Hi Kelgar04, thank you

At this point I have to give an apology to Douglas MacArthur, the remark about Hart being a big admiral with a small fleet was made privately between MacArthur and Hart, I believe. What I have done is fanned the fires, something that good ole boy doesn't need!
I hope someone punches MacArthur in the kidneys.

Still I can’t help but given the way the British have been improving and the way MacArthur behaves I can’t help but think that Gort may give him a very blunt and frank appraisals to his face.
 

Driftless

Donor
I hope someone punches MacArthur in the kidneys.

Still I can’t help but given the way the British have been improving and the way MacArthur behaves I can’t help but think that Gort may give him a very blunt and frank appraisals to his face.

I could see Gort doing that in a fit of frustration, but I wonder how Mac would have received that commentary. My guess is that Mac would not appreciate the words nor the intent. This is MacArthur, with the huge ego. During WW1, as a division commander, he imperiously complained to AEF Commander Pershing on several occasions about a number of things, and earned Pershing's long-standing enmity for it and vice-versa.

IF such comments were made Gort to Mac, my bet is that those comments get flipped to Washington, then London, then Singapore, FWIW
 

Mark1878

Donor
I could see Gort doing that in a fit of frustration, but I wonder how Mac would have received that commentary. My guess is that Mac would not appreciate the words nor the intent. This is MacArthur, with the huge ego. During WW1, as a division commander, he imperiously complained to AEF Commander Pershing on several occasions about a number of things, and earned Pershing's long-standing enmity for it and vice-versa.

IF such comments were made Gort to Mac, my bet is that those comments get flipped to Washington, then London, then Singapore, FWIW
However Gort is the one person in the world whom Macarthur can't say he has done better than. MacArthur has bravery medals and has been head of the Army. But so has Gort and it was a much bigger army and the higher medal for valour.
 
Are not several of the Zulus wearing watches as well?
I never noticed the Colour-Sergeant wearing a watch, but did see a Zulu in the king's kraal with one.
I was an extra on "Galipoli" and before every scene being filmed :cool: one of the assistants used to range down the extras asking if anyone had the time, in order to flush out any watches being worn!
 
Reminds me of Division Review. Thousands of troopers standing all day in the humidity and beating sun. Everyone identically dressed in starched utilities, spit shined boots and wearing freshly shaved and shaped berets (small wool blankets, really) on their heads. Carrying rifles with bayonets affixed (bayonets that otherwise stayed where they belonged in banded footlockers). People were going to pass out, people were going to get cut by their own (maybe even their buddy‘s) bayonet, and it stood to better than average odds that somebody would have a heart attack or heat stroke. All this is was understood, accepted, and perhaps anticipated!

What was not given any tolerance was the idea of un-uniformity. Threats like glasses (medical tints were grounds for getting put on non-review duties like setup and tear dow while the “weak-eyed” were encouraged to do without for the review), jewelry, and especially the watch were ruthlessly rooted out by successive waves of NCOs. Woe betide the artful dodger who slipped through with his Timex Ironman on his wrist, waiting to pop out during present arms or pass in review; the fall of western civilization would be their fault!

Of course the NCOs had been been troopers not that long ago, so “What time is it?” and ”How long until this thing starts?” were always asked to flush out the erstwhile get-over artist. Another great day in America‘s Guard of Honor begins!
 
1941, Saturday 08 November;

The small launch puttered across the anchorage, with Vice Admiral Geoffrey Layton RN, on board. It came alongside the yacht, USS Isabel, sometimes flagship of the US Asiatic Fleet, and tonight’s venue for dinner. Already abord was Admiral Hart, expecting his guest, but neither’s entourage would be present, this being a private meal. Hart welcomed him aboard, before ushering his guest to his day room. A lovely polished oak table was already laid out, but dinner wasn’t due until 7pm, a few drinks to be had first, in the two comfortable arm chairs, along with a relaxed conversation. This wasn’t the first time these two had met, and they had quickly become friends, despite the sometimes-awkward politics exhibited between the two navies.

Layton was on the return leg from a visit to Hong Kong, stopping at Manila to refuel the big BOAC Short Empire S23 flying Boat, Cassiopeia. While out there he had met with Major General Maltby, the commander of Hong Kong’s garrison, as well as the recently arrived Governor, Sir Mark Wood. If they had been in any doubt over Hong Kong’s vulnerability if war broke out before, his visit had cured that, there being little the Royal Navy could do to support them. A separate meeting with the commander of Hong Kong’s meagre Royal Navy’s force, Commodore Alfred Collinson, had been more productive. Collinson was under no illusions of what might happen, and they undertook a review of what assets they had left in Hong Kong, and whether anymore could be saved, and sent back to Singapore.

On the outbreak of war, both submarines in Hong Kong, currently HMS Rainbow and HMS Regent, would revert to Singapore control, while the lone destroyer, HMS Thracian, would make the attempt to sail south, hopefully avoiding any Japanese naval blockade. The rest of the craft under Collinson’s command would fight it out there. Following the review a few more names were put forward for late evacuation, dockyard workers, and some intelligence staff. These would go along with a number selected from the Army and RAF, as well as some other individuals, prized for their particular abilities.

