DOCU-NOVEL PART 6: THE LUFTWAFFE CONTRIBUTION

by Author | January 4th, 2011

Goring, head of the Luftwaffe, had already made two boasts, both of which he had failed to live up to. Now, he made a third boast, but rather than burden himself with responsibility, he gave this onerous task to Albert Kesselring, whom he regarded as the most able of his air fleet commanders. This latest boast was that he could support and supply an invasion force on British soil indefinately whilst at the same time, drawing out and destroying the RAF en masse.

Having already seen how difficult it had been to fulfill his earlier promises to the Fuhrer, Goring ordered Kesselring to spare no measure in order to achieve what had been promised this time round. Kesselring was given seniority over his fellow air fleet commanders and tasked with coming up with a detailed plan in just two weeks. True to form, Kesselring delivered. The caveat though, was that the Luftwaffe would need to conduct an unprecedented regrouping operation in record time, at short notice, and in complete secrecy. It would also involve a timetable of air operations that was intensive and only sustainable for a maximum of 7 days before crew fatigue would start to seriously impair performance.

Thus, Kesselring laid the following plan before Goring for approval:

Luftflotte 1 and 5 would be based in France and The Low Countries respectively.

Luftflotte 3 would be based in Germany, Denmark and Norway and would be renamed Luftflotte Seelowe (Air Fleet Sealion)

Luftflotte 1 and 5 would consist entirely of Dornier 17 bombers, Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers and Me 109 Fighters.

All Heinkel 111 bombers, Ju 88 bombers and Me 110 long range fighters would be transferred to Air Fleet Sealion and move to their new bases in Germany and Scandinavia just 3 days before ‘S’ Day.

Luftflotte 1 and 5 were responsible for conducting intensive diversionary raids on the night prior to ‘S’ Day, all along the south coast and inland areas of Kent and Sussex, in order to distract British attention from the North of England. The following day, if the British took the bait of the dummy fleets being herded into the channel, the fighters of these two air fleets would pounce on the British bomber forces sent to attack them. At the same time, it was hoped that the Royal Navy destroyer flotilla at Harwich would be tempted into the Channel, where it would subsequently be subjected to an endless an intensive round of attacks by the massed Stuka squadrons. The aim was to wipe this destroyer force out of the equation before the British realised that they were barking up the wrong tree.

Whilst all this was going on, Luftflotte Seelowe would be launching its numerous Heinkel and Ju 88 squadrons on precision raids against the main naval targets on the north east coast of England, along with the various airfileds in Yorkshire that weren’t required to be captured intact. Most importantly, the bombers would also target the roads, bridges and railheads that lay on the route to Yorkshire from the South of England and the Midlands. In general the rosta saw the Heinkel squadrons making massed raids during the hours of darkness, with the Ju 88′s making low level raids in small groups during the day.

The Me 110 fighter squadrons would give top cover over the landing beaches, fly as flank protection for the Ju 52 transport air-bridge and conduct low level attacks against the Royal Navy ships based in the Humber Estuary.

When Goring saw the plan, he was pleased. It was bold, and in outline simple enough to understand. The detailed flying tables and target lists however were far beyond his grasp, and he knew that he had made the right decision in giving Kesselring the reins for this one. Only somebody of Kesselring’s unique organisational ability could produce and execute such a plan that left little margin of error.

When Kesselring was able to conduct the redeployment as scheduled without any noticeable complications, just 3 days prior to the planned landings, Goring was ecstatic and told the Fuhrer that England was ‘dead in the water already – she just doesn’t realise it yet.”

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Seelöwe Nord is the online home of Andy Johnson, a war fiction novelist. Seelöwe Nord is a war novel that tells the alternative history of Operation Sealion, the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. Followed by Thunder in May, and the recently released Crucible of Fate, the trilogy of War Fiction remains a popular read within the genre.

Andy has also started to publish small Leadership and Management Booklets drawing from his extensive experience across many sectors and industries, both military and civilian, the first of which is entitled Captains of the Gate and is now available for download on eReaders directly from Amazon.