Fieseler Storch and Operation Sealion

Operation Sea Lion was the code name for Nazi Germany’s planned invasion of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in World War II. The operation was never launched, as the German Luftwaffe failed to achieve air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The plan for Operation Sea Lion was developed in the summer of 1940, after the German victory in the Battle of France. Hitler believed that Britain would be forced to surrender if it was invaded. The German army would land on the south coast of England and quickly overwhelm the British forces.

The invasion was scheduled to take place in September 1940. However, the Luftwaffe was unable to achieve air superiority over the RAF. The RAF Fighter Command fought a series of decisive battles against the Luftwaffe, and by the end of September, the Germans were forced to postpone Operation Sea Lion indefinitely.

The failure of Operation Sea Lion was a major turning point in the war. It showed that the British were not going to surrender without a fight, and it gave the Allies time to build up their forces for the eventual invasion of Europe.

I have been reading a book on Operation Sealion.

Invasion: The Alternative History of the German Invasion of England, July 1940 

Landing between Dover and Hythe, German troops push inland supported by the Luftwaffe and the impregnable panzers, and strike out towards London. The British, desperate to defeat the invaders, rally and prepare for a crucial confrontation at Maidstone. Realistic, carefully researched and superbly written, Invasion is a classic of alternate history and a thought-provoking look at how Britain’s war might have been.

There was one section which caught my eye

…the men of Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland, several hundred of whose members were trained to ride in the remarkable Fieseler Storch monoplane which could deliver five assault troopers at a time on landing strips only a few yards in length.

Fieseler Fi 156 Storch
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch at RAF Cosford.

The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch  was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II. It remains famous for its excellent STOL performance and low stall speed of 31 mph.

This got me thinking about a possible gaming scenarios of the Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland flying in during Operation Sealion.

Airfield Attack

In an attempt to capture an airfield intact, the Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland fly into an RAF airfield in their Fieseler Storch aircraft. Their plan to take the airfield so that the Luftwaffe can fly in more troops and supplies.

During the Second World War in 1941, Crete was invaded by German airborne forces while it was being held by Greek, British, and Commonwealth forces. The Allied land forces failed to recognize the crucial significance of the airfields and therefore did not defend them sufficiently, which enabled the German invasion to succeed largely. As a result, the German paratroop and glider forces were able to capture the RAF base at Maleme with significant casualties. The Germans were subsequently reinforced by air from behind Allied lines, ultimately resulting in the loss of the entire island and substantial Allied casualties in what was later known as the Battle of Crete.

You can imagine a similar scenario here during Operation Sealion.

The airfield is poorly defended, RAF personnel and a few armed guards.

Once taken, the Germans need to hold the airfield against attempts by local British forces (regular army or even Home Guard) to retake the airfield, so that the Luftwaffe can fly in reinforcements and much needed supplies.

You could create a turn based narrative, for scoring points. The more turns the Germans hold the airfield for, the more points they get.

Taking Dover Castle

The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 saw the tunnels converted first into an air-raid shelter and then later into a military command centre and underground hospital. 

In an attempt to decapitate the British command, the Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland fly onto Dover Castle in their Fieseler Storch aircraft. Their plan to take the castle, capture the bunkers and disrupt  British command and control during the German invasion.

Dover Castle is well defended and if the Germans are successful in taking the castle, then they can expect a British counter-attack to try and retake it.  The Castle is defended by regular British army forces.

Landing on the Mall

The Mall is a tree-lined road in London that runs from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square. It is a popular tourist destination and is often used for ceremonial events, such as royal weddings and parades. The Mall was originally built in the 18th century as a fashionable promenade. It was later redesigned in the early 20th century to create a grand processional route in honor of Queen Victoria. The Mall is now lined with trees and has a number of important landmarks, including Admiralty Arch, the Victoria Memorial, and St. James’s Palace.

The Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland fly into London in their Fieseler Storch aircraft and land on the Mall.

Now they land in central London to capture key objectives, or even planning to capture high profile prisoners.

From here they can get to 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, the Ministry of War, Horse Guards, BBC Broadcasting House and other key strategic targets.

Another idea is for the The Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland fly into London in their Fieseler Storch aircraft and land on the Mall. They then need to prepare the Mall as a makeshift runway for Junkers Ju52 transports bringing in reinforcements and supplies.

Junkers Ju52/3M (CASA 352L) at RAF Cosford.

The Ju 52 is a three-engined, all-metal monoplane that was first flown in 1932. It was used by the German Air Force during World War II and is still in use today by a number of civilian operators. The Ju 52 is known for its ruggedness and reliability, and it has been used in a variety of roles, including passenger transport, cargo transport, and military transport.

The Mall is 930 metres long and 36 metres wide. The Junkers Ju52 had a wingspan of 29 metres, but only needs a landing strip of 457 metres. It can also take off in just over 600 metres. It would be a tight fit, but the ability to land a transport in the heart of London would make it much easier to both reinforce an invasion force, but also to take away any prisoners.

There are potentially lots of other ideas for scenarios for the Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland and their Fieseler Storch aircraft during Operation Sealion, which I might explore in another blog post.