Galapagos Islands Air Base in Nov 1941?

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Andy H
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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by Andy H » 18 Feb 2009 13:24

Study of the U. S. Air Forces' Galapagos Islands Base

http://www.galapagos.to/TEXTS/USAF1947.HTM

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Feb 2009 11:44

Hi Phylo,

Now that I have provided what you asked for by way of sources, the way is now presumably clear for you to answer my own questions, which I will repeat for the EIGHTH time:

This is what you wrote on 5 February 14.45:

"You won't find a mention of a NAMED Panagra passenger field on the Galapagos, for instance...but there WAS an air mail strip - for the "service" referred to in two sources....."

All the emphases are yours. You are not simply stating this as a fact, but attempting to hammer it home through artificial emphases. You must therefore presumably be very confident in your sources, of which there are apparently two.

All I want to know is what these sources are, because I have looked into this subject long before this thread and found no evidence of any Panagra airfield on the Galapagos.

For those who are losing the plot, the Galapagos are the proposed launching point for the attack on the Panama Canal in the thread title and therefore rather fundamental to it. Thus far we only have your assertion that there was a Panagra airfield already on the Galapagos, but you refuse to supply any evidence to that effect.

Andy H has just provided a link to a quite detailed document on the construction of the US air base in the Galapagos and it appears to make no reference to any prior airfield. However, you assert otherwise. On what grounds?

We have an absolute obligation on a historical forum such as this to either reveal sources, qualify our utterances in their absence or withdraw the original claim. I am asking of you no more than you are obliged to offer.

How you choose to reply is up to you, but continued evasion - you have now failed to answer this question seven times - is not an option that will do your reputation, let alone historical accuracy, any favours.

In order to give you as much assistance as possible, I will ask another simple question for the third time- are they either of the sources Robdab offered in the post I mistakenly attributed to you?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by Andy H » 20 Feb 2009 02:11

1936 - The First Airplanes
William Robinson lived on his yacht in Tagus Cove, studying the flora and fauna of the islands, when he suffered a serious attack of appendicitis and his situation quickly became desperate. Luckily, the tuna clipper the "Santa Cruz" was nearby and contacted the Marines based in the Panama Canal by radio. Once permission was granted, two hydroplanes took off for the islands, followed by the destroyer "Hale". They arrived on time to save his life, and flights to the islands were installed. The first airplane flight, which carried mail from the Canal Zone to the Galapagos, took place on February 6, 1936. A commemorative stamp was created
my emphasis. From: http://www.galapagoscruise.com.ec/galap ... importance

and this from a letter (an avid stamp collector it seems) dated April 26th 1936
The covers were all .10¢ rate and authorized as an air mail flight by the C. Z. Bureau of Posts. 384 covers were sent out, cancelled at Coco Solo on C. Z. stamps & carried by plane to the Galapagos Islands, where they were delivered aboard the U. S. S. Wright
.......
.......
The planes used were twin-motor flying boat monoplanes with the motors mounted in the wing. They have a crew of about five. I don't know which plane & pilot carried this mail. There were 12 planes in the squadron & they flew two sides of a triangle, going from here to Santa Elena (La Libertad) Ecuador on the first day (710 miles) & to Galapagos Islands on the second day.
a picture of the letter and the plane(s) used are accessed by the link within the letterhead

http://www.galapagos.to/TEXTS/EWING.HTM

I have yet to see any evidence of an airfield or airstrip prior to the US Military installations set-up after Pearl. Any mail service, military or civilian prior to Pearl seems to have been by seaplane.

