USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 08 Apr 2020 20:51

Richard Anderson wrote:6. What about the U.S. apparently not keeping "a dozen or so destroyers in the Atlantic to protect its vital sea lanes"?

This question displays such a lack of knowledge of common facts that I can only refer the poster to Clay Blair's Hitler's U-Boat War, Volume I, The Hunters, 1939-1942, Appendix 12. In fact, as of 7 December 1941 there were 92 DD commissioned in the Atlantic fleet and 54 in the Pacific fleet.
Yeah I really thought there were **0** destroyers in the Atlantic OTL, as opposed to simply endorsing O'Brien's notion that a small diversion of destroyers from the Pacific to facilitate Caribbean/coastal convoys would have largely prevented the early '42 "Second Happy Time" for the U-boats.

For others who aren't familiar with the topic, the literature is replete with reputed historians/analysts claiming that the U.S. could have prevented the Second Happy Time with minimal attention to these convoys.

From How the War was Won:
Therefore, to have instituted a convoy system in the Caribbean and along the American East Coast would have involved the transfer of a modest number of vessels from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It would not have required a wholesale stripping of the Pacific force. As will be seen, King was fully aware of the latest developments in convoy warfare, particularly the need to separate ships by speed. Moreover, there were actually very few German submarines in American waters. If King had taken basic steps, the number of sinkings could have been significantly reduced.

King, however, did everything possible to make sure such a transfer did not take place. For instance, he fought obstinately against the appointment of a single officer to take control of all antisubmarine efforts in the Atlantic.34 Although this was something being pressed by both the British and many Americans, King recoiled at the notion of any high-profile appointment that was sure to increase pressure on him to devote more effort to the Atlantic.35 On the other hand, he kept pressing Roosevelt to make the war against Japan a greater priority than the war against Germany. In March 1942, he wrote a strategy memorandum for the President which argued that the defense of Australia was the most important priority for the United States as it would be intolerable for a “White Man’s” country to fall to the Japanese.36 Moreover, he told Roosevelt that the defense of the Pacific needed to have a higher priority than Bolero, the plan to build up force in the United Kingdom to attack Germany.37 Again, for a while, King seemed to have great influence on Roosevelt, so much so that in May Marshall, who was determined that the United States should focus on Germany-First, assumed that the President had changed strategic priorities so that the defense of Australia ranked higher than Bolero.38

King also deliberately pressed Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and therefore in charge of the warships that would have had to be redeployed to the Atlantic, to take offensive action in the Pacific quickly, to make sure that as many American vessels as possible were engaged in that theater. His desire for aggression in the Pacific led him to rebuke Nimitz in February 1942. Nimitz favored a cautious strategy at the time, and suggested that the remaining battleships in the Pacific be used to convoy merchant shipping.39 It was certainly an unorthodox, one might say highly pessimistic, strategy, but had it been used, it would have freed up some smaller escorts for other duties, including those in the Atlantic. King, however, was furious with such a notion. “Your Pacific Fleet not repeat not markedly inferior in all types to forces enemy can bring to bear within operating radius of Hawaii while he is committed to extensive operations in Southwest Pacific...Cannot readily accept use of battleships for escorting convoys as suitable employment because it is passive in character.”40
236-7
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Apr 2020 21:09

Sigh...yet again hindsight driven analysis driving changes to reality. And no actual substantive response.

Shall we get into the realities of the Liberator program as well?
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 08 Apr 2020 22:17

Hi

I've deleted the contents because this isn't the correct means to discuss the issues you raised.
Please DM either Terry or myself if you wish to.

Regards

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by T. A. Gardner » 09 Apr 2020 05:57

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Apr 2020 20:51
Richard Anderson wrote:6. What about the U.S. apparently not keeping "a dozen or so destroyers in the Atlantic to protect its vital sea lanes"?

This question displays such a lack of knowledge of common facts that I can only refer the poster to Clay Blair's Hitler's U-Boat War, Volume I, The Hunters, 1939-1942, Appendix 12. In fact, as of 7 December 1941 there were 92 DD commissioned in the Atlantic fleet and 54 in the Pacific fleet.
Yeah I really thought there were **0** destroyers in the Atlantic OTL, as opposed to simply endorsing O'Brien's notion that a small diversion of destroyers from the Pacific to facilitate Caribbean/coastal convoys would have largely prevented the early '42 "Second Happy Time" for the U-boats.

