Monday, March 9, 2015
Britain Fights On...
HOME GUARD “Dad’s Army.” The British civil defense force, founded on May 14, 1940. Originally called the “Local Defense Volunteers,” it especially utilized men over normal military age, many of them veterans of the Great War. It kept coastal and air watches, looked out for spies, and trained haphazardly with whatever weapons (or dummy rifles) it could scrounge. From February 1941, its structure became more regular and formal as it served to train underage boys before they were formally conscripted. The Home Guard “stood down” in December 1944.
“SEALION.” German code name for a planned invasion of Great Britain in 1940. The British prepared to meet a German invasion even before Adolf Hitler contemplated it or realized that it would be necessary. After the defeat of France in FALL GELB, a British decision was made to fight on regardless. Britain’s gold reserves and other means of financing the war were shipped to Canada in July. The Home Army was organized and 1.5 million British and Commonwealth regulars hurriedly armed with American weapons. A secret guerilla army was organized with orders to fight in Scotland, Wales, and the Midlands, should southern England fall. The Royal Navy readied for catastrophic losses in a mighty battle to deny a Channel crossing by the Wehrmacht, and gas weapons were authorized for use against any German beachhead or lodgement. Beyond that, plans were made to fight on from the Empire if the island of Great Britain fell, to hold on and continue the war until the Americans entered it. On July 16, 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered preparations undertaken for a crossing of the Channel and invasion of Britain.