Raeder initiates a study of an invasion of England

Grand Admiral Raeder, Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, gives an order for "the possibility of invading England to be examined" as he thought Hitler might suddenly ask him for an invasion-plan at some point.

After consultation with Admiral Saalwächter, Reader sets up a small special staff for the preliminary work to study an armed conflict with Britain. The studies were the responsibility of Vice Admiral Schniewind, Chief of Staff of the Naval War Staff, and Rear Admiral Fricke, Chief of the Operations Department - both considered by Raeder as among his most competent advisors.

There were to study the possibilities of an invasion of England from the specific technical problem of transport, in addition to the overall naval and military problems. Extreme care was taken to keep the knowledge of this study limited.

The Navy would be the ones who first had to determine weather, and under what conditions, it could be carried out.

Hansjürgen Reinicke, Raeder's operations officer, reports back five days later outlining the following prerequisites:

  • Eliminating or sealing off Royal Navy forces from the lanidng and approach areas.
  • Eliminating the Royal Air Force
  • Destroying all Royal Navy units in the coastal zone.
  • Preventing British submarine action against the landing fleet.

Two weeks later a seaborne assault "on a grand scale" across the North Sea "appears to be a possible expedient for forcing the enemy to sue for peace". The Heer, and later the Luftwaffe, were uncompromisingly sceptical and it wasn't passed to the OKW.

The study is based on Hitler's Directive No. 6 which gives an objective of capturing sections of the Dutch, Belgian and French coast. The report concludes that if the conditions could be set up the British would be so demoralised that an assault would not be necessary. A landing from the North Sea on the east coast of England is preferred, though less advantageous than capturing harbours. There is no mention of a unified command or timely provision of amphibious equipment.

Raeder records:

Up until now my main endeavour had been to convince Hitler and the armed forces command that this war on commerce should be carried out on to the maximum extent of Germany's warpower and armament. Hence, any diversion of our already inadequate naval forces for some other objective would materially impair out naval campaign against the British enemy. Only if such a landing in England could be achieved without too much risk or too much difficulty - and that was highly improbable - should we deviate from our original plan.

[Date TBC]

Luftwaffe Intelligence publishes 'Plans for Air Warfare on England'

This expands on several points and suggests that continuous attacks should be made by day and night in widely separated areas. The RAF would then have to retain aircraft in the United Kingdom and even withdraw some of those already in France. The targets which are to be attacked by a force which numbered fewer than 400 medium bombers of Fliegerkorps X are listed. They include warships at sea and in port, the naval dockyards of the Tyne, Clyde, Birkenhead and Barrow-in-Furness, harbour installations at Liverpool, the Manchester Ship Canal, Avonmouth, Cardiff, Swansea and ‘the important military target’ of Billingham.

The "key is to paralyse the British trade" by blocking imports and attacking sea ports.

Heer issues Nordwest study paper on the invasion of Britain

The army issues its own study paper and solicited oppions from the Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe.

It outlines an assault on the east coast between The Wash and The Thames by 100,000 troops transported and protected by the Kreigsmarine from ports in the Low Countries and suppored by airborne troops.

The Kreigsmarine could not envisage taking on the Royal Navy and said it would take a year to organise troop transports.

Goering respoded in a single page letter:

[A] combined operation having the objective of landing in England must be rejected. It could only be the final act of an already victorious war against Britain as otherwise the preconditions for success of a combined operation would not be met.

[Date TBC]

Jodel issues his paper on the continuation of the war against Britain.

OKW Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl reviews options to increase pressure on Britain to agree to a negotiated peace. The first priority is to eliminate the Royal Air Force and gain air supremacy. Intensified air attacks against shipping and the economy could affect food supplies and civilian morale in the long term. Reprisal attacks of terror bombing has the potential to cause quicker capitulation but the effect on morale is uncertain. Once the Luftwaffe has control of the air, and the British economy has been weakened, an invasion would be a last resort or a final strike (“Todesstoss“) after England has already been practically defeated, but could have a quick result.

If political measures do not succeed England's will to resist must be broken by force. (This might be accomplished) (a) by making war against the English motherland, (b) by extending the war to the perhipery.

The latter would require the co-operation of nations that hoped to see the British Empire disentegrate and to sieze the spoils. Italy, Spain, Russia and Japan are the obvious contenders for this.

Germany's final victory over England is only a question of time. Germany can choose a form of warfare which husbands her own strength and avoids risks. Since England can no longer fight for victory but only for the preservation of her possessions and world prestige, she should, according to all predictions, be inclined to make peace when she learns she can get it now at relatively little cost.