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 20 Feb 2009 02:27

Andy, thanks for that. I've been looking for a pic the that "first day cover" for a while now, perhaps one will yet turn up. I've of course been looking for the Panagra first day cover too. However, I wasn't actually regarding that one you mention as the route in question; all the material I'd found on that strange 1936 event indicates that it was US forces' post...the few air mail envelopes for the Galapagos and stamps you do find on the web pre-war seem to be U.S. forces' mail...which is why I didn't post any of it up.
..authorized as an air mail flight by the C. Z. Bureau of Posts. 384 covers were sent out, cancelled at Coco Solo on C. Z. stamps & carried by plane to the Galapagos Islands, where they were delivered aboard the U. S. S. Wright
The planes used were twin-motor flying boat monoplanes with the motors mounted in the wing. They have a crew of about five. I don't know which plane & pilot carried this mail. There were 12 planes in the squadron & they flew two sides of a triangle, going from here to Santa Elena (La Libertad) Ecuador on the first day (710 miles) & to Galapagos Islands on the second day.
That does indeed look suspiciously like it was the U.S. Navy PBY flight out of the Coco Solo naval aviation base mentioned before, question is...what if there WAS no USS Wright or any other naval vessel in the Islands? :wink: It looks more like an authorised air mail flight to the Wright, rather than the islands? How frequent were US navy visits to the islands in mid-decade?

It doesn't however look like the Ecuador government-licensed mail route under discussion, the one from Ecuador to the islands bid on in 1940 by SEDTA and Panagras - given the "authorized as an air mail flight by the C. Z. Bureau of Posts" caveat.
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 20 Feb 2009 03:08, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 20 Feb 2009 02:33

Forgot this -
I have yet to see any evidence of an airfield or airstrip prior to the US Military installations set-up after Pearl.
Thanks for that confirmation. It's quite important, that bit that there were no military installations until the ones set up after Pearl. This is indeed how I read the material you posted before.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 20 Feb 2009 03:27

Our friend Minister Akiyama seems to have been VERY efficient at gathering information on panama and the Canal Zone; not only does he know what U.S. Army units are stationed where, he's reporting fortifications in the jungle, new AA gun mounts that were built, the precise size of the Canal Zone naval flotilla, the progress of various (many!) building and depot construction projects, the progress of the USAAF's landing field expansion project in detail (which incidently matches AAFHS-42 )...and he even reports a guard on the spillway gates and the gate control house - and what do we have? A picture of that same sentry-walk 8O

BEST of all, the one I REALLY like, is the MAGIC decrypt about his EXPENSES :lol: :lol:
FROM: Panama (Akiyama)
TO: Tokyo

(Part 1 of 2.)

Since taking office, I have made a special study of the attitude of the United States and also of the nature of the people and topography of this section; and as a result have made the following estimate of the amount of money needed for enlightenment and propaganda purposes. This amount is necessary in making contacts for intelligence purposes, and already some expenditures have been made. I know that this will be "hard to take," but beg of you that you will consider the matter carefully and wire me the result (all per month expenses):

1. (a) Bonuses for officials or spies residing at some distance from the Canal who go at night to observe the movement of warships
$70.00
(b) For those who from time to time give warning
150.00
2. Money to supplement the activities of the Kyowa Company in this country
100.00
3. Running expenses of our broadcasting office
50.00
4. Money for special spies
50.00
5. To follow the principle of paying well those who try as well as those who accomplish results 100.00
6. For maintaining contacts with newspaper reporters and other agents 130.00
7. Costs of making arrangements 30.00
8. Money for spying in other countries to which I am accredited 50.00

The above are for the current fiscal year.

Trans. 10-3-41
In less than a year in post - we can tell from the contents of his later messages - Akiyama created a network of regular intelligence gatherers who were watching the passage of warships and cargo ships through the Canal in detail, and the movements of the USN Canal Zone flotilla; a number of people who brought him information on an as-and-when basis; a number of "special spies" - from this I presume agents in place, perhaps how he snaffled the defence plans?; he's ALSO using the Japanese-owned Kyowa Shipping Co. to gather intelligence!...

....and best of all
5. To follow the principle of paying well those who try as well as those who accomplish results 100.00
He's even got an Incentive Scheme!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

This guy was spending LARGE amounts in 1941 prices, but as we know he was getting some REAL intelligence in return for his outlay...

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by robdab » 22 Feb 2009 01:19

phylo, you wrote,
It looks more like an authorised air mail flight to the Wright, rather than the islands? How frequent were US navy visits to the islands in mid-decade?
It doesn't however look like the Ecuador government-licensed mail route under discussion, the one from Ecuador to the islands bid on in 1940 by SEDTA and Panagras - given the "authorized as an air mail flight by the C. Z. Bureau of Posts" caveat.
It seems that the American carrier USS Ranger, the seaplane tender USS Wright, the USS Gannet, the USS Lapwing and the USS Teal all visited the Galapagos Islands as a group in late Jan.- early Feb. 1936 as part of a training cruise.

