Invasion Scare 1940
London: Leo Cooper, 1990
See also more books from:
See also more books on the same topic(s):
Battle of Britain, Operation Sea Lion, and the Blitz, 1940-1941
Operation Sea Lion
United Kingdom: Home front and occupation
See also references to this book:
Reference in book review/survey March 1998
Feedback from visitors
Feedback from Angus McLellan on Monday, 13 June 2005
Rates this book:
This is the best general work on Operation Sealion, the erstwhile German plan to invade England in 1940. It views the fateful summer from a largely British perspective. The view from the German side can be found in Kieser's less inspiring work. Having said this, Peter Fleming's old standard "Invasion 1940" remains the most readable and entertaining work on Sealion and should certainly be read by anyone interested in the subject.
Glover is very unimpressed by German plans and preparations, indeed no author since Duncan Grinnell-Milne in "The Silent Victory" has taken a wholly negative view of German prospects. Glover's analysis of the flaws in German planning, of which the failure to address how the invasion fleet was to be protected is the most obvious, is well considered and convincing. Where Glover breaks new ground is in considering the British Army as something more than an inert mass whose defeat would be inevitable at the hands of the Teutonic Supermen. Generals Thorne and Leese, to name but two of the defending commanders, were not out of the same mould as Gamelin or Georges. Glover's other major service is to consider the topography of the Germans' chosen landing sites. The results are surprising, and go very far to justify Glover's conclusion that the invasion was doomed to fail even in the short term. Even a cursory look at a good map confirms that half of the invasion beaches were such as to make the chances of getting off the beach on S-Day, or any other day, very small indeed. It is, in hindsight, surprising that no author before Glover did this, or walked the ground.
Glover's conclusion, reasonably enough given his view of the chances of a successful invasion, is that the entire German effort to bomb and invade Britain in 1940 was flawed. It would, he suggests, have been altogether better to have simply ignored the British, depriving them of the twin triumphs of the Battle of Britain and the "defeat" of the German invasion threat. Without these, would the British have pursued the war into 1941 ? There is certainly something to be said for this argument, although Glover does make it clear that the invasion scare in Britain began, aided and encouraged by Churchill, long before any German plans had been laid.
Although out of print, Glover's book should be readily available second hand. I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in Operation Sealion.
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