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Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich

May 31 2010 at 1:19 AM
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Tom Womack  (no login)

 

I'm doing some research on the Battle of the Java Sea and am currently reading through the after-action report written by Rear-Admiral C.E.L. Helfrich. While not outright negative, Helfrich certainly has some questionable comments on Doorman's leadership during the battle. At the same time I have noticed that Helfrich is a hell of a "Monday Morning Quarterback" (i.e. he has excellent hindsight when pointing out the errors of others after the fact). He also had the luxury of explaining (defending?) his actions while Doorman and certain other Allied commanders who died did not.

My question is how do the Dutch (both navy and/or historians) view Helfrich in the face of history? Doorman has had at least one capital ship (maybe more) named after him; and as best as I can tell, he is highly regarded in the KM as doing his best in a near hopeless situation. But after reading Helfrich's comments I am left to wonder how he himself is regarded. Obviously, he held a high post-war position in the KM so he was clearly held in esteem. But then again, so was Douglas MacArthur...

Not trying to be divisive, but would be interested to hear what our Dutch colleagues (and others) think of Admiral Helfrich some 68 years later. I get the distinct impression that Helfrich thought he could have done better in command during the Battle of the Java Sea. I also get the impression that he consistently "meddled" in the operational command of Admiral Doorman.

Your thoughts...comments...?

 
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Responses

  • Re: Dutch perception of Admiral Helfrich - Nelson on May 31, 2010, 5:57 AM
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  • Re: Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich - Jan Visser on Jun 1, 2010, 10:24 PM
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  • Re: Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich - Jan Visser on Jun 6, 2010, 8:33 PM
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  • What did Helfrich know and when did he know it? EDITED - John Waller on Nov 8, 2010, 3:29 PM
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  • Re: Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich - Arnout Van A. on Nov 28, 2010, 4:25 AM
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  • Re: Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich - Felix on Dec 30, 2011, 6:03 PM
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  • Re: Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich - Fred Leander on Nov 1, 2013, 3:38 PM
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  • interesting reading - Gert Wolters on Jun 9, 2016, 3:17 PM
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  • Battle of the Java Sea - Peter on Jun 9, 2016, 6:02 PM
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