A Successful Sealion (Part 2)
Sequel to A Successful Sealion Part 1
By Chris Nuttall
All jihads against Sealion to be directed to someone who needs more enemies. Cough Bin Laden Cough.
What has happened so far: Nazi Germany has conquered Britain.
Now Read On: The Germans have reluctantly accepted a provisional British government, under General Fuller, as the British representative for the surrender terms. (Naturally, they don’t count the Churchill Government in the Bahamas.) They would have preferred to dictate terms to Churchill, but he’s done the sensible thing and run off to safety.
As September 1940 comes to an end, the Germans make their dispositions for Britain. The Germans have drawn up vast, complicated, and impractical plans for the occupation – most of which don’t last more than a few weeks. The Germans settle for annexing a small part of southern England as German territory, and controlling the rest through the Fuller Government. The Fuller Government operates under similar rules to Vichy; they have a small army and only a limited navy. The handful of ships that don’t or can’t make the run to Canada are handed over to the Germans.
The German occupation has a knock-on effect in Ireland. Historically, Dev et al tried to stay out of the fighting, but leant slightly towards the UK. With German bases in the UK, they are forced to sign agreements with Germany, although they do get Northern Ireland in exchange. Hitler could care less about the North; Fuller has his arm twisted into agreeing to allow the Irish to take over unopposed. Some UK forces slip the Irish weapons before leaving – so round something or other of the Irish Civil War breaks out. Thousands of Irish flee to the US, or even to the UK.
For the moment, resistance remains at a low level and is mainly confined to German occupied territories. The British underground simply didn’t have the organisation in place to maintain a major presence everywhere – and now the Germans are watching closely. It doesn’t take long for the SS and the bastardised version of MI5 to develop a powerful state security apparatus, although some elements within MI5 are actively helping what underground there is.
The problem is that fighting seems to be hopeless. The 100’000 strong army the Germans have allowed the UK to keep is an infantry army. The UK no longer has a navy or an air force; the Germans have taken over most of the factories. Some of them are producing some fighters and tanks for the Germans. Hitler still has naval ambitions and has placed orders with British firms for battleships and carriers.
Civilian morale, however, remains low. The rationing system is still in service, but Britain needs to import its food – and suddenly it has no foreign possessions (see below). Ironically, the system is working better than it did, at least vis a vis the fairness aspect, but there simply isn’t enough food anywhere.
The Churchill Government has its own problems. Unlike the Free French, which are even weaker in this timeline, they have control of a large portion of the Royal Navy and some considerable, if undertrained, land forces. They do not, however, have the means to support the Royal Navy, even with Canada’s full support. This has political implications; while the King is welcome in Canada, the British Government is not. In addition, places like Austrilia are asking for help against Japan, which Churchill is not in a position to provide. That sends the Australians leaning towards the US, which weakens Churchill’s position still further.
South Africa is the real problem. South Africa was always reluctant to take part in the war. The loss of Britain itself to German invasion convinces many in South Africa that further participation in the war is futile; and as they provide some of the troops in Africa, their loss could be very bad indeed. The Smuts government ends up with little choice; they ask Hitler for a formal peace treaty in October – adding insult to injury by taking the other British possessions in southern Africa under their wing.
October 1940-January 1941: The collapse of British power convinces many that the British empire is now a military vacuum, with the prize going to whoever can pick up all the pieces. Mussolini, who is boasting about the Italian contribution to Sealion (a handful of aircraft), makes the first serious move. He sends a force into Egypt and a second, smaller force into Malta. Malta simply doesn’t have the ability to resist even the Italians; it falls quickly.
Egypt provides a harder case, although not for the reasons one might have suspected. The loss of Britain itself has left the Army of Egypt (Wavell) as the largest British force still active, at 30’000men, plus supplies. The problem is that that army is in very bad shape indeed. Historically, Churchill was able to send supplies to aid Wavell in dealing with the Italians; in ATL those supplies don’t exist or are in German hands. What supplies can be sent from the Bahamas or India are insufficient.
Complicating Wavell’s hand is that the Egyptians really don’t like British domination – and they’re hardly keen on Italian domination either. As Wavell cannot risk taking the offensive, the perception of British weakness grows – and the Egyptians launch an uprising. This triggers off other anti-British movements in Palestine and Iraq, both of which are very hard to deal with. Without much in the way of formal opposition, even the Italians can make progress, reaching Cairo by late October.
The British collapse prompts Franco to act, largely on the grounds he has nothing left to lose. (The British lifeline has been cut with the fall of the UK.) Despite Fuller’s protests, Spain attacks Gibraltar and, after a long fight, forces the fortress to surrender. For better or worse, British ships can no longer enter the Med.
Settling the affairs of Egypt makes Mussolini feel important. The delay gives Wavell time to withdraw his men over the Suez, and then pull out the handful of remaining ships from the Med and sending them to India. The British logistical situation is very bad; the Italians are fortunately too incompetent to take advantage of it. As the British take up defensive positions in Palestine, fending off radical Arabs and Jews, Mussolini finally comes to an arrangement with the Egyptians.
This gets Hitler interested, particularly when South Africa throws in the towel. Although he could care less about the ground, the last thing he wants is an ongoing running sore. He’s also interested in snatching the oil wells in Iraq, which would help solve both his problems and the problems of fuelling the war that he plans to launch in Russia. After signing a peace treaty with South Africa, he pushes Mussolini into moving faster across the Suez.
This task would be beyond the Italians under normal circumstances. With the unsettled situation in Egypt, it’s a lot harder. If the British logistics weren’t as bad, they would be in real trouble. As it is, Wavell makes them fight hard for every last patch of ground, but is finally defeated by an Arab uprising. The British withdraw in bad order down the coast of Arabia, using their local naval superiority to evacuate troops before they can be trapped and taken prisoner.
Hitler wastes no time in signing a treaty with the Mufti of Jurusoum, basically making him ruler of Arabia and assisting him in treating the Jews anyway he wants to. The Jews fight hard and bitterly, but there is no possible hope for them, even without the involvement of the Germans or Italians. While Hitler and Mussolini scrabble over who should rule the place, the Jews are systematically hunted down and exterminated. With the British pretty much out of the picture, Ibn Saud makes a deal with Hitler, switching sides in exchange for money.
That starts a collapsing chain of dominos. Iraq is the first to go, rising up against the British under Rashid Ali (?) Iran follows quickly. Historically, Iraq was handled fairly quickly by a capable British force – which doesn’t exist in ATL. The British don’t have anything capable of doing the hard task of recovering the country. Iran, in the meantime, is worried about Soviet military moves to the north. The Germans make a number of contacts in both nations, although they stay away from a formal commitment to Iran.
The chain of dominos stops at India. Ironically, the British are actually stronger than they were in OTL, as they have the remains of Wavell’s army. They also have control of a vast and capable intelligence network, allowing them to nip trouble in the bud, and the support of the Princes. The opposition, the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, are disunited – and they’re nervous about the sudden prospect of German occupation. (Events in the Far East make them even more concerned.)
Churchill is outraged at the thought of granting any Indian right to rule themselves, but faces pressure from Wavell and the US government. The plain fact is that the Raj no longer has the prestige it once enjoyed – and without Indian commitment it will fall quickly. The British cannot allow a nation divided within itself and at the same time threatened from two separate directions. After much muttering, the British and the nationalists forge a compromise; Indian access to decision-making and considerable Home Rule powers.
Historically, Japan was considering jumping on the British when the Germans launched Sealion. By historical coincidence, in late 1940 the Japanese were going through a process of internal turmoil. Britain’s fall helps to resolve one part of the issue; the British are weak, and can therefore be picked on without unpleasantness. The Japanese march in to the Dutch East Indies and demand major concessions in China, mainly control over Hong Kong. This actually solves some of their resource problems, although it gives Yamamoto headaches at the thought of defending it from the Americans.
The American Elections: By accident or design, the Japanese strike just before election 1940 in the United States. The US has been more divided, not less, since Britain fell, but there is more realisation that the US needs a strong defence force. After Japan takes the Dutch East Indies, Roosevelt wins the election, promising to defeat US interest across the globe. The US’s build-up is bigger than OTL for the simple fact that there are no supplies going to the UK. Some supplies make their way to Australia, which is trying frantically to build an army. There is a major falling-out between Menzies and Churchill over the issue of the Australian troops in the Middle East; Menzies wants them home ASAP.
The US is not engaged, even slightly, against Germany. There is no Battle of the Atlantic going on in this timeline. The US is providing some support to the Churchill Government – something that Hitler has chosen to ignore – but Roosevelt suspects that there is no way that the British can recover their homeland without direct US support. The closest competition between the US and Germany is over the Middle East; the US has interests in Saudi and considerable goodwill in Iran.
Roosevelt is not eager for war and he knows that his own party will turn against him if he acts to provoke war, let alone start one. There is little support for a war against Germany, but there is a great deal of paranoia over Japan. Roosevelt takes advantage of that to fund a larger navy, a larger army, and a Philippines army. He also convinces Churchill to allow the US to take over the occupation of Iceland and forges (to Churchill’s fury) new trade links with Iran.
Germany (Jan 1941-June 1941): Like it or not, the Germans are getting drawn into the complexities of Middle Eastern politics. They have some allies, such as the radicals in Palestine, and some new enemies. Hitler wasn’t keen on territory, preferring to allow the Vichy French and the Italians to do the hard work, but German businesses are working within Saudi and Iraq. A secure middle east is a requirement, but one is not to be seen.
For the moment, the Germans concentrate on building military ties with Iraq and Iran, both as a counter-balance to US influence within Iran and to keep the Soviets from looking to Iran. They also pressure the Balkan states into a new alignment (some territory to Stalin, others to join a German-dominated alliance) and work hard to gain influence in Turkey. The Turks are reluctant to play ball with the Germans, but they have no one capable of providing them with support except Stalin – and they don’t trust him enough to risk calling for help.
Hitler is still determined to invade Russia, setting a target date for April 1941. His generals finally manage to convince him that that’s not possible, and he reluctantly moves in favour of June. Germany is actually stronger than it was in OTL, without an entire army fighting in North Africa and considerable oil supplies, but fighting Stalin will be a challenge. Even with the economic growth, the USSR is still a pretty big target.
Hitler is trying to forget about the US. The US occupation of Iceland arouses his paranoia. It’s not enough to convince him to declare war, but he does want to end the running sore of the Churchill Government. The problem is that Germany simply lacks the ability to threaten the Bahamas; the Kriegsmarine is making huge strides, but it lacks the ability to confront the USN. For the moment, Hitler sends a handful of submarines to the Caribbean, although they produce no useful result.
His charm offensive has a little more success. Rudolf Hess is sent to the Bahamas through Sweden, offering to end the war, provided that the British recognise the German conquests in Europe. Hess’s offer has a sting in the tail; any UK serviceman who wants to return to the UK can do so – and the Germans won’t do anything to him. While Churchill speaks out against it, there are in fact a number of desertions to French-held islands, not all of which are Free French.
Hitler’s final offer is to the former King Edward, inviting him back to Britain to work for the good of both nations. Edward is tempted, but is actively prevented by the Churchill Government from returning. The entire affair leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth – even Hitler’s.
Stalin/Russia: The Soviets watched the fall of Britain with some alarm. That turned to outright panic when a chain of German bases appeared in the Middle East, leading towards Iran. Historically, the Soviets had designs on Iran, which were thwarted by pressure from one of the other powers. In ATL, it is Germany that has taken on the position of Iran’s protector, not something to please Stalin.
At the same time, Stalin is scared of Germany; the German army has so far managed to take everything it wanted. By contrast, the Red Army made a mess of Finland…and really is not doing too well in Afghanistan. Stalin’s decision to grab Afghanistan might not have been the brightest idea he ever had… In the meantime, Japan is actually stronger than OTL, and it might be thinking about trying for Siberia again.
Stalin desperately wants to believe that Hitler means him no harm. He acts to appease Hitler, sending Germany goods at cut-rate prices, while dividing up the Balkans between him and Italy. He carves a large chunk of Romania up for his amusement, and Hitler doesn’t react. He ignores signs of growing German hostility…until it is almost too late. The Germans have been sending aircraft over the border, attempting to scout out the defences of the USSR – and one of them crashes. (This happened in OTL.)
In ATL, Stalin starts making serious preparation for war. For the first time, the USSR aircraft seek to intercept German planes, although under strict instructions not to shoot first. A string of air battles between Germans and Russians begin over the Eastern border, convincing Hitler that Stalin means to strike first. Germany begins preparations for total war, preparations that have an unquestionable impact on Britain…
End of Part 2! If you want more, comment!