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RE: OT: A burning question..

 
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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/25/2012 11:42:12 PM   
TulliusDetritus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang
As far as why Hitler invaded Russia, a lot of ink has been spilled over that one. But I believe that it had more to do with Hitler's belief in the inevitable battle of philosophies (fascism vs. communism) and races (Germanic vs. Slavic). He spoke - or ranted - about this for decades and stated that a total war was coming Germany and Russia. In Mein Kampf he goes on about this for chapters and chapters. As well as dozens of other places.


We can safely say that Hitler wanted the USSR to become the German India He said so many times. First it's your goal, then you have to rationalize, justify this move. How? Racism.

It worked exactly the same way with European / American racism during the Imperialist Era (XIX century). Domination of the globe was the real prosaic goal: markets, raw materials, customers... and er, the racist doctrine auto-magically "appeared" to make this domination er... necessary

Western Europe was not supposed to become a German colony ergo there was no need of some grotesque racist doctrine to justify that move.

But as for the Poles, Russians and other people...

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 1:19:12 AM   
turtlefang

 

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While I think Hitler had a fanasty of turning Russia - or at least a part of it - into an extension of Germany, I just believe that this is more a jusftification for his racism and desire to attack. Further, I think he had convinced himself that he could actually win as the Russians were subhuman and would just fold to his troops. I just don't think he felt he could lose to the subhumans eastern hordes.

We know about Hitler's racism far earlier than any statement he makes about resettlement in Russia. He began expressing this in WWI - which is recorded in several places. And this becomes "public" in his 25 pt declaration in 1920 - nearly five years before he published his first idea of resettlement - and about three years before he began writing Mein Kamf.

Anyway, based on the fact that Hitler was expressing his racism far in advance of his "resettlement" ideas, I believe that drove him more than the resettlement. The resettlement gave him a vision to sell his ideas to the general population.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 2:03:15 AM   
turtlefang

 

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Your right. There is no oil in France.

But for all intents and purposes, there was no oil in the Caucaus oil fields for Germany.

Based on a number of German studies, the Germans projected a minimium 10 years to get oil out of the fields. The GHC understood how effective the "Scorched Earth" policy was. Odds of succcess even if you could unblock the wells and the Russians didn't set them on fire was low. And the Russian has the wells ready and wired to blow and burn.

Add in trying to open these fields up during a war, with partisans raiding, lay and run a 1400 mile pipeline, and with the hostile policies that the Germans implemented in Russia against the population?

And the Soviet's were fully aware that the Romanian’s functioned as the major supplier in oil. There are dozens of mentions in documents traversing the Stalin/Hitler diplomatic lines during the late 1930’s.

So, again, don't buy the oil argument. Long term, sure, if the Germans won. But then, they didn't need that much oil if they had won.

At least for the first decade, the oil field wouldn't have supplied a drop of oil to Germany. The only way the oil field argument works is if Germany could force a surrender similar to WW1 and capture the oil fields intact. Something that simply wasn't ever a possiblity. The Soviets knew how important it was to the Germans - and the Soviets weren't going to let the Germans have it come hell or high water. And that literally mean a burning hell or wells full of sea water to ruin the oil.

And the Germans knew it.

So, no oil, even if you have the oil fields.

Now, you can argue that captures - or forcing the Soviets to destroy the oil fields - denied it to the Soviets, and that was a strategic goal. But that's a different goal. And not worth the strategic mistake made by Hitler.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 4:18:36 AM   
turtlefang

 

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Exert from a Report Regarding the Transportation of Oil to Germany

Report by Generalleutnant Hermann
von Hanneken of the War Economy and War Armaments Office, which
was appended to a letter sent by Keitel to the OKH. This report warned
that, even if the Caucasus oilfields could be captured intact, very little oil
(only 10,000 tons per month) could be carried overland to Germany.
Moreover, even if the Black Sea could be made safe for shipping, there
would be no ships available for the transport of Caucasus oil up the
Danube because its river tankers were already working to capacity
transporting Rumanian oil. The only remaining route was across the
Black Sea, through the Dardenelles, and on to Mediterranean ports.
Accordingly, the report concluded, 'the opening of the sea routes and the
security of the tankers in the Black Sea is the prerequisite for the use of
Russian supply sources in sufficient quantity to support the further
continuation of the war.' Clearly, to attain this prerequisite was virtually
impossible by early 1942; the Germans would have had to wipe out the
powerful Soviet Black Sea Fleet (which still had, according to Raeder,
'naval supremacy ... [allowing] great freedom of movement") and
eliminate British air and sea power from the eastern Mediterranean.


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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 7:26:52 AM   
Wally Wilson


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Without air dominance, Germany could not have successfully mounted and supplied an invasion of England. Having a few extra surface raiders and cruisers and destroyers probably wouldn't have helped that much with defending supply barges from aerial attack while trying to cross the Channel.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 7:49:07 AM   
warspite1


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Nope, I am not buying it. Hitler wanted Germany to be self sufficient (like the USA) so they were never in future liable to being blockaded into submission. Lebensraum was his whole reason for being.

Remember Hitler thought he could beat the Soviets in one campaigning season. He gambled.

Once that gamble failed, Hitler had no choice but to continue on the path he had chosen. He did not have the luxury of choosing to sit on the defensive. The Wehrmacht did not have the men, the Germans were being out-produced in war material and the position was worsening with every month.



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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 1:12:22 PM   
dave_wolf

 

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It is a common mistake (amongst wargamers) to judge Hitler's decisions only by rational standards. He was no rational strategist like, say, Frederick II or Bismarck. Yes, he had his moments. But when it came to the crucial decisions, he usually fell back to ideology rather than objective arguments. (You probably won't realize that by reading only WWII books. If you're seriously interested you should also study Hitler's biography in order to get a better understanding of his character traits and the underlying patterns of the decision making in WWII.)

See this introduction on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5agLW7fTzBc&feature=relmfu

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 2:32:22 PM   
TulliusDetritus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dave_wolf

It is a common mistake (amongst wargamers) to judge Hitler's decisions only by rational standards. He was no rational strategist like, say, Frederick II or Bismarck. Yes, he had his moments. But when it came to the crucial decisions, he usually fell back to ideology rather than objective arguments. (You probably won't realize that by reading only WWII books. If you're seriously interested you should also study Hitler's biography in order to get a better understanding of his character traits and the underlying patterns of the decision making in WWII.)

See this introduction on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5agLW7fTzBc&feature=relmfu


The guy was indeed crazy But still his political, military choices were usually rational. He was obviously a gambler. He had to be one if he wanted Germany to defeat against all odds the Big Boys in the neighbourhood. When it didn't work and Germany was facing a long two-front war they could NOT remotely afford, he didn't "fall back to ideology"... he fell back to his own experience in WW1 as a Corporal

The modern, sophisticated Blitzkrieg was replaced by a more traditional "not one step back, attrit the enemy"... WW1 if you ask me. A rational choice that is. Tow sides of the coin: he accepted the Blitzkrieg because he knew the country could only afford short campaigns and that's what the Blitzkrieg was offering, was all about; when this failed he only had his own WW1 experience... and there we go.

Hitler was being crudely rational when he was saying Eastern Europe to the Urals would be a German colony (food, minerals, oil etc. etc.). The ideology is the pop corn here methinks. You need it to convince the part of the German population that would not accept a mere rapacious war. Because Hitler was a rapacious bandit. Now we should consider those behind him who also wanted to rob these territories... heavy industry barons etc etc... But that's another story.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 3:15:54 PM   
dave_wolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: TulliusDetritus

He was obviously a gambler.

That was one of his traits. But it only scratches the surface.

More you won't find in most history books. Because the answers you're looking for belong to the realm of psychology. (I dare say most historians have a rather superficial understanding of psychology, if any at all.) Therefore it is recommended to study his biographies (as suggested above).


< Message edited by dave_wolf -- 10/26/2012 3:17:26 PM >


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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 3:17:25 PM   
turtlefang

 

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dave_wolf -

As a matter of fact, I agree with you. Hitler wasn't rational. And he was insane. He was much more instinct/gut driven by his decision making, very much like most gamblers as TulliusDetritus points out. But gambling isn't rational by definition if you have other options. Especially after he had already grabbed everything that any historic German leader would have considered successful.

warspite 1 -

Your choice on what you believe. Hitler proved time and time again that he could convince himself that could do things that he had no chance of doing. Seizing Poland without a war, Sea Lion, Knocking Russia out in 42, seizing the oil fields in 42, relieving the 6th Army and on and on.

The living space to me simply another way for Hitler to justify something he already wanted to do. He never put resources against it that would imply he really believed in this. And it fits with his history. Germany "won" WWI in the East. He wanted this to recreated the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk at the end of WWI which he felt Germany "won" and was invalidated by the Allies.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/26/2012 3:21:46 PM   
dave_wolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang

And he was insane.

That's a generalized statement which doesn't really help much. (Besides, what "sane" means is a matter of interpretation. A discussion which is still in progress...)

There were very specific personal traits that led to they way he lived his life and ended it (hint! ).

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/27/2012 3:22:59 AM   
turtlefang

 

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While the definition of sane may still be under discussion, there is general agreement by anyone with a background in psychological profilining that:

1) Hitler's early life shows a great lack in his ability to emotionally relate to people.
2) That Hitler then progressed and clearly demonstrated the next phase of this inability to relate to people; he developed full blown sociopathic behavior
3) And he advanced to the final stage of this psychopathology and lost complete touch with reality

John Douglas, an FBI profiler and psychological specialist, wrote a number of books on the subject of which "Mind Hunter" is a good intro.

Your free to debate whether he meets the definition of insane if you wish, but as far as I'm concerned, there isn't any doubt.

And you can argue whether a sociopath is born or develops, but you can only judge one based on his or her behavior and when that behavior manifest and is identified. Hitler demonstrated the pathology and advance through the classic phases of it.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/27/2012 5:25:16 AM   
dave_wolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang

...


Sorry, but you're completely missing my point again.

I'm not advocating at all AH was sane. (Personally I'd qualify many more people 'insane' and in need of therapy than it is common. At least when I watch some of the neighbours going about their lives... ) I'm just saying it's too vague a term to further this particular debate.

Something different entirely.


< Message edited by dave_wolf -- 10/27/2012 5:30:12 AM >


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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/27/2012 6:56:02 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dave_wolf

It is a common mistake (amongst wargamers) to judge Hitler's decisions only by rational standards. He was no rational strategist like, say, Frederick II or Bismarck. Yes, he had his moments. But when it came to the crucial decisions, he usually fell back to ideology rather than objective arguments. (You probably won't realize that by reading only WWII books. If you're seriously interested you should also study Hitler's biography in order to get a better understanding of his character traits and the underlying patterns of the decision making in WWII.)

See this introduction on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5agLW7fTzBc&feature=relmfu
warspite1

I have read biographies of Hiter thank-you......

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/27/2012 7:19:19 AM   
dave_wolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

I have read biographies of Hiter thank-you......

Not sure there is a useful point to your reply.

Look, I'm just trying to make you guys see the light.