For others who aren't familiar with the topic, the literature is replete with reputed historians/analysts claiming that the U.S. could have prevented the Second Happy Time with minimal attention to these convoys.

From How the War was Won:
Therefore, to have instituted a convoy system in the Caribbean and along the American East Coast would have involved the transfer of a modest number of vessels from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It would not have required a wholesale stripping of the Pacific force. As will be seen, King was fully aware of the latest developments in convoy warfare, particularly the need to separate ships by speed. Moreover, there were actually very few German submarines in American waters. If King had taken basic steps, the number of sinkings could have been significantly reduced.

King, however, did everything possible to make sure such a transfer did not take place. For instance, he fought obstinately against the appointment of a single officer to take control of all antisubmarine efforts in the Atlantic.34 Although this was something being pressed by both the British and many Americans, King recoiled at the notion of any high-profile appointment that was sure to increase pressure on him to devote more effort to the Atlantic.35 On the other hand, he kept pressing Roosevelt to make the war against Japan a greater priority than the war against Germany. In March 1942, he wrote a strategy memorandum for the President which argued that the defense of Australia was the most important priority for the United States as it would be intolerable for a “White Man’s” country to fall to the Japanese.36 Moreover, he told Roosevelt that the defense of the Pacific needed to have a higher priority than Bolero, the plan to build up force in the United Kingdom to attack Germany.37 Again, for a while, King seemed to have great influence on Roosevelt, so much so that in May Marshall, who was determined that the United States should focus on Germany-First, assumed that the President had changed strategic priorities so that the defense of Australia ranked higher than Bolero.38

King also deliberately pressed Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and therefore in charge of the warships that would have had to be redeployed to the Atlantic, to take offensive action in the Pacific quickly, to make sure that as many American vessels as possible were engaged in that theater. His desire for aggression in the Pacific led him to rebuke Nimitz in February 1942. Nimitz favored a cautious strategy at the time, and suggested that the remaining battleships in the Pacific be used to convoy merchant shipping.39 It was certainly an unorthodox, one might say highly pessimistic, strategy, but had it been used, it would have freed up some smaller escorts for other duties, including those in the Atlantic. King, however, was furious with such a notion. “Your Pacific Fleet not repeat not markedly inferior in all types to forces enemy can bring to bear within operating radius of Hawaii while he is committed to extensive operations in Southwest Pacific...Cannot readily accept use of battleships for escorting convoys as suitable employment because it is passive in character.”40
236-7
This ignores what US Naval policy in 1942 really was. Yes, there was differences of opinion and inter-service rivalry going on, but the problem was more one of doctrine and the USN doctrine wasn't terrible, just not focused on the right things initially.

In the U-Boat war, the King refused to use fleet destroyers for ASW work. Instead, the USN used a combination of impressed ships like yachts and such along with the US Coast Guard's fleet of cutters for that. The thinking / doctrine was the fleet destroyers were for escorting and protecting the fleet against submarines, not escorting shipping. In that King was correct, but the problem was he didn't provide a reasonable alternative initially.
The US preferred alternative was using more specialized escort ships and these were the destroyer escort. The USN also started a crash program to build subchasers and other smaller ASW craft as well. But, that all took time.

Complicating this was the US civilian economy and society wasn't easily corralled into doing things to help combat the U-boat menace. Many US merchant ship captains fought or outright refused to follow sailing instructions put out by the USN and USCG regarding submarine attack. The US East Coast cities weren't easily made to observe blackout conditions so the shoreline was well lit in many places putting shipping moving along the coast silhouetted at night making them easy targets for U-boats.

After several months of heavy losses, the USN, USCG, and merchant captains and companies came together and started doing things that reduced the danger. The USCG / USN started running "bucket brigade" convoys up the East Coast. These sailed at dawn and pulled into a harbor at dusk. They often had a meager escort, but they did have an escort and in daylight U-boats were definitely at risk attacking them.

The USAAF was forced into giving the USN 300 Liberator bombers for patrol duty. The USN also set up both inshore and longer ranged ASW squadrons that patrolled the Atlantic off the US coast. The USAAF also operated some ASW aircraft as well.

Britain, in the first few months of the war didn't do so much better either.

The other thing the US did was increase infrastructure ashore to reduce the vulnerability of moving commerce by sea. For example, the "Big Inch" pipeline from Texas to Pennsylvania was started to eliminate the need to use tankers to move POL along the US East Coast.

Image

It wasn't an immediate solution but when finished it was invulnerable to U-boat attack and an excellent and very efficient solution to a problem. It would be a predecessor to the PLUTO pipeline laid behind the Normandy invasion in 1944.

So, it wasn't as if the US was ignoring the U-boat problem, but rather they dealt with it as the war began and did so pretty efficiently overall.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Apr 2020 08:47

Richard Anderson wrote:
08 Apr 2020 21:09

Shall we get into the realities of the Liberator program as well?
Hi Rich,

Oh, yes please. I don't really know that much about the evolution of the VLR Liberator ASW aircraft from what appears to have been a standard long-range heavy bomber programme. Clearly, without the US Army Air Corps requirements for long-range bombing the Liberator programme wouldn't ever have started, but do you know if there was a pre-war USN long-range ASW aircraft programme?

I know Coastal Command were very much the Cinderella arm of the RAF and can only imagine that ASW aviation was similarly low down in priority for the USN and USAAC. Is that right?

And, of course, no one in power in the USA pre-war could admit even thinking about deploying a mass army to the Old World could they?

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Apr 2020 16:32

T. A. Gardner wrote:
09 Apr 2020 05:57
This ignores what US Naval policy in 1942 really was. Yes, there was differences of opinion and inter-service rivalry going on, but the problem was more one of doctrine and the USN doctrine wasn't terrible, just not focused on the right things initially.
It was also caught by surprise. Not only at Pearl Harbor, but also in the Atlantic where the German reaction was much quicker than anyone assumed was possible.
In the U-Boat war, the King refused to use fleet destroyers for ASW work. Instead, the USN used a combination of impressed ships like yachts and such along with the US Coast Guard's fleet of cutters for that. The thinking / doctrine was the fleet destroyers were for escorting and protecting the fleet against submarines, not escorting shipping. In that King was correct, but the problem was he didn't provide a reasonable alternative initially.
The US preferred alternative was using more specialized escort ships and these were the destroyer escort. The USN also started a crash program to build subchasers and other smaller ASW craft as well. But, that all took time.
Essentially that was the same doctrine of the RN...fleet destroyers were used sparingly in escort work, since they simply weren't designed for it. Instead, they used converted fishing trawlers and de-rated older destroyers, especially the V&W class, and limited production of specialized escorts. The USN did not have a large supply have ocean going trawlers and tried to make the 180-foot PCE substitute, with limited success. As OMPUS relates, the specialized building plan was the DE, while de-rated older destroyers - the four-stackers in reserve - took up the slack. The problem there was that when FDR decided on transferring 50 flush-deckers to Britain in September 1940 and they were the best of the bunch...it took months to get the others into service.

The irony of the whole OMPUS account isn't that they were trying to cover someone's tracks - that's about as silly as it gets. No, the problem was the time it took, even with prioritization, to get the DE program moving. While the plans for the program were laid down in principal in November 1941, it was February 1943 before the first launched. That doesn't say anything about the covering tracks, but a lot about how long it took to go from a paper idea to finished plans, building in a yard, and completion. The U-Boat campaign was not won by the production of US specialized escort vessels - it was already won by the time the DE showed up. It was won by the four-stackers that were eventually put into service...oh, and improved doctrine, ASW equipment, experience, aircraft, HF-DF, radar, codebreaking....no panacea "let's just spend this money here instead of there" excuse*.
Complicating this was the US civilian economy and society wasn't easily corralled into doing things to help combat the U-boat menace. Many US merchant ship captains fought or outright refused to follow sailing instructions put out by the USN and USCG regarding submarine attack. The US East Coast cities weren't easily made to observe blackout conditions so the shoreline was well lit in many places putting shipping moving along the coast silhouetted at night making them easy targets for U-boats.
Years ago I did some research on the whole "lit up coast" business and found it was pretty much exaggerated...driven by a lot of sea stories told by U-Boat and merchant sailors. It did take time to institute the coastal blackout fully, mostly because it was done on the fly and because - as we can see today - federal mandates often have limited sway in states. Most major cities instituted blackouts within a few days of Pearl Harbor. Nor is there much evidence for any large number of U-Boat kills occurring within sight of land because the vessel was exposed by coastal lights.
After several months of heavy losses, the USN, USCG, and merchant captains and companies came together and started doing things that reduced the danger. The USCG / USN started running "bucket brigade" convoys up the East Coast. These sailed at dawn and pulled into a harbor at dusk. They often had a meager escort, but they did have an escort and in daylight U-boats were definitely at risk attacking them.
The Bucket Brigades were instituted almost immediately, because it was an ad hoc solution it was easy to do so. Formal convoying began in May 1942 and a full set of regular convoy routes were instituted by September 1942. The problem was no one saw the point of convoying without strong escort, because the belief was a poorly escorted convoy was worse than no convoy at all. It wasn't until later that OR studies demonstrated the opposite.
The USAAF was forced into giving the USN 300 Liberator bombers for patrol duty. The USN also set up both inshore and longer ranged ASW squadrons that patrolled the Atlantic off the US coast. The USAAF also operated some ASW aircraft as well.
Um, the USAAF did not have 300 Liberator's to give for patrol duty...not in early 1942 they didn't.

The XB-24 first flew 29 December 1939 as the Model 32. However, it was 38 MPH slower than specified, so was rebuilt as XB-24B.
6 YB-24 accepted December 1940. All went to BOAC as the LB-30A transport.
1 YB-24 was accepted by the USAAF in May 1941. Usually referred to simply as the “B-24” it was used in training by the 44th Bomb Group.
9 B-24A were accepted by the USAAF between 16 June and 10 July 1941 and were assigned to Ferry Command as transports. They were utilized as high-speed VIP transports after test and evaluation, two transporting the Harriman Mission to Moscow in September 1941. Two others were modified for strategic reconnaissance of Japan, of which one was destroyed at Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941. By April 1942 at least 3 were being used to ferry crews delivering aircraft to Australia back to the US.
20 B-24A were accepted by the RAF March-June 1941 as Liberator I (3 were transports for BOAC, and 1 was damaged in transit and returned to Consolidated and was never delivered, it became a company aircraft)
139 B-24C were accepted by the RAF August 1941-January 1942 as Liberator II (the first built crashed during its test flight in June and is the 140th aircraft usually counted, it was later replaced) of which at least 16 were used as transports by BOAC and British Ferry Command. 75 were retained by the USAAF in January 1942 as LB-30.
9 B-24C were accepted by the USAAF December 1941. They were designated as RB-24C with the R standing for “restricted from combat.” As implied, they were never used in combat.
3 B-24D were accepted by the USAAF January 1942.

Further acceptance of the B-24D/F by the USAAF in 1942 were:

February – 59
March – 71
April – 81
May – 88
June – 97
July – 103
August – 110
September – 118 (start of F production)
October – 131
November – 135
December – 159

Total acceptance of all types through 31 March 1942 was 334 and total acceptance of all types through 31 December 1942 was 1,340.

The following allocations of the 75 Liberator II/LB-30 held by the USAAF are known:

17 went to the 3rd and 25th Bomb Squadron, 6th Bomb Group – Canal Zone (1 was lost in July 1942, 1 in April 43, 2 in June 43, 1 in July 1943; it appears that all had airborne radar installed sometime after March 1942), by 31 March 1942 only 10 were operational there and 13 by 13 April 1942.

15 went to the 7th and 19th Bomb Group (9th, 11th, 14th, 22nd, 28th, and 30th Bomb Squadrons) – Australia-Java (2 crashed en route, 1 was damaged and delayed in the US, and only 3 of the 12 that got to Java survived; the last 3 and the damaged aircraft that had been repaired were grouped into the 40th Reconnaissance Squadron, which was later redesignated the 435th Bomb Squadron; one of the remaining 4 was lost in August 42). At least some of the surviving aircraft were fitted with British sea-search radar in Australia, one so equipped crashed in May 1942. By 31 March 1941 4 were operational there.

43 others were distributed amongst the:
44th Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Bomb Group – Trinidad
6th Reconnaissance Squadron, 29th Bomb Group – Florida
2nd Reconnaissance Squadron, 30th Bomb Group – California (3 went to the 28th Bomb Group – Alaska (1 was lost in May 42 and another in October 43)
63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group – Maine (their ASW operations were ordered ended in Feb 42 and they began conversion to B-17)
97th Reconnaissance Squadron, 47th Bomb Group – California

The attempt to get the type quickly operational resulted in some problems, in addition to the to the losses above, 6 more crashed in CONUS in the first six weeks of service and 4 more were lost before the end of the year (although 1 of those was rebuilt as a C-87), while 6 were lost in 1943 and 4 were condemned in 1944. All told at least 33 were lost during the war. Beginning in August 1942 11 LB-30 (including 1 salvaged aircraft) were rebuilt as C-87 transports. It is unclear how many were eventually fitted with sea-search radar (some sources say 15 and some 30) but no USAAF aircraft of any type was fitted with sea-search radar prior to March 1942.

On 28 November 1941, prior to Pearl Harbor, the USAAF ordered the Second and Fourth Air Forces to support the Navy submarine patrols on the West Coast. At that time there were just 35 medium and 10 heavy bombers stationed on the West Coast, all B-18, B-25, and B-17. After Pearl Harbor they were augmented by the Sierra Bombardment Force, which was comprised of B-17 aircraft and aircrews originally scheduled for the Philippines. It was discontinued in January 1942 and transferred to Australia. From then until February 1943 when all West Coast AAF ASW patrols ceased, all squadrons routinely made ASW patrols.

Those B-24/LB-30 utilized as long-range reconnaissance and ASW service in the spring of 1942 were the 3 in Alaska (although no more than 1 was ever apparently available), the 17 in the Canal Zone (of which 10-15 were usually available), and the 34 (after losses) operating in the five groups in the US and Trinidad. Given the approximate group distribution of 40 percent to the West Coast and 60 percent to the East Coast for the 34, assuming a 50:50 distribution for those in Panama, and counting the 3 in Alaska as west coast, then that means that 13.6 + 8.5 + 3 or about 24 were engaged on the West Coast and 21.4+8.5 or about 30 were engaged on the East and Gulf Coast in ASW operations.

The only other major unit engaged in part-time ASW work with the B-24D was the 44th Bomb Group out of Louisiana, which helped patrol the Gulf of Mexico while training the 90th, 92nd, 93rd, and 98th Bomb Groups. The 44th evidently received the YB-24 and the 9 B-24C as training aircraft, as well as production B-24D.

B-24/LB-30 State as of 31 March 1942:

Not counting the prototype, 228 had been accepted by the USAAF (and 89 by the RAF/BOAC). Of the USAAF aircraft:

8 B-24A were engaged in transport operations.
1 B-24 and 9 B-24C were utilized as trainers by the 44th, 90th, 92nd, and 98th Bomb Groups.
4 remaining LB-30 of the 7th and 19th Bomb Groups were in Australia as the 40th Bomb Squadron.
23 B-24D had gone to HALPRO, which was in Palestine.
124 B-24 and 2 LB-30 bombers were combat operational in CONUS, virtually all with the 44th, 90th, 92nd, and 98th Bomb Groups, but only the 44th was operationally capable.
10 LB-30 bombers were operational in the Canal Zone.
Approximately 19 B-24/LB-30 had been lost:

8 LB-30 in accidents
10 LB-30 in combat
1 B-24A in combat

Approximately 31 were awaiting delivery in CONUS to units.

* - Original term removed by this moderator.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Apr 2020 20:39

Rich,

Thanks for all the detail on the B-24 programme, it's all very interesting.

I found this useful article on line:

https://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mari ... _19-41.pdf

Seems that when Coastal Command received their second batch of Liberators they decided to use them over the Bay of Biscay in an offensive role before the rate of shipping losses in the mid-Atlantic Air Gap finally reached such a point that in November 1942 Churchill was forced to convene that great British strength - the committee (in this case the Anti U-Boat Warfare Committee). After the third weekly meeting, the British had decided to convert 33 more Liberators to VLR standard and allocate them to coverage of the "Gap". In addition, at that third meeting, the actual reality of the situation was faced ( :thumbsup: ) and the decision was made to place 'the defence of trade' on a higher priority than the Bomber offensive.

Paradoxically, it was an aircraft developed expressly for such a long-range bombing campaign that proved so useful for 'the defence of trade'.

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Apr 2020 22:52

Re: B24 French interest. Have run across second & third tier remarks about this. Anyone tripped over evidence of this & how far it actually went. I have assumed no actual production contract was signed, but if so what the schedule might have been?

Merci & Spacibi

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Apr 2020 06:10

T.A. Gardner wrote:The thinking / doctrine was the fleet destroyers were for escorting and protecting the fleet against submarines, not escorting shipping. In that King was correct, but the problem was he didn't provide a reasonable alternative initially.
This is like saying 88mm Flak guns are for planes so Germany shouldn't have used them in anti-tank role when needed.

Yes, obviously fleet destroyers are made to protect the fleet. No, that doesn't mean it's wise or even competent to allow a dozen or so German subs to inflict a war-changing defeat because you won't spare a few fleet destroyers.
T.A. Gardner wrote:The other thing the US did was increase infrastructure ashore to reduce the vulnerability of moving commerce by sea. For example, the "Big Inch" pipeline from Texas to Pennsylvania was started to eliminate the need to use tankers to move POL along the US East Coast.
This is all discussed in How the War was Won. It doesn't change the fact that we lost 2.8mil tons of shipping to handfuls of German subs. Despite the pipeline, we persisted in building hundreds of thousands of tons of tankage capacity, much of which would not have been necessary had King acted competently in the Atlantic during '42.

Just look at losses among escorted vs. convoyed ships:

Image

It's obvious you need convoys to protect your shipping.

And neither is this hindsight: King had worked extensively with British during Anglo-American "noncombatant" cooperation pre-PH. He was well aware of the need for, and benefit of, convoys.
T.A. Gardner wrote:So, it wasn't as if the US was ignoring the U-boat problem, but rather they dealt with it as the war began and did so pretty efficiently overall.
The **US** wasn't ignoring it, Admiral King was ignoring it in order to retain as much force in the Pacific as he could.

More discussion from O'Brien:

Image



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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Apr 2020 06:29

Richard Anderson wrote:It was also caught by surprise. Not only at Pearl Harbor, but also in the Atlantic where the German reaction was much quicker than anyone assumed was possible.
Laughable. USN was surprised that the Germans would attack their shipping? Then why was the USN already taking responsibility for half the Atlantic?

The idea of surprise is also laughable in light of when losses peaked. Again, here's the chart:

Image


As you can see, unescorted losses peaked in June '42, half a year after the German declaration of war.
King instituted a convoy system in the needed areas only after Roosevelt directly ordered him to do so in July '42, despite repeated letters/warnings from Marshall and Churchill:

Image
Richard Anderson wrote:Nor is there much evidence for any large number of U-Boat kills occurring within sight of land because the vessel was exposed by coastal lights.
If you had read the passage correctly you'd notice that O'Brien portrays the "lit up cities" idea as a flimsy excuse by King.
Richard Anderson wrote:The U-Boat campaign was not won by the production of US specialized escort vessels - it was already won by the time the DE showed up. It was won by the four-stackers that were eventually put into service...oh, and improved doctrine, ASW equipment, experience, aircraft, HF-DF, radar, codebreaking....no panacea "let's just spend this money here instead of there" bullshittery.
The U-boats were a manageable problem even before their final defeat so long as ships remained in convoy. This was well known at the time and is at least as clear in hindsight. You're twisting yourself into pretzels to pretend that an entirely preventable loss of 2.8mil shipping tons wasn't a colossal strategic mistake.


It is a frequent tactic of yours to pretend that strategic decisions, especially on what to build, were inevitable. You frequently explain their inevitability via a rote retelling of contemporary rationale, absent one iota of critical thought applied to those rationales. It is a "historian as archivist" paradigm.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Apr 2020 06:34

Content deleted as it has no direct bearing on the issues being discussed.

Why people waste time and energy on post that will be deleted proves that the haven't read the rules etc

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 10 Apr 2020 09:10

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Apr 2020 06:29
The U-boats were a manageable problem even before their final defeat so long as ships remained in convoy. This was well known at the time and is at least as clear in hindsight. You're twisting yourself into pretzels to pretend that an entirely preventable loss of 2.8mil shipping tons wasn't a colossal strategic mistake.
TMP,

Thanks for the statistics and snips from O'Brien's book - it is now moving up my "wish list".

The packaging up of merchant shipping into convoys wasn't a panacea at this time and, in fact, the decision to use convoys was always a balanced one. The introduction of convoys having an immediate negative effect on the efficient use of shipping tonnage as loaded ships waited to sail and waited to off-load in ports unable to clear sufficient numbers of ships simultaneously. And convoys, by definition, obviously could only make progress at the speed of the slowest ship.

In addition, a clear demonstration of the limitations of contemporary convoy defence is revealed in the article I linked to which discusses the battle around Convoy SC 107 which had left New York on 24 October 1942 consisting of 44 ships and was attacked by several wolf packs in the mid-Atlantic air gap. 15 ships were sunk from this one convoy.