A letter at http://www.galapagos.to/TEXTS/VONHAGEN78.HTM seems to detail a failed attempt (due to a coup in Ecuador I believe) to have a Pan American Airways plane bring first day covers to the Galapagos as a fund raising venture in late 1934.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Feb 2009 11:26

Hi Phylo,

Er, no, Stanton is not "spurious". He is neither "not genuine, false, sham, nor forged, etc." (Chambers Dictionary). He may not give the information you want about locations of AA installations in Panama and the Canal Zone, but then I never claimed he did, did I? So no "awkward fact". And you wonder why your integrity is in question?

Very observant. This thread is, indeed, about 1941, not 1943. Your point is?

I already know there was no military airfield on the Galapagos as I have a list of Ecuadoran "campos de aterrizaje" for that year. But that wasn't your claim, was it? Your claim was that there were civil flights by Panagra to the Galapagos. Integrity please, Phylo, integrity.

You are absolutely right. I didn't use the words "small minority" of the 143 extra sites you mentioned were set up by the end of 1941. I actually wrote "Comparitively few of the "one hundred and forty three extra sites" you mention were set up by December 1941." Thank you for reminding me and others that I was right.

The "comparitively few" discussion relates to the 143 sites mentioned by you. Whichever way you cut is, "about 40" is compartively few compared with 143. Stop being silly. Some arguments are just not worth the damage to one's own credibility to sustain. Integrity please Phylo, integrity.

The "strange reason" why I didn't recognize from your post the names of two of the books I had recommended was because I have recommended more than two titles on this thread and you hadn't distinguished which you were referring to. Integrity please, Phylo, integrity.

My problem here is that you have eight times refused to provide sources for something you stated with such certainty that you highlighted them. (Nor is this the first time you have repeatedly evaded such questions). Any question as to your integrity is caused by your own repeated actions and your squirming as you tried to evade providing them by lashing out irrationally and inaccurately.

I know that the best form of defence is meant to be attack, but in this case the best form of defence is just to answer the perfectly legitimate question put to you as to your sources. Who knows? You might even be right!

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 23 Feb 2009 13:47, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Feb 2009 13:39

Hi Phylo,

No, it is not true that "Sid has an issue with ONE (1) matter". Sid is merely concentrating on one issue. In fact there are several questions you have left unanswered here to me alone, but it seems fairly pointless to overburden you with multiple questions when you won't give a straight answer to just one about your own sources.

I was going to leave off asking you for a ninth time for your sources in order to let this thread run more productively, but this misrepresentation of my position prompts me to ask yet again:

Now that I have provided what you asked for by way of sources, the way is now presumably clear for you to answer my own questions, which I will repeat for the NINTH time:

This is what you wrote on 5 February 14.45:

"You won't find a mention of a NAMED Panagra passenger field on the Galapagos, for instance...but there WAS an air mail strip - for the "service" referred to in two sources....."

All the emphases are yours. You are not simply stating this as a fact, but attempting to hammer it home through artificial emphases. You must therefore presumably be very confident in your sources, of which there are apparently two.

All I want to know is what these sources are, because I have looked into this subject long before this thread and found no evidence of any Panagra airfield on the Galapagos.

For those who are losing the plot, the Galapagos are the proposed launching point for the attack on the Panama Canal in the thread title and therefore rather fundamental to it. Thus far we only have your assertion that there was a Panagra airfield already on the Galapagos, but you refuse to supply any evidence to that effect.

Andy H has just provided a link to a quite detailed document on the construction of the US air base in the Galapagos and it appears to make no reference to any prior airfield. However, you assert otherwise. On what grounds?

We have an absolute obligation on a historical forum such as this to either reveal sources, qualify our utterances in their absence or withdraw the original claim. I am asking of you no more than you are obliged to offer.

How you choose to reply is up to you, but continued evasion - you have now failed to answer this question eight times - is not an option that will do your reputation, let alone historical accuracy, any favours.

