They are quintessentially English seaside scenes which could easily be accompanied by the phrase: ‘Wish you were here’. But in fact, these snapshots of the English coastline served a far more sinister purpose.
They appear in a top-secret dossier Adolf Hitler issued to senior officers in advance of his planned invasion-of Britain in 1940.
Featuring landmarks such as Brighton Pier and Land’s End, they were intended to help Nazi troops identify targets in Operation Sealion.
The booklet of postcard-like images pinpoints the quaint English coastal towns in the path of the Nazi ground assault, which could have been a grim reality had the RAF not performed so valiantly against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.
The invaders’ guide book also eerily shows how postcards identifying unmistakable landmarks such as Brighton Pier and Land’s End were given to Nazi troops to identify their targets in preparation for their blitz of the British Isles. The original copy of the Nazis’ briefing book Militäergeographische Angaben über England Südküste for ‘Operation Sealion’ detailed every attack point and weakness along England’s south coast ahead of the Germans’ assault in September 1940.
It is said to have been the most vital part of the painstakingly detailed German attack plan, and included large colour maps showing every part of the south coast, from Land’s End in the south west to Foreness Point in Kent.
On September 17, 1940 Hitler was forced to indefinitely postpone Operation Sealion because of the Luftwaffe’s failure to gain air supremacy over England in the fateful summer aerial engagement.
The Nazi offensive never took place after the German defeat in the skies, but experts believe the newly-found book for Operation Sealion reveals what could have happened if the Battle Of Britain and the longer, grimmer, Battle Of The Atlantic had gone Germany’s way .
The 446-page war dossier will go under the hammer later this month and is expected to make at least £500 when it goes to auction in Ludlow, Shropshire.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Mullocks Auctioneers, said: ‘The book on Operation Sealion gives a fascinating insight into what life could have been like if the Germans had invaded.
‘It would only have been issued to a few high-profile Nazi officials in advance of the invasion which was due to take place soon after.
‘The book is a chilling reminder of what could have happened 70 years ago virtually to the day, had not “The Few” won the decisive Battle of Britain and caused the vital postponement of Hitler’s plan.
‘It’s a book with detailed maps and mile-by-mile surveys on the south coast of England, so the Germans knew where they were going and had profiles of the entire length of English coast.’
Historical records say Hitler planned to invade England with six divisions of German troops heading through Kent via Folkestone and Ramsgate.
Another unit of four Nazi divisions would invade Sussex and Hampshire via Brighton and the Isle of Wight, while a third group of three German divisions would attempt to take Dorset via Lyme Bay.
Mr Westwood-Brookes added: ‘There are details in this book about where the Germans thought they could land safely and where they thought they might come across difficulty – it really was the blueprint for the Nazi invasion.’
‘There may have been shingle beaches or quicksand at the various landing points along the coast, so it gives a great insight into where Hitler’s men thought they could go.
‘It’s the kind of book that would’ve been carried by a high-ranking German brigade commander as he led his forces on the way to London.’
The book also contains a folding plan showing the underlying terrain on the south coast, as well as features like railways and roads – Dailymail