I've seen the same debate over and over again and it never goes anywhere conclusive. Because it lacks a proper perspective. It's like a zen koan. If you've got the wrong angle, you'll never get it. Not in a million years.

Anyhow, if you - or anybody else - choose to take it the wrong way entirely, it's for your own personal reasons and puposes alone. Hence not my problem.

Discussions on a public forum seldom lead anywhere. I've seen this too many times too. One of the reasons why I quit this years ago (after a few thousand posts) and I don' plan to do it all again. Although my intentions sometimes foolishly overrule my experiences.

If somebody doesn't want to learn, you shouldn't bother trying to enlighten him. So, who really wants more information can PM me. This is most likely more productive.

Have a nice day! Over and out.

Dave

< Message edited by dave_wolf -- 10/27/2012 7:50:51 AM >


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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/27/2012 1:27:02 PM   
warspite1


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No there was no useful point to my reply other than to express mild irritation with your responses and assumptions. However, it was not really necessary for me to respond in that way so I apologise. I will give instead the more measured response that I should have done initially.

As a wargamer, and keen (would be) historian I am interested in the events of World War II, why those events evolved the way they did, and to a lesser extent, what other paths realistically, may have been followed. The state of Hitler’s mind – and for that matter of Stalin, Mussolini and anyone else – is of, at best, passing interest - no more. Was Hitler Sane? Insane? Did he suffer from some complex or other? Some –ism? I have no idea, and do I necessarily need to know? Not really.

However, what IS interesting is what Hitler did and why; what his motives were, and I believe you can get to a level of understanding of that without being an expert in the workings of the human brain. If not then you could argue that all historians are wasting their time. As I say, whether Hitler made the decisions he made as an insane person or as a sane person is immaterial. Regardless of his state of mind, he made the decisions he did, thinking he was not only a rational human being, but a great military strategist, and politician.

So first and foremost I contest your view that it is necessary to understand psychology in order to have a debate about Hitler’s actions and why WWII took the course it did.

Just turning to turtlefang’s comment for a moment, did Hitler invade the USSR because he was a racist? Was that his motivation? I think that is a very, very strange conclusion to draw. Was he a racist? Well I do not think that can be disputed (if you take his comments about the slavs), but it was not his driving force. In my personal opinion Hitler had one overriding goal; Lebensraum. Through taking the land in the east he would create a self-sufficient Greater German Empire. Given Hitler’s experience of WWI and the reasons he ascribes to the German defeat, it strikes me as entirely rational that he thought that a country that has access to all vital raw materials, not least food, and thus cannot be blockaded into submission, is in an advantageous position.

Importantly, in his mind he thought he could take control of the east without a war with the west and with each little victory – e.g. The Rhineland, The Anglo-German Naval Agreement, The Anschluss and The Sudetenland – that view increased.

He was a man in a hurry – he wanted to complete the Greater German Empire before he died - so he continued to roll the dice. Time was not on his side, not just because he was not in the rudest of health, but for the very real reason that Germany’s military advantage over Britain and the USSR (not to mention the USA) was being eroded month by month.
When, by some miracle, Germany had defeated France in a matter of weeks he thought Britain would come to the table. They didn’t of course and Germany had no way of invading the UK. At that stage I do not believe he gave much consideration to pursuing a Mediterranean/near East strategy. It would not give him answers to German food shortages and I believe he felt that it was far more risky than attacking the USSR, which was his ultimate goal anyway. Given what had happened in France, given the Soviets handling of the attack on Finland and given his woeful intelligence as to the exact size of the Soviet armed forces, his chosen option does not seem that illogical to me.


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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/27/2012 6:31:37 PM   
turtlefang

 

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OK, I did miss the point.

And the term is vague and maybe I should have used something more specific.

The point I was trying to make is that Hitler did not always make rational decisions AND it makes it difficult for rational people to put those decisions in perspective. Rational people try to see a rational or logical reasoning in even the most irrational decision making to make sense of it. And most of the time its just not there.

And I don't understand many of the decisions Hitler made. Some of that maybe hindsight and 20/20 vision. But some of that is Hitler's mind follows a logic that a rational mind really can't understand. And I can't comprehend how he came to some of his decisions.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 10/29/2012 12:45:49 AM   
Footslogger

 

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I think we all need to remember how fanatical the Nazis were, even using children as soldiers. The Japanese doing the same.
If you havn't seen the movie, watch this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZcN66SUO84

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/3/2012 10:42:23 PM   
DorianGray

 

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OPERATION SEA LION: A JOINT CRITICAL ANALYSIS

quote:

In summary, one must respond directly to the question of whether Germany could have succeeded
in Operation SEA LION. The answer is yes, although a few key outcomes within the capabilities
of the Wehrmacht and Hitler had to be performed differently to guarantee the greatest
possibility of success.


http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA421637

I would tend to rely on the analysis of the Joint Forces Staff College over some of the ones posted here.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/3/2012 10:46:33 PM   
DorianGray

 

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A subsequent noteworthy quote from the Joint Forces Staff College - OPERATION SEA LION: A JOINT CRITICAL ANALYSIS

quote:

For example, an operation through Fascist Spain to seize Gibraltar, thus opening the Atlantic to the significant
Italian Navy, was well within the realm of possibilities

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 2:50:58 AM   
turtlefang

 

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quote:

OPERATION SEA LION: A JOINT CRITICAL ANALYSIS


A very weak study that doesn't look at the details required to make Sea Lion work.

For example, the suggestion that the Italian Navy could sail into the Atlantic and support the invasion is fanasty land stuff. At the begining of the war, the Italian Navy has 1.7m2 of fuel - and with highly limited operations, was projected to run out in January, 1941. By Sept, 1940, this reserve had decline to 600,000 m2 of fuel. This represents about 14 to 16 days of full operations or 30-45 days of limited operations. Neither of which would allow the main fleet to get to Britian in combat shape.

