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more details on early visit

February 8 2012 at 6:26 PM
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Nelson  (no login)


Response to Re: The Manila Convoys

 
Jacques,

You asked

> 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)?

Not that I'm aware of in the finite period of time between the initial cooperation and war. If the Australo-American relationship had had time to nurture and if the Allies had been granted more time before war began, perhaps. After all, it seems quite sensible and in line with the way things were evolving in the Atlantic. Think Argentia, Newfoundland. Then think Newfoundland being at the time a British colony, not part of Canada until 1949. Then think lend lease. Then think USS Augusta (CA 31), by coincidence...or NOT...the sister ship of USS Houston (CA 30) [Hint: FDR]. Then think HMS Prince of Wales [Hint: FNP {Former Naval Person}] Then stir 'em all together, call the creation the Arcadia Conference, and ponder the implications elsewhere in the world for the coming war. Anyhow, back to Oz....

August 5, 1941: USS Salt Lake City (CA 25) and USS Northampton (CA 26) stood into Brisbane, the former mooring at New Farm Wharf and the latter mooring at Newstead Dock.

August 6, 1941: There occurred this stream of impressive visitors: RAdm. John ('Jack') Crace, stayed for 25 minutes, overlapping briefly with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane's visit; these worthies were followed by MGen. J.M.A. Durrant, General Officer Commanding, Northern Command, and Wing Cmdr. W.R. Hartwright, RAAF. Then Admiral Sherwood Taffinder, USN, ComCruDiv 5 (he just "happened" to be aboard Northampton for this summer-in-America cruise) went ashore and made an official visit on the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Leslie Wilson, who returned the compliment, as did the Acting Prime Minister, Arthur Fadden, who also just "happened" to be in town.

August 7, 1941: The American heavy cruisers shifted berths to take on [other] stores: Northampton to New Farm Wharf and Salt Lake City to Mercantile Wharf. Two+ more days elapsed (hmm).

August 10, 1941: The cruisers stood out of Brisbane.

August 13, 1941: Arrived Port Moresby, stayed nearly 6 1/2 hours.

August 16, 1941: Arrived Simpson Harbour, Rabaul; Admiral Taffinder and Captain Chandler went ashore (length of visit not recorded in my notes). Ships departed same date.

August 25, 1941: Returned to Pearl Harbor.

Okay, a lot of what went on was almost certainly kissy-feely, but you can bet your bottom dollar--Australian or American--that some individual national concerns were voiced and some mutual matters of substance were discussed. Much of this voyage was clearly a familiarization run, but Americans and Australians also spoke (nearly) the same language, and men of impressive rank had been in the same spaces together.

In November and December 1941, in running south from Manila Bay after being convoyed there by USS Portland (CA 33), USAT Liberty stopped in at Port Moresby and Darwin, and off-loaded drummed avgas and lubricants for the B-17s staging through those points to the (soon-to-be-ill-fated) Clark Field. Then Liberty steamed west to pick up the traditional strategic cargos, in this instance bales of raw rubber, and her date with two IJN torpedoes. Things were happening, if too late.

Nelson

 
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