In order to give you as much assistance as possible, I will ask another simple question for the fourth time- are they either of the sources Robdab offered in the post I mistakenly attributed to you?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 23 Feb 2009 15:12

Sid, regarding your -
Er, no, Stanton is not "spurious". He is neither "not genuine, false, sham, nor forged, etc." (Chambers Dictionary). He may not give the information you want about locations of AA installations in Panama and the Canal Zone, but then I never claimed he did, did I? So no "awkward fact". And you wonder why your integrity is in question?
The discussion all along has been about the location of AA defences in the Canal Zone, not the numbers. Therefore as Stanton does NOT deal with the location of these, your recommendation of his WWII OOB was irrelevant to the thread.
I already know there was no military airfield on the Galapagos as I have a list of Ecuadoran "campos de aterrizaje" for that year. But that wasn't your claim, was it? Your claim was that there were civil flights by Panagra to the Galapagos. Integrity please, Phylo, integrity.
See my comment earlier, Sid. I will be returning to where I was in my denouement, but that paragraph MAY just come back to bite you... :wink:
The "comparitively few" discussion relates to the 143 sites mentioned by you. Whichever way you cut is, "about 40" is compartively few compared with 143. Stop being silly. Some arguments are just not worth the damage to one's own credibility to sustain. Integrity please Phylo, integrity.
let's see..."few" as defined by Webster's is "not many people or things" To me, forty is many, especially when at least thirty of these must have been established in the time between De La Guardia's government agreeing to their leasing - which can ONLY therefore be AFTER the 9th of October - and the 7th of December...for AAFHS-42 lists the development of those that were outside the Canal Zone before the agreement over leasing. So, thirty installations in two months...We even have Akiyama reporting the widespread construction in Panama itself in the last month before the war began. You're quite right, Sid - some arguments DO damage one's credibility, but thankfully on this matter...not mine :wink:
The "strange reason" why I didn't recognize from your post the names of two of the books I had recommended was because I have recommended more than two titles on this thread and you hadn't distinguished which you were referring to.
The reason it was strange is because I HAD distinguished them, by name, the FIRST time you asked this, only one post before. So I assumed there had to be SOME reason you didn't bother reading my first reply to you on this...

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Feb 2009 21:48

So, to return to something important - what do we know...or apparently NOT know...about airfields in the Galapagos?

Well, thanks to Andy - and Alaric earlier in the thread - we know that there were NO U.S. military bases in the Islands; Alaric provded his material early in the thread, and Andy found it separately and posted it again recently.

Also, thanks to Sid we know there were no Ecuadorian military airfields; although I can't see where he cites any sources for this opinion. (All I know about an Ecuadorian military presence was that there was a SMALL naval station in the Galapagos...though it was definitely supplied by SEA once a month)

What else have we found out in the course of this thread?

Apparently, according to Robert -
No commercial route had been started to the Galapagos but in 1940 FDR had authorized Pan-Am to begin developing that service and test flights had been made from Panama in 1941.
Strangely enough, the source of this last item in particular was NOT provided, so we have no way of verifying what it actually said or didn't say. He also said -
As for "airbases" on the Galapagos, remember than any fishing village wharf with a fuel tank on it is a "base" to a floatplane, seaplane or flyingboat. Pouring a concrete ramp that allows an amphibian aircraft to waddle up out of the water creates an "airbase".
....and of course the USN flying boat station in Aeolian Cove in the Galapagos dates from 1942, not earlier. It's quite clear from Building the Navy's Bases in World War II,History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps,1940-1946, Volume I, which has been linked to a number of times by Net link - that that station wasn't set up until AFTER the 7th of December -
In January 1942, seaplane bases were begun simultaneously at the Galapagos Islands and Salinas, Ecuador, to be followed during the early spring by the establishment of a base for PT boats on Taboga Island, Panama, and another seaplane base at Fonseca, Nicaragua
In fact, that source ALSO confirms that it DEFINITELY wasn't set up BEFORE that date; in a later footnote it says...
Following a cruise in the Panama area by President Roosevelt in 1940, preparations were made to provide a wide are of constant air patrols west of the Canal. Aviation equipment for a seaplane base in the Galapagos Islands was procured and stored at Balboa. This base was the pioneer of a long succession of mobile units assembled for shipment to locations outside the United States. The list used served as a guide for procurement of aviation materials for seven air bases, thus creating the term "Galapagos units." Depots were established November 1940, at Charleston, S.C.; near San Francisco; and at Balboa, where warehouses were constructed by the Bureau of Yards and Docks to house these huge stockpiles
Five days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the Panama Canal was considered in imminent danger of a similar attack, the Navy rushed a token force of 36 men aboard a British tramp steamer, to the Galapagos Islands to establish a refueling depot for patrol planes, a few days later, seaplanes were being refueled by hand pumps from a motor launch.
So, what we DEFINITELY know is