And Germany didn't have the fuel resources to spare at this time. TIt simply didn't exist at this point. So even if the cooperation issue had been resolved, the fuel didn't exist. Not could be found and redirected, didn't exist. Ego, NO Italian fleet.

And Germany didn't seize the French naval assets for a host of technical reasons which this paper "assumes" away. And so on.

Many of these papers are assigned, at least at the US War College, to Col. with a given set of assumptions just to challenge thier strategic thinking. Not as actual research papers. Along the lines of what if the Japanese has attack the Panama Canel instead of Pearl Harbor? Or assume it was poosible for the Japanese to invade HI, how would they have set it up? And you have one, two or three weeks to do the paper.

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RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 5:02:28 AM   
DorianGray

 

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A study penned by Lt Col Randy McCanne, USAF, LTC Greg D. Olson, USA & CDR Dario E. Teicher, USN.

Exactly what are your credentials?

To say that the Italian Fleet could not engage in notable operations in the Atlantic seems to undermine the importance of British occupation and control of Gibralter.

The Italian Navy had multiple battleships and heavy cruisers which caused the British Navy anguish and concern in the middle Mediterranean. The British held superiority on the eastern side, but the possibility of the Italian Navy sailing out - as they did numerous times - to challenge the convoys to Malta and Alexandria meant that the British shipped their supplies to North Africa via the Cape and the Suez Canal. Essentially the Italian Navy routinely caused the British to go around Africa rather than across Sicily.

There are numerous documented Italian (Italian/German) naval successes against the Royal Navy in the Med. At the beginning of WWII, the Italians had the fourth largest fleet in the world.

July 19th, 1940 - Action off Calabria or Battle of Punto Stila - On the 7th, Adm Cunningham sailed from Alexandria with battleships "Warspite", Malaya", Royal Sovereign", carrier "Eagle", cruisers and destroyers to cover convoys from Malta to Alexandria and to challenge the Italians to action. Next day - the 8th - two Italian battleships, 14 cruisers and 32 destroyers were reported in the Ionian Sea covering a convoy of their own to Benghazi in Libya. Italian aircraft now started five days of accurate high-level bombing (also against Force H out of Gibraltar) and cruiser "Gloucester" was hit and damaged. Mediterranean Fleet headed for a position to cut off the Italians from their base at Taranto. On the 9th, Eagles aircraft failed to find the Italians and first contact was made by a detached cruiser squadron which was soon under fire from the heavier Italian ships. "Warspite" came up and damaged "Giulio Cesare" with a 15in hit. As the Italian battleships turned away, the British cruisers and destroyers engaged, but with little effect. Mediterranean Fleet pursued to within 50 miles of the south west Italian coast off Calabria before withdrawing.

March 31st, 1940 - Cruiser "BONAVENTURE" with a Mediterranean Fleet cruiser force escorting a convoy from Greece to Egypt, was torpedoed and sunk to the southeast of Crete by Italian submarine "Ambra"

December 3th-20th, 1941 - First Battle of Sirte and Related Actions - Italian convoy operations to Libya led to major Royal Navy losses over just a few days. A first Axis convoy bound for Benghazi set out on the 13th, covered by an Italian battlefleet. On receiving the news, Rear-Adm Vian left Alexandria with a cruiser force to join up with Force K from Malta. On the evening of the 14th, submarine “Urge” torpedoed and damaged battleship “Vittorio Veneto” off the Sicilian Strait of Messina and the Italians cancelled that operation. The cruiser forces returned to their bases but as they did Adm Vian's “GALATEA” was sunk by “U-557” and went down off Alexandria. Adm Vian went out again late on the 15th to escort fast supply ship “Breconshire” from Alexandria to Malta. On the 17th they met Force K off the Gulf of Sirte, and shortly encountered Italian battleships covering a second convoy, this time to Tripoli. The two cruiser forces attacked and the Italians withdrew in what became known as the First Battle of Sirte. “Breconshire” reached Malta on the 18th and Force K left harbour to search for the second convoy still making for Tripoli. Early on the 19th off Tripoli, the British force ran into an Italian minefield. Cruiser “NEPTUNE” hit three or four mines and sank with only one man surviving. “Aurora” was badly damaged and “Penelope” slightly. Trying to assist “Neptune”, destroyer “KANDAHAR” was mined and had to be scuttled the following day. Out of a three cruiser and four destroyer force, only three destroyers escaped damage.

December 19th, 1941 - That morning three Italian human torpedoes launched from submarine “Scire” (Cdr Borghese) penetrated Alexandria harbour. Their charges badly damaged battleships “Queen Elizabeth” with Adm Cunningham on board and “Valiant”. They both settled to the bottom and the Mediterranean Fleet battle squadron ceased to exist. News of the sinking was kept from the Italians.

June 12th-16th, 1942 - Malta Convoys 'Harpoon' from Gibraltar, 'Vigorous' from Alexandria - Six escorted merchantmen passed through the Strait of Gibraltar covered by battleship "Malaya", carriers "Argus" and "Eagle", cruisers "Kenya", "Charybdis", "Liverpool" and destroyers - this force comprised Operation 'Harpoon'. Attacks by Italian aircraft on the 14th led to the first merchant ship going down south of Sardinia. "Liverpool" was also damaged and had to return. Later that day at the entrance to the Strait of Sicily, the big ship cover force turned back. In the morning of the 15th, south of Pantelleria, an Italian two-cruiser squadron in conjunction with Italian and German aircraft attacked the by-now lightly defended convoy. The five escorting fleet destroyers headed for the Italians, but "Bedouin" and "Partridge" were disabled by gunfire. Three more merchantmen were lost to bombing attacks and Italian torpedo aircraft finished off BEDOUIN. Later that evening, as the seriously depleted convoy approached Malta, it ran into an Italian minefield. Two destroyers and the fifth supply ship were damaged, but Polish escort destroyer KUJAWIAK was sunk. Just two of 'Harpoon's' six ships reached Malta for the loss of two destroyers and serious damage to three more and a cruiser.

