Hitler’s Invasion of East Anglia 1940, An Historical Cover Up?

A best selling aviation historian poses questions and provides some answers about the great mysteries of 1940. The Germans controlled the Western coastline from Norway’s North Cape to the Spanish border, so what happened to Operation Sealion? – Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Hitler's Invasion of East Anglia 1940, An Historical Cover Up?
FILE: R3062
AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £25.00                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, 1940, post-
Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo, Home Guard, British Resistance Volunteers, anti-glider 
poles, airborne landings, amphibious landings, reconnaissance raids, coastal defences, 
Norfolk Broads, flying boats, commando raids

ISBN: 1-52670-548-6

PAGES: 274
IMAGE: B3062.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/ye3z94wt
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: A best selling aviation historian poses questions and provides some 
answers about the great mysteries of 1940. The Germans controlled the Western 
coastline from Norway's North Cape to the Spanish border, so what happened to 
Operation Sealion? – Highly Recommended.

In 1940, after the Battle of France had been lost, Britain stood alone, save for the 
Commonwealth and those nationals who had escaped to Britain from the mainland to 
form Free Forces continuing the fight to liberate their countries. The significant 
success of Operation Dynamo had brought out almost 350,000 British and French 
troops from Dunkirk and the surviving Hurricanes, with a selection of other RAF and 
French Air Force planes, had flow out to the British Isles. However, the troops 
evacuated from Dunkirk and its beaches had left all of their heavy equipment behind 
and even most of their small arms. The opportunity for the Germans to invade Britain 
seemed wide open.

The reality was somewhat different. The Germans had suffered casualties, as they had 
during the invasion of Poland, with trained troops and equipment being the most 
difficult to replace quickly. The German Navy was not enthusiastic about Operation 
Sealion because they understood the risks of moving an invasion force across the 
channel without serious preparation of specialist equipment that was not in the 
German inventory. The German army also had reservations because they had no 
previous experience of launching a large scale amphibious landing on a defended 
coast. The Luftwaffe was confident that it could destroy the RAF on the ground and 
terror bomb British towns as they had already done in Spain, Poland, the Low 
Countries, Scandinavia and France. Hitler had been nervous during the Battle of 
France but was convinced after Dunkirk that the British were defeated and would 
soon wish to agree a peace, allowing him to turn on the Soviet Union.

What the Germans had failed to understand was the significance of the advanced 
command and control system, with its Chain Home radar stations, as a force multiplier 
for the RAF. As the Battle of Britain unfolded, the Luftwaffe were amazed to find the 
RAF increasing the number of aircraft directed onto German air fleets at a time when 
they had been claiming to have shot down almost all of the RAF fighters and put their 
airfields out of action. As the Luftwaffe was falling behind their targets for obtaining 
air superiority, the British were actually striking back from the sea and with airborne 
troops.  The numbers of commando raids were still small and scattered but they were 
steadily increasing in size and frequency. At the same time, the preparations for an 
invasion fleet were not going smoothly. Hundreds of barges and other vessels were 
being assembled and modified, but they were unproven designs and a very long way 
from the standard of special craft built by the Allies for the invasions of German 
territory, beginning with the landings in North Africa. What is difficult to fully 
evaluate is just how big a gift Hitler was to the Allies. His over inflated opinion of his 
skills as a great general were to speed the stalemate and then collapse of Nazi 
Germany, but his early victories had disguised the realities of the German situation, 
where Britain battled on, Allied war production was comfortably out-stripping 
German production, and the entry of the US and the Soviet Union would make 
crippling German defeat inevitable. However, Hitler's view that Britain was defeated 
in May 1940 and no longer posed any threat to his plans for the invasion of the Soviet 
Union go a long way to explaining why the Germans did not mount a reconnaissance 
in force on the British coastline in the way that British and Canadian troops were to be 
used at Dieppe, or even the smaller scale raids from the air and from the sea.

