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December 17 2010 at 3:09 AM
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Arnout Van A.  (no login)

Response to Another perception

I'm afraid you are still not really getting the point. As a Vice-Admiral, one just doesnt go around answering calls from all Major-Generals. Its the seniority you see. Protocol. Its a terrible bore, Im afraid.

The other nuisance was that the CZM had a double function and two bosses. The GG was merely the junior boss, and his substitute, in seniority also junior. The Queen and Furstner,on the otherhand, were his real bosses and the order to remain and fight came from there.

Having said that, Tjarda, the GG himself, was of no mind to be second fiddle to Wavell neither. He was as head of state, effectively by-passed, which Helfrich also couldnt condone. This is all well documented in even Ten Poorten's after action report. Nortier, never a big Navy fan, concurs there too.

Legacy command structures from ABDA or not, the intent had been, by order of the GG, to revert to the original, pre-war battle plan. In which the Navy would go to battle in a combined arms engagement against the invasion force to prevent landing.

Until that happened the fight was at sea and thus Helfrich's. After the final battle at sea, then the game would be up to the KNIL, augmented with land and air elements from our allies.

The ML-KNIL and US ARMY air had never been trained in combined arms engagements, lacked the appropriate communication gear to signal to the fleet and were no great hands in navigation at any rate.

Combined fleet-air-sub ops had been trained by the RNN extensively pre-war and had pre-ABDA also borne fruit. The problem was mainly that ABDA Operations had no control over any of the air elements pre or post Feb 23. Ten Poorten essentially allowed that situation to continue. It meant that flying boats were not used for their designed purpose and not in a manner in which their crew had been trained.

Yes, there had been fighter cover during daytime. Not during night time, when the final battle did take place. Besides during day time the cloud cover had been heavy with squalls in the area. Not very good for land based air craft at the best of times.

Helfrich had no control over his air assets. Non Navy aviation has no appreciation for the intricacies of that type of aviation. They think in hit and run, not in recce. Bombing was a secondary and tertiary function of the MLD. Consequently the MLD became ineffective, and the fleet became blind.

Lets put it clearly, I'm not spouting Helfrich's beliefs, I wouldnt as I can form my own. But rather Im offering the entire Dutch Naval War college recap, which has been equally well published and accepted even by the army. I put it forward previously that Aelfric did write a self serving document. However, these are his own words and apparently none of the other senior navy, knil and ml-knil generals have felt a need to write their own, even after having taken notice of its content.

Helfrich went on to greater heights (and intrigues), becoming a national figure, whereas his contemporaries became flotsam in his wake.

As it thus turns out, one may not have to speak the truth to by right.

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  • more on perceptions - Peter Boer on Dec 17, 2010, 10:02 AM
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