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More misreadings

October 27 2011 at 9:19 PM
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Don Kehn, Jr.  (no login)

Response to Re: PLUM Convoy Route


MANY accounts--including that of COL Abe Silverman, "Narative Account Major Activities QM Section USAFIA----describe NIAGARA as an "escort" for this convoy. You are splitting hairs, as you are wont to do, but in this case that seems acceptable, although far FAR from crucial. An author writing that NIAGARA was considered an escort would not be that greatly removed from the truth at all.

IMO you have misinterpreted badly the issue of German raiders here. There may have been some vague worries months earlier--after all, Germany was at war then--but we weren't going to send an important military convoy through the Mandated Islands in Dec. 1941 no matter WHAT the circumstances!!

The convoy, acting on "instructions from higher authority had directed upon departure from Honolulu, a southwesterly course about 210 deg in lieu of the usual westerly course through the Japanese mandated islands."

Once the war begins do you hear anything in our reports, narratives, diaries about fears of German raiders? They may exist, but I seem to recall MOST if not all such docs record worries of Japanese submarines & surface units...

The point that Mitch made about allowing the convoy to proceeed being foolish was, and is, absolutely correct. And our leaders did recognize this. Are you arguing that they did not? Your "almost" argument is meaningless here. One could just as easily state that the Japanese "almost" got caught attacking Pearl Harbor...or, MacArthur's Air Forces "almost" weren't destroyed on Luzon, or that the Asiatic Fleet's base at Navy Yard Cavite "almost" didn't get blown to bits, etc.

And, as you of all people well know, GEN Brett had decided (by 1 JAN 1942) that "there remained no suitable port in the P.I. at which to land the HOLBROOK or the BLOEMFONTEIN." This was a painful reality, but reality nonetheless.

And elsewhere the Barnes narrative records, "On 3 Jan. in a meeting with Australian Chiefs-of-staff Gen. Brett indicated main effort was to establish bases in Australia to support operations to the North." This (perhaps intentionally) vague remark meant not the P.I., of course, but the East Indies.

I'm surprised you haven't zeroed in on the more critical historical aspects of this PENSACOLA Convoy business--as the hard evidence concerning the convoy is really not all that hard (you will recall the G-4 history, I'm sure, stating that "the manifests were far from detailed and storage plans generally not available")--which is the internecine struggle in DC re the reinforcements to the P.I. THAT's a helluva lot more interesting it seems to me than splitting hairs over nomenclature & numbers, and it is not so well covered/analyzed...

Anyway, you'd be the go-to guy for that job and could do it well, I'm certain.


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