The author has looked at the possibility and pointed out that history is fragile. Every 
nation in and after war presents its view of the victory and the defeated try to find 
excuses. Documents are lost, some events are never documented. During the active 
period, censorship and rumour create false images of what is, or has just, occurred. 
One example from 1940 was MTB 102 which served as flagship for Admiral Wake 
Walker in the closing days of the evacuation from Dunkirk. At 68 ft, MTB 102 had 
only a very small crew working very closely together, and yet two events are 
remembered differently by members of the crew. The Admiral's Flag had to be hastily 
created as a red cross on a white field. Two crew members recalled how it was created 
and from what materials. A tea towel with a red cross painted on it is one relic still 
with the vessel which has been preserved by operation, but there is no guarantee that 
it really is the flag flown. There are different memories of who the senior Army 
officer was who was recovered in the last day of MTB 102's outstanding service at 
Dunkirk. These sorts of differences will have occurred across the range of WWII 
experiences, leaving historians with an impossible task to produce a definitive account 
with all 'proof' being fully confirmed beyond question.

In the case of German attacks on the British Isles by special forces the only two that 
seem to be beyond debate are the commando attack on the Isle of Wight and the 
attacks on US troops rehersing for D-Day at Slapton Sands. However, there are 
numerous attempts recorded of the landing of agents from submarines and aircraft 
where they were rapidly rounded up and either turned as double agents or shot. There 
are also unsubstantiated claims that German supply ships used Irish ports to refuel 
and rearm U-Boats in the same way that ports in Spain and Goa were used. What 
doesn't exist is substantiated evidence of attacks by airborne forces and commando 
raids on Britain. This raises the question of whether the attacks took place, but were 
covered up by the British, and where they were either unrecorded, or the records lost 
on the German side. What does exist are numerous rumours from the time which are 
usually dismissed as invasion fever from the rumour mill.

The British did go to great lengths to make life difficult for airborne forces. Open 
spaces in the East and South of England sprouted anti-glider poles to make it very 
difficult to land even small assault gliders. The Norfolk Broads were similarly 
disrupted by commandeering yachts and motorboats and mooring them across the 
waters to prevent the landing of flying boats and seaplanes. Very quickly, the Home 
Guard was established together with Air Raid Wardens who patrolled at night and 
looked out for parachutes and low flying aircraft, while the Royal Observer Corps and 
the radar networks kept a very effective watch for aircraft of all types, around the clock.

Seaborne attack was also effectively countered. In parts of the East Anglian coast, 
temporary roads of steel sheeting and wire netting were laid on sand to allow frequent 
military vehicle patrols & coastal rail lines were also used for military trains. It is 
surprising if some attempts by the Germans succeeded unnoticed but there are no 
records currently available from either side. There were frequent battles off-shore 
between British and German fast patrol craft. German S-Boats attacked coastal 
convoys and British MTB and MGB crews lurked off sand banks, often in fog, 
waiting to surprise S-Boats heading for coastal convoys. These actions were often 
hard fought and resulted in bodies and wreckage washing up on British and French 
beaches.

Rumours were rife in 1940. People saw German soldiers dressed as nuns and riding 
bicycles. There were stories of gliders landing and of hundreds of burnt bodies of 
German soldiers washing up on beaches. It was a stressful time and people saw what 
they expected to see, perhaps assisted by alcohol, which was still available, and by the 
difficulty of walking, riding or driving in the blackout. In some cases it was miss-
identification when Poles, Czechs, Danes, Norwegians, Belgians and French who had 
escaped the Germans and joined the Free Forces in Britain were seen in unfamiliar 
and confusing situations. Unfamiliar accents, uniforms and salutes caused a degree of 
embarrassment and fresh stories of the Fifth Column. There were also some situations  
that suggest there could have been cover-ups. One example is a strong rumour of the 
bodies of many German soldiers, mostly badly burned, washing ashore on a Norfolk 
beach and of the Resistance Volunteers being ordered to battle stations. Today it is 
common for people leaking classified information cheerfully, but during WWII 
Britons had a highly developed sense of honour and security. Those at Bletchley Park 
and its outstations faithfully kept their secrets for decades and the same applied to the 
Resistance Volunteers. Mainly recruited from the Home Guard and rural occupation, 
Norfolk and Suffolk had particularly strong units. They were formed in 1940 and 
stood down in 1944. They had networks of safe houses and underground facilities 
with weapons and explosive dumps. When the Volunteers were disbanded many of the 
supply dumps were just abandoned and most of the records were lost or destroyed. 
Some information leaked out in the 1950s when a heath fire caused some explosives 
dumps to explode and one of the Volunteers came forward to advise the police and 
firemen where dumps had been placed. The friends and family of the Volunteer had 
been completely unaware of his role in WWII and many had though poorly of him as 
a draft dodger.

The author has considered all of this and offered some views in what is an absorbing 
and very readable review.