MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

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Delta Tank
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MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Jul 2012 00:06

I believe that MacArthur did not forbade Kinkaid to communicate with Halsey, and that this is another myth of World War II. If you believe I am wrong, please provide source so that I can run this "rabbit" down its hole!

My comments are in black and anything from books are in red, at least I hope it came out that way!!

Mike

There were critical failures in US inter-fleet communications during the invasion of Leyte. Several writers have blamed this on the obsessive control of Douglas MacArthur, reporting that he proscribed the two from sharing information except when done through channels under his HQs. I believe it is a myth that GEN Douglas MacArthur forbade Admiral Kincaid, Commander 7th Fleet, to communicate with Admiral Halsey, Commander 3d Fleet, during the invasion of the island of Leyte. In fact, the US Navy's official history states things correctly, which are MacArthur told them to figure out how they were going to communicate, leaving the details up to them. Those that perpetuate the myth are, as H.P. Wilmott implies, blaming an Army General for an internal Navy communications problem. The bottom line is, the two fleet headquarters mismanaged message handling during this critical operation, resulting in delays and disruptions of sequence in delivery.
I have been trying to find where this first appeared in print and to read the footnotes to see who this “order” can be attributed to.
I decided to start with the official history of the United States Navy and went to the book entitled, “Leyte, June 1944-January 1945, Volume XII”, History of United States Naval Operation in World War II, by Samuel Eliot Morison, ISBN: 0-7858-1313-6 and on page 59-60 I found this:
“In effect, Admiral Halsey had an overriding objective assigned to him by Nimitz apart from and independent of General MacArthur’s, which was the prompt liberation of Leyte. Halsey was the sole judge of his primary duty at any critical juncture. Nothing in his orders or in Nimitz’s operation plan required him to obtain the General’s concurrence in any action he chose to initiate, or even to advise him as to change of plan. To give divergent duties to two such strong and aggressive characters as Halsey and MacArthur, and expect them always to cooperate, was to invite trouble. And the only reason it did not create a great deal of trouble was that the General kept his hands off the Navy, and allowed his naval commander, Admiral Kinkaid, to determine his own relations with Third Fleet and Admiral Halsey.”
Further on in the book pages 290-294 we find the 7th Fleet Commander communicating directly with the 3d Fleet Commander. Admiral Kinkaid had a radio tuned to the 3d Fleet’s Command frequency and was aware of actions that Admiral Halsey had taken in regard to the Japanese carrier force that he decided to steam after and attack but he believed Halsey had left TF 34 (the battle line) to guard San Bernardino Strait; however other members of Kinkaid’s staff were not so sure and decided that Halsey should be questioned about his dispositions. So from page 291-292: “Certain Seventh Fleet staff officers who disagreed with the Admiral’s interpretation of these dispatches finally persuaded him to seek information from Third Fleet. At 0412 October 25, when sending Halsey news of the victory in Surigao Strait, Kinkaid added a query as to whether Task Force 34 was guarding San Bernardino Strait. Halsey did not receive this message until 0648, and at 0705 he sent the discouraging reply that TF 34 was with the fast carriers going north.”

There are other examples of Kinkaid and Clifton Sprague communicating directly with Halsey, the one that I believe shows that something was wrong in how the US Navy communicated during this battle is the one on page 293-294: “At 0727 Kinkaid radioed in plain English, and Halsey received the message at 0900: “Request Lee proceed top speed to cover Leyte; request immediate strike by fast carriers.” Why would it take a plain text message one hour and thirty three minutes to get to Halsey?
I also checked the operations order which is on line and you can read the communications annex here:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep ... -44-N.html
The whole order is here:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep ... l#contents
Nowhere in that annex can I find where it was forbidden for 7th Fleet to communicate with 3d Fleet. Command frequencies for both fleets are listed with call signs, which imply that they were permitted to communicate.
Next I checked the book entitled “The Two-Ocean War, A short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War” by Samuel Eliot Morison, copyright 1963.
On page 454 you will read this: “How could this formidable fleet have covered 125 to 150 miles from inside San Bernardino Strait, down along the ocean shore of Samar, in the last seven hours-undetected by ship, search plane or coastwatcher?
Admiral Halsey was informed by a night-search plane from Independence that Kurita’s Center Force would sortie from San Bernardino Strait. Sightings on it heading that way reached the Admiral as late as 2120 October 24. But he simply did not care. Estimating that his carrier pilots’ exaggerated reports of their sinkings in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea were correct, he assumed that Center Force “could no longer be considered a serious menace to Seventh Fleet,” in or outside Leyte Gulf, and did not even warn Kinkaid to watch out.”