< Message edited by DorianGray -- 11/4/2012 5:06:47 AM >

(in reply to turtlefang)
Post #: 52
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 5:31:54 AM   
DorianGray

 

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August 10th-15th, 1942 - Malta Convoy: Operation 'Pedestal' - For Malta to survive another convoy had to be fought through. The biggest operation ever was mounted from the Gibraltar end. A total of fourteen merchantmen, including British-manned tanker "Ohio" had a massive escort. Close in were cruisers "Nigeria", "Kenya", "Manchester" and "Cairo" and 12 destroyers. Covering were the three fleet carriers "Eagle", "Indomitable" and "Victorious", battleships "Nelson" and "Rodney", three cruisers, and another 12 destroyers. The convoy passed Gibraltar on the 10th and from the next day was subjected to increasingly intense attacks by submarines, aircraft and later coastal forces. Early on the afternoon of the 11th, accompanying carrier "Furious" sent off her Spitfires and later that day headed back for Gibraltar. On the 12th one of her escorting destroyers "Wolverine", rammed and sank Italian submarine "DAGABUR" off Algiers. Still on the 11th and now north of Algiers, "EAGLE" was torpedoed by German "U-73" and went down. Air attacks took place later that day and early on the 12th, but not until noon, south of Sardinia, did they gain their first success. Italian and German aircraft slightly damaged "Victorious" and hit a merchantman which later sank. More submarines then appearred and the Italian "COBALTO" was rammed by destroyer "Ithuriel". Once the convoy was north of Bizerta, Tunisia, submarine, aircraft and Italian MTB (mas) attacks came fast and furiously. At 18.30, still on the 12th, aircraft badly damaged "Indomitable" putting her out of action and destroyer "FORESIGHT" was torpedoed by an Italian bomber and scuttled next day. The main Royal Navy cover force next turned back at the entrance to the 100 mile wide Strait of Sicily.

Disaster struck soon after 20.00 to the northwest of Cape Bon. Three out of the four cruisers were put out of action by Italian submarines. "Axum" and "Dessie" hit cruisers "Nigeria" and "Cairo" and the vital tanker "Ohio". "Alagi" torpedoed the "Kenya". "CAIRO" was scuttled and "Nigeria" headed back to Gibraltar. Around this time aircraft sank two transports. In the early hours of the 13th, the convoy was hugging the coast south of Cape Bon when Italian MTBs attacked. Four merchantmen were sent to the bottom and the last of the original close escort cruisers "MANCHESTER" was hit and scuttled. Air attacks later that morning accounted for one more merchantman and disabled another which was finished off in the evening. Including tanker "Ohio", just five ships were left. Now into the afternoon of the 13th, three reached Malta. The fourth struggled in next day, but the crippled "Ohio", lashed to destroyer "Penn", only made port on the 15th. Earlier, an Italian cruiser force set out to add to the convoy's miseries, but turned for home. North of Sicily on the 13th it was sighted by submarine "Unbroken" and heavy cruiser "Bolzano" and light cruiser "Attendolo" torpedoed and damaged. Only five out of fourteen transports had got through to Malta for the loss of one aircraft carrier, two cruisers and a destroyer sunk, and a carrier and two cruisers badly damaged.

Even as late as 1942, Italy could still project significant naval presence and conduct successful naval operations.

Furthermore, by 1940, Italy had some 20-30 submarines conducting naval operations in the Atlantic operating out of Bordeaux.

In 1940, all twenty-eight Italian submarines which were to be based at BETASOM (Bordeax) initially had to sail from bases on the Mediterranean Sea and transit the Straits of Gibraltar to reach the Atlantic Ocean. All twenty-eight did this successfully without incident.

In 1941, another four Italian submarines based in Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI) reached the base after the fall of that colony during the East African Campaign. All four had to travel around the Cape of Good Hope to get to BETASOM.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 53
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 8:25:09 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DorianGray

A study penned by Lt Col Randy McCanne, USAF, LTC Greg D. Olson, USA & CDR Dario E. Teicher, USN.

Exactly what are your credentials?

warspite1

DorianGray this study is fine as far as it goes, but you must realise it bears no resemblance to reality and so is just a fanciful study. Just some of the key points:

1. Yes Gibraltar was of vital importance but have you read about the state of Spain after the Civil War? She was in a complete mess. Franco's demands were impossible for Hitler to agree to (remember the USSR was his ultimate target and he could not afford to emaciate his own forces to assist yet another "hanger-on"). Also do not forget, the British, and more importantly the Americans, were putting pressure on Franco to stay out of the war.

2. turtlefang is right about the Italian Navy and the fuel situation (your 1942 comment is plain wrong). But also the Regia Marina's (RM) performance was woeful. Historians like O'Hara state that it was not that bad given the constraints it worked under, and the (defensive) priorities it pursued. But it could have achieved so much more given its advantages over the British.

This study assumes that the RM are going to be allowed to be thrown away by taking on the British fleet either/or in the Atlantic on the way to Britain and in the Channel itself. By the way, who is protecting the convoys to Libya while the RM are on their awayday?

