD COSSACK and MAORI arrived. On the 15th, the DD DEDOUIN arrived as part of the defensive force.

The total Rosyth “invasion reaction force” consisted of 2 BB, 1 BC, 2 AA cruisers, and 15 fleet DDs.

This is just to close out the discussion with an British official forces in the area for the invasion.

The six cruisers, based on what I can tell, appear to the light cruisers not heavy, armed with six inch guns. I doubt the barges would actually care. The dept charges I wouldn't have considered an anti-shipping weapon, but if the freeboard on the barges is as low as you reported, setting those off near a barge could well swamp it.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/8/2012 6:58:00 AM   
aspqrz

 

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The wash from a Corvette sized or larger vessel doing a high speed run past at 30+ kts would swamp them.

Another thing the Kriegsmarine realised was that they simply didn't have enough trained seamen to put on the Barges to minimize the potential problems from the low freeboard ... they were, IIRC, thousands short from even having enough for 2-3 on most of the towed barges. This was a real worry.

As for the 12 hour crossing, yes, from the nearest ports, once fully formed up ... but the Germans didn't have enough coasters and powered vessels to form up in less than 12 hours, it was estimated (again, by the KM planners ... and the one real trial they had to see whether this could work, even on a small scale, was a disastrous failure) ... so the RN would have at least 24 hours warning, probably a lot more ... and that's for the nearest ports, in and around Brittany and Normandy which, IIRC, were the source of around 1/3 of the force.

The bulk were to come from Belgian and Dutch ports where the estimated form up + travel time, according to the Germans, was 36 hours (and, as noted, the German trial showed that the estimates were wildly optimistic!).

So, high speed passes. Depth Charges, and even moderately near misses, ditto with aerial bombs. The wake from high speed vessels passing. Cutting of tow ropes and inevitable collisions. Ramming. Most of which could have been done at night, which would mean the Luftwaffe couldn't even support the barge forces

Still, as we both seem to agree, not a good potential outcome for the Germans, regardless of how many/what type of RN forces are committed.

Phil

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Post #: 24
RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/13/2012 4:27:55 AM   
kg_1007

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang

....

No one in the German High Command actually thought this would work.

IMO, Best case - and I mean best case - the British let the first wave land and then seal off the landing. Worst case, you could see the majority or all sunk at sea.

I just have a hard time seeing this operation as realistic even in the best of circumstances. And the Germans never achieved the best.

Actually v. Manstein, certainly must be regarded as one of the finest tactical minds of the war, and he devoted an entire chapter (ch 7) of his book to this topic, and implies that it was doable, while also fully explaining the risks. He ends by implying, though not outright stating, that he considered it a mistake not to attempt it.

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RE: OT: In the begining.. - 8/13/2012 6:16:04 PM   
Offworlder

 

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Well one could also say this of many other operations that were planned but not executed by the Germans during the war. Suffice it to say that at least 3 come to mind - the invasion of Spain, and the planned assaults on Gibraltar and Malta. The first was 'doable' on paper, while the others were also relatively possible. But they were not done due to local circumstances or even because of changes in 'the big picture' so to say. The OKH and later OKW had pretty realistic appreciation of the strength of its armed forces and certainly planned accordingly at least in the first part of the war. They were more than willing to take risks, but that was part and parcel of the whole concept of blitzkrieg.

It should also be noted that concurrent with the planning of Sealion, plans were already being hatched in a completely different direction - ie the East. One issue that eludes the modern historian is the way Hitler was thinking at different stages. Although we know approximately when various plans were concocted of submitted to him, we don't know how he reacted to them in different stages. We do have the impression that his heart was not in Sealion (for many real or imagined reasons) but we do not know exactly when his eyes turned east. Given that various writers give various reasons for him turning east and abandoning Sealion its very difficult to really pin point when he did so.

Personnaly I ascribe to the school that his ultimate aim was to move east at the earliest possibility and that he saw no long term gain in subjugating the UK. Also at that point in time (1941), Britain was not that much of a problem for the Germans and so it was the right time to strike East to what was, in Hitler's mind, the real final goal of the whole war.

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