So, even if you believe that MacArthur forbade Kinkaid to talk to Halsey, Halsey could talk to Kinkaid! Admiral Halsey fell under Nimitz not MacArthur and he could talk to anyone he desired. The statement by Morison that Halsey “simply did not care” is damning.

While searching on line to find more information I came across three papers written by naval officers to fulfill school required academic papers. Two papers did not state that General MacArthur forbade Admiral Kinkaid to communicate with Admiral Halsey, but one did. The paper is entitled: “Tarnished Victory: Divided Command In The Pacific And Its Consequences In The Naval Battle For Leyte Gulf” by James P. Drew, LCDR, USN, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 2009. On page 33 he states the following under the sub title “Communications”
“The division of command imposed obstacles on the free flow of communications between Kinkaid’s Seventh Fleet and Halsey’s Third Fleet during the conduct of the operation. The lack of communication meant that neither fleet commander could derive what today would be termed a Common Operation Picture (COP) of what was actually occurring in and around the Leyte battlespace. Messages from Kinkaid to Halsey were often routed in a haphazard fashion and arrived woefully late and out of sequence. Likewise, Halsey communicated information regarding his intended fleet disposition and movement to Admiral Nimitz and his subordinates, but was under no obligation to share that information with Admiral Kinkaid. This ill conceived structure caused each fleet commander to make inaccurate assumptions about the conduct of the battle
The dual command structure in effect at Leyte also made it time consuming for Kinkaid to communicate with Halsey. To communicate directly with Halsey, Kinkaid had to transmit his message traffic to an intermediate radio station on the island of Manus. From there it would be rebroadcast to its intended recipients. Author Evan Thomas asserts that this restriction was designed so that MacArthur could see all message traffic. 11 In his biography of Halsey, Potter asserts: “MacArthur, insistent on maintaining the independence of his command, forbade any uninterrupted channel of communication from the Seventh Fleet to the Third.” 12 Regardless of the reasoning behind this regulation, it impeded the flow of message traffic from Kinkaid to Halsey. Potter continues: “The operators at Manus stacked the urgent messages and sent them out in the order they arrived or made a wild guess about which had priority. As a result it sometimes took hours for a dispatch to get from Kinkaid to Halsey, and often the messages arrived out of sequence. 13 In his recent book on the battle H.P. Wilmott states:
One hesitates to write anything in defense of MacArthur, but for naval historians to blame an army general for a lack of proper communications between naval formations seems to be at the very limit of credibility. In any event, a theater commander can hardly be blamed for lack of communications between one of his forces and a counterpart in another theater; that responsibility and task, surely, fell to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and specifically King, who bore executive responsibility for the pacific. 14
Willmott’s point is well taken. King’s earlier assertion that the Joint Chiefs would control strategy in the Pacific, coupled with the JCS’s refusal to resolve the issue of divided command in the Pacific absolved MacArthur of the ultimate responsibility. The point is not to cast blame on MacArthur; instead it is to illustrate the larger point that Third Fleet was not a “counterpart in another theater.” It was from another theater but was operating very much within MacArthur’s geographic area of responsibility. It was not his fault that Third Fleet, a unit who played a major part in determining the operation’s success or failure, was outside his operational control. Willmott does not dispute that MacArthur wanted to keep a tight rein on communications originating within his theater. That MacArthur did so is an illustration, or a symptom, of how disunity of command adversely impacted the Leyte operation. MacArthur would have had no need to hold communications tight if Third Fleet had been placed under his operational control for the duration of the campaign.”

Now let us examine some of the footnotes from the paper above. The paper states “MacArthur, insistent on maintaining the independence of his command, forbade any uninterrupted channel of communication from the Seventh Fleet to the Third.” 12 This quote is attributed to the book entitled “Bull Halsey” by E. B. Potter ISBN 1-59114-691-7, page 290. I go to page 290 and the information is listed under footnote#3 or at least that is the closest footnote. So the information is attributed to Van Deurs oral history, 487. So I assume this is Admiral George Van Deurs. I will have to track that down and see what he has to say and if he has any documentation to back up this assertion, or did he just make it up to explain why the US Navy had communication failures during this battle.
From the information that I have seen and reproduced above, I believe that once again a myth has made it into print and historians doing “original” research quote each other to perpetuate the myth until it becomes a fact by simple repetition.
It may be instructive to examine radio communications failures that occurred within the US Navy prior to Leyte Gulf to see if there may be a “systematic problem” of some sort.
From the book entitled “Midway: The Incredible Victory” by Walter Lord, ISBN 1 84022 236 0, page 136. “Racing southwest at 6:30, Task Force 16 had nothing to go on except those first contact reports-growing colder every minute. Spruance’s staff could listen to the PBY traffic, but there was nothing in since 6:02. The other best source-Midway itself-they couldn’t pick up at all. The fleet and the base were on entirely different frequencies, so there was no direct way to get anything reported by Midway’s Army and Marine pilots. Everything had to be relayed by Pearl-a slow, hit-or-miss process.”
So why did not the Task Force tune a radio to the frequency that they needed in order to get the most current information? Lots of radio’s in the Task Force, could have ordered a cruiser to monitor the correct frequency and send the information to the Task Force Commander by blinker light or semaphore, etc.
Page 189. “To make matters worse, radio reception was bad-lots of static and fading-and some fool in the Aleutians kept sending inconsequential messages, which CINCPAC dutifully relayed for the Enterprise’s information. Dow finally asked Pearl to stop.”
I think this shows that staffs may not of been properly trained or informed as to what the “big” picture was and how each part of this whole operation inter-related to each other. A cynical way of stating this is to ask “where were the adults?”
Page 262. “At 8:00 a PBY had reported a burning carrier trailing two battleships, three cruisers and four destroyers. For some reason the message didn’t reach Task Force 16 till late in the morning, but once Spruance had it he made his choice. The carrier was 275 miles away, the contact was cold, but it was still the “prime target.” At 11:15 he turned northwest and began a long stern chase. If a carrier was up there at 8:00 A.M., he’d take a chance on it now.”
“For some reason the message didn’t reach Task Force 16 till late in the morning” There is a reason and I wonder if anyone tried to determine the reason and fix it?
Page 288. “The second-guessers were soon at it too. Strategists argued, perhaps correctly, that the submarines were badly deployed. . . that the scouting was poor. . .that communications were slow and overly complicated. . . That there wasn’t enough coordination between the Task Forces. . . that the Yorktown might have been saved. . .that Task Force 16 was too slow in following up the first day’s success.”
“Communications were slow and overly complicated” Could the reason be a systemic or procedural problem obviously internal to the navy in this case.
The following communication problems come from the book entitled: “The Admirals, Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King-The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea”, by Walter R. Borneman. ISBN 978-0-316-09784-0.
Page 248 “Nimitz got the news by sporadic and long-delayed radio traffic, and when the final blow came, the engineer in him couldn’t help but surface, and he muttered, if only to himself, “They should have saved the Lexington.”
Page 290 “Characteristically, Nimitz’s first reaction was calmly to rally his subordinates. Radio communications with Ghormley were wretched and were equally so among Ghormley’s commands.”

If I recall correctly Ghormley’s headquarters was located on a very hot and cramp ship tied up to a pier and the first thing that Halsey did when he took over was to move everything into more spacious and cooler accommodations on shore so the staff could operate more effectively.

