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Answered 2017-09-16 04:53:17

first answer:

Perhaps one of the greatest enigmas of World War Two was why Hitler did not invade Britain after he had conquered the rest of Westeren Europe. The answer is centered upon Adolf Hitler himself, for he had personally controlled the deployment of his military all through the conflict. He was a brilliant tactician, exploiting the weaknesses of his adversaries while using the strengths of his own forces to their greatest good. But he had no understanding of how to launch an amphipious assault against an island nation, in spite of the fact that the island nation had practically no weapons to defend itself with, having left them all on the beach at Dunkirk when the British Army was routed out of France.

Hitler kept stalling, hiding from his generals that he was incapable of formulating a plan which involved crossing a body of water. He turned down several excellent plans put forward by various of his generals, and finally decided that Hermann Goering could make good on his claims that the Luftewaffe could destroy Britain from the air. Had it not been for the secret development of primitive radar in Britain, which allowed the Royal Air Force nearly 20 minutes warning every time the Luftewaffe launched an attack, Britain probably would have fallen due to the heavy aerial bombardment.

second answer:

In response to the above answer, Britain had an overwealming superiority at sea.

Unless Germany could maintain ariel superiority over the English channel during an Seaborne landing and afterwards they could not hope to lauch an invasion of Britain.

The British knew this and had formulated a plan for the defence of Britain that went back to the reformation of the RAF after World War I.

When Hitler began to rearm Germany, the Germans had a technological advantage, especially in aircraft, but the British policy had been to build airfields first and aircraft later. Britian trained many pilots on short term commisions and then returned them to civilian life, only keeping enough of the best pilots to command the flights, Squadrons and Wings when war broke out and then recalling all the trained pilots into active service.

When the war started the British Hurricanes and Spitfires had been designed 2-3 years after the German Me109's, although this did not make them vastly superior it meant that the British could at least compete on an equal footing.

The "phoney war" gave Britain the breathing space to complete the production of the aircraft that they had planned to build once they had their designs put into production. So when the Battle of Britain started the RAF was at the full stregnth of a plan that was devised in 1933 when Hilter first came to power.

The Battle of Britain became a war of attrition, just like the trenches of World War I. Quite simply the side who had the most aircraft left would control the skies.

At the start of the Battle of Britain had around 600 frontline fighters, and by September they were managing to produce enough replacement fighters to maintain that number, so effectively the Germans were not able to reduce their strength.

The advantage was always with the British, because when enemy aircraft were shot down over England the crew became prisoners of war if they survived, but the British pilots could be back in the air the next day.

Even so, it was a shortage of pilots rather than aircraft that became critical for the RAF. You can build Spitfires faster than you can train men to fly them.

However Britain gained a vital boost of pilots from Poland, Czechslovakia and the Commonwealth. More foreign pilots flew with the RAF (595) than the total number of fighter pilots that were kiiled (544) This meant that only pilots who were shot down and too injured to return to duty had to be replaced by new recruits.

Without these East Europeans, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans and Australians the RAF would not have been able to maintain the same operational strength.

One of the Polish Squadrons shot down the most German planes and the Polish pilots showed the British that closing to point blank range was the most effective tactic to employ.

German fighters had a limited flying time over England before fuel shortages forced them to return to base and RADAR allowed the British fighters to conserve fuel in searching for their enemy.

On the German side, pilots had a tendancy to eggagerate their kills and their leadership was willing to accept their claims. So the Germans had a false idea of the numbers of aircraft remaining. When it became clear that the RAF were not anywhere close to being destroyed the Germans had to change tactics, as the advancing autumn weather meant the window for a sea invaision was closing fast.

At the critical stage of the Battle Hitler ordered that London should be bombed instead of the RAF airfields and this was long considered to be a great error.

However his blitzkreig tactics always involved terrorizing the civilian population prior to his panzer attacks. He beleved the RAF were finished, the invasion barges were sitting in the channel ports, so the attacks on London were timed to come just before the invasion tides.

When the RAF showed they were still able to inflict heavy damage against the bombers, Hitler knew he had run out of time. There would not be another tide on which he could launch his invasion before winter set in and he could not risk allowing the Royal Navy to cut off his supply route across the Channel.

third answer:

I agree with answer #2, and want to explain why Hitler made the decisions he did. After the defeat of France, formalized with the June 22, 1940 Armistice, Hitler gave instructions to his General Staff to begin planning the invasion of the Soviet Union for Autumn 1940. Earlier in October 1939, after the defeat of Poland, Hitler had briefed his top Generals that they would launch an attack east after defeating France. Hitler believed that he had created the necessary victory in the west that freed him to now strike east (so there would be no 2-front land war). In fact, most of the Luftwaffe & the Army redeployed back to Germany after victory over France, Belgium & Netherlands.

However, the German Army was very concerned that the necessary preparations for the attack would not be completed until the winter of 1940. The Army leaders convinced Hitler that he should delay the attack. On or about 27 July 1940, Hitler postponed the invasion of the Soviet Union into spring-summer 1941. 29 July 1940: General Alfred Jodl, Chef des Wehrmachtsführungsstabes (Chief of Operation Staff of the Armed Forces High Command), announced to his staff at the Armed Forces High Command, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), that Hitler now intended to attack the Soviet Union in the Spring of 1941.

Hitler is now willing to consider an invasion of Britain, as long as it does not interfere with plans for the invasion of Russia. Hitler authorized the invasion planning and the necessary pre-invasion operations against Britain. The potential cross-channel invasion is code named Operation 'Seelowe' (Sealion). However, this is a contingency plan and it is not clear if Hitler ever intended to order the invasion. An immediate invasion of Britain following the defeat of France was not part of Hitler's original plans, and therefore results in a substantial lull in German activities after the Battle of France. The explanation for this pause in German operations from June 22nd to until August 12th was not known until several decades after the war ended and German documents were examined by historians.

Hitler was very leery of an invasion that he considered more risky than any of his previous campaigns, or the future invasion of Russia. He recognized that success was totally dependent on the weather, the Luftwaffe and most especially the Kriegsmarine.He did not want a military failure to interrupt his string of impressive peacetime & wartime victories (Rhineland-1936 through France-1940). Hitler had a much better appreciation for the military & economic risks than his army generals. The Army Generals naively considered the invasion effort to be almost like a river-crossing operation (as evidenced by their written documents-seen after the war).

Luftwaffe Commander, Hermann Goring, boasted that his forces alone could defeat the British, and it was clear that Hitler would give him the opportunity to prove it. It was most likely that Hitler doubted that an invasion could be possible, even if the Luftwaffe gained air control over Britain. Hitler permitted the Luftwaffe attempt in hopes that it would convince the British to quit the war. The eventual failure of the Luftwaffe did not overly concern Hitler to the same extent that occurred later in the Stalingrad winter siege. This is a clear illustration of Hitler's realistic lower expectations for success against the British.

During the pause in operations, specifically from 10 July-11 August 1940 the Luftwaffe carried out routine attacks on convoys in the English Channel known to the Germans as the Kanalkampfor Channel battles. These attacks favored the Germans and forced the British to stop sending the convoys in daylight. To the British, this appeared to be the start of the Air Battle of Britain. However the Germans consider August 12th as the start because that is when the deliberate planned attacks began following the recall of the Luftwaffe fighters & bombers back to France, Belgium, Netherlands, & Norway.

I think events & actual circumstances prove that Hitler's assessment of the great risks of invasion to be correct. If you doubt this, then consider what massive preparations & planning were required for the 1944 Allied invasion at Normandy (crossing the Channel in the other direction).

Here are some things to consider about the potential German invasion:

The German Navy was strongly opposed to an invasion in 1940, and recommended postponement until May 1941. The primary reasons for the German Navy's opposition to an invasion in 1940:

v British naval superiority.

v Current weakness of the German Navy, primarily in surface ships.

v German merchant ships to carry troops, equipment & supplies were all of the port-to-port type. There was virtually no capability to unload motorized forces at any other location that the British port's docks. This was something that the British could easily defend against. If the British destroyed the port's facilities (docks, cranes, etc.) then the Germans would have to repair, build or bring their own equipment just to unload equipment & supplies in Britain.

v Insufficient numbers of ocean-going ships & barges to transport the troops, equipment, ammunition & supplies across the English Channel. As a poor substitute, the Kriegsmarine would have to borrow & re-purpose river barges. These river barges were essential & already committed to the internal transportation of raw materials & goods in Germany proper and were vital for Germany's economy & overall war-effort. These slow-moving river barges sit very low in the water and are relatively deep-draft vessels with very poor maneuverability. They require cranes for loading & unloading, and are best suited for use at ports not beaches. Any losses of these river barges in a cross-channel invasion would have severely hurt German internal logistics.

v The sea-going ships & barges would have to land the initial assault troops in the first three days, return to the continent daily to pick-up reinforcements & supplies and maintain this effort continuously for the duration of the campaign which was expected to last several weeks. Even if the German troops succeeded in landing in England intact, the entire force could be destroyed if there were not adequate supplies brought across the channel every day. The British Royal Navy could easily appear in the Channel at any-time day or night after the landings started, and sink or damage large numbers of German supply vessels. It would not be necessary for the Royal Navy to remain in the Channel. The damage would be done and it would be irreversible.

v An invasion by sea required a long-period of perfect weather in the Channel (calm seas & good visibility), which is a virtual impossibility. A further serious problem: On the day the invasion is launched no one could predict the weather & sea conditions beyond a week. There would be no way to predict the weather or sea conditions for the duration of the invasion, nor any means to compensate for adverse conditions.

v This sea invasion required the Luftwaffe to prevent both the British RAF and the Royal Navy from interfering. The Kriegsmarine did not believe that the Luftwaffe was capable of defending the invasion fleet, the embarkation ports, and the landing zones.

Even if successful, it would almost certainly lead to huge losses of German surface combat ships, possibly all of them.
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