Operation Sealion

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
histan
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by histan » 19 Jan 2020 23:41

I think the same applies to the fighter force.

Osterkamp said he would need a Geschwader (3 Gruppen) to provide cover over the landing zone.

Galland states that the Bf-109 had an endurance of 80 minutes with a time on station over Southern England of 20 minutes.

Fighter cover would need to be provided from civil twilight in the morning to civil twilight in the evening - about 13 and a half hours. A duration of 810 minutes.

Taking Galland's figures, three Gruppen would take off every 20 minutes - about 121 Gruppe missions during the day. If each individual Gruppe could fly four missions per day then this plan would need about 30 Gruppen. If a Gruppe could fly five missions during the day then it would require about 24 Gruppen.

Supposing that Galland was talking about escort sorties and that the time on station could be extended to 30 minutes, then three Gruppen would take off every 30 minutes -81 Gruppen missions per day. Numbers of Gruppen need if each Gruppe flew four or five missions reduces to 20 and 16 Gruppen respectively.

How many Gruppen were there in Luftlotte 2 and Luftflotte 3?

With an 80 minute endurance, a pilot flying 4 sorties in a day would spend around five hours 20 minutes in the air in the air. One flying 5 sorties a day would spend six hours 40 minutes in the air. A Gruppe had an establishment of 39 aircraft and 39 pilots. By mid-September they were well down on these figures

For comparison purposes, on D-day RAF Spitfires provided two wings (72 aircraft) on task providing low cover for around 17 and a half hours. A Spitfire V or IX had an endurance of around two hours and a time on station of 50 minutes, which gives a total of 42 Wing missions. 12 Wings were allocated to provide this cover resulting in an average of 3.5 missions per Wing. Some Wings flew four missions in this role and some three. The ones that flew three flew a fourth mission escorting gliders in the evening.

Each Wing consisted of three squadrons and each squadron had around 18 aircraft on charge and around 24 pilots. Thus a Wing had 54 aircraft and 72 pilots and so could comfortably provide 36 aircraft and pilots per mission.

In addition, the RAF provided two Wings of Mustangs on ground alert should additional aircraft be required. In the evening, when it was clear that they would not be required, they also flew a mission escorting gliders.

This without considering the USAAF, who provided three Squadrons of Thundebolts for High cover over the landing area and three squadrons of Lightning for cover over the mid Channel area.

So it looks like it would take the entire fighter force to provide cover over the landing area.

But they also would have to escort the bombers on their missions and the Stukas on their missions and what about the transport force landing Fliegerdivision 7?

What would the priorities be - the Stukas and Bombers would be very vulnerable without escort, so my guess would be that cover for the landing force would suffer.

Regards

John

Richard Anderson
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Jan 2020 00:11

histan wrote:
19 Jan 2020 23:41
How many Gruppen were there in Luftlotte 2 and Luftflotte 3?
There were 25 Gruppen in Jafü 2 and 3.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

histan
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by histan » 21 Jan 2020 22:40

Hi Richard

Thanks for answering my question. I have now identified the 25 Gruppen and their strength as of 07.09.1940.

I forgot to thank you for your reply about the length of the landing front. I was actually just looking for the length of the beaches. I had forgotten that VIII Fighter Command was to patrol so far inland and over such a long arc. I was looking to do a comparison with what the RAF Spitfires were tasked with doing as areasonable comparison with what the 109s might be asked to do. The USAAF with their Thunderbolts, Mustangs, and Lightnings had a capability that the 1940s Luftwaffe could only dream about. :)

With regard the Luftwaffe plans, they seemed to change regularly. On 17.09.1940 Kesselring issued his intentions to his subordinates and to Naval Group Command West. A copy survives in the files of Naval Group West (NARA T-1022 R-2400). Here are some relevant bits:
0052.jpg
0053.jpg
0054.jpg
0055.jpg
0056.jpg
An English translation of this is given in Klee's study.

In the section above concerning VIII Fliegerkorps, I can't see any mention of anti-shipping operations.

Regards

John
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histan
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by histan » 21 Jan 2020 22:44

Just to post the next page.
0057.jpg
No details on fighter operations.

