Originally Posted by Frtigern
What if the Luftwaffe''s priority was taking out Britain's early radar system?
Some of the difficulties have already been mentioned.
The first question is, with what.
What the Luftwaffe has in great numbers is level bombers. Small huts and radar towers are pinpoint targets. They have to be hit with accuracy. Close-by explosions just make the towers sway in the overpressure, then return to their original position; they were built to withstand the Channel's winds, after all.
That said, large raids could be mounted and some bombs would hit, over time. Naturally, the British can react. We do know that the Germans, in the real fight, were losing more aircraft than the British. Reserve squadrons would be moved forward. AA batteries would be deployed. The Germans would soon be paying a high price, for little result.
Stukas are a good platform - in the absence of defenses. They can deliver a sizable bomb with pinpoint accuracy. The only problem is that they died in droves in the Battle of Britain, so much so that the Germans decided to withdraw them. Additionally, while the Germans have many level bombers, they have less Stukas.
Bf 109s as fighter bombers also could in theory deploy bombs with accuracy, and they wouldn't be as totally vulnerable as the Stukas, nor as vulnerable as level bombers. Unfortunately their payload is too small, the Germans have too few bombing-trained Bf 109 pilots, and too few units for that purpose, and too few bomb racks for them.
Bf 110s would be the ideal platform. That's why I mentioned upthread that the Germans could have acknowledged they had to use them differently. They carry a reasonable bomb, are less vulnerable than bombers (though still being easier targets than Bf 109s), and can strafe auxiliary, non-hardened buildings with reasonable firepower. Unfortunately, the Germans didn't want to use them in this way, had too few Bf 110 pilots trained for ground attack, and too few Bf 110s altogether.
Note that any form of low-level attack (Stukas, Bf 109s, Bf 110s) is vulnerable to all sorts of AA and to the simple but effective countermeasure of balloons.
All that said, if the Germans keep this kind of attack up, casualties be damned, the British EW system will be degraded - provided that the British only react by defending the radar stations with fighters, AA and balloons, as mentioned above.
In particular, level-bombers carrying out saturation attacks will occasionally cut the power lines, which in actual history was nearly the only way in which they managed, by mere chance and often without understanding it, to put a station off line.
But the British can deploy mobile radar stations. They can send generators and repair crews. All things that they historically did, though taking their own sweet time; they can be criticized for this, but one should remember that the Germans were not consistently carrying out a concerted effort against the radar stations. Should the Germans do that, you can bet the British efforts to keep them in service would be redoubled.
Also remember that the radar system was redundant and resilient. If one station is out, the two stations on its sides take up the slack. If one CH station is out, the British still have CHL, and so on.
Also remember that the British still have the Observer Corps.
Nevertheless, the Germans might continue with such a concerted effort, ignoring their own losses at it, and throwing each and every of their assets at the problem. If they do, eventually two results are possible:
a) the Germans do not succeed at consistently keeping the EW system out of service, in which case all their efforts are in vain, or
b) the Germans do succeed at consistently keeping the EW system out of service, in which case all their efforts are in vain.
a) is easily explained. It's the same outcome as in actual history, only with the German defeats in the air taking place over the radar stations.
b) depends from the following factors.
First, we know that the Germans won the air Battle of France. Yet that mostly happened by the Heer overrunning French air bases. At the end of the Battle, the vast majority of the French fighters were still operational. The fact is that Goering was right when he thought that if the point was defeating the British fighter force in the air, he needed the enemy fighters to show up. If the radar network is out of order, the British fighters will simply often fail to intercept.
Now, that would mean German success in bombing, say, the Supermarine factory hub. Fine, that disrupts the British replacement of fighters. And this happens when? After the Germans have successfully carried out their long, sustained, costly anti-radar campaign. I.e., by the time when the seas alone will prevent Sealion, and the weather alone will provide the British with many, many days of bad-weather respite.
Second, let's suppose the Germans on the contrary manage to win the anti-radar campaign in a short time, so that Sealion is still possible. That means more losses on their part.
Now, losing more than 50% of the relatively small Stuka force dooms Sealion.
The landing German units have no artillery. Their artillery is flying, it's the Stuka.
The German barge armada has no battleships. Their naval gunnery is flying, it's the Stuka.
So if they are down to 50% Stukas, the Royal Navy will very easily sink the barges, and the Royal Artillery will kill the landing force from safe distance, while even a badly set RC pillbox with a Home-Guard-manned WWI-vintage MG will be a formidable obstacle for an artillery-less infantry.
End of the dream.