So with no Rommel in Libya, no Italian attack on Greece (and no removal of key Commonwealth units from Libya to Greece) no means of re-supplying Italian units in Tripoli, what exactly stops the Italians being kicked out of Africa completely?

The RM proved time and time again that it could not beat the RN and when an aircraft carrier appeared they scarpered (and if they didn't do this in time, they got "Matapan"). These failings despite having superiority in numbers, the central position in the Med (the RN forces were split in two at opposite ends of the Mediterranean which meant the RM would have superiority at anytime) and air cover supposedly on tap. The successes they did have were as a result of the British escorting convoys. Against the RN unfettered in that regard, they would have been toast.

Remember too that some RM ships - particularly destroyers - were notoriously flimsy. Interesting to see how they fare in the Atlantic. Which battle was it where, after an dismal showing the RM withdrew back to base and on the way a couple of destroyers were lost/badly damaged due to the weather?

The Italian submarine force was almost as bad as the Japanese. Yes they had some successes, but given the numbers employed, you could hardly expect them to fail. It was only when the u-boats arrived in the Med that the RN was really hurt by submarines.

3. France. I have to mention this. On the one hand the study says Operation Catapult was an outrageous act - and on the other it says "or perhaps [Hitler] should have used force to capture the vessels in Toulon". That made me laugh in an ironic sort of way.... In some quarters Churchill is vilified for Catapult, but this study suggests it would have been easy for Hitler to get Petain's agreement to use the Vichy fleet or they could have just seized it and Darlan would have allowed it to happen.

4. All of this before we even get to the Luftwaffe's shortcomings in the Battle of Britain and there is just no point discussing the "invasion" barges...

Sealion in 1940/1941 was never possible. The quickest way to Germany "losing" the war was to have tried it.

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/4/2012 8:28:22 AM >


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Post #: 54
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 8:42:14 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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Gentleman,

there are many reasons why and how Hitler did this and didn't do that.It's like the chicken and the egg question. Regarding Directive 41 and the course of the war in the east, refer to this:

The Soviet-German War, 1941-1945: Myths and Realities

and another interesting one about Clausewitz and Contemporary War.

Klink, Oberst

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Visit the Gefechtsstand!

(in reply to DorianGray)
Post #: 55
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 9:06:48 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 17086
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From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

Gentleman,

there are many reasons why and how Hitler did this and didn't do that.It's like the chicken and the egg question. Regarding Directive 41 and the course of the war in the east, refer to this:

The Soviet-German War, 1941-1945: Myths and Realities

and another interesting one about Clausewitz and Contemporary War.

Klink, Oberst
warspite1

Chicken and Egg? I'm not sure how chicken and egg fits.

1. Hitler's goal was Lebensraum.
2. He knows he cannot afford a two front war so what does he do? He has limited time before any military advantage he has built up is overtaken by Britain, France and the USSR (let alone the USA).
3. He gambles on continuing to take territory while the west standby and do nothing. The first gamble that fails is Poland, but he is now committed.
4. Right so now what does he do? His goal is the USSR but he is at war with the west.
5. He (amazingly) takes out the French in a few weeks but those pesky British won't surrender.
6. He now faces two clear choices: Attack the USSR or finish off Britain and then attack the USSR.
7. Problem: Sealion is a pipedream, it cannot work. Alternative is to attack Britain through the Med and Middle East, while undertaking the u-boat war. The Med/Middle East strategy is also frought with problems (not least was Hitler's aversion to naval warfare) and it will take time to achieve, even if ultimately possible. Hitler, as said does not have that time.
8. First alternative is better in his view; he can defeat the USSR in one campaigning season and then, at leisure, return to finish off Britain - if indeed they have not quit following the exit of the USSR.

_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty - Horatio Nelson 1805.




(in reply to Oberst_Klink)
Post #: 56
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 9:36:27 AM   
Apollo11


Posts: 22566
Joined: 6/7/2001
From: Zagreb, Croatia
Status: offline
Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

1. Hitler's goal was Lebensraum.
2. He knows he cannot afford a two front war so what does he do? He has limited time before any military advantage he has built up is overtaken by Britain, France and the USSR (let alone the USA).
3. He gambles on continuing to take territory while the west standby and do nothing. The first gamble that fails is Poland, but he is now committed.
4. Right so now what does he do? His goal is the USSR but he is at war with the west.
5. He (amazingly) takes out the French in a few weeks but those pesky British won't surrender.
6. He now faces two clear choices: Attack the USSR or finish off Britain and then attack the USSR.
7. Problem: Sealion is a pipedream, it cannot work. Alternative is to attack Britain through the Med and Middle East, while undertaking the u-boat war. The Med/Middle East strategy is also frought with problems (not least was Hitler's aversion to naval warfare) and it will take time to achieve, even if ultimately possible. Hitler, as said does not have that time.
8. First alternative is better in his view; he can defeat the USSR in one campaigning season and then, at leisure, return to finish off Britain - if indeed they have not quit following the exit of the USSR.


Most excellent sum-up by Robert - I completely agree!

I would only add that Hitler was 100% "land animal" and that he couldn't grasp the idea of other war winning strategy than land warfare - he was completely in unknown with sea warfare and air warfare...

Thus the Mediterranean / Middle East strategy was something "strange" to him and something that will not bring him quick victory - he was running out of time and Lebensraum was in the East!


Leo "Apollo11"




_____________________________



Prior Preparation & Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

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P: UV, WitP, WitP-AE

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 57
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 3:27:41 PM   
turtlefang

 

Posts: 333
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Vincent P. O'Hara's book, the Struggle for the Middle Sea was an interesting study of the naval campaigns of the British, Italian, German, American, French and other nations in the Mediterranean. It goes into great detail on the fuel problems suffered by the Italian Navy in WW2 and clearly demostrates why the Atlantic sortie is wishful thinking.

