Author Topic: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread  (Read 57672 times)

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Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #450 on: August 28, 2017, 10:28:32 AM »
I don't know when Navy boats sailed out in the Pacific, but I remember reading the British torpedo boats in the Channel sailed out at night.
But I think that was when the Luftwaffe still had more of a force majeure on the West-European coast.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #451 on: August 28, 2017, 08:22:50 PM »
In many ways it was the same. After Pearl Harbor and the Fall of the Philippines, Japan had air superiority, and the PTs worked at night in the Pacific, too. They had radar, so that was a big help.

But under MacArthur's Australia based command, there were limited naval resources left. PBYs, which were helpless against Japanese air superiority in the daylight, submarines, which were slow, and PT boats, which were fast. He had army air corps land based bombers. What I've noticed about them, regardless of the book is that no matter how many times they were sent on a high altitude bombing run against a moving ship they missed completely. The ship moving ship always had time to dodge once the bombs were away. The exceptions would be glide bombing and skip bombing or a ship that was crippled by a torpedo that couldn't steer or propel properly.

So... MacArthur's only option against a cruiser force or invasion force was to attack with the torpedo boats first. Day or night. Sometimes that scared the Japanese away, or sent them home for repairs. A dozen PT boats with 4 torpedoes each is a lot to dodge, even if only one in 4 hit and exploded. But sometimes every one of them missed or malfunctioned.  The PT boats were the skirmish line. They had smoke generators to use in daytime operations.

They were deployed in the Mediterranean, first against Africa, then to Sicily, Italy and the south of France. They were also used in the English Channel. Mostly night operations while on the defensive, then daylight on the offensive as Axis airpower faded, and back to night as the Axis was on the defensive and only moved under cover of darkness.

-------------------

Might as well talk about the rest of the book here.

They did a lot of work strafing the shores of Guam. It didn't have highways, so the Japanese drove trucks on the beaches at night. Perhaps the most important part they played was blockading the Japanese on the bypassed islands, but the USN didn't know how many tens of thousands of men the PTs pinned down until the war was over and the Japanese  surrendered.

After the big battle of Leyte Gulf, Japan went full bore on the Kamikaze attacks. They even attacked the PT boats. Strangely, since one of the division commanders had decided that pounding across the wave tops was physically demanding, he recruited many college football players as PT officers. They tended to see avoiding a Kamikaze attack as  an open field running problem, and used similar tactics of feinting and changing direction, or changing speed, and were very effective at narrowly avoiding the crashdiving planes.

However, they were soon called upon to provide close anti-aircraft support to all of the lumbering invasion fleet ships and landing craft. Essentially every Kamikaze that got through sank a ship. That was a lot of pressure to be perfect.


Offline E_T

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #452 on: September 02, 2017, 07:50:28 PM »
He probably has leave that he can apply towards it, or he will have other some other busywork until retirement.

Yeah, unless he's the Anti-Christ (and has done something massively unforgivable), they'll let him (somehow) finish up his Time In Service (TOS) to get that last few months for his retirement benefits...
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Offline E_T

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #453 on: September 02, 2017, 07:56:23 PM »
I'm reading a book entitled- "the Mosquito Fleet". ( I'll update this post when I finish the book ). It's an operational history of American Patrol Torpedo boats in all theaters of WWII.  I'm not finished yet, but I get the distinct impression that serving in one was unnecessarily dangerous, and not just because their primary weapon was the crappy MK VIII torpedo.

Why? Because their main national identifier was the stars & stripes flying from a pole at the back. No prominent white stars on the foredeck, or sides.  Yes, they had a flares as a recognition signal, but they were usually mistaken for tracer fire. So they took a lot of friendly fire, from the Allies, from aircraft of all service branches, and from navigation mistakes getting forces from Nimitz's command and MacArthur's in the wrong zones. Sometimes they got frustrated and fought back, and they shot down planes because they carried twin 40mm Bofors on the stern, and plenty of .50 cal machine guns for their size.

Plus, they were supposed to operate in groups and swarm the enemy (supposedly).  made mostly from Plywood and very easy to build, but long term maintenance was a cast iron B---h... Especially when shot up...

I read that book years ago..., IIRC, when I was still in HS...
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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #455 on: November 10, 2017, 04:11:26 PM »
Quote
'Play Ball': See the Message That Launched American Soldiers Into World War II
Time
Lily Rothman  •November 8, 2017



The mission began on Nov. 8, 1942



When the message was decoded, it was only two words long, and it could have referred to almost anything: PLAY BALL.