1/ there was NO U.S. military air presence in the Galapagos Islands, neither a flying boat station nor a landplane airfiled.

2/ there was no Ecuadorian military air presence in the Galapagos Islands. Though Robert was wrong when he said earlier in the thread

There was early in the thread a short diversion between Robert and Sid about PanAm or Panagra or whoever using flying boats on the West Coast route through Central America. However, given the very few of these that BOTH owned and operated wherever, the ONE thing I would not accept without some sort of proof is what Robert said about Panagra beginning test flights to the islands being widened to use such an IMPORTANT resource as passneger-carrying flyingboats :wink:

Mind you, we do NOT know where he even got the bare-bones' suggestion of test flights from, so that suggestion can be dismissed...

but maybe we shall return to it later on... :wink:

HOWEVER....there is ONE VERY major caveat about the various discussions mentioned in THIS post; and at this point I would advise readers to look back through the thread and check for themselves...there is a very strange trend on the part of a lot of posters to answer questions/posts about civilian airfields with reference to the presence or lack of military ones. And for posters to answer questions/posts about military airfields with answers about civilian ones. Personally, I found this to be VERY unhelpful, and can't help wondering what readers thought of this imprecision.

More to follow...though it's good that we've copperfastened that there was no military aviation by either the Amercians or the Ecaudorians actually ON the islands.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Feb 2009 22:31

So we NOW move on to another major aspect of the discussion on airfields in the Galapagos....

Early in the thread we were directed by Robert to a number of MAGIC decrypts on various aspects of his WI; and Sid was the poster who brought THIS fact to our attention - something he has appeared to have COMPLETELY forgotten, despite my MANY attempts to drag him kicking and screaming back to what HE posted...
(In this last connection, I note that on 22 November your link gives a Japanese intelligence source as stating, "The naval defense area, patrolled against possible lightning attacks, extends in the north from Salina Cruz on the Tehuantepec Isthmus to Monepene (on ?) the Gulf of Fonseca. The southern limits extend to the air base on the Galapagos Islands." What air base? I didn't know the US had started to build the air base yet, but if the Japanese thought they had this would rather scupper the use of the Galapagos as a launch point for the attack)
Robert then focused in on this post from Sid
As for "airbases" on the Galapagos, remember than any fishing village wharf with a fuel tank on it is a "base" to a floatplane, seaplane or flyingboat. Pouring a concrete ramp that allows an amphibian aircraft to waddle up out of the water creates an "airbase". If you'll recall that I previously mentioned that FDR had authorized Pan-Am to start developing a civilian Galapagos "base" in 1940, prior to Ecuadorian agreement to the presence of American military aircraft there, I think you have the root cause of that Japanese intell report. The book previewed at http://books.google.com/books?id=G3g0yj ... 0#PPA73,M1 gives a small taste of the "behind the scenes" US maneuvers done at the time that were designed to get Axis run airlines out of Latin and South American countries. I can't prove it yet but would bet that the Japanese agent in Panama who sent that report to Tokyo was assuming that the Pan-Am effort was just a "front" for a future US military controlled airbase. Much as "Air America" was a "front' for the CIA's efforts in Laos during the Vietnam period. Had my ATL Panama raid actually been ordered, I think it e3ntirely likely that gathering additional intell on the Galapagos Islands would have become a Japanese priority, don't you ?
Sid replied
The initiation of a service to the Galapagos was not dependent on an airfield. As already discussed, numerous Latin American air routes used floatplanes or seaplanes precisely because of the unavailability of airfields.