Delta Tank
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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 08 Aug 2012 23:59

I found the 7th Fleet OPORD (Operations Order)http://www.ibiblio.o...Plan/index.html and Annex N covers communications where the frequency for the 3d Fleet is listed and you can find it here: http://www.ibiblio.o...n/13-44-N.html. Task Force 77 is instructed to guard 3d Fleet Task Force Commanders Circuit and also guard MANUS Fox. Can't find anywhere so far where MacArthur forbid Kinkaid from communicating with Halsey, except in the book by E. B. Potter, everything points the other way, I still believe it is a myth. I don't know what guard means in US Navy jargon, but I guess it means to monitor that frequency.

I also found Admiral Kinkaid's after action report: http://www.public.navy.mil/usff/Documen ... report.pdf

Still no mention from any credible source that General MacArthur forbade Admiral Kinkaid from communicating to Admiral Halsey.

It is a myth unless someone can find a credible source that refutes what I have posted.

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Aug 2012 01:00

Delta Tank wrote:http://www.ibiblio.o...n/13-44-N.html. Task Force 77 is instructed to guard 3d Fleet Task Force Commanders Circuit and also guard MANUS Fox. Can't find anywhere so far where MacArthur forbid Kinkaid from communicating with Halsey, except in the book by E. B. Potter, everything points the other way, I still believe it is a myth. I don't know what guard means in US Navy jargon, but I guess it means to monitor that frequency.
You are correct. "Guard" in US terminology would mean to listen to all traffic on that frequency and be prepared to respond to any messages addressed to you on that frequency. In other words communicate on that frequency. The term had not changed in its fundamental meaning in the 1980s when I learned the term in communications class. A "commanders circuit" would be a channel for the principle commanders or their representative & not for any junior staff officer to send messages on. That is a channel for messages between the actual command so their priority traffic is not lost among other messages.

In the artillery we seperated the radio message traffic among a minimum of four to five frequencies at battalion level and over a dozen in the division multi battalion regiment or group.

If Mac did not want Kinkaid to communicate with Halsey there would be a seperate commanders circuit for each to Macs HQ. A common frequency would usually be more efficient.

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Aug 2012 01:12

Carl,

So your explanation confirms that General MacArthur did not forbade Admiral Kinkaid from talking to Admiral Halsey. If I can figure this out why can't these so called "historians" figure it out?? Because they were never in the military (broad generalization) and don't understand shit? They are like hogs looking at a Timex watch? I believe that everyone would be better off just reading the official histories and let the amateur historians books on the shelf, the official histories have less mistakes than what these civilians seem to produce. When I state official histories I mean the US ones. Something was wrong with communications in the US Navy during World War II, I don't know what that problem was but blaming it on MacArthur shows bad form!

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Takao » 09 Aug 2012 03:09

Actually, it neither confirms nor denies. For accurate comparison, we would need to see Third Fleet's orders. Havings 77's orders only tells one side of the story.

Task Force 77 is "guarding" Third Fleet's circuit. Fine. But, if Third Fleet is not expecting Task Force 77 to be "guarding" their channel, than they certainly will not address anything for Task Force 77 to respond to. Thus, Task Force 77 is just using Third Fleet as a way to gather more intelligence, while never actually transmitting anything to Third Fleet. And this was part of what got Kinkaid into trouble, listening in on Halsey's circuit, but never asking for clarifications on any of the information they overheard.

If the two Task Forces could communicate with each other, than why use than Manus at all, why did Kinkaid not simply send his messages directly to Halsey? IIRC, the only time their was direct communication between the two, was when Kinkaid got caught with his drawers around his ankles.

Quite a ridiculous communications setup, with no real "proof"(for finger-pointing later) as to whom was the particular "author" for this mess. But, since MacArthur was in "overall" command, the blame, rightly or wrongly, falls on his shoulders.

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Aug 2012 17:09

Takao,

Wrote out a response and it went?? somewhere?

The myth is that MacArthur ordered Kinkaid not to communicate with Halsey. The official history of the US Navy states that MacArthur told them to figure out their communication arrangements, which makes sense because what would a four star army general know about navy communication requirements. Also bear in mind that army doctrine dictates flank coordination with adjacent units, exchange radio frequencies, liaison officers, coordination of fires, etc. so from an army officer's perspective it would make total sense to have those two talk to each other, just as the official history states. So everything was working out well when Halsey ordered his entire fleet north and went to bed. Then a report came in from a patrol plane that the Center Force had reversed course and was heading back through San Bernadino Strait. As far as I know, no one woke up Halsey to tell him the Center Force was coming back and I can't find where the staff took it upon themselves to notify Kinkaid to give him a heads up.