Regards

John
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Jan 2020 02:33

histan wrote:
21 Jan 2020 22:40
I forgot to thank you for your reply about the length of the landing front. I was actually just looking for the length of the beaches. I had forgotten that VIII Fighter Command was to patrol so far inland and over such a long arc. I was looking to do a comparison with what the RAF Spitfires were tasked with doing as areasonable comparison with what the 109s might be asked to do. The USAAF with their Thunderbolts, Mustangs, and Lightnings had a capability that the 1940s Luftwaffe could only dream about. :)
Sorry I misunderstood your question, but yes your assessment is correct. :lol:
With regard the Luftwaffe plans, they seemed to change regularly. On 17.09.1940 Kesselring issued his intentions to his subordinates and to Naval Group Command West. A copy survives in the files of Naval Group West (NARA T-1022 R-2400). Here are some relevant bits:
An English translation of this is given in Klee's study.

In the section above concerning VIII Fliegerkorps, I can't see any mention of anti-shipping operations.
I suspect that is also the document Schenk is commenting on, but it is possible he is using something else for the summary he gives in his book. In any case, expecting the Stukagruppen to dominate the Channel and southern England is fanciful at best and farcical at worst. The only way would be by suddenly reactivating all the dormant Gruppen and manning them with personnel directly from the training schools...there were no Ergänzungsstaffeln organic to the Stukageschwadern I believe until December 1940. Prior to that there was only the Erg.Staffel (Stuka)/VIII. Fliegerkorps, which was formed in April 1940 and the Ergänzungs-Stukagruppe formed in August 1940...and they were what were re-roled as training staff assigned to the Gescwadern in December.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

glenn239
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by glenn239 » 25 Jan 2020 16:53

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Jan 2020 00:18
The key point was that at the end of September, the Stukagruppen were still recovering from the maximum effort of the Kanalkampf and the battle of the bases. As mentioned before, many of the Stukagruppen were non-operational, training new crews and taking on replacement equipment and the four operational units only had 133 serviceable aircraft. You might assume they could do as well as the first day of GELB, so perhaps 632 sorties.
Thanks for the detailed post. My assumption was more like 350+ Stukas operational for Sealion in September 1940. If the actual total were to be 133, this was far below the minimum number required.

glenn239
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by glenn239 » 25 Jan 2020 17:11

histan wrote:
19 Jan 2020 23:41
What would the priorities be - the Stukas and Bombers would be very vulnerable without escort, so my guess would be that cover for the landing force would suffer.

Regards

John
That would be my assumption as well. Like with Dunkirk, RAF bombers would often have a clear run at the invasion beaches without interference from German fighters because insufficient numbers would be available for large standing patrols. Since air operations would be in the Channel and on the beaches nearby, German fighters employed in bomber escort could detach and sweep for targets of opportunity after the bombers they were escorting had started for home. That is to say, perhaps a bit of overlap between the CAP and escort missions.

Also I'd posted at some length, WRT to conflict in British anti-invasion doctrine and the expected number of German casualties from Sealion (worse case invasion scenario) versus Barbarossa (average actual number of casualties per day). As former NATO, I was interested in your take on these matters in particular. That is to say,

(1) Do you consider that confusion in basic anti-invasion doctrine could lead to serious mistakes by the British army in the key first 48 hours of an invasion if, for example, one British division is implementing a doctrine of active counterattack and another down the coast is implementing a containment doctrine?

(2) Given that Germany accepted an actual casualty rate of 5,000 per day during Barbarossa from June 22nd-December 5th 1941, is it the case that the far lower maximum possible casualty rates for Sealion should have operationally deterred Germany from pursuing what was clearly - in hindsight - a far more correct grand strategy than invading Russia?

Richard Anderson
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Jan 2020 18:00

glenn239 wrote:
25 Jan 2020 17:11
(1) Do you consider that confusion in basic anti-invasion doctrine could lead to serious mistakes by the British army in the key first 48 hours of an invasion if, for example, one British division is implementing a doctrine of active counterattack and another down the coast is implementing a containment doctrine?
The British Army did not do "doctrine" at this time, which is why there were more or less variations on corps and divisional deployments. That may have been important if the Germans had landed earlier, but by September Ironside was replaced by Brooke, who was a much firmer hand on how the defenses were arranged and what the reaction would be. Auchinleck's stance that John commented on viewtopic.php?p=2244737#p2244737 which was that espoused by Ironside, shifted to that of Brooke and Montgomery. See Newbold, pp. 234-235 and passim for the defense debate.
(2) Given that Germany accepted an actual casualty rate of 5,000 per day during Barbarossa from June 22nd-December 5th 1941, is it the case that the far lower maximum possible casualty rates for Sealion should have operationally deterred Germany from pursuing what was clearly - in hindsight - a far more correct grand strategy than invading Russia?
I'm not sure "accepted" is the correct term...it was more like "in for a penny, in for a pound".

