TFH: Sep I 1940 (Germany)
The ships in the Irish Sea flee for Belfast, the British sink a couple more shipping points, and continue to terrorize various cities in Germany.
Preparing for the invasion of Britain is a grind. So much to be done, but not enough time or resources to do it all.
Take Dover for example. A prime spot for a German landing. It has been reinforced with extra coastal defenses. In order to facilitate a landing there, these coastal defenses have to be reduced. To achieve this objective, dive bombers are sent in. In order to protect those Stukas, almost every available Me-109 is sent to Dover to protect them.
Historically, the British ate the Stukas for lunch. They are big, slow, cumbersome, vulnerable, and the British destroyed them by the dozen. Losses were so high that the Luftwaffe ultimately pulled them out of the battle altogether. By sending so many escorts, they are protected.
This is where the British ambassador slipped a bit. He informed our intelligence services that he is not going to engage anywhere where the ratio of Spitfires to Me-109s is not roughly even. Certainly, the British are patrol attacking the Stukas, but the worst they can do is send them back to base. Stuka losses are stemmed by being protected.
The British are making the assumption that I care if the RAF joins the battle or cowers in their barracks. Honestly, the RAF is not my highest priority. I didn’t make any claims that the Luftwaffe would win the war by itself.
I’ve said before that the biggest barrier to an invasion is the Royal Navy, and to that end, I have been targeting them. I think it kind of caught the British off guard that I could reach them in Belfast.
Last turn the Luftwaffe managed to put a couple of hits on the BB Nelson, a hit on the battlecruiser Repulse, and chased them back to Belfast. This turn, the raid on Belfast put 2 hits on the cruiser York (crippled) and the light cruiser Southampton (crippled). The Nelson and the Repulse escaped damage, and we just cannot even get anything close to the CLA Coventry. Both the Nelson and Repulse are one hit away from becoming crippled. With more time, there could be a lot of damage done to the Royal Fleet.
In Dover, both coastal defenses are hit. One is reduced one level (to 0-1-2), while the other (2-0-0) takes a hit.
A bit to the northeast, bombers on the ground are attacked. Me-110Cs are switched from their bombing role to an escort role. Although they are facing fighters that are roughly equal to them, two of them are shot down, while a Hurricane and a Blen1-F are aborted. Two Do-17Z boimbers are also shot down, but one manages to abort a Beln-4 night fighter. The mission is a “success”, in the fact that a bunch of Hampden and a Whitley bombers were aborted. I just couldn’t get the second hit required to destroy them.
Maybe I am going about this wrong, making individual runs at targets in order to get more shots at a given target, instead of combining strengths to increase the chances of successfully placing one hit.
Time is growing short. A temporary airfield is placed in Dunkerque to help facilitate the number of Me-109s in the area.
So, since I have so many 109s available, why not spread out and attempt to hit more targets?
The problem is that the British have the home field advantage. They get to pick and choose when and where they intercept. Had I split the 15 or so escorts into two groups, the British would have jumped one or the other in mass numbers and picked them apart. They have already done it once, so it has to be prevented in the future, and it has, but the price is a slowdown in progress.
I’m almost at the point where I think I might actually have a (small) chance of getting across the Channel, despite the Royal Navy. Right now it just isn’t feasible, because the KM forces are so small. Over time, three cruisers (Admiral Scheer, Admiral Hipper, Prinz Eugen) and a pair of battlecruisers (Scharnhorst and Gneisenau), and another light cruiser (Leipzig). If the RN doesn’t have battleships, the odds may be evened somewhat.
If only the Bismarck were ready. It would be interesting to put her up against the Rodney.
In the end, this is a game. Sometimes you have to say “What the hell!” and just go for it.
And the Germans will be going for it soon.