I do not think that there was any airfield on the Galapagos at this time (December 1941). I would suggest that, in the context we are discussing, the important point is that Japanese intelligence seems to have believed that there was an airfield on the Galapagos being used as part of the canal's defences on 22 November 1941 - only a fortnight before Pearl Harbour. Of course, one can eliminate this obstacle, as so many others, by appealing to an Alternative Time Line in which Japanese intelligence gets its facts right on this subject, but as things stand I would suggest that if Japanese intelligence believed there was a US airfield on the Galapagos they would be markedly less likely to consider using them as a base.
BOTH posters seem to have missed the point....that I'm QUITE sure anyone reading the material I LATER posted up about Akiyama will have picked up on. He was no mere "Japanese agent" NOR do I believe there was any inaccuracy in his reports. Quite the reverse; we have seen tha that he was a VERY successful and capable head -of-station, running a network of Canal watchers, occasional agents, and what appears to be a couple of really deep agents; not only does he submit his annual appropriations for approval naming all THREE types of agents - but he was able to steal via them a COMPLETE set of the U.S.' plans for the defence of the Canal and Canal Zone. As I said recently to Robert - my reservations about a Japanese intelligence netwrok in the Canal Zone was over them being able to secure the kind of information that would be necessary for an attack of the kind HE proposed, AND get it via Tokyo back to an attacking force in any sort of a relevant timescale - NOT that Akiyama and his network weren't apparently absolutely brilliant at what they DID do!!! :wink: This is a guy who reported on U.S. construction work all over Panama and the Canal Zone - and was able to find either himself or by his agents a number of construction that even HE "officially" as Japanese Ambassador wasn't permitted to visit! He's supplying information even down to the level of how many occupants various new and in-construction barracks were expected to house - allowing Tokyo to build up a picture of the anticipated garrson of the Canal Zone - and as THESE would have been INSIDE military compounds he must have had access to sources of information INSIDE the various "forts" and establishments he mentions he's not allowed to visit...

(ONE thing that should be noted here is that the U.S. was painfully short of labour in the Canal Zone; they brought in labourers from the Caribbean rather than employ many of the locals, it seems...)

....and he's reporting the construction and status of various auxiliary airfields and landing grounds in Panama VERY accurately, as we know from AAFHS-42....

SO why do both Sid and Robert seem to write off his report on an air base in the Galapagos as an intelligence FAILURE? For they do so for absolutely NO reason or justification that I can see! In fact they do Akiyama a considerable injustice which we NOW know is undeserved :wink: :wink: :wink:

SO Sid - IF you had actually read back through the thread as *I* did suggest on many occasions, you would have noticed that the one pretty-reliable AND CONTEMPORARY source we have for SOME aerial activity in the Galapagos Islands had been drawn to our attention by you yourself!!!

And thanks to YOU...and Alaric and Andy...we know it's not MILITARY traffic of ANY source or nationality, whether landplane or flying boat. The ONLY OTHER aerial activity we know about is the USN's PBY patrols -
The naval defense area, patrolled against possible lightning attacks, extends in the north from Salina Cruz on the Tehuantepec Isthmus to Monepene (on ?) the Gulf of Fonseca. The southern limits extend to the air base on the Galapagos Islands.
...is ABOVE the Islands! :lol: :P

So, perhaps it's NOW time to look again at the CIVILIAN traffic aspect...for there's an "airbase" in those Islands, according to one remarkably-relaible and high-performing intelligence source....

But - before we do - just ONE little point for Robert...
Were my ATL Panama attack to have been ordered I would suggest that the entire Galapagos group would have been thoroughly checked out some months before Nov.22'41. Visits by agents, a determined radio intercept effort, stops by passing Japanese merchant ships still trading with various South American nations and even IJN submarine recon (many carrried scouting floatplanes as I'm sure you know) would have ferreted out any sizeable airbase construction effort there well ahead of time.
...but I'm sure Sid will understand the point too; "stops by passing Japanese merchant ships still trading with various South American nations".....