In any case, an average of 146.3 German divisions "accepted" 830,903 casualties 22 June-31 December 1941, so 192 days. That works out to 4,328 per day and about 30 per division per day. If the same rate were applied to SEELÖWE, especially the assault phase when just the combat echelon of nine divisions were in combat...then it would be 481 casualties per division per day...16 times the intensity of the first six months of BARBAROSSA.

Another way of looking at it would be NEPTUNE, where Allied planners "accepted" the seaborne assault forces might incur as many as 10,000 casualties among a planned 125,000 or so, thus about an 8 percent one day loss. For SEELÖWE the first echelon was just 67,000...8 percent would be 5,360, already higher than your notional 192-day average of "5,000".

And what would be the effect be on operational capability if large parts of those forces were lost before they ever reached the beach and from the resulting organizational confusion?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

glenn239
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by glenn239 » 27 Jan 2020 21:13

Interesting comments, thanks. In terms of your final question,

And what would be the effect be on operational capability if large parts of those forces were lost before they ever reached the beach and from the resulting organizational confusion?

I would think that disruption of the invasion waves before they reached the beach might have had a fatal impact on any invasion prospects.

A question. You'd mentioned that 8 Stuka units went into reserve for training and four were operational with 133 bombers. In checking sources, I didn't see where any Stuka units were to remain in reserve training if Sealion were executed. Can you elaborate on sources? Thanks.

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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Jan 2020 23:28

glenn239 wrote:
27 Jan 2020 21:13
A question. You'd mentioned that 8 Stuka units went into reserve for training and four were operational with 133 bombers. In checking sources, I didn't see where any Stuka units were to remain in reserve training if Sealion were executed. Can you elaborate on sources? Thanks.
As of 7 September (unit - location - strength OH/OP

Luftflotte 2.
Stab/StG 1. - St Pol - 7/5
I./StG 1. - St Pol - 0/0
II./StG 1. - Pas-de-Calais - 43/29
III./StG 1. - St Pol - 0/0 (formed from I.(St)/Tr.Gr.186 on 9 July)
Stab/StG 2. - Tramecourt - 11/9
II./StG 2. - St Pol - 27/22
IV. (Stg)/LG 1. - Tramecourt - 42/28

Luftflotte 3.
Stab/StG 3. - Brittany - 7/6
I./StG 3. - Brittany - 37/34
I./StG 2. - St Malo - 0/0
Stab/StG 77. - Brugy - 0/0
I./StG 77. - Maltot - 0/0
II./StG 77. - Brugy - 0/0
III./StG 77. - Argentan - 0/0

Heimat
III./StG 2. - Kitzingen - ?/?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

glenn239
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by glenn239 » 28 Jan 2020 15:52

Thanks for the detailed posting. Here,

http://niehorster.org/011_germany/40-09 ... te-02.html

Is the Orbat for LF 2 on September 7th. The unit I am interested in is not only the ones you've listed. Also, Fliegerskorps VIII which is shown in the LF2 OOB but there is no clickable details for this Stuka unit's force structure.

Here,

https://military-historian.squarespace. ... -the-stuka

It states,

It had become abundantly clear that the in a combat environment where air superiority had not been secured, the Stuka was more of a liability. On August 19th, Goering ordered the transfer of Fliegerkorps VIII out of the combat zone, ostensibly to save the remaining Stukas for the coming invasion of England. With 220 of the 280 Stukas in the Luftwaffe a part of this unit, the withdrawal of Fliegerkorps VIII effectively ended the aircraft’s participation in the battle.


At the point of withdrawal on August 19th it appears that Fk VIII had 220 Stukas. The intention appears to have been to rest and reequip this formation for Sealion. Is this correct or not? Also, do you have any information on FK VIII's Stuka OOB as of late September 1940?

