Op SEELOWE

The story mentions that some of the extemporized landing craft were used in the Norwegian fjords.
Well, yes, but The logistics for Norway were very different. I was under the impression that German troops were landed direct from transports or destroyers. It does not follow that The constructed stuff was ever meant for Loewe. There may or may not have been a plan to invade as early as Nov 39, but as ever there may have been a general contingency on a what if basis. If these were in the Baltic, they would have had to be moved.
 
I think I've mentioned this before, but I suspect that the RN destroyers would have been given free rein in the channel against the German landing barges, the RN cruisers would sit back in support to handle any German destroyers who made an appearance, and the RN battleships would sit further back to handle any of the rest of the German navy who showed up.

This sort of distribution of forces was how the RN handled a raid on the German navy during WWI (I can't remember the name of the battle). Every time the Germans sent bigger ships to counter the RN, they ran into still bigger ones opposing them.

Peter Fleming's book on Operation Sea Lion (an excellent read) mentions that British analysts thought that in the worst case scenario the Germans might get something on the order of 100,000 troops ashore before the RN could react. This is worst case assuming that everything goes in their favour. Under anything other than the most favourable circumstances the German invasion force would have been fish food.

Assuming they got ashore however, they would be cut off in the UK with no hope of reinforcement or resupply and could expect only defeat. A number of senior British officers were hoping that the Germans would make a try, as it would have been a serious defeat for the Germans and set them back by quite a bit.
Can you imagine the carnage if our Coastal Forces and Destroyer’s had got amongst the invasion fleet? I dread to think how many Germans would have been lost.
 
Well, yes, but The logistics for Norway were very different. I was under the impression that German troops were landed direct from transports or destroyers. It does not follow that The constructed stuff was ever meant for Loewe. There may or may not have been a plan to invade as early as Nov 39, but as ever there may have been a general contingency on a what if basis. If these were in the Baltic, they would have had to be moved.

I assume @terminal means the occupation rather than the invasion of Norway.
 
Can you imagine the carnage if our Coastal Forces and Destroyer’s had got amongst the invasion fleet? I dread to think how many Germans would have been lost.
But think of the Dive sites we'd have today in the channel. The only shame would have been the number of poor dumb old orses drowned, still, their Brass bridle gear would make excellent dive prizes.
 

LD17

MIA
As I think I may have observed on a similar thread before, Admiral Forbes was of the view that he'd not need to bother the battleship crews to come and deal with the irritation of the invasion force turning up and would handle it all with destroyers and frigates. Which would be showing off a tad, but entirely within the RN's capability at the time...
Read the same, the Capital Ships would stand-to in the North Sea. The Light Cruisers and Destroyers would head into the Channel, after any German escorts where dealt with the plan, from what I read, was basically “engage the enemy more closely”. IMHO the carnage would have been so complete it may have ranked up there with The Armada and Trafalgar.
 
Read the same, the Capital Ships would stand-to in the North Sea. The Light Cruisers and Destroyers would head into the Channel, after any German escorts where dealt with the plan, from what I read, was basically “engage the enemy more closely”. IMHO the carnage would have been so complete it may have ranked up there with The Armada and Trafalgar.

You're forgetting something... The RN would be continuously reinforced as well. IIRC we had something like 500 Destroyers in the RN at that time. Only 1/5th were in home waters. Even that fraction was 10X more than the Germans could manage. The RN had a codeword: Blackbird. It meant Invasion Channel, all ships drop what you're doing and make best possible speed to the Channel. In reality it wouldn't have been needed.
 
You're forgetting something... The RN would be continuously reinforced as well. IIRC we had something like 500 Destroyers in the RN at that time. Only 1/5th were in home waters. Even that fraction was 10X more than the Germans could manage. The RN had a codeword: Blackbird. It meant Invasion Channel, all ships drop what you're doing and make best possible speed to the Channel. In reality it wouldn't have been needed.
Didn’t help Jerry much, seeing he’d lost half his Destroyer fleet in the invasion of Norway.
 
Didn’t help Jerry much, seeing he’d lost half his Destroyer fleet in the invasion of Norway.
IIRC (and @jrwlynch will correct me) the entire serviceable German surface navy in Summer 1940 was one light cruiser and six destroyers. The rest was either in shipyards buffing out some minor scratches to the paintwork patching GBFO holes, available to view from the apocryphal glass-bottomed Fjord tourist boat, or still being built.

Five to one? Hmmmm....
 
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jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I’m not sure about those, a few puzzling features. Did Antwerp have sea ice in nov 39. Baltic perhaps? The range finders may have been naval spares but the Flak artillery did have them as well. One picture of the apparent Flottilla does have the look of Allied landing craft, when we are told a fair few were Rhine Barges unsuitable for North sea operations. I’m wondering if some pics were the result of the Norway ops.

The Germans tried to improvise.

