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Plum Convoy Route

October 26 2011 at 10:13 PM
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Mitchell Schwartz  (no login)
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Response to Pensacola convoy and the southern route


The Plum Convoy changed its route with the sudden onset of war.

1. As pointed out, while a single cruiser was a fine escort against a German surface raider, it was not a defense against aircraft or submarines - or a larger group of surface vessels, and the USN had to suddenly admit that it had lost track of some number of Japanese Surface vessels (like those that supported the invasion of Malaya and supported the air attack on Pearl harbor.

2. The first day's air attacks in the Philippines left doubts as to the effectiveness of any air umbrella provided by the US Army Air Force in the Far East (USAAFFE). Losses amounted to almost half of the fighter force (further losses in the next few days brought the total to more than 2/3s of the fighter force). Air strikes had occurred all across the Philippines, and Manila was an expected target. Allowing the convoy to continue would seem foolish.

Unrelated to that decision, the Bloemfontein's voyage that departed Los Angeles in July 1941 went to San Francisco, where it picked up some 30 fliers and ground crew destined for the American Volunteer Group in Burma and carried them (slowly) across the Pacific. They disembarked from the Bloemfontein in Singapore and took a coastal trader to Rangoon.


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