Operation Sea Lion and the Battle of Britain
·Operation Sea Lion was the code name for the German invasion of Great Britain
· Hitler's advisors warned against a direct assault across the Channel without first taking out the Royal Air Force.
· Hitler launched a purely aerial assault on England in August 1940 but was unsuccessful, as the British fighters were clearly superior.
· The aerial engagement has been referred to as the Battle of Britain
· Because he was not able to soften the R.A.F., Hitler never proceeded past the aerial phase of Operation Sea Lion.
Operation Barbarossa and Invasion of Russia
· On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies began a massive invasion of the Soviet Union named Operation Barbarossa
· Hitler had long had his eye on Soviet resources
· Despite Germany’s non-aggression pact with the USSR, some 4.5 million troops launched a surprise attack deployed from German-controlled Poland, Finland, and Romania
· German forces advanced 200 miles into Soviet territory, destroyed nearly 4,000 aircraft, and killed, captured, or wounded some 600,000 Red Army troops.
· December of 1941, German troops were within sight of Moscow, and they laid siege to the city. (The Russian winter later then wiped the Germans out of Moscow)
· By the end of this, one of the largest, deadliest military operations in history, Germany had suffered some 775,000 casualties. More than 800,000 Soviets had been killed, and an additional 6 million Soviet soldiers had been wounded or captured.
· Despite massive advances, Hitler's plan to conquer the Soviet Union before winter had failed, at great cost, and that failure would prove to be a turning point in the war.