A few points:

- The July 19th operation used HALF the fuel avaliable to the Italian Navy. They were never able to mount another operation of this this size in the war until they tried a one way run to surrender in 43. And then, that represents nearly 100% of the fuel that the Italian Navy had available for its entire operation.

- The 28 subs operating in the Atlantic were fueled by German UBoat resources. The German High Command complaint bitterly about these boats as they felt these were grossly less effective than German U Boats.

- You could fuel the entire Italian Sub Fleet, MBT fleet and half the DD fleet for one months operation for the same fuel as it newest battleship for one sortie. Its why, if you review the Italian operations, you very rarely see a BB in operation. It just couldn't be fueled.

The other parts of this paper have the same glossed over issues on details. Even assuming that the German Air Force could win control of the sky, it ignores the fact that:

- The German air force was ineffective against surface ships in 1940. The German torpedo simply didn't function correctly and this flaw wasn't discovered until 1941 - when the Germans actually recieved Italian naval torpedeo and then started copying them. The German anti-ship bombs had ineffective caps on them until 1943. So the Air Force wasn't going to be effective in defending the invasion force.

- The barges simply weren't seaworthy. The freeboard was less than three feet. A British DD could literally swamp multiple barges by a high speed run near them without firing a shot. Literally, a dozen DDs could have wiped out the invasion fleet. And given the lenght of time it would have taken to tow the fleet (best guess, 12 hrs more likely 24 hrs), its not like your going to surprise anyone. And the British had nearly 75 DDs on hand and were prepared to use this against the invasion fleet.

- Seizing the French naval assets. While stated as a possiblity, this appears highly undoable. The British would have intervened, the assets were in North Africa, fuel was low to non-existent, and the heavy units engines were non-functional at this time.

- As far as Spain/Gibratar goes, there is no indication that Franco ever seriously consider allowing this to happen and just played the Germans - stalling for time.


(in reply to Apollo11)
Post #: 58
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/4/2012 4:06:35 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 17086
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang


If you review the Italian operations, you very rarely see a BB in operation. It just couldn't be fueled.

warspite1

Not quite true. The problem was that in 1940 and 1941 the RM used the battleships (some or all) too much, wasting precious fuel on convoy operations and/or offensive sweeps to combat the RN, offensive operations that proved largely ineffective*:

Calabria
Operation HATS
Spartivento
The Bombrdment of Genoa
Matapan
Mincemeat
Halberd
M42
M43
Second Battle of Sirte

* Mix of battle, RN operations and RN and RM convoy names as opposed to RM operation names.

_____________________________

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(in reply to turtlefang)
Post #: 59
RE: OT: A burning question.. - 11/9/2012 11:10:38 AM   
Apollo11


Posts: 22566
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From: Zagreb, Croatia
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Hi all,

Almost all serious historians agree that invasion of England in 1940 (i.e. "Sea Lion") was impossible even with Luftwaffe winning the air supremacy over RAF.

The Germans simply didn't have capacity to safely transport their troops across the channel (and believe it or not that would be the easier part) nor the capacity to supply them when they land (that was the most difficult part)!


After WWII there were even war games organized in UK with high profile German and UK commanders - it showed that Sea Lion was just a "pipe dream"...


BTW, we discussed it here before:


"OT: Operation Sealion"

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


quote:

ORIGINAL: Apollo11

Hi all,

War is won by logistics!

Germans could have trid the Sealion invasion and they might have succesfull landing in England - but they would be doomed there because the landed troops would eventually run out of ammo, fuel and supplies...

The Germans never had Mullbery harbours - they simply had to rely on capturing some ports in England - and to think that such port would be able to be defended agianst everything British would have thrown against it is impossible dearm for Germans!

BTW, there is one nice war game conducted in the, I think 1970's...

quote:


Operation Sealion - summary of an exercise held at the Staff College, Sandhurst in 1974.





The full text is in 'Sealion' by Richard Cox. The scenario
is based on the known plans of each side, plus previously
unpublished Admiralty weather records for September 1940.
Each side (played by British and German officers respectively)
was based in a command room, and the actual moves plotted
on a scale model of SE England constructed at the School
of Infantry. The panel of umpires included Adolf Galland,
Admiral Friedrich Ruge, Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher
Foxley-Norris, Rear Admiral Edward Gueritz, General Heinz
Trettner and Major General Glyn Gilbert.

The main problem the Germans face is that are a) the
Luftwaffe has not yet won air supremacy; b) the possible
invasion dates are constrained by the weather and tides
(for a high water attack) and c) it has taken until
late September to assemble the necessary shipping.

Glossary
FJ = Fallschirmjaeger (German paratroops)
MTB = Motor Torpedo Boat (German equivalent, E-Boat)
DD = Destroyer
CA = Heavy Cruiser
BB = Battleship
CV = Aircraft Carrier

22nd September - morning
The first wave of a planned 330,000 men hit the beaches
at dawn. Elements of 9 divisions landed between
Folkestone and Rottingdean (near Brighton).
In addition 7th FJ Div landed at Lympne to take the airfield.

The invasion fleet suffered minor losses from MTBs during
the night crossing, but the RN had already lost one
CA and three DDs sunk, with one CA and two DDs damaged,
whilst sinking three German DDs. Within hours of the landings
which overwhelmed the beach defenders, reserve formations
were despatched to Kent. Although there were 25 divisions
in the UK, only 17 were fully equipped, and only three
were based in Kent, however the defence plan relied on
the use of mobile reserves and armoured and mechanised
brigades were committed as soon as the main landings were
identified.

