Sunday, 31 March 2013

Operation Sealion

Back in 1974 Paddy Griffith ran a wargame at Sandhurst about Operation Sealion. The whole thing was sponsored by the Daily Telegraph, and the German team included General Adolf Galland (Luftwaffe), Admiral Friedrich Ruge (Kriegsmarine) and General Heinrich Trettner (Wehrmacht). Some years ago John Curry followed Paddy's example and ran a second wargame about Operation Sealion, and I was asked to be the Naval Umpire.

As part of my brief I prepared a number of documents for both sides, and I re-discovered them today. As I thought that they might be of interest to other wargamers I have made them available as downloadable PDFs.



10 comments:

  1. I read these when I dipped my large toe in this what if period of the war.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Francis Lee,

    Operation Sealion would never have succeeded without the Luftwaffe having total control of the air over Southern England and the Royal Navy not being willing to risk any of its larger ships to attack the German invasion fleet ... neither of which would have happened.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  3. The German list is rubbish. Both Scharnhost and Gniesenau were unavailable due to damage sustained in the Norwegian campaign. The largest ship available to the Germans was the Admiral Hipper.

    The RN would have been happy to sacrifice half its strength to defeat Sealion. Air supremacy was never the issue; this is a post war myth fostered by the RAF.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wg Cdr Luddite,

    Thank you for your comment.

    My answer is contained in my latest blog entry.

    Robert Cordery

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very, very interesting indeed, thanks for posting this. I'd be very interested to know if the game was conducted and what the results were.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ian Hathaway,

    Not unexpectedly, the invasion failed. The Germans managed to get a foothold along the South Coast, but the appearance of the Royal Navy in the Channel cut them off and they were forced to surrender. The cost in losses to the Royal Navy were heavy but - in the circumstances - acceptable.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  7. The nearest I've heard to a successful Operation Sealion in a wargame was in a game of World in Flames, the board game that covers the whoel of World War Two. Germany prioritised its navy and didn't lose any ships in the Norwegian campaign.

    After defeating France, Germany faced the Royal Navy in the Channel with all its pocket battleship, the Scharnhost and the Gneisenau, the Tirpitz and the Bismark, plus the Graf Spree aircraft carrier and naval bombers. If they'd rolled a '6' they'd have won ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martin Porter,

      If the German Navy had been up to full strength they might have managed to take control of the English Channel for long enough to make the landing possible ... but it would have been difficult for them to maintain control for more than a few days.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  8. "The RN would have been happy to sacrifice half its strength to defeat Sealion" What nonsense, if they lost 40 destroyers they would have lost the battle of the Atlantic; also the Home fleet was a big bargaining chip in negotiations with the USA that was also needed to safeguard any evacuation should an evacuation to Canada etc be necessary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sitalkes,

      My contention that the Royal Navy would have been willing to sacrifice ships to prevent an invasion is based on my reading of documents in the National Archives, Kew, and the Imperial War Museum.

      If the invasion had taken place and been successful, (and I have great doubts that it would have been)there would have been no Battle of the Atlantic and the remains of the Home Fleet would have sailed to Canada ... to become an embarrassment to their new hosts and the US. Any evacuation would have been of the Royal Family, other notables, the gold reserves and national treasures, and whatever else the government would have though worth saving.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete