Raeder reports to Hitler on invasion progress

I pointed out to Hitler that mid-September would be the earliest date the Navy could be ready, and in doing so called his attention also to the heavy burden the operation would place on Germany's ordinary water transportation, and so the tremendous load that would fall in the ship yards. Up till now, I insisted, there existed no German air supremacy. Furthermore, I emphasised the great difference of opinion between the Supreme Commanders of the Army and Navy concerning the strength of the invasion army and the extent of the landing area. The Army was demanding the transport of 13 land divisions totalling some 260,000 men, and while this was considerably less than the originally planned 25 to 40 divisions, the Army was insisting these be landed over a very broad stretch of coast. The Navy's strength was nowhere near great enough to guard this broad landing area demanded by the Army, and if this requirement was maintained, the transports on the east and west flanks would have to go without any effective protection. The Naval War Staff therefore had to make a counter-demand that the landing be spread over as narrow a coastal front as possible. Our choice was a limited area of coast on both sides of Dover.

In addition to these two opposite views as to size of forces and width of landing area, there were further differences of opinion as to the best time of day to make the actual landing.

From its viewpoint the Army was well justified in the demands it made. But the Navy could also prove that not enough shipping could be assembled to make a crossing on such a broad scale. The Channel widened in the western half of the Army's planned landing area so that the resulting distances that had to be covered were far to great for the Navy to protect the transports and supply ships here, or to insure the necessary flow of reinforcements and additional supplies.


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