Now, MacArthur could give Kinkaid an order, but he could not give Halsey an order, keep that little fact in mind.

MANUS was set up to broadcast the Fox Schedule?? What ever that is?? Not versed in World War II US Navy communications or for that matter not versed in how they do it today.

I can't find where Nimitz, King, Kinkaid, or Halsey stated that MacArthur screwed up their communications or ordered these two fleets not to coordinate their actions, in fact all evidence points the other way.

So, I still believe it is a myth.

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Aug 2012 01:53

Delta Tank wrote:Carl,

So your explanation confirms that General MacArthur did not forbade Admiral Kinkaid from talking to Admiral Halsey. If I can figure this out why can't these so called "historians" figure it out??
What Tako said. We are missing a lot of information here.

Delta Tank wrote:... why can't these so called "historians" figure it out?? Because they were never in the military (broad generalization) and don't understand shit? They are like hogs looking at a Timex watch?
In part. Unless they expend the time to gather all the facts, which we have not yet done here, the PoV will be distorted. Also everyone who writes something has a agenda & tends to focus on some points and not others.

Delta Tank wrote:... Something was wrong with communications in the US Navy during World War II, I don't know what that problem was but blaming it on MacArthur shows bad form!

Mike
Trying to 'blame' specifics on the senior commanders is a bit naive. There were large communications staffs that wrestled with these problems. Mac or Kincaid, or Halsey did not out line his comm plan on a 8x11 paper. That was generated from the early drafts of the overall operational plan with its tenative annex on command relationships. If the comm plan was fuzzy it was probablly because the overall plan it was based on was vague, unfocused, imprecise, unclear, or otherwise not perfectly written. I used to be paid to write these things & observe that if the commanders original instructions are clear, the staff well run, the chief of staff attentive to details, the operations officer capable of clear thinking, & the other staff principles likewise, ... if the unit doctrine or SOP clear, understood, and relevant, if there are not excessive changes, if the individuals involved not exhausted or distracted, ect... ect...ect... Thenyour communications annex amy answer all questions a serve for all things. (insert flying pig here)

Given enough time with the books one could very well pick apart any of the staff of the commanders named here. Much ink has been spilled over the personalities of MacAurthurs senior staff. Captain Miles Browning has been picked on & over. I am fairly confident the certain problems are largely those of a collective effort rather than a individual.

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Aug 2012 01:55

Delta Tank wrote:Carl,

So your explanation confirms that General MacArthur did not forbade Admiral Kinkaid from talking to Admiral Halsey. If I can figure this out why can't these so called "historians" figure it out??
What Tako said. We are missing a lot of information here.

Delta Tank wrote:... why can't these so called "historians" figure it out?? Because they were never in the military (broad generalization) and don't understand shit? They are like hogs looking at a Timex watch?
In part. Unless they expend the time to gather all the facts, which we have not yet done here, the PoV will be distorted. Also everyone who writes something has a agenda & tends to focus on some points and not others.

Delta Tank wrote:... Something was wrong with communications in the US Navy during World War II, I don't know what that problem was but blaming it on MacArthur shows bad form!

Mike
Trying to 'blame' specifics on the senior commanders is a bit naive. There were large communications staffs that wrestled with these problems. Mac or Kincaid, or Halsey did not out line his comm plan on a 8x11 paper. That was generated from the early drafts of the overall operational plan with its tenative annex on command relationships. If the comm plan was fuzzy it was probablly because the overall plan it was based on was vague, unfocused, imprecise, unclear, or otherwise not perfectly written. I used to be paid to write these things & observe that if the commanders original instructions are clear, the staff well run, the chief of staff attentive to details, the operations officer capable of clear thinking, & the other staff principles likewise, ... if the unit doctrine or SOP clear, understood, and relevant, if there are not excessive changes, if the individuals involved not exhausted or distracted, ect... ect...ect... Then your communications annex may answer all questions a serve for all things. (insert flying pig here)

Given enough time with the books one could very well pick apart any of the staff of the commanders named here. Much ink has been spilled over the personalities of MacAurthurs senior staff. Captain Miles Browning has been picked on & over. I am fairly confident the certain problems are largely those of a collective effort rather than a individual.

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Takao » 10 Aug 2012 08:32

Delta Tank wrote:Takao,

Wrote out a response and it went?? somewhere?
My point is that just because one is "guarding" a circuit, does not necessarily mean that one is also transmitting on it. As Carl pointed out, you listen and respond to all despatches addressed to you. What I am saying, is that there would be no messages addressed to Task Force 77 for them to respond to, hence they were just listening in on Third Fleet's circuit and using this as an additional "supply" of information. This was quite common, even though the practice was "officially" discouraged - as it often led to the radio crews being over worked and swamped with having to decode a ton of messages. All traffic was handled thru than Manus, and there was no "direct link" between the two Task Forces.
Delta Tank wrote:The official history of the US Navy states that MacArthur told them to figure out their communication arrangements, which makes sense because what would a four star army general know about navy communication requirements.
Or, the flip-side of the coin...
Your right. Two admirals, familiar with the complexities and delays in the "FOX schedule" system, would decide that it is the best system for communicating between each other during a major operation...

Or is it that a prima-donna Army general, who is more concerned with his own image and unfamiliar with the complexities of naval communications, makes a requirement that the Manus have to be used to relay message traffic...

Or is it that it is collectively decided that this is the most judicial system to use, given the divided command structure.

Just saying...There are two sides to every story, and the truth which lies somewhere in between.

Also, a word to the wise, "official" histories are not the be all and end all of history, military or otherwise.
Delta Tank wrote:So everything was working out well when Halsey ordered his entire fleet north and went to bed. Then a report came in from a patrol plane that the Center Force had reversed course and was heading back through San Bernadino Strait. As far as I know, no one woke up Halsey to tell him the Center Force was coming back and I can't find where the staff took it upon themselves to notify Kinkaid to give him a heads up.
They didn't wake up Halsey, because the first report came in before he went to bed...

At 8:06pm a USS Independence Hellcat reports that the Center Force has turned back east and is heading towards San Bernadino Strait. This report was promptly passed along to Kinkaid, and was received about 8:24pm. Here is where it begins to break down. Halsey & Third Fleet do not continue to pass on further reports from the USS Independence recon & heads off to sink Ozawa's carriers, Kinkaid makes little effort to perform his own reconnaissance of the area
Delta Tank wrote:MANUS was set up to broadcast the Fox Schedule?? What ever that is??
A "FOX schedule" was a series of morse code transmissions of orders that were repeated at set times throughout the day. The transmission rate averaged about 18 words a minute(slow enough for your average radio operator to process), although during periods of high message traffic it would be faster(sometimes nearly continuous). Radio operators copied the entire FOX "sked", but only passed along messages addressed to their ship/command. Messages had five priority ratings ranging from "Urgent"(highest) to "Deferred"(lowest). Higher priority messages had preference in the FOX schedule, so that a lower priority message broadcast would often be interrupted by an "Urgent" or "Operational Priority" message broadcast.

The benefits of the system were that it was fairly secure, reduced the use of shipboard long-range radio transmissions, and required less radio operators aboard small ships. But there were several drawbacks, just to name a few: The priority system was often abused, in that messages were given a higher priority that they really were in an effort to speed transmission. A sudden influx of many high priority messages caused quite a conundrum at the relay station(the Manus in our case) leading to urgent messages broadcast in the order they were received or the officer on duty would decide which were "more important" and broadcast those first. There was also no confirmation, and all messages were taken for granted to have been received and understood. There was also no retransmission until the next scheduled broadcast.

The system can be quite cumbersome during periods of high traffic, which is why it is downright idiotic to use it for handling messages between two fleets that are supposed to be cooperating together during a major amphibious operation.

Delta Tank wrote:I can't find where Nimitz, King, Kinkaid, or Halsey stated that MacArthur screwed up their communications or ordered these two fleets not to coordinate their actions, in fact all evidence points the other way.
AFAIK, they don't. But, since all your average reader or historian(outside of any bias) would know that since the Philippines was MacArthur's "baby", the screw-up had to have been his.

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 10 Aug 2012 14:36

Takao,

Since I am trying to get to the bottom of this, do you have any "facts" that help illuminate this situation?? So, far you have only given you unbiased opinion and really no facts. If you read Kinkaid's After Action Report which I believe I posted the link above, he states that the first time he knew of the the Center Force coming through the strait was when they were firing at his ships, no mention of a signal from Halsey that they were coming.

Internal navy communications had a lot to do with this screw up, abuse of the priority given to a message is a perfect example.

I have read about 3 or 4 books on this subject in the last four or five weeks and I did not post all the message traffic that was sent by Halsey to Kinkaid, but quit a few have made it into some books, because even if you believe the "myth" Halsey could do anything he liked, he did not have to obey MacArthur, Halsey boss was all the way back at Pearl Harbor, If he wanted to send Kinkaid a message on Kinkaid's command frequency addressed to him he could. The breakdown occurred as far as I know is when Halsey went north and did not properly inform Kinkaid that he was leaving nothing to guard the strait and oh by the way the Center Force has reversed course and is coming through the strait.

For the US Navy or for those that worship at their alter of infallibility, to blame their own internal communication failures on a US Army General is beyond belief.

Kinkaid's AAR:
http://www.public.navy.mil/usff/Documen ... report.pdf

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 18 Aug 2012 19:14

The US Navy suffered a number of communication lapses during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. This is from pages 202 & 203 of Alfred Price's: THE HISTORY OF ELECTRONIC WARFARE VOL 1 -- The years of Innovation beginnings to 1946"
On the night of 20th/21st, following the landings on Leyte, Lieutenant Lawrence Heron was airborne in one of the "Black Cats" on an ELINT mission over northern Borneo:

"We started hearing a great many microwave radar signals. We were pretty sure they were Japanese, because no American ships were known to be in the area. We ducked below a cloud, and saw an enormous number of ships -- which had a rather profound effect on myself and the rest of the crew. Nobody shot at us. Why they didn't discover us, I was never quite sure, unless they thought we were one of their own planes. probably they assumed that no American in his right mind would operate in that area! As soon as I got clear, I originated a secret and urgent signal back to the Task Force."


When he returned to the sea plane tender off Moritai the following morning. Heron was angered to discover that the message has not been passed on, nor would it be, because other searchers in that general area has reported seeing no enemy ships. In fact, the "enormous number of ships" Heron had discovered was Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's First Striking Force -- the main fighting body of the Japanese fleet comprising seven battleships, thirteen cruisers and numerous destroyers. This powerful armada left Singapore two days earlier and put into Brunei to refuel, before moving on to engage the US fleet off the Philippines in what later became the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. As a result of that lapse, it was not until the morning of October 23, that Kurita's force -- by then off Palawan island and well on its way to the Philippines -- was finally reported by US submarines. Following subsequent investigations, the officer who had failed to pass on Heron's signal was relieved of his command.

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 20 Aug 2012 16:39

From the book entitled "Bull Halsey" by E. B. Potter

page 321:
An hour later Halsey received a weather warning from a seaplane tender at Ulithi. At 0500 that morning one of her scouts had sighted a storm center less than 200 miles southeast of the New Jersey's 1400 position. Halsey wondered at the delay in reporting. Much later he learned that the scout pilot had made his report only after returning to base, and that it had been encrypted by means of the slow, tedious cipher required for weather reports rather than by the swift electric ciphering machine.
page 337:
In the evening of 4 June Radford's Task Group 38.4 joined Clark's group and Beary's fueling group, and all three headed east-southeast on a 110 degree course. At about the same time the Ancon reported having sighted the storm on her radar, and it was indeed a typhoon. Unfortunately the Ancon's report did not reach Halsey until 0100 the next morning, 5 June. It had been encrypted in the laborious weather code and thus had had to wait before the decoders tackled it. Had Halsey received the report promptly, he could have ordered the Ancon to track the typhoon, reporting its course and speed. But the Ancon's captain, finding that he was within fifty miles of a typhoon, had prudently reversed course to put as much distance as possible between his ship and the storm.
Obviously these are examples of an internal US Navy communications procedural SNAFU. I am sure we could find an old admiral, giving an oral history with no documentation to back up anything that he states, could claim that MacArthur forbid the Navy from using the swift electric ciphering machine and insisted that they use the "laborious weather code".

