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Re: The Manila Convoys

February 8 2012 at 10:31 AM
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Nelson  (no login)
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Response to The Manila Convoys


Late and I'm drooping, but I think you have conceded the reality if not the reasoning, so to underscore the reality as I know it: there were certainly no Manila-bound convoys and almost certainly no independent Manila-bound sailers taking the route along the north coast of New Guinea. Now to the possible reasoning (and anyone may feel free to shoot holes in mine): (i) Rabaul certainly had a fine harbor, but could it at that time have supported numerous and frequent American vessels bound for Manila Bay in regard to sufficient reserves of fuel and water? Was it Australia's business to do so? (ii) Once American vessels moved farther WNW of Rabaul, could they have safely navigated those waters? The Yanks had poor charts for a LOT of the NEI, but I don't know about the route through the Bismarcks and the eastern NEI into the Celebes Sea. (iii) Granted they could have turned NW into the Philippine Sea, but turning northerly too soon would have brought them under observation from IJN long-range patrol aircraft out of the southwestern Mandates (e.g., Yap)....of course the same difficulty as running by Guam through the northern Mandates. I don't think the U.S. wanted to give the Japanese a real estimate of how much materiel they were moving....which would also have provided an estimate of how much the U.S. did NOT have in the P.I. already.

We should remember that in July-August 1941, USS Salt Lake City (CA 25) and USS Northampton (CA 26) escorted Jagersfontein, carrying pilots eventually intended for the AVG (Flying Tigers) in Rangoon. After they had turned the Dutch liner over to light cruiser Java to escort more westerly, they visited Brisbane, Port Moresby, and Rabaul on the way home. Okay, I'll buy Brisbane for a good will visit, but Port Moresby and Rabaul? Oh sure. Methinks the Yankee Doodles were sniffing around and looking over the turf as future possibilities for who-knows-what. Could those places have been just potential ferry stops for American heavy bombers staging west and then north to the P.I., or for something else? Who knows: alliances were in their gestation period and still uncertain, assets were thin, and things were being done on the shoestring. Then the shooting started and before the Allies could recover their wits, the Nippos had not only grabbed Rabaul, they had taken the Philippines, too. Talk about an exercise in futility.

Off to bed.


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