Richard Anderson
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Jan 2020 16:52

glenn239 wrote:
28 Jan 2020 15:52
Thanks for the detailed posting. Here,

http://niehorster.org/011_germany/40-09 ... te-02.html

Is the Orbat for LF 2 on September 7th. The unit I am interested in is not only the ones you've listed. Also, Fliegerskorps VIII which is shown in the LF2 OOB but there is no clickable details for this Stuka unit's force structure.
Fliegerkorps VIII was subordinated to Luftflotte 2. as of 29 September 1940, so Leo is a bit earlier on his notation. The headquarters was at Deauville throughout the period though.

At about this time Fliegerkorps VIII consisted of:

Stab/StG 3. - Brittany - 7/6
I./StG 3. - Brittany - 37/34
I./StG 2. - St Malo - 0/0
Stab/StG 77. - Brugy - 0/0
I./StG 77. - Maltot - 0/0
II./StG 77. - Brugy - 0/0
III./StG 77. - Argentan - 0/0
Here,

https://military-historian.squarespace. ... -the-stuka

It states,

It had become abundantly clear that the in a combat environment where air superiority had not been secured, the Stuka was more of a liability. On August 19th, Goering ordered the transfer of Fliegerkorps VIII out of the combat zone, ostensibly to save the remaining Stukas for the coming invasion of England. With 220 of the 280 Stukas in the Luftwaffe a part of this unit, the withdrawal of Fliegerkorps VIII effectively ended the aircraft’s participation in the battle.


At the point of withdrawal on August 19th it appears that Fk VIII had 220 Stukas. The intention appears to have been to rest and reequip this formation for Sealion. Is this correct or not? Also, do you have any information on FK VIII's Stuka OOB as of late September 1940?
That's all well and good and all, except that VIII Fliegerkorps was never "withdrawn" in the physical sense, its headquarters remained at Deauville until January 1941 when it transferred to Baden near Vienna. Its units also remained pretty much as above and in my previous post, until they began displacing east and south in January-March 1941.

As of 13 August 1940, Fliegerkorps VIII had 273 Stuka on hand, of which 218 were operational. Fliegerkorps II of Luftflotte 2. had another 74 of which 58 were operational. I suspect the "220" quoted was operational strength, although I have not seen such a report for 19 August. The period from 1 to 18 August was one of very hard usage for the Stukagruppen, with 47 lost on operations and another 4 to accidents with another 6 lost and 16 damaged during the month, about one-quarter of the operational force, and by the end of it they were essentially fought out.

I strongly suspect that the remaining operational aircraft of the "grounded" units, especially StG 77. were transferred to the Ergänzungsstaffel (Stuka)/VIII. Fliegerkorps at Lippstadt and the Ergänzungs-Stukagruppe at Wurzburg, along with personnel to train up the urgently needed crews, as was III./StG 2. Much of the winter 1940/1941 were taken up with the task, with the units becoming operational in January-March 1941.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

glenn239
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by glenn239 » 30 Jan 2020 21:14

Thanks.

By those numbers the LW had 347 Stukas, 276 operational, on 13th August and lost 57 and another 16 damaged in all of August. 276- 73 = 203.

Of the damaged birds, 71 plus sixteen = 87.

I don't see Stuka production figures by month, but for 1940 about 600 total, so maybe 50 per month?

So if by 25 September 50 new Stukas had arrived and were operational (crews presumably available supernumerary to the 87 damaged aircraft as well as some newly trained), and 30 of the 87 damaged aircraft were repaired, that would be about 280+ Stukas available? If so, not quite the 300-350 I was assuming.

histan
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by histan » 31 Jan 2020 00:44

Stuka losses 1st to 12 August 1940:

2 August 1940 1 aircraft damaged on a non combat mission
3 August 1940 1 aircraft destroyed on a non combat mission
5 August 1940 1 aircraft damaged on a non combat mission
8 August 1940 8 aircraft destroyed on combat missions, 10 aircraft damaged on combat missions
12 August 1940 2 aircraft damaged on non combat missions

Stuka losses 13th to 18th August 1940:
13 August 1940 6 aircraft destroyed on combat missions 2 aircraft damaged on Non Combat Missions
14 August 1940 4 aircraft destroyed on combat missions
15 August 1940 7 aircraft destroyed on combat missions
16 August 1940 9 aircraft destroyed on combat missions, 3 aircraft damaged on combat missions, 1 aircraft damaged on a non combat mission
17 August 1940 no aircraft destroyed or damaged
18 August 1940 16 aircraft destroyed on combat missions, 6 aircraft damaged on combat missions

