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: The Alternate History of the German Invasion of England, July 1940 (Greenhill Military Paperbacks)

Author: Kenneth MacKsey
224 pages (March 1999)
Greenhill Books/Lionel Leventhal;
ISBN: 1853673617 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.74 x 9.35 x 6.18


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Table of Contents

A Lion is Born
The germ of an idea
The basis of a plan
Britain in peril
The American factor
A Gathering of Forces
Set-backs at Dunkirk
The plans take shape
The Luftwaffe
The Kriegsmarine
The land forces
`Sealion' is christened
The Taking of Western Europe
Battle at sea
Battle in France
Italy enters the war
Britain on her own
Britain Against the Wall
A nation in tension
A false lead
The Navy prepares
An Army at its Weakest
Air Power--the main element of defence
The people at war
The Testing Time
Kesselring probes
Battles of the Convoys
The Channel Guns Open Fire
The Royal Navy Pulls Back
Tragedy at Oran
Assumptions and Plans
Jeschonnek puts on the pressure
Doubts in the Kriegsmarine
Reservations among the generals
Confidence among airmen
Formation `Pig Pile'
The Intelligence battle--the German view
The battle for the Straits is joined
1st (London) Division prepares
`We place our trust in the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine'
Days of the Eagle
The battle of Britain opens--8 July
Eagle Day--9July
The second day--10 July
The third day--11 July
The set-back
The fourth day--12 July
On the brink--the fifth day
Cromwell alert
Assault from the Sky
The Germans take off
Glider landing
The parachute landings--West Hougham
The parachute landings--St. Martin's Plain
The RAF strikes back
Assault from the Sea
Contact at sea
Battle in the Straits
Check at Hythe
Tanks in action
The first martyr
Battle of the cliff-tops
Disaster under the cliffs
The Fight for the Bridgehead
The counter-thrust
The Germans consolidate
Ships versus aircraft and mines
Dover falls
1st Armoured Division committed
An Intelligence Wind-fall
Check and Counter-Check
Tanks advance
Destruction of the armour
An Important victory
The Trade-Off
Counting the cost
Last gasp at Hythe
The cruiser battle
The Luftwaffe takes hold
Logistics and public relations
The American price
The Fleet seeks battle
The Crunch
The Germans advance
The Dover martyrs
Vacillation in Whitehall
The Battle of the GHQ Line
The Busch plan
Maidstone in the front line
The peace offensive
London under fire
The battle of Maidstone
The last tank attack
Force H intervenes
Struggle for the North Downs
The siege of London begins
Ironside resigns
The Hinge of Destiny
The masses of manoeuvre
Tanks on the rampage
Time for a halt
A change of government
The last act
Hitler looks to the future
As It Happened
Historical Notes
Select Bibliography

Book Description
*35 b/w photos
* 16 illustrations
* 12 maps
* 6 x 9
* Based on actual German plans with maps and authentic illustrations
* Carefully researched and superbly written

In June 1940, as German troops massed across the Channel, poised for the invasion of Britain, Hitler seemed ready for his greatest gamble. In this compelling alternate history the Germans actually launch the invasion. Landing between Dover and Hythe, German troops push inland, supported by the Luftwaffe and the panzers, and strike toward London. A classic and harrowing insight into how Britain's war might have gone. Kenneth Macksey is the author of

Guderian: Panzer General and Kesselring: Master Strategist of World War II.


This book is a very interesting examination of the possibility of a German invasion of Britain in July 1940. Unfortunately, the treatment of the British defense feels as though he is not making decisions based upon what is likely to have happened, but rather what would make the telling of the story more exciting. In particular, one gets the feeling that British couldn't defend themselves against a lone German soldier with a dull rusty spear. And his treatment of the RN (Royal Navy) has a similar feel to it. One has to remember that in our timeline the British fought the Battle of Britain and stood firm in the summer of 1940, but there is none of that British courage and competence here, while the Germans get all the breaks. I recommend reading it, but don't hope for too much.

A well-written hypothetical account on what if the German Whermacht had launched Operation Sealion in July 1940 right after the fall of France. In this version, the Germans land two infantry divisions near Dover and drop the 7th Airborne Division. In short, the British counterattack fails, the Germans land their armor and British resistance collapses after about two weeks. Macksey includes good military detail, but he tends to portray most British actions as half-hearted and inept. The sea battles go far too well for the Germans and the Royal Navy doesn't put in a good effort. The whole concept of a German invasion of England resides in accepting that the Germans could cross the English Channel in the face of desperate British resistance. Unfortunately, Macksey doesn't really convince the reader that the Kriegsmarine could do this. Macksey is a former armor officer and the parts covering ground operations are the best, but the naval chapters are weak. Logistic issues are glossed over. Interesting, but a bit far-fetched. Maps are excellent and will be appreciated by military historians.


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