In the context, however, the meaning was clear — and more complex than its brevity would suggest. The recipient, after all, was Maj. Gen. George Patton, who was on a ship off the coast of Casablanca, waiting for word from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the future president and Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. This message, from Eisenhower, was the go-ahead he needed to launch the invasion known as Operation Torch, which he did 75 years ago, on Nov. 8, 1942. With that, American forces were officially engaged in their first World War II combat on foreign soil.

The decision to help the Allies concentrate on Germany first was not a foregone conclusion for the U.S., given the attack on Pearl Harbor, but it quickly paid dividends in North Africa. “The occupation of French North Africa had been accomplished with Blitzkrieg briefness, utilizing expert coordination of planes, ships, tanks, trucks, guns and courageous men. In spots it was easy. In others resistance was bitter, though brief,” TIME summarized in the aftermath:

In Morocco tough, muscular Major General George S. Patton Jr. ran into just the kind of opposition for which he had prepared. Months ago, on the deserts of southeastern California, he had drilled his men to fight in blazing heat over terrain such as they would meet in North Africa. Patton had insisted that they keep their sleeves rolled down, that they get along on a minimum of water. He had forbidden that vehicles, moving or standing, be within 50 yards of one another, lest they provide a bunched target. Not long after his men reached Africa, their grumbles turned to praise for what the Old Man had taught them.

Two nights before the U.S. struck, Hans Auer, German Consul General in Casablanca, had called a meeting of twelve Nazi armistice commissioners at the Hotel Plaza to warn them that an Allied invasion was imminent. De Gaullists followed the Germans, set up machine guns covering the hotel’s exits. When the meeting broke up, a blaze of gunfire silenced the Germans.

Though De Gaullist guns thus disrupted Nazi preparations, Casablanca still managed to put up the stiffest of all resistance to the U.S. invasion. Foresighted George Patton shoved three tank columns ashore east and west of the sprawling city and hit first for an outlying reservoir. With that in his hands, he could cripple Casablanca if necessary. Soon parachutists seized the city’s main airdrome and the tank force advanced.

Off Casablanca, U.S. warships commanded by Admiral Henry K. Hewitt knocked out a bitterly resisting French cruiser-destroyer force while Navy flyers bombed the 35,000-ton battleship Jean Bart into a blazing hulk. The U.S. fleet moved inshore and soon was heaving shell after shell into the Moroccan coast.

By the time Patton’s three tank columns had pierced through to Casablanca, all coastal French Morocco, from Agadir in the south to the Spanish Moroccan border on the north, was in American hands.

Said General Eisenhower succinctly: “I do not regard this as any great victory. I regard these people as our friends. We had a misunderstanding, but fortunately it ended in our favor. The job now is to get this thing organized and go after the enemy.”

The copy of the decoded message seen above will be on display starting Wednesday as part of the exhibition The Real and Reel Casablanca; American Troops Enter World War II, Landing in North Africa at the International Museum of World War II in Natick, Mass. It ended up in the collection, explains museum director Kenneth W. Rendell, via an aide to Patton. “Patton read it and handed it back to him, and said, ‘Save this, it’s an important souvenir,’” Rendell says. He did, and the museum later acquired the message from his family.

This invasion was, Rendell says, “really the beginning of the Patton legend.” It was also the beginning of awareness, for many Americans, of where Casablanca was and what was going on in North Africa. That’s part of the reason why the movie Casablanca is also part of the story, as it was rushed to theaters within weeks of the invasion and helped inform American audiences at home, Rendell says, “showing people where their husbands and sons were fighting and what it was like there.”
https://www.yahoo.com/news/apos-play-ball-apos-see-153002238.html

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #456 on: November 12, 2017, 08:15:24 PM »
Interesting. I'm reading a history of American antitank battalions & tank destroyers in WWII, and reading about Operation Torch landing preparations.

I also stumbled across a bit of information that said FDR attended a conference in Casablanca in 1943. There were still enough Vichy and Nazis there to make it unsafe, but the intelligence in Berlin translated the Casablanca summit location literally as "white house" and took no action.

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #457 on: November 13, 2017, 09:24:52 AM »
Interesting. I'm reading a history of American antitank battalions & tank destroyers in WWII, and reading about Operation Torch landing preparations.

I also stumbled across a bit of information that said FDR attended a conference in Casablanca in 1943. There were still enough Vichy and Nazis there to make it unsafe, but the intelligence in Berlin translated the Casablanca summit location literally as "white house" and took no action.

You did hear about the Yalta conference in '45, right? Right??!