This is EXACTLY what Akiyama was doing!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
2. Money to supplement the activities of the Kyowa Company in this country
He was using the Japanese-owned Kyowa Shipping Co. to gather information!!!

Frankly, as Akiyama seems to have been streets' ahead of either poster denigrating his performance to being that of a misguided, misinformed "agent" - his reputation and accuracy on a whole range of OTHER matters would at this point need some MAJOR discrediting for anyone to be able to say he was plain out-and-out wrong about "the air base on the Galapagos Islands"...given that if it's NOT a military airfield - which we know it CAN'T be - then there's no reason at all for whatever it was to be a secret anyway...

Now perhaps Sid will understand that HE was the one drew our attention to the one highly-reliable contemporary source for contemporary non-military aviation in the Galapagos; he just didn't realise at the time HOW reliable Akiyama was later to turn out to be. And he made a VERY major Robert-like oversight in not checking the provenance of that MAGIC decrypt, finding out how reliable Akiyama's material was.

more to come...

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Feb 2009 23:15

Frankly, as Akiyama seems to have been streets' ahead of either poster denigrating his performance to being that of a misguided, misinformed "agent" - his reputation and accuracy on a whole range of OTHER matters would at this point need some MAJOR discrediting for anyone to be able to say he was plain out-and-out wrong about "the air base on the Galapagos Islands"...given that if it's NOT a military airfield - which we know it CAN'T be - then there's no reason at all for whatever it was to be a secret anyway...
There's ONE additional fact to bear in mind about the message Akiyama sent to Tokyo...
...the air base on the Galapagos Islands...
Compared to the location information he gives for USAAF bases in Panama on another message - HERE it's just ""the" airbase on the galapagos islands". So obviously his superiors were meant to know what airbase he was talking about... :wink:

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by David Thompson » 25 Feb 2009 23:19

Drop the personal remarks, phylo.

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Re: Dec.7'41: A Day That Nobody Bombed Panama !

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Feb 2009 01:21

Moving on....

Whenever Robert posted up THIS on the thread -
The quote, "When SEDTA in May 1940 applied for a permit to establish a service from the mainland to the Galapagos Islands, in which the United States had already indicated its strategic interest, the American government was moved to action. President Roosevelt in June authorized the loan of funds to Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra), Pan American's associate, to enable it to establish a competing line. Panagra inaugurated its service in December 1940, with equipment and service superior to that provided by the German line." comes from page #242 of:
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/ ... k/ch10.htm
Sid replied with
The other quote refers to Panagra setting up competition to SEDTA in Ecuador, not on the non-existent Galapagos route, for which SEDTA did not get permission.
Actually - it doesn't; THIS is the full quote -
A different method of eliminating German aviation in Latin America was used in neighboring Ecuador. Though the German-owned local line in Ecuador, SEDTA, operated with only two obsolete transports as its "fleet," it provided an indispensable service to Ecuador's economy. When SEDTA in May 1940 applied for a permit to establish a service from the mainland to the Galapagos Islands, in which the United States had already indicated its strategic interest, the American government was moved to action. President Roosevelt in June authorized the loan of funds to Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra), Pan American's associate, to enable it to establish a competing line. Panagra inaugurated its service in December 1940, with equipment and service superior to that provided by the German line. Nevertheless, SEDTA managed to operate a reduced service until Ecuador requisitioned its planes and property in September 1941. The Army contributed to the desired end not only by backing the Panagra line but also by establishing an Ecuadoran Air Mission and allocating enough money to it to permit the mission to help in the improvement of Ecuadoran airfield facilities
It's obvious that the U.S. didn't take any interest in SEDTA's minuscle operation UNTIL the Galapagos route was mentioned. And the sentences hoighlighted specifically indicate Panagra established "A" (singular) competing line, not a competing airline network inside Ecuador...which does seem to be what SEDTA was doing inside Ecuador until that point[/i] :wink:

As an aside - the story of SEDTA's aircraft in Ecuador is very interesting from a historical perspective - and a classic anecdote of air WARFARE :lol: 8O Warfare....?

