(Operation Sealion)

Alios Schickligruber, aka Adolf Hitler decided in 1940 that it was time to invade Britain, but before his invasion plan "Seelöwe", or “Operation Sealion” can take place, the British Royal Air Force must first be eliminated both in the air, and on the ground.

On Tuesday 30th July 1940 the Führer sent a message to Göering Commander-in –chief of the Luftwaffe, stating that he must have his forces in readiness to commence the great battle against England within twelve hours notice.

Initial plans for invasion were drawn up by the German Naval Staff in November 1939 and presented to the Führer on 31 May 1940. Hitler and the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKW) initially rejected the plan. However, on 2 July, Hitler issued a Supreme Command Directive instructing all three Services to initiate preparations for an invasion of England. This was followed by a further Supreme Command Directive on 16 July which instructed that preparations for landings to be completed by 10 August 1940.

The Battle of Britain Trail

From the papers obtained after the War, it was discovered some what the German's had planned. In the "Military Requirements of the Army High Command, and Attitude of the Naval Staff'. 24c.“. The Naval Staff, after studying the Führer’s Directive of 16th July, made the following entry, dated 20th July: “The General Staff of the Army has given it intentions for carrying out the operations, as follows: about 100,000 men with appropriate equipment including heavy gear, must be transported in the first wave from the area Dunkirk-Cherbourg to the area between Ramsgate and Lyme Bay.

Further waves must follow in quickest succession, so that the formation of a local bridgehead may be fallowed in the shortest time by a war of movement on the Island. This demands the most rapid turn round of transport after disembarkation of the first echelon.”

The requirements of the Army High Command resulted in the following Transport Organisation dated 25th July: - Army requirements for the first wave. About 90,000 men with appropriate war equipment, 650 tanks, 4,500 horses, for this purpose he following are necessary:- For the area Ostend- Boulogne, about 550 barges, 185 tugs, 370 motorboats. For the area Le Harve-Cherbourg, about 45 ships, 90 barges, 30 tugs, 180 motorboats. In addition, the Luftwaffe to meet the demands of the General Staff requires the transportation of about 52 A.A. batteries in the first wave.” - “In the second wave the Army High Command requires the transportation of 160,000 men and equipment.”

British intelligence calculated that each German division landing on British soil would require a daily average of 300 tons of supplies. They further calculated that Folkestone, the largest harbour falling within the planned Geman landing zones, could handle 150 tons per day in the first week of the invasion (assuming all dockside equipment was successfully demolished and regular RAF bombing raids reduced capacity by 50%).

Within seven days, maximum capacity was expected to rise to 600 tons per day once German shore parties made repairs to the quays and cleared the harbour of any obstacles and blockships. This meant that, at best, the nine German infantry and two airborne divisions slated for the initial landings would receive less than 20% of the 3300 tons of supplies they required each day through a port and would have to rely heavily on whatever else could be brought in directly over the beaches or air-dropped.

The capture of Dover and its harbour facilities was expected to add another 800 tons per day, raising to 40% the amount of supplies brought in through ports, but this rested on the assumption of little or no interference from the Royal Navy and RAF with the German supply convoys shuttling between the Continent and the invasion beaches [Fleming, Peter.,Invasion 1940 (Readers Union, London, 1958), p. 257-58]



While the spitfires and hurricanes were fighting the Luftwaffe in the skys of Britan, in the “Battle of Britain” . On the other side of the channel, the Fuhrer's build up for the invasion of Britain, had the attention of RAF Bomber Command.

For the invasion to succeed the Germans had to defeat the Royal Air Force. The air offensive began on 12th August 1940. At first the Germans concentrated on the radar stations and airfields of the RAF. Unknown to the Germans these tactics soon had the RAF almost on its knees. However, the Germans changed tactics and started bombing London, and the aircraft factories, thereby allowing the RAF to regroup.

The ensuing Battle of Britain saw the Luftwaffe fail to achieve adequate air supremacy for Sealion to be launched so was postponed, at the request of the Naval Staff, from 15 September to 21 September due to delays in preparations. The invasion force had to contend with RAF raids on the embarkation ports and coastal bombing, shelling from the Royal Navy and from the British long range guns firing across the Straits, the Channel naval blockage and the many mine fields.

The German troop moral seemed to fear most in the channel crossing was the thought of walls of fames in the English Channel Flame Barrage. In September 1940 the British War office for Aerial Reconnaissance ‘MI14’, claimed that between the Dutch German frontier and Le Harve there were 2,500 invasion barges, some of which were asbestos lined invasion barges fitted with foam type extinguishers and an oxygen supply for breathing. German troops had been made to take part in exercises in special light weight asbestos suits going through water covered with burning oil.


On 15 December 1940, The New York Times ran a story claiming that tens of thousands of German troops had been 'consumed by fire' in two failed invasion attempts. In the local press it was claimed that forty burnt bodies of German troops were washed up on the beaches of the Southeast. In September 1940, heavy numbers of German troops were being admitted with severe burns for treatment, some replayed stories to the nurses that they had been in aluminium barges, and that the sea was ablaze, and that the RAF had attacked with incendiary bombs.
On 15th September a decision was reached that due to weather and operational difficulties to delay the initial ferry crossing planned for 16th September and then it was decided with the approach of the winter weather, Hitler was forced to abandon plans for Operation Sealion indefinitely, turning his attention to the Eastern front after which, he would commence operations for the invasion of Britain. Fortunately for Britain, Russia proved for the Germans a formidable opponent, and the German invasion force never came.