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Pensacola Convoy and the Southern Route

May 30 2009 at 12:02 PM
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Jacques  (no login)
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Response to Pensacola convoy and the southern route


Please let's look at this significant piece of history again:
1. Seen in hindsight, the decision not to run the Mandates gauntlet was indeed a wise one but we still need to know how this decision was arrived at. I really don't think that the Navy chose to go south in order "not to display predictable sailing habits" as you suggest but rather because of imminent danger. The southern route wasn't merely an alternative route but a detour of several thousand miles (with serious logistical challenges), intended to keep the convoy well clear of Japanese controlled territory. A conclusion that one can draw from this is that the Navy had excellent intelligence, they knew that the "ignition point" was imminent and they were certain that to take the direct westerly route would have resulted in the convoy being attacked and wiped out.
2. We have to question the value of lone cruisers as escort vessels. Surely submarines would have been the greatest danger to a convoy (well proven during WW1 and the war raging in the Atlantic at the time). The Pensacola had no submarine fighting capability and being only lightly armoured, was herself vulnerable to attack.

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