Stukas were flying during late August and September and suffered the following losses (destroyed and damaged) on non combat missions:

25 August 1940 1/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (25%) landing accident
25 August 1940 III/StG2 1 aircraft damaged (90%) engine failure
28 August 1940 III/StG 1 2 aircraft destroyed (100%) mid air collision
30 August 1940 I/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (20%) landing accident

2 September 1940 IV/LG 2 had a mid-air collision with 1 damaged (20%) and one destroyed (100%)
5 September 1940 Stab StG 1 1 aircraft destroyed (100%)
6 September 1940 2/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (15%)
6 September 1940 8/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (80%) engine failure
8 September 1940 1/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (20%)
8 September 1940 1/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (5%)
11 September 1940 2/StG 77 2 aircraft destroyed (100%) mid air collision
11 September 1940 3/StG 77 1 aircraft damaged (20%)
11 September 1940 3/StG 77 2 aircraft destroyed (100%) mid air collision
22 September 1940 IV/LG 1 1 aircraft damaged (40%) engine failure
24 September 1940 II/StG 1 1 aircraft damaged (70%) engine failure
25 September 1940 I/StG 1 1 aircraft damaged (50%) engine failure
30 September 1940 2/LG 1 1 aircraft destroyed (100%) engine failure

In summary:
1st to 12 August 1940 9 aircraft destroyed and 14 aircraft damaged
13 to 18 August 1940 42 aircraft destroyed and 12 aircraft damaged
19 to 31 August 1940 2 aircraft destroyed and 3 aircraft damaged
Total August 1940 53 aircraft destroyed and 29 aircraft damaged

Total September 1940 7 aircraft destroyed and 9 aircraft damaged

All figures taken from Francis Mason Battle Over Britain which he took directly from the Luftwaffe loss records (primary source)

Not sure this gets anyone anywhere but it does show that numbers need to be considered with care. Most secondary sources ignore the non combat figures because they focus on the combat missions.

It was the loss rates of the individual units that mattered:
on 13 August 1940 II/StG 2 flew a mission of 30 aircraft and had 6 destroyed - a loss rate of 20%
On 18 August 1940 I/StG 77 flew a mission of 27 aircraft and had 11 destroyed - loss rate of 41% and with another 4 damaged this rises to 56%.

Regards

John

Richard Anderson
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Jan 2020 03:04

glenn239 wrote:
30 Jan 2020 21:14
Thanks.

By those numbers the LW had 347 Stukas, 276 operational, on 13th August and lost 57 and another 16 damaged in all of August. 276- 73 = 203.

Of the damaged birds, 71 plus sixteen = 87.

I don't see Stuka production figures by month, but for 1940 about 600 total, so maybe 50 per month?

So if by 25 September 50 new Stukas had arrived and were operational (crews presumably available supernumerary to the 87 damaged aircraft as well as some newly trained), and 30 of the 87 damaged aircraft were repaired, that would be about 280+ Stukas available? If so, not quite the 300-350 I was assuming.
A few more points to add to the detailed data John provided (I can no longer access the relevant data from Mason since my Access copy of the BOBDB has gone tits up, apparently because, well its Microsoft Access :x ).

There were 611 Stuka produced in 1940, but unfortunately the monthly figures were not recorded. Nevertheless, it likely does not matter, the Luftwaffe, in addition to having problems keeping aircraft serviceable, had trouble keeping aircraft crews serviceable. I'm still trying to track down the Stuka figures, but I know that by the end of September, the Jagdwaffe had 920 aircraft on hand and 712 serviceable, but could not put all of them in the air, because of the 917 on hand pilots, only 676 were serviceable. I suspect that the Stuka were similar.

Crewmen suffered wounds and injuries and sometimes took longer to repair than did the aircraft. The lack of a robust Luftwaffe training establishment exacerbated the problem, especially in 1940 when the training establishment was raided for experienced personnel to bulk up the operational units in April-May and then through the summer.

The other thing is that aircraft weren't like counters in a wargame. They did not come with crews and did not go directly from factory to combat. Aircraft typically went from factory to an air depot for fitting of various "government-issued" equipment such as radios, optical equipment, and on board weapons, but also for various service modifications that brought them up to service standard. The reason those were infrequently done in factory was to prevent delays in getting the basic airframe off the production line...note this was not unique to Germany, the US and UK did the same and the US did it with tanks as well.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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