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The Manila Convoys

February 8 2012 at 8:10 AM
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Jacques  (no login)
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Response to routing instructions for independent sailings



I think that you have sufficiently clarified the fact that the route via Torres was, by the time of the Pensacola Convoy, already well established - not an alternative but the preferred or rather mandatory route for merchant vessels taking US war materiel and personnel to the Philippines.

I'm not totally satisfied yet that the route to the North of New Guinea was not a viable option, with perhaps a fuel and water stop at Rabaul where the Australians might have been more sympathetic than the difficult Dutch but for the time being we'll just leave it at that. In spite of the difficulties, Torres WAS the route to be taken - a radical measure decided on to protect Manila bound cargo against any interference by either Germany and/or Japan. Or was there more to it? What about Melmoth's cryptic notion - Think Australia. Then think the NEI? I have no idea what this could mean.

I also find it incomprehensible that apart from taking this drastic action of routing through Torres and the usual cruiser escorts, not much else had been done to safeguard the route. Prior to PH, was there any cooperation from the Dutch or Australians? I've asked whether Ambon might have been part of the protection plan but apparently the deployment of RAAF bombers here during early December 1941 had nothing to do with provision of air cover for Manila convoys but was part of Australia's own defence preparations. I have many questions but this one is at the top of my list:

Was there ever a comprehensive plan for the protection of convoys en route through the NEI and Philippine islands? (Support bases, air cover, submarine or surface vessel escorts)



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