Catalogue ref: CAB 101/347
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This source is a summary of the plans of the German armed forces to invade Britain across the English Channel in the early autumn of 1940.
These instructions were taken from German documents that were discovered after the war.
In May 1940 German forces drove British armies out of France. France surrendered on June 21st 1940. Soon afterwards German forces took over the Channel Islands. Hitler and his generals had clear plans to invade Britain in 1940.
The problem for the Germans was the Royal Navy. British ships would have destroyed their invasion ships. As a result they needed to control the air. As a result the first stage of the invasion was an attack on the Royal Air Force, which became known as the Battle of Britain.
Operation Sealion was a massive operation. British intelligence estimated that the Germans would use around 35 divisions (up to 600 000 men) to invade Britain. There were detailed plans to invade on the south coast in Sussex and possibly in Dorset as well.
Although the invasion did not happen in 1940 the invasion craft and many of the soldiers remained in France until well into 1941. It was not until Hitler invaded the USSR that the idea of an invasion was completely abandoned. Most of the troops in France were then transferred to fight the USSR.
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