Operation Sea Lion

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For more information, see: Amphibious warfare.
See also: Battle of Britain

Operation Sea Lion was the code name for Nazi Germany's planned, but never executed, invasion of Great Britain. The German Army and Navy believed they needed air supremacy to cross the English Channel. The Battle of Britain was fought, from the German perspective, to achieve that air supremacy. They did not believe Britain would surrender without a physical invasion; the decisive battle would be on English soil.

German concept of operations

In many respects, German amphibious warfare doctrine treated crossing the English Channel as a river-crossing problem on a larger scale. They expected to use flat-bottomed boats as landing craft, which would be loaded in French ports and would sail directly to their targets. The Germans did not use the Allied concept of lowering specialized landing craft from attack transport ships.

Small craft of this type would have needed ideal weather even to have attempted the invasion, but were vulnerable to being swamped by the waves produced by defending destroyers moving at high speed. Neither gunfire nor ramming would be needed to stop most of the invasion troops, as long as the Royal Navy was operational.

There seems to have been little co-operation between the German armed forces, and despite the impressive build up of barges and other equipment in the Channel ports, the actual detailed planning for the operation, code-named "Sea Lion", was never really thrashed out. All depended on the success of the Luftwaffe it would appear, before the invasion was to be taken seriously[1]

British defensive situation

German offensive situation

German ocupation plans

Franz Six was designated as HSSPF, and would have Einsatzgruppen.


  1. Royal Air Force, Phase 1, July 10-August 7, Battle of Britain