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15th September 1940

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15th September 1940

Old 15th Sep 2014, 07:48
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15th September 1940

We will remember them ...

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Old 15th Sep 2014, 07:51
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Well posted, Coff.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 07:58
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The turning point in WW2, not only for the UK but arguably for the Nazis and hence Europe. Of all the gross errors made by Hitler, was failing to destroy Fighter Command in 1940 his greatest?
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 07:58
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No, attacking Russia was.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:06
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Of all the gross errors made by Hitler, was failing to destroy Fighter Command in 1940 his greatest?
Interesting point. One could argue his biggest mistake was letting the BEF escape across the Channel and not begining the B.o.B sooner. Then there is the delay in opening Barbarossa
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:06
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Hitler was always going to attack Russia, but if he had first taken the UK out of the war and delayed Barbarossa until spring 1942 might he not then have succeeded?
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:13
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Operation Sea Lion was never going to happen in 1940 and the Germans knew it. The Royal Navy would have utterly destroyed them if they tried it. The Luftwaffe had enough trouble at the time destroying stationary warships evacuating men from Dunkirk let alone at sea and fighting back. Absolutely no night capability against ships either.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:20
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Perhaps his biggest mistake was declaring war on the U.S. It was 4 days after Pearl Harbour and until then the U.S. was only at war with Japan!
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:24
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Sea Lion need not have happened, Halifax and the Peace clique might well have sufficed if we were defenceless against day and night aerial bombardment. Removing Churchill and his refusal to settle was what lay behind Rudolf Hess's desperate mission, was it not?
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:41
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One must also not forget Bomber Command during this period who lost over 700 aircrew in successfully causing the withdrawal of the German invasion fleets from the Channel ports during what is known as "The Battle of the Barges".
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:48
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Absolutely right, Wensleydale, and I'm sure that the next box on a competent Fuhrer's checklist would have been Bomber Command, having ticked the one marked Fighter Command.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:53
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Something I have never fully understood, was why Bomber/Fighter Command did not go on the offensive and attack on mass the German airfields in France. There were some attacks, but nothing of a major scale.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 08:57
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What if ?

Chugalug, (#6)

Very possibly. Equally, if he'd left us alone after Dunkirk, and turned his full force onto Russia in '40, his second blitzkreig might have been successful as the first and Moscow may have fallen (he got a long way in '41 as it was, before General Winter came to Stalin's aid.). Then he could have dealt with us at his leisure.

We were helpless, quite unable to take any offensive action (the 300,000 who got away from Dunkirk came back with the clothes they stood up in. Some managed to hold on to their rifles (but if you are a weak swimmer, a SMLE weighs about 7lb 8oz and can make all the difference). All our armour and heavy equipment had been left in France. The Navy had its backs to the wall in the Western Approaches (and shipping tonnage was being sunk far quicker than it could be replaced).

Our RAF was always planned as a defensive weapon only (and thank God it was good enough when the time came).

I suppose all Wars are an interlocking series of "What might have happend 'ifs' " . Your supposition is perfectly correct and feasable, but things turned out as they did (and now we can never know any more about the result of other possible courses of action).

We were lucky ! Cheers, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 15th Sep 2014 at 09:06. Reason: Addn
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:09
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Thanks for your wise words as ever, Danny. The what if's of WW2 have always intrigued me, none more so than why Rudolf Hess dropped in for tea (or intended to) to discuss the weather with the Duke of Hamilton and his chums.

There has been a tendency to downplay the importance of the victory of the BofB in recent years. I have always felt that it was vital to keeping the UK in the war and hence as a springboard for D-Day and the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi tyranny. I also suspect that it was vital in preventing an ultimate Nazi victory, but that needed a lot of help from the Reich Chancellery of course.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:13
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Attack in Mass

rolling20 (#12),

With Fairey "Battles" (and a few Blenheims) ?

Danny.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:26
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Bomber Command had tried to attack German forces in daylight during the Norway campaign and suffered very heavy losses resulting in the decision to only use bombers at night (the exception during the French campaign again showed the futility of attacking without numerical superiority). Therefore, when combined with navigation problems of finding targets at night, Bomber Command was restricted to attacks on the channel ports and communications centres (which they usually missed by miles). Mass attacks on German airfields was therefore not an option - especially since we did not have the masses at the time.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:53
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With Fairey "Battles" (and a few Blenheims) ?

Danny.
Obviously you know nothing about Bomber Command then! As of June 1940 there were some 467 bombers available. Aside of Battle and Blenheims, 3 Group had 8 Sqs of Wellingtons, 4 Group 6 Sqs of Whitleys and 5 Group 5 Sqs of Hampdens. Alas don't have the breakdowns of numbers available by type.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 10:03
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Have to disagree there Wensleydale. Bomber Command were attacking airfields in France in daylight, with negligible results, due to the fact they were using Blenheimís. One can imagine what kind of disruption would have been caused by a well timed attack at dawn, with medium bombers with fighter cover. To quote from an official source.'By 21 September some 214 barges had been sunk or damaged amounting to nearly 10% of the total number gathered for the invasion, although at a punishing cost. On several occasions attacking formations suffered 100% casualties, and between them, Bomber and Coastal Commands would lose nearly 1,000 aircrew.'
The barge campaign was one of great sacrifice, yet its impact was limited.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 10:07
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So in June 1940, with the prospect of a German invasion fleet crossing the Channel, Bomber Command would launch 467 bombers in daylight attacks on heavily defended German airfields using the same tactics that had completely destroyed the AASF during the previous month? Don't think so.


You will also find that the Germans were very short of invasion barges and so withdrew them from the Channel Ports to preserve their numbers. They would have to be brought forward again to launch Sealion which would have been the advance warning of invasion.


Also do not forget that the Luftwaffe tried to destroy the RAF's airfields with many more medium bombers than the RAF possessed at the time and failed. As was proved many times during the early war period, it was the threat of a bomber force that prevailed - not their actual use. (I do not include the tactical use of bomber aircraft within this as the Luftwaffe demonstrated during Blitzkreig).
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 10:12
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dat581 (#7)

Your:

"Operation Sea Lion was never going to happen in 1940 and the Germans knew it". Hitler didn't know it at the start - that came later !

"The Royal Navy would have utterly destroyed them if they tried it". Malaya ('41) showed what happens to even capital ships which put themselves in range of a land (or sea) enemy with air superiority.

"The Luftwaffe had enough trouble at the time destroying stationary warships evacuating men from Dunkirk let alone at sea and fighting back". Many believed that Hitler let them escape, reasoning that Britain would surrender soon anyway, and meanwhile he couldn't be bothered feeding and housing this lot.

"Absolutely no night capability against ships either". Taranto ?

Danny

Last edited by Danny42C; 15th Sep 2014 at 10:13. Reason: Addn
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