As Rich says, and as the table you posted shows:
Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Apr 2020 16:32
The U-Boat campaign was not won by the production of US specialized escort vessels - it was already won by the time the DE showed up. It was won by the four-stackers that were eventually put into service...oh, and improved doctrine, ASW equipment, experience, aircraft, HF-DF, radar, codebreaking
Somewhere there are probably statistics that show that the use of broken German cyphers was actually the best defence against the U-boat with the re-routing of even very large convoys successfully steering them round the picket lines of U-boats in mid-Atlantic. I'll have a look and see what I can find.

BTW:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Apr 2020 06:10
we persisted in building hundreds of thousands of tons of tankage capacity, much of which would not have been necessary had King acted competently in the Atlantic during '42.
That tankage capacity didn't go to waste though did it, I'm sure it must have been useful long into the post-war period and speeded the transformation of the world's oil business.

That convoys should have been introduced much earlier on the US East Coast is evident, that greater resources should have been diverted into defensive ASW is also evident, that this would have had a galvanising effect on Allied strategy is less evident.

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Michael Kenny » 10 Apr 2020 09:30

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
10 Apr 2020 09:10


Somewhere there are probably statistics that show that the use of broken German cyphers was actually the best defence against the U-boat with the re-routing of even very large convoys successfully steering them round the picket lines of U-boats in mid-Atlantic. I'll have a look and see what I can find.
Just re-reading my 'British Intelligence In The Second World War' books and it is amazing how much was known about the U-Boats. It seems they deliberately did not use all they knew as they feared this would give away the ENIGMA. Knowing which convoys were sighted allowed the Admiralty to strip escorts from other convoys and divert them to the threatened ones and in some cases heavily protected convoys were routed through 'dangerous' areas to allow more weakly protected convoys to pass unmolested.. Some supply U-Boats were left alone because it was thought too risky to sink them all. The downside was the Germans were reading the Convoys signals!

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Apr 2020 12:14

Tom from Cornwall wrote:The packaging up of merchant shipping into convoys wasn't a panacea at this time and, in fact, the decision to use convoys was always a balanced one. The introduction of convoys having an immediate negative effect on the efficient use of shipping tonnage as loaded ships waited to sail and waited to off-load in ports unable to clear sufficient numbers of ships simultaneously. And convoys, by definition, obviously could only make progress at the speed of the slowest ship.

In addition, a clear demonstration of the limitations of contemporary convoy defence is revealed in the article I linked to which discusses the battle around Convoy SC 107 which had left New York on 24 October 1942 consisting of 44 ships and was attacked by several wolf packs in the mid-Atlantic air gap. 15 ships were sunk from this one convoy.
I never said convoying was a panacea, despite the efforts of certain individuals to tell you I said so. Of course there will still be ships lost in convoy, but in only one month of '42 did losses in convoy reach the level of unescorted losses - despite the preponderance of shipping tonnage in convoys. And ships sunk in convoy cost the Germans far more than in U-boats than did unescorted ships. Once the U-Boats were forced to focus on the North Atlantic again in early '43, after the weak spots were closed (e.g. South Africa), their fate was sealed.

That convoys should have been introduced much earlier on the US East Coast is evident, that greater resources should have been diverted into defensive ASW is also evident, that this would have had a galvanising effect on Allied strategy is less evident.
Causation runs from strategy to convoys in my ATL, not vice versa. By focusing on the Army/Europe, the U.S. doesn't allow King to neglect the Atlantic in early '42, thereby saving at least 2mil tons of shipping.
Thanks for the statistics and snips from O'Brien's book - it is now moving up my "wish list".
You're very welcome. Thanks for actually reading the material.

That I completely disagree with the book's thesis but recommend it nonetheless shows how highly I regard its writing and analytical mode.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Andy H » 10 Apr 2020 14:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Apr 2020 12:14
Once the U-Boats were forced to focus on the North Atlantic again in early '43, after the weak spots were closed (e.g. South Africa), their fate was sealed.
Hi TMP

For some more information on the UBoat ops and the Allied response to operations of the South African coast then please have a read of this:-
Good Hunting’: German Submarine Offensives and South African Countermeasures off the South African Coast during the Second World War, 1942-1945 by Everts Kleynhans
available as a PDF here:- https://scientiamilitaria.journals.ac.z ... /view/1166

Regards

Andy H

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