JF Ptak Science Books Post 2397 Part of a long series on the Display of Quantitative Data
England was last invaded in 1688 by the Dutch republic, following twelve other attempts from 1066, but Adolf Hitler was half-determined to do so (and several of his leading generals who were not-at-all determined, anti-determined to do so) himself, trying to follow in the lost footsteps of Napoleon with Operation Sea Lion (Unternehmen Seelöwe). Napoleon failed of course, as did his predecessors: three French, two Spanish, and an Austrian attempt since 1707. And so would Hitler, although he would never come close to implementing much outside of his terror attacks on cities in the U.K. and the war waged on the RAF (and particularly Fight Command)--control of the air being integral to any sort of invasion that he might try to mount.
It was at the beginning of this air attempt--the Battle of Britain--that the following interesting small graphic appeared in the Illustrated London News (June 29, 1940), a featurette on what it would require for the Germans to mount a successful invasion of England.
Some part of it doesn't make sense to me, (sitting here quietly in the future, not having Nazis flying overhead trying to kill my country)--like a convoy of troop carrier set at 250 to carry a million soldiers into the U.K. Plus there were all of the stuff of invasion--food, supplies, support, materiel of all shapes and sizes and description, and on and on. The D-Day invasion force used 5000 ships and watercraft to land 156k soldiers along a 50 mile front in Normandy, plus aircraft and paratroops and so forth. An utterly understated "spectacular" undertaking--and no doubt the Germans would have had to do something along similar lines, a lot of something that they just didn't have. But no one knew this yet, not really.
This small series of graphics probably served two purposes: one was to alert English readers that such an invasion was theoretically possible, and secondly, that, well, it was in some ways impossible, given the enormity of the task. So, beware, but do not fear, is what I think the message was here.
And by the way here are two bits of films about a successful Nazi invasion of England:
It Happened Here, 1966: