Hawker Hurricane plane.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft.

Sea Lion

a novel by Steve Barrett
Sea Lion Home page.


The Reality of
 Operation Sea Lion


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Information on Sea Lion.

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About Steve Barrett, author of the novel "Sea Lion"
Books such as Peter Fleming's Invasion 1940 have described in detail the real events behind the planning and final cancellation of Operation Sea Lion. Peter Fleming, incidentally, was not only involved in the planning for the "stay behind" parties described in my fictional book, but also had a famous brother, Ian - yes, the author of the James Bond books.

Both Hitler and Churchill encouraged the belief that Germany was going to invade mainland Britain, long after both knew it was not going to happen. Hitler wanted to maintain a diversion of British resources, and Churchill thought it gave the people on the "Home Front" a focus and emphasised to them the reason for the daily hardships that they had to endure. In short, it meant that people grumbled at the enemy rather than the British Government!

The German High Command was generally sceptical about whether a successful invasion across the Channel was feasible. The Army was confident that, once ashore and with the supply situation somehow taken care of (by the Navy and Air Force, presumably), they could prevail. The Navy seemed to think that the whole idea was preposterous unless the British Navy and Air Force could be eliminated. In 1940 the German Navy was inferior to the British Navy, and they were right to be very wary in this department. Although the Germans had superiority of numbers in terms of aircraft, the quality of their machines varied from excellent through to obsolescent.

The Air Force (Luftwaffe) thought that they could defeat Britain without the help of the other services. Indeed, they came very close to doing just that. Exactly what proportion of tactics, skill, luck and technology contributed to the result of the Battle of Britain is open to debate. What is indisputable is that all three German services agreed that without air superiority over the Channel and battlegrounds the invasion could not be attempted.

It is true to say that in the novel I have had to invent quite a few changes to history to make Operation Sea Lion feasible. A generally good argument as to the impossibility of Sea Lion can be found at www.flin.demon.co.uk, although I take gentle exception to the assertion there that a fictional account of an attempted Operation Sea Lion would of necessity be self-defeating!

I have provided a separate page on this site which provides a list of the major deviations from reality within the book. If you are reading the book you may prefer to look at this after you have finished it - click here to see the page in question.    


Web site and novel both copyright 2001 Steve Barrett