Meanwhile the air battle raged, the Luftwaffe flew 1200
fighter and 800 bomber sorties before 1200 hrs. The RAF
even threw in training planes hastily armed with bombs,
but the Luftwaffe were already having problems with their
short ranged Me 109s despite cramming as many as possible
into the Pas de Calais.

22nd - 23rd September
The Germans had still not captured a major port, although
they started driving for Folkestone. Shipping unloading
on the beaches suffered heavy losses from RAF bombing
raids and then further losses at their ports in France.

The U-Boats, Luftwaffe and few surface ships had lost
contact with the RN, but then a cruiser squadron with
supporting DDs entered the Channel narrows and had to
run the gauntlet of long range coastal guns, E-Boats
and 50 Stukas. Two CAs were sunk and one damaged. However
a diversionary German naval sortie from Norway was
completely destroyed and other sorties by MTBS and DDs
inflicted losses on the shipping milling about in the
Channel. German shipping losses on the first day
amounted to over 25% of their invasion fleet, especially
the barges, which proved desperately unseaworthy.

23rd Sept dawn - 1400 hrs.
The RAF had lost 237 planes out 1048 (167 fighters and
70 bombers), and the navy had suffered enough losses such
that it was keeping its BBs and CVs back, but large
forces of DDs and CAs were massing. Air recon showed a
German buildup in Cherbourg and forces were diverted to
the South West.

The German Navy were despondant about their losses,
especially as the loss of barges was seriously
dislocating domestic industry. The Army and Airforce
commanders were jubilant however, and preperations for
the transfer of the next echelon continued along with
the air transport of 22nd Div, despite Luftwaffe losses
of 165 fighters and 168 bombers. Out of only 732 fighters
and 724 bombers these were heavy losses. Both sides
overestimated losses inflicted by 50%.

The 22nd Div airlanded successfully at Lympne, although
long range artillery fire directed by a stay-behind
commando group interdicted the runways. The first British
counterattacks by 42nd Div supported by an armoured
brigade halted the German 34th Div in its drive on Hastings.
7th Panzer Div was having difficulty with extensive
anti-tank obstacles and assault teams armed with sticky
bombs etc. Meanwhile an Australian Div had retaken
Newhaven (the only German port), however the New Zealand
Div arrived at Folkestone only to be attacked in the
rear by 22nd Airlanding Div. The division fell back on
Dover having lost 35% casualties.

Sep 23rd 1400 - 1900 hrs
Throughout the day the Luftwaffe put up a maximum effort,
with 1500 fighter and 460 bomber sorties, but the RAF
persisted in attacks on shipping and airfields. Much of
this effort was directed for ground support and air
resupply, despite Adm Raeders request for more aircover
over the Channel. The Home Fleet had pulled out of air
range however, leaving the fight in the hands of 57 DDs
and 17 CAs plus MTBs. The Germans could put very little
surface strength against this. Waves of DDs and CAs
entered the Channel, and although two were sunk by U-Boats,
they sank one U-Boat in return and did not stop. The German
flotilla at Le Havre put to sea (3 DD, 14 E-Boats) and at
dusk intercepted the British, but were wiped out, losing
all their DDs and 7 E-Boats.

The Germans now had 10 divisions ashore, but in many
cases these were incomplete and waiting for their
second echelon to arrive that night. The weather
was unsuitable for the barges however, and the decision
to sail was referred up the chain of command.

23rd Sep 1900 - Sep 24th dawn
The Fuhrer Conference held at 1800 broke out into bitter
inter-service rivalry - the Army wanted their second
echelon sent, and the navy protesting that the
weather was unsuitable, and the latest naval defeat
rendered the Channel indefensible without air support.
Goring countered this by saying it could only be done
by stopped the terror bombing of London, which in turn
Hitler vetoed. The fleet was ordered to stand by.

The RAF meanwhile had lost 97 more fighters leaving only
440. The airfields of 11 Group were cratered ruins, and
once more the threat of collapse, which had receded in
early September, was looming. The Luftwaffe had lost
another 71 fighters and 142 bombers. Again both sides
overestimated losses inflicted, even after allowing for
inflated figures.

On the ground the Germans made good progress towards Dover
and towards Canterbury, however they suffered reverses
around Newhaven when the 45th Div and Australians
attacked. At 2150 Hitler decided to launch the second wave,
but only the short crossing from Calais and Dunkirk. By
the time the order reached the ports, the second wave
could not possibly arrive before dawn. The 6th and 8th
divisions at Newhaven, supplied from Le Havre, would not
be reinforced at all.

Sep 24th dawn - Sep 28th
The German fleet set sail, the weather calmed, and U-Boats,
E-Boats and fighters covered them. However at daylight 5th
destroyer flotilla found the barges still 10 miles off
the coast and tore them to shreds. The Luftwaffe in turn
committed all its remaining bombers, and the RAF responded
with 19 squadrons of fighters. The Germans disabled two
CAs and four DDs, but 65% of the barges were sunk. The
faster steamers broke away and headed for Folkestone,
but the port had been so badly damaged that they could
only unload two at a time.

The failure on the crossing meant that the German
situation became desperate. The divisions had sufficient
ammunition for 2 to 7 days more fighting, but without
extra men and equipment could not extend the bridgehead.
Hitler ordered the deployment on reserve units to Poland
and the Germans began preparations for an evacuation as
further British arracks hemmed them in tighter. Fast
steamers and car ferries were assembled for evacuation
via Rye and Folkestone. Of 90,000 troops who landed
on 22nd september, only 15,400 returned to France, the rest
were killed or captured.




Leo "Apollo11"

_____________________________



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