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 20 Aug 2012 17:46

Found this on Hyper War: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/Leyte/NWC-2.pdf

Interesting, but could be really tedious to get through this!

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Aug 2012 21:11

Takao wrote:Actually, it neither confirms nor denies. For accurate comparison, we would need to see Third Fleet's orders. Havings 77's orders only tells one side of the story

Quite a ridiculous communications setup, with no real "proof"(for finger-pointing later) as to whom was the particular "author" for this mess. But, since MacArthur was in "overall" command, the blame, rightly or wrongly, falls on his shoulders.
Takao,

Have you found Halsey's orders to Task Force 38? Another thing that comes up in these books is why was Halsey even there or why was Mitscher there? Halsey was the commander or was Mitscher? Apparently confusion on that inside 3d Fleet or Task Force 38. . they are the same thing.

The guy that screwed up in this battle was Halsey. Halsey was under the command of Nimitz. So, you mean Nimitz was is to blame? The principal players in this battle, Kinkaid, Halsey, Nimitz and King, no one blamed MacArthur, no one stated that MacArthur screwed up their communications or how the fleets were employed. Not one of these admirals stated that MacArthur forbade communications between the fleets. I think Admiral Van Deurs sold a bill of goods in his oral history interview in 1974 and E. B. Potter swallowed it "hook, line and sinker" and printed it because he had fallen in love with "Bull" Halsey and this was a very convenient and easy way to deflect the blame from Halsey and the US Navy and onto General MacArthur.

I have more to post later, the time line.

Mike

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Re: MacArthur, Kinkaid, and Halsey!

Post by Takao » 24 Aug 2012 23:06

No, I have had no such luck surfing the internet since I got back from vacation. Most of the books about Leyte Gulf also seem to be "light" on sourcing too, although I have not yet read Willmott's book yet.

The confusion, in those books, between who was commanding Halsey/Mitscher likely stems from the how the command was handled. Halsey, aboard USS New Jersey, was, shall we say, the "strategic" commander, while the "tactical" handling of the fast carriers was left to Mitscher, aboard USS Lexington. However, Halsey liked to often exert "tactical" control of the carriers, thus leaving Mitscher "along for the ride," essentially without a job. This in turn led to some enmity between the two admirals, and was likely responsible for Mitscher's "If he wants my advice he'll ask for it." quote.

The guys that screwed up this battle were Halsey & Kinkaid, not just Halsey alone. Had Kinkaid made more than a perfunctory effort at reconnaissance of San Bernadino Strait, his plentiful CVEs could have been in quite the position to eliminate Kurita's Fleet well before Kurita had even gotten close enough to shell his warships.

Do I mean that Nimitz was to blame? Well, in the larger sense, both Nimitz & MacArthur could be blamed for the fiasco...Since, neither would acquiesce to giving up control of part of their respective commands. Nimitz did not want to give up control of the "fast carriers" and MacArthur wanted the retaking of the Philippines to be an "Army" show. Had either commander given in, then a unified command would have be maintained, and the resulting problems would, very likely, not have materialized as they did.

If E.B. Potter swallowed, in 1985, what Admiral Van Deurs had written, then it was all forgotten about 5 years later when Potter wrote his bio on Admiral Arleigh Burke, as MacArthur is twice mentioned in the chapter pertaining to Leyte Gulf, and then only in a passing capacity.


I agree, the Naval War College material can be a lot to chew through. It's a shame that the material that would help out is not readily available on the internet. I take it you have downloaded the other NWC volumes; 1, 3, and 5, that are available on hyperwar at: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/Leyte/

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