14 September – On this day

Hitler decides that Goering needs four or five consecutive days of fine weather to hammer home his advantage.

Accordingly he defers his decision on the invasion once more, until 17 September, which in turn means that the invasion cannot take place until 27 September. This is a final date because 8 October might be the only day when conditions will be suitable for the landing; this is dangerously near winter for the exploitation stage of the invasion. There can almost certainly be no further postponement.


Comment: There is a strong case to be made that Hitler never intended to invade Britain. He was a noted Anglophile (seeing England as a natural ally of Germany in the lead up to war), despite evidence of British hostility to German expansionism. His always stated primary target was communism and the Soviet Union, and his actions immediately following of the cancellation of Sealion support this. The air battles over Britain and the invasion preparations are more likely to be part of an effort to intimidate Britain into seeking a settlement … if they had led to the collapse of Britain then this was a good outcome, but a settlement would have been perfectly satisfactory, and (even worse for Germany) Hitler does not have a problem leaving Britain undefeated in the west when he turns to the east. This is just another example of Hitler’s willingness to gamble with strategy as he had gambled with his invasion of Poland a year before.

Seriously? Could the Germans have succeeded in an invasion of Britain?

Any analysis of the military situation seems to ignore the fact that the British could still control the Channel with sea power if their air defence faltered, and that a sea-borne invasion by the Germans would have almost certainly led to a massacre in the channel.