The Engineer Battalion 47 of VII Army Corps was designated as having responsibility for the "construction of seaworthy ferries out of auxiliary equipment, local supply and bridging equipment". What was unusual in this was that this task, requiring a good knowledge of matters maritime, was tasked to this particular battalion - based in, and recruited from, Bavaria.​
The engineers were nothing if not enthusiastic. They built rafts from pontoons, and were undismayed when half of these rafts sank while in harbour. Attempts to provide these rafts with power failed, because they broke up under the strain. Nonetheless, the Wehrmacht announced that these rafts would be towed behind the barges being towed by the tugs, and that the horses would be transported across the Channel on these rafts, saving the difficulties of loading the horses into the barges. One wonders what the horses would have made of this concept.​
The engineers turned their attention to pontoons used for crossing rivers. Even the most optimistic observer had to regard this as a failure. The open pontoons filled with water and sank. The iron beams holding the pontoons together snapped in waves, and the exercise was discontinued.​
One single main exercise was carried out, just off Boulogne. Fifty vessels were used, and to enable the observers to actually observe, the exercise was carried out in broad daylight. (The real thing was due to take place at night/dawn, remember).​
The vessels marshalled about a mile out to sea, and cruised parallel to the coast. The armada turned towards the coast (one barge capsizing, and another losing its tow) and approached and landed. The barges opened, and soldiers swarmed ashore.​
However, it was noted that the masters of the boats let the intervals between the vessels become wider and wider, because they were scared of collisions. Half the barges failed to get their troops ashore within an hour of the first troops, and over 10% failed to reach the shore at all. The troops in the barges managed to impede the sailors in a remarkable manner - in one case, a barge overturned because the troops rushed to one side when another barge "came too close". Several barges grounded broadside on, preventing the ramp from being lowered.​
In this exercise, carried out in good visibility, with no enemy, in good weather, after travelling only a short distance, with no navigation hazards or beach defences, less than half the troops were got ashore where they could have done what they were supposed to do.​
The exercise was officially judged to have been a "great success".​
 
IIRC (and @jrwlynch will correct me) the entire serviceable German surface navy in August 1940 was one light cruiser and six destroyers. The rest was either in shipyards buffing out some minor scratches to the paintwork patching GBFO holes, available to view from the apocryphal glass-bottomed Fjord tourist boat, or still being built.

Five to one? Hmmmm....
And of course there’s the Blücher also sitting on the bottom of the Oslo Fiord!
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
IIRC (and @jrwlynch will correct me) the entire serviceable German surface navy in August 1940 was one light cruiser and six destroyers. The rest was either in shipyards buffing out some minor scratches to the paintwork patching GBFO holes, available to view from the apocryphal glass-bottomed Fjord tourist boat, or still being built.

Five to one? Hmmmm....

Be fair, there were a few "torpedo boats" (sloop/frigate type vessels) and minesweepers available, only outnumbered ten or twenty to one - nothing a really rousing chorus of Wir fahren gegen Engelland and ironing extra-sharp creases into the Hugo Boss couldn't overcome.

And they did have thirty U-boats at that point - shame the torpedoes were struggling with fuzing and depth-keeping issues. (The RN had around seventy submarines in the Fleet at that point, which were prowling around off the enemy's coast hoping for something to come out... some losses, like a friend's father aboard HMS Seahorse when she was lost with all hands off Heligoland, but several successes that put major Kriegsmarine units into port for lengthy repairs)

At the point where the British Home Fleet has more battleships on hand than your invasion force has destroyers available... you're not going to be achieving much sea control in the Channel.
 

Chef

LE
Be fair, there were a few "torpedo boats" (sloop/frigate type vessels) and minesweepers available, only outnumbered ten or twenty to one - nothing a really rousing chorus of Wir fahren gegen Engelland and ironing extra-sharp creases into the Hugo Boss couldn't overcome.

And they did have thirty U-boats at that point - shame the torpedoes were struggling with fuzing and depth-keeping issues. (The RN had around seventy submarines in the Fleet at that point, which were prowling around off the enemy's coast hoping for something to come out... some losses, like a friend's father aboard HMS Seahorse when she was lost with all hands off Heligoland, but several successes that put major Kriegsmarine units into port for lengthy repairs)

At the point where the British Home Fleet has more battleships on hand than your invasion force has destroyers available... you're not going to be achieving much sea control in the Channel.
I would imagine that the English Channel at its narrowest point wouldn't be the safest place for a U-Boat. Shallow, constricted and prone to tidal currents twice a day.

Fish in a barrel springs to mind.
 
Thinking about it - entirely non-seriously - I’m slightly surprised that someone like Anthony Cumming or Sharkey Ward hasn’t started complaining that thanks to the RAF winning the Battle of Britain, the RN didn’t get the chance to smash the invasion fleet, which in turn enabled Hitler to continue with his plans (rather than have to abandon them because much of his army was drowned) and they thus extended the war for 4 and a bit more years and thus the RAF was responsible for [insert own preferred awful event(s) of 1941-45…
 
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