Sunday, 31 May 2009

Invasion! Operation Sealion 1940

Living in Kent and with a fascination for the Second World War I have been interested in Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion, for some time. Accordingly, I keep an eye out for any new material on the subject. I actually bought Martin Marix Evans' book a little while ago but have had quite a few books ahead of it on my reading list (as you will have noticed if you follow my Shelfari shelf).

I finished reading it yesterday and so I thought I write a quick outline of the book and my thoughts on it.

The book is split into two parts; Part 1 covers the history leading up to the planned invasion and Part 2 is a conjectural description of the invasion itself had it been launched.

The first part begins on 1 September 1939 and covers the successful invasions of Norway, the Low Countries and France. At first this might seem to be widening the scope of the book somewhat, or if you are a bit of a cynic padding; however, the narrative is clear and provides a useful context to Sealion.

The second part assumes a September invasion and covers the period from 9 to 29 September 1940. It makes a number of quite plausible assumptions and tries to weave real deployment, defences and plans with the conjectural landings and subsequent advance inland.

Whilst the book brings together a good amount of useful information and the conjectural invasion is interesting it doesn't really add very much to the material already published. The invasion is nicely described, although some maps would have made following the narrative easier, and provides some nice low level encounters which anchor it.

Overall I was a little disappointed, not because this is a bad book, it isn't, but rather because it could have been so much more. As it is the book is worth reading if you don't have a library of other material on the subject (which I do) although I did think the ending of the second part could have been handled a little more imaginatively.


  1. Dear Al
    I designed a board wargame on Operation Sealion back in the early 80s. It was published by WWW.


  2. John

    I had no idea - I have Britain Stands Alone by GMT and I was aware of one by SPI. How did yours approach it?



    It was the initial invasion of Kent. We assumed that the RN did not exist or there was no game.