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We March Against England: Operation Sea Lion, 1940-41

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We March Against England: Operation Sea Lion, 1940-41

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    Available in PDF Format | We March Against England: Operation Sea Lion, 1940-41.pdf | English
    Robert Forczyk(Author)

In May 1940 Nazi Germany was master of continental Europe, the only European power still standing was Great Britain - and the all-conquering German armed forces stood poised to cross the Channel. Following the destruction of the RAF fighter forces, the sweeping of the Channel of mines, and the wearing down of the Royal Naval defenders, two German army groups were set to storm the beaches of southern England. Despite near-constant British fears from August to October, the invasion never took place after first being postponed to spring 1941 before finally being abandoned entirely.

Robert Forcyzk, author of Where the Iron Crosses Grow, looks beyond the traditional British account of Operation Sea Lion, complete with plucky Home Guards and courageous Spitfire pilots, at the real scale of German ambition, plans and capabilities. He examines, in depth, how Operation Sea Lion fitted in with German air-sea actions around the British Isles as he shows exactly what stopped Hitler from invading Britain.

." . . full of details and information. However it is written in a way that it is hard to put it down. Highly recommended to history aficionados." - IPMS/USA

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Book details

  • PDF | 400 pages
  • Robert Forczyk(Author)
  • Osprey Publishing (20 Oct. 2016)
  • English
  • 9
  • History

Review Text

  • By Mr. A. G. Street on 28 April 2017

    Firstly I have to say that this book is not really about Sea Lion itself. Having said that though, it does deal in very full terms with the military and political landscape in the time leading up to and in the time of this operation. I personally found it fascinating and really could not put it down. Mr Forczyk has obviously undertaken a comprehensive study of this period and the facts uncovered are excellent. There is also a concise history of German amphibious operations throughout the rest of the war, which is the first time I have seen these details put together as a homogeneous story. I cannot fault the author's logic concerning the operational decisions from both sides in this period of the war, but some may find his criticism of Churchill a bit over the top.

  • By Warspite on 24 October 2016

    I unhesitatingly give this book 5-stars. I have no wish to give away the conclusions that the author comes to, and so will limit my comments accordingly.Positives:Although I personally disagree with a lot that Robert Forczyk has to say in this offering, there is no doubting that this is a very, very welcome book on the subject. The author provides a fresh look at aspects of the operation that have perhaps previously been taken too much on face value.The author looks at the actual plans and capabilities for both the Germans and the British – the armies, navies and the air forces - and in so doing provides more than a little food for thought. The author also looks at the wider strategic position at the time (an obvious thing to do but so often overlooked by authors) to put the operation into context.The book is very easy to read, is split into sensibly ordered, manageable sections, and contains sufficient diagrams, pictures and tables to aid the reader’s understanding of what the author is explaining. There were very few typos and grammatical issues which is very welcome.We March Against England provides the reader with a much fuller understanding of the situation that existed in the summer of 1940 than any other single book I have read on Operation Sea Lion. Rather than a simple re-hash of what has gone before, the author attempts to provide a fresh look at many aspects e.g. he provides some very interesting perspective on the Anglo-French Purchasing Commission – and the money that was wasted on obsolete weaponry that was of no use in stopping an invasion had it been launched.Negatives:Because I don’t want to give the game away (in terms of what the author thinks and the conclusions he has drawn) to purchasers of this book, I am limited in what I say here. The negatives I find relate largely to my personal opinion of the operation, and also where I think the author has not given sufficient consideration to certain aspects. I also disagree with some of the author’s points in terms of what Sea Lion meant in the context of the wider war.But these are just the author’s opinions, and he is entitled to express them, and this does not alter the fact that he has written a comprehensive book on the subject, that allows the reader access to much of the required information necessary to make/reinforce or alter opinion. I want to reiterate that, in my view, the positives outweigh the negatives, hence the 5-stars I have given to the book.

  • By John Plowright on 4 August 2017

    The Hitler Diaries were a peculiar farrago of fact and fabrication. One of the more inspired lies that the forgery contained was the claim that Hitler’s decision to halt his Panzers and allow the bulk of the British Expeditionary Force to evacuate at Dunkirk was because he did not want to inflict too devastating a blow because he still hoped that the British government might come to its senses and make its peace with Nazi Germany.The reason why this seemed so plausible was because Hitler’s admiration for Britain was on the record and seemingly genuine. In ‘Mein Kampf’ Hitler not only expressed the high regard in which he held the British ‘Tommy’ and British wartime propaganda, he also expressed the view that the Kaiser had made a grievous error in going to war with Britain at all. According to Hitler there was no need for Britain and Germany to quarrel, as Britain was essentially a maritime power and as long as she gave Britain a free hand on the continent Germany would give her blessing to Britannia continuing to rule the waves and reaping the rewards of its vast colonial possessions.In ‘Mein Kampf’ Hitler also expressed his desire for Germany to form alliances with Britain, Italy and Japan, which would have the effect of isolating and neutralising France and make it easier for him to implement his primary objective of securing Lebensraum or living room in the east at the expense of the Soviet Union, which he detested on racial and ideological grounds.Hitler’s subsequent expansion of the German navy is bound to cast doubt on Hitler’s ultimate intentions but this has to be set aside evidence such as his taking fighter ace Adolf Galland to task for glorying in shooting down RAF planes during the Battle of Britain, telling him that this unnecessary bloodshed should give no cause for satisfaction as it represented a distraction from the real fight which was to be against Stalin’s Russia.This is the context in which one should approach Robert Forczyk’s ‘We March Against England’ which examines Operation Sealion (the proposed German invasion of Britain), initiated by Fuhrer Directive No.16 of 16 July 1940, and why it was postponed on 17 September 1940. To what extent was the Fuhrer’s heart never really in the affair (because he yearned to launch what became Operation Barbarossa) and to what extent did he decide to cut his losses because of fierce British resistance, most notably in the Battle of Britain?Forczyk is keen to dispel what he sees as the myth that by “standing firm … ‘the Few’ of RAF Fighter Command frustrated Hitler’s plans to invade England and thereby inflicted the first major defeat upon the Third Reich.” He is certainly right to claim that Operation Sealion was a very much more serious threat than some historians suppose and to draw attention to the fact that Britain’s “military position remained extremely perilous” long after September 1940; acknowledging the importance of the Battle of the Atlantic, Churchill himself said that “the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril”. However, whilst it is difficult to disagree with much of Forczyk’s analysis, particularly on operational matters, his account is still open to question.Firstly, in stating that it was not “preordained” that Hitler would “eschew Seelöwe in favour of Barbarossa” Forczyk seems unwilling to concede that for the long-held ideological reasons referred to above, Hitler would always be predisposed to abandon Sealion for Barbarossa. Secondly, in staking out a claim for the originality of his argument Forczyk appears to have ignored those who have already de-mythologized the Battle of Britain, most notably R.J. Overy, whose name features nowhere in the book.This, then, is a very enjoyable thought-provoking exercise in military history which is often genuinely illuminating (for example reminding us of the Luftwaffe’s early capacity for precision night time bombing) even though one suspects that Forczyk's full-blooded frontal assaults are sometimes mounted against an Aunt Sally.

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