Invasion!: Operation Sea Lion, 1940 Hardcover – 9 Sep 2004
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"He surmises what the outcome would have been if Hitler's plans had been put into operation. The results are thought-provoking and chilling, leaving the reader thankful that Hitler's troops never set foot on this green and pleasant land"
- Leicester Mercury
From the Back Cover
It's the summer of 1940 and the Nazis have crossed the English Channel to invade Britain. They advance North from the South coast and great swathes of Southern England come under German control.
Fiction, of course, but an invasion of Britain was planned by Hitler to take place in the summer of 1940 - how far would the Germans have been able to advance? Would they have been successful?
The Battle of Britain was launched in July 1940, first against fighter airfields, and later, from 1 September against London. On 16 July Hitler issued Fuhrer Directive No. 16 for preparations for a landing operation against England. Operation Sealion (as the landing in England was called) was then postponed on 17 September and cancelled on 12 October. This book explores the alternative - that Sealion began as planned on 21 September.
Invasion: Operation Sealion follows the historical course of events up to 1 September, including the planning in Britain and Germany, and the aerial war. The British strategy for defending England is that actually adopted by General Alan Brooke when appointed to Southern Command on 26 June.
In the second part of the book, Martin Marx Evans provides a fictional account of the invasion. The fictional account is based on detailed study of German geological and geographical analysis of the English terrain and the maps and handbook sthat were published to convey this data to their commanders in the field. It is also founded on the Defence of Britain Project - a massive survey of 20th century installations such as pill-boxes, gun emplacements, air-raid shelters and anti-tank ditches, whilst the behaviour of German troops is firmly based on actual events in Europe earlier in 1940.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
So the most likely scenario is in fact that in the night before the landing - when the Luftwaffe would have been powerless to intervene - half the invasion fleet would have been sent to the bottom and the other half scattered all over the Channel.
Apart from that, it is somewhat perplexing that the author bases his British defences on German maps and intelligence reports, instead of taking the trouble of finding out what was actually waiting for the Germans. As a result, the defenders seem strangely absent for the most part.
For instance, the landing at Rottingdean is described as "a relatively mild and uneventful affair" and "the defences were trivial, consisting of Home Guard road blocks and lacking sophisticated pillboxes".
I beg to differ. The coastal area around Brighton was held by "Brocforce", later to become the 26th Armoured Brigade in the 6th Armoured Division. The Rottingdean sector was held by the 5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, a machine gun battalion, well supported by mortars and artillery. Right behind that, there were three cavalry regiments (16/5 Lancers, 17/21 Lancers, 2 Lothian & Border Horse) as a mobile reserve, at that time still mostly equipped with Beaverettes and carriers, but also with about a dozen brand new Valentine tanks.Read more ›
It helps to dissprove many common misconceptions regarding Briatins sole relianceon on the RAF for defence. It addresses the Navy's role, natural and man-made defences using the landscape, as well as the remaining British and Commonwealth forces that were still in Britain at the time and possed a threat to the German invaders.
Good use of photographs in the book and extensive research has been undertaken to back up all the authors findings.
I will deal with each separately. Part one gives a fascinating account of preparation for Sealion on both sides of the channel. I did however sometimes wish the author had put some of the reproduced documents and proposed orders of battle in appendices rather than in the body of the text. In places, failure to do this has led to some very dry sections of the book.
Part two of the book gives a very interesting (fictional) account of what would have happened if the Sea lion had gone ahead. It starts very promisingly and gives a very clever account of landings. Whilst I agree with the author's conclusions about the ultimate outcome of such an undertaking, parts of his narrative seem a little unconvincing. In particular, several times the scenario relies on german troops becoming demoralised, not pressing home attacks and being beaten in the field a little too easily to be entirely plausible. This runs counter to many reports of the actual behaviour of elite german units and of the morale of german units fresh from their victory in France. The book also seems to downplay the role of the Royal Navy in disrupting the resupply of any invasion force.
It would have been nice to have expanded this section of the book to include a discussion of the political situation in Britain during landings. A greater exploration of the Battle of England as the author calls it would have been appreciated. I also feel the the author has missed a trick in that there is no discussion of how a failed invasion would have impacted on the course of the war.
In conclusion, part one is an interesting read whilst part two ultimately left me a wanting more detail.
Definately worth buying & I'm glad I did.