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #458 on: November 13, 2017, 08:04:07 PM »
Interesting. I'm reading a history of American antitank battalions & tank destroyers in WWII, and reading about Operation Torch landing preparations.

I also stumbled across a bit of information that said FDR attended a conference in Casablanca in 1943. There were still enough Vichy and Nazis there to make it unsafe, but the intelligence in Berlin translated the Casablanca summit location literally as "white house" and took no action.

You did hear about the Yalta conference in '45, right? Right??!

It used to be that I retained everything I read, much the way Buncle still can.  Anymore, facts run together in my memory. Is that the time the Russians disassembled, copied, and rebuilt the American airplane overnight?

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #459 on: November 13, 2017, 08:23:20 PM »
Heh, no.

I assume by 'copying that airplane' you mean the reverse-engineering of the B-29?

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #460 on: November 14, 2017, 12:24:16 AM »
I think they did that more than once, now that I think about it.

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #461 on: November 14, 2017, 10:09:44 AM »
I think they did that more than once, now that I think about it.

In a way, that's funny.
The Chinese have been known doing the same to Soviet jetplane designs, and the Russians are sometimes screaming murder over it.

Offline ColdWizard

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #462 on: November 14, 2017, 05:09:56 PM »
Standard posturing. U.S. did the same over the B-29s, and Soviets over the MiG-25.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #463 on: November 21, 2017, 07:35:45 AM »
Interesting. I'm reading a history of American antitank battalions & tank destroyers in WWII, and reading about Operation Torch landing preparations.

I'm going to spend some time on discussing this one. "The Tank Killers" by Harry Yeide. This is a records based book. I don't think there were any interviews, but I could be wrong. The Kindle version lacks appendices.

America felt safe between it's oceans in the 1930s....err until Poland perished. Then the General Staff of the US Army gave some serious consideration to the possibility of a war in it's future and pondered the problem of stopping an entire enemy panzer division. Gen. Marshall wanted a dynamic solution rather than a static one, anticipating a World War with a mobile front. A mile-wide mine field wasn't going to be an aceptable solution. He wanted something that could go on the offensive. He was looking for a building and training program, too, the sooner the better.

The conclusion was that a panzer division couldn't be stopped from breaking through somewhere, but that it could be defeated. Lt. Gen Leslie McNair ( artillery background ) envisioned a dedicated anti-tank batallion that could be used as a rapid-reaction reserve behind the front lines.  The batallion would have it's own scouts & combat engineers, too.

As for the primary weapon, Gen. Patton (armor) wanted tanks. Bradley (infantry) wanted front line guns that would support his men. McNair came up with what I think was the practical solution under the circumstances. He took what I call the battlecruiser approach. He sacrificed armor and defensive weapons for speed. They took the American knock-off of the French 75 artillery piece, and mounted it in the back of a half track. The firepower was equal to tanks of the time, but the speed was about double. It had a longer operating range, and was cheaper and faster to build. So they could be produced quickly in a truck factory without cutting into existing tank production. They were easier to deploy in an amphib landing, too.

The tactics were to surprise/ambush, or flank attack the enemy tanks breaking through.  Hit & run, shoot & scoot, whatever you want to call it. It seemed to work in exercises, although the umpiring was controversial. So, they set up an anti-tank school and named it Fort Hood. The men were well trained, more on the order of special forces. Gunnery, scouting, etc. This took extra time.

There were problems with the tank destroyers compared to tanks. The tops were always open, so they were vulnerable to snipers, grenades, ( particularly in street warfare) strafing,  shell fragments, and wood splinters in the forest. The sides were thin. They stopped small arms fire, but not crew served weapons. The joke was that the rounds didn't go right through, they only went in one side, then richocheted around for a while. Being gasoline powered, they could burn easily. They called them "Purple Heart boxes." Bad as that sounds, only a low % died in them. The open tops allowed them to push the wounded out before they abandoned a crippled or burning tank destroyer. Most of the crews and their experience survived to fight another day. The survival rate was much better than in the infantry, tanks, or Army Air Corps.

However, the doctrine of using them behind the frontlines meant that friendly infantry could keep enemy infantry out of grenade range. It meant that they were under the anti-aircraft umbrella. It meant that they didn't have to worry about enemy anti-tank guns firing at them. If they attacked in a U formation, it meant that somebody got a shot at the vulnerable sides and rears of the enemy tanks.  [to be continued]

-------------------------------
I have to go collect a kitten tomorrow.

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #464 on: November 21, 2017, 07:55:19 AM »
If the 'back of the line' doctrine was kept throughout deployment, it also meant the train (rear) of an army colonne also had better armored (protected) personnel transport available.

 

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