24.3.41

The reports of German heavy cruisers in the Atlantic somehow have the appearance of being a false rumour to draw British capital ships away. [1] That might conceivably be a prelude to invasion. Expectation of invasion has much faded away, because it is generally felt that Hitler could not now conquer England with any force he would be able to bring here, unless British sea and air power had been greatly worn down beforehand. I think this is probably so and that Hitler will not attempt invasion until he has had a spectacular success elsewhere, because the invasion itself would appear as a failure and would need something to offset it. But I think that an unsuccessful invasion meaning the loss of, say, 100,000 or even 500,000 men, might well do his job for him, because of the utter paralysis of industry and internal food-supply it might cause. If a few hundred thousand men could be landed and could hold out for even three weeks they would have done more damage than thousands of air-raids could do. But the effects of this would not be apparent immediately, and therefore Hitler is only likely to try it when things are going conspicuously well for him.

Evidently there is very serious shortage of Home Guard equipment, i.e. weapons. On the other hand, the captures of arms in Africa are said to be so enormous that experts are being sent out to inventory them. Drawings will then be made and fresh weapons manufactured to these specifications, the captured ones being sufficient as the nucleus for a whole new range of armaments.

[1] It was no false rumour. The pocket-battleship Scheer and the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sank or captured seventeen ships about this time (long-range bombers sank 41; U-boats, 41). The battlecruisers reached Brest on 22 March but were then immobilized following British air attacks on the port. Peter Davison

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3 Responses to 24.3.41

  1. gnb says:

    Fortunately however, Hitler wont be having many things going conspicuously well for him for too much longer.

  2. Monday, 24.3.41:
    Churchill to Roosevelt:
    “…It seems highly probable that 3 or 4 U-boats are working against our African trade route. A number of ships have been sunk in recent convoys, and the battleship Malaya has been torpedoed while escorting the latest convoy. We would be much obliged if she could be repaired in the United States yard. She is now steaming thither at 14 knots.”

  3. George~~
    How very Orwellian of you:
    [For Hitler,] “…an unsuccessful invasion meaning the loss of, say, 100,000 or even 500,000 men…” [would be a good thing.]

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