SEDTA had had a hard time of it, and its fleet was reduced by 1941 to ONLY it's two aging Ju52's....that for many years BEFORE transferring to SEDTA's new netwrok in Ecuador had been flying the same sort of internal routes in Peru...

And when the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, fought between July 5, 1941 and July 31, 1942, broke out the Ecuadorian government seized the two aircraft, painted them in Ecuadorian air force colours - and sent them to bomb targets in Peru. And when they flew over the front lines...rather fluid ones, for the very superior Peruvian forces did VERY well...they looked up and said "Oh, we know THOSE aircraft! They're OUR old Ju52s!" 8O 8O 8O And so didn't react, didn't report them transiting the front lines, and didn't fire on them - the the now-Ecuadorian bombers carried out a series of very nasty air raids on Peruvian towns without being intercepted!!! :lol:

HOWEVER - back to the plot. First, let's look at where that information in UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II The Western Hemisphere THE FRAMEWORK OF HEMISPHERE DEFENSE, by Stetson Conn and Byron Fairchild actually comes from...it's lifted almost in toto from Burden!

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=G3g0 ... t#PPA73,M1

....and it's quite clear from that, that contrary to what Sid said, the "crisis" in Ecuador DID arise ONLY because SEDTA proposed extending its network to include the Galapagos.

"The line (SEDTA - my note) provided the only local air transportation in Ecuador. Panagra had never carried out local operations there. Ecuador moreover was particularly dependent on air transportation because of its limited ground transport facilities. Obviously it could not tolerate stoppage of the German operation unless adequate local service were provided by some other company..."

Note the word "stoppage" - the SEDTA operation therefore was in....operation :) BEFORE the Galapagos issue brought on the crisis...

And if you look at Page 74...

"...in December 1940, after Panagra had completed airport improvements to accomodate new American equipment, these new services were out into operation. Panagra operated DC-2's (170 mph) at no higher fares than were charged on SEDTA's older and far less comfortable Ju-52s (140mph)....."


And what's the range of a DC-2? 900 miles. And how far away are the Galapagos???? :wink:

So....we don't NEED any "borrowed" and very precious PanAm flyingboats to be purloined for "test flights" to the Islands, Robert. Panagra operated in Ecuador with a reliable passenger aircraft with plenty of range to fly to the islands.

Now - I KNOW Sid has a strangely-low opinion of Burden -

Burden's book was published under US foreign affairs auspices during the war. On matters of commercial trivia, such as which US airline, or which US aircraft carrying what livery was on which route, there is no reason to question his work as such information was publicly available,


...despite which he's happy to use it as a source himself at times :wink: But....Burden isn't the ONLY literary source that puts the crisis in Ecuador down to the bidding on the GALAPAGOS' route and NOT an attempt to keep SEDTA out of Ecuador when it was already in....

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YA6- ... #PPA113,M1

In other words - this confirms that the problem wasn't keeping SEDTA out of Ecuador, but they were IN already, operating merrily - but cheaply and uncomfortably :lol: - and the problems arose as that quote Robert first produced from Conn & Fairchild says - when the Galapagos route issue arose and caused a bidding war.

So, Sid - that seems to confirm pretty much that Conn & Fairchild AND Burden are quite correct; SEDTA were IN Ecuador, operating an internal airline network, and the Galapagos issue THEN arose as a standalone. Poor Panagra THEN had to cope with the issue of providing or attempting to provide a WHOLE network from scratch as an alternative to SEDTA due to the politics of the Galapagos issue....

And so "When SEDTA in May 1940 applied for a permit to establish a service from the mainland to the Galapagos Islands, in which the United States had already indicated its strategic interest, the American government was moved to action. President Roosevelt in June authorized the loan of funds to Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra), Pan American's associate, to enable it to establish a competing line. Panagra inaugurated its service in December 1940"...means exactly what it says; a service from the mainland to the Galapagos Islands was inaugurated in December 1940. The only other possible intepretation is that it covered BOTH domestic service AND the Galapagos route, but the Galapagos first section clearly relates to the December 1940 statement in one way or the other.

More to follow...
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 26 Feb 2009 03:04, edited 3 times in total.

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