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"‘Executive Fuller!’ - The RAF and the Channel Dash" Topic

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1,062 hits since 6 Jan 2013
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Kaoschallenged Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 5:55 p.m. PST

"In February 1942, the Wehrmacht executed a well-planned and highly effective joint air-sea operation to transfer a powerful battle squadron from Brest to Wilhelmshaven in what become known as the ‘Channel Dash'. Although this was a relatively minor action, it resonated strongly across the levels of warfare: for the Germans, it was a tactical success, but ultimately a strategic failure, while for the British, it was a minor tactical embarrassment that was inflated by the context of other events into a direct threat to the survival of Churchill's government at the grand strategic level. This paper provides an analysis of the RAF's participation in the Channel Dash and identifies the key points of failure: these include structure, in terms of the poor organisation of the system of command, and agency, particularly in the characters of the most important personalities involved. Other important themes emerge: at a time of intense focus on air-land integration, the Channel Dash illustrates that empathy and understanding is also required to make air-maritime operations work, while the need to balance operational security against the requirement for absolute clarity of communication in high-tempo military actions is also prominent"

PDF link

Mako11 Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 5:58 p.m. PST

I seem to recall it was more of a Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe op, but…..

Thanks for sharing the PDF link.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 6:38 p.m. PST

Most welcome Mako. I was confused about the statement it was a Wehrmacht operation. Though I wonder if Group Captain Alistair Byford was using it in the context of using it for meaning the unified armed forces of Germany. Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 9:18 p.m. PST

Looks like the Westland Whirlwind was used. Robert

"Channel Dash
Three Westland Whirlwinds of 263 Squadron in stepped line-astern formation

No. 137 Squadron's worst losses were to be on 12 February 1942 during the Channel Dash, when they were sent to escort five British destroyers, unaware of the escaping German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Four Whirlwinds took off at 13:10 hours, and soon sighted warships through the clouds about 20 miles from the Belgian coast. They descended to investigate and were immediately jumped by about 20 Bf 109s of Jagdgeschwader 2. The Whirlwinds shot at anything they got in their sights, but the battle was against odds. While this was going on, at 13:40 two additional Whirlwinds were sent up to relieve the first four, two more whirlwinds took off at 14:25. Four of the eight Whirlwinds failed to return."

Mako11 Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 9:40 p.m. PST

I suspect you are correct.

Can't imagine the actual Wehrmacht did much, other than perhaps watch from the French cliffs.

Thanks for sharing the Whirlwinds info as well, since I could use some of those for a sortie, or two.

Now, to find some decent 1/144th scale models of them.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 10:22 p.m. PST

My Pleasure. I know that Tumbling Dice has them in 1/600 . Robert

Tin Soldier Man Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 11:57 p.m. PST

The kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe were both part of the Wehrmacht.

For some reason people use the term Wehrmacht, the armed forces, when they mean Heer, the army.

The Wehrmacht was made up of all three services, army, navy and airforce.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 10:10 a.m. PST

That was what I pointed out in my 3rd posting. As far as I recall the Heer was not involved in the Channel Dash LOL. Robert

Mako11 Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 5:31 p.m. PST

Thanks for the clarifications.

I've only heard of the Wehrmacht as relating to the army, and forgot about the Heer, which seems to be rarely used.

Lots of good fodder in the article for various game scenarios.

I particularly like the Luftwaffe escort for the British DDs. LOL.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 11:25 p.m. PST

No prob there Mako. I tend to forget sometimes too. as do many others LOL grin. Robert

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