But here in Manila, the conversation about Hong Kong with Admiral Hart was somewhat brief, there being little to tell. Hart, on the other hand, had quite a bit of good news. Merely days ago, he had been given authorisation to withdraw the fleet’s gunboats, stationed in China. Five would be returning, but USS Wake would remain, with a skeleton crew, to act as a radio base in Shanghai, while USS Tutuila was being transferred to the Republic of China’s navy under the lend lease agreement. Furthermore, the 4th Marine Regiment, was also being withdrawn to the Philippines, the majority currently stationed at Shanghai, by the end of the month, while the few others stationed elsewhere, by early December. Hart was pleased his lobbying had been successful, and most of these wasting assets had been saved.

Relations with General MacArthur had been steadily deteriorating, surprisingly, because Hart had been a lifelong friend of both him and his brother, but since MacArthur’s appointment as Commander in Chief, Far Eastern Forces, things had become difficult, the Army doing things alone, cooperation seemingly disappearing. MacArthur had also become quite rude and offensive towards Hart, making disparaging remarks, indeed Layton had borne witness to that today, when late morning all three had met, at MacArthur’s insistence, to review current events, although this was merely an opportunity for MacArthur to laud his own achievements at the massive expansion plans of the US Army forces. Following MacArthur’s detailing the expansion plans, he had turned to Hart and said, “See Tommy, this is what you need to do, get yourself a real fleet, otherwise you’re just a small fleet, big Admiral”. Layton had been acutely embarrassed for Hart, but MacArthur seemed oblivious to the slight he had given.

But despite MacArthur’s derogatory remarks, Hart’s fleet was expanding, last month had seen the arrival of the submarine tender USS Holland, and the twelve Salmon class submarines of Sub Divisions 15 and 16, exactly the type of vessel required for operations out here. The Salmon class were new boats, providing a capability the old S class submarines didn’t have, with greater range and endurance, along with the up-to-date Mark 14 Torpedoes.

However, Layton did have something to tell, a small task force was being sent from Britain to the Far East to fly the flag, and show the Americans, as well as the Japanese, that Britain meant business regarding defending her Far Eastern possessions. Its centre piece was the new King George V class battleship, HMS Prince of Wales, the force commanded by Rear Admiral Tom Phillips. Phillips capabilities as a leader in battle were unknown, he was a desk bound admiral, but the whisper was he would replace Layton.
Well done. I keep hoping the last 200 marines can make it out, perhaps a last minute arrival to the Wake and a last minute run to Manila.
Found something about Isabel In WW I with her 25 kt speed she had 2triple torpedo tubes mounted and was considered a destroyer. As such when converted to a Flag Yacht/Gunboat she still had a speed of @25 kts, hydrophones a depth charge rack and Y racks D.C. launchers.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Reminds me of Division Review. Thousands of troopers standing all day in the humidity and beating sun. Everyone identically dressed in starched utilities, spit shined boots and wearing freshly shaved and shaped berets (small wool blankets, really) on their heads. Carrying rifles with bayonets affixed (bayonets that otherwise stayed where they belonged in banded footlockers). People were going to pass out, people were going to get cut by their own (maybe even their buddy‘s) bayonet, and it stood to better than average odds that somebody would have a heart attack or heat stroke. All this is was understood, accepted, and perhaps anticipated!

What was not given any tolerance was the idea of un-uniformity. Threats like glasses (medical tints were grounds for getting put on non-review duties like setup and tear dow while the “weak-eyed” were encouraged to do without for the review), jewelry, and especially the watch were ruthlessly rooted out by successive waves of NCOs. Woe betide the artful dodger who slipped through with his Timex Ironman on his wrist, waiting to pop out during present arms or pass in review; the fall of western civilization would be their fault!

Of course the NCOs had been been troopers not that long ago, so “What time is it?” and ”How long until this thing starts?” were always asked to flush out the erstwhile get-over artist. Another great day in America‘s Guard of Honor begins!
Hi Amir, in peacetime, there's still a whole lot of work for the NCO's and warrant officers, who really run the Army. I have a good friend, ex Grenadier Guards, who had a number of stories about using the pace stick in preparation for ceremonial marches, and the level of precision they required.
 

Ramp-Rat

Monthly Donor
So Admiral Layton, having carried out his inspection of the situation in Hong Kong, has taken the opportunity to visit his counterpart in the Philippines Admiral Hart. While in the Philippines he has been given the honour of an audience with His Majesty the MacArthur, where pearls of wisdom were showered on him. Later on he had a private confidential meal with Admiral Hart, at which matters of mutual interest were discussed. Unfortunately Hart is very much restricted by Mac and Washington in what he can say officially, nor can he as the Dutch have enter into agreements regarding future arrangements, or present mutual training. While he will have been frustrated, his frustration is no were as great as Hart’s, who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Once Layton returns to Singapore, he will of course make a report to the Governor and Lord Gort, along with his superiors in the Admiralty in London. And all three of them will be reporting that while they could develop a strong relationship with Hart, Mac is a royal pain in the ass, and appears to have significant inadequacies. Note with the Colonial Office, the Admiralty and the War Office all receiving such information, and Winston given the obvious deterioration in the situation out east, demanding more information. The serious questions about MacArthurs competence will become something that Winston takes note of, and when after the outbreak of hostilities in the region. Winston jumps on a boat to give FDR his support and advice, the subject of Mac will be raised, especially if given the time between the commencement of hostilities and Winston's arrival in Washington. The British have been able to successfully resist the Japanese invasion of Malaya, while Mac has suffered some serious setbacks in the defence of the Philippines. Should at a later date Lord Gort and MacArthur meet, especially after Gort has successfully defended Malaya, and Mac has been evacuated from the Philippines, it would be best for Mac to keep his mouth shut. Gort being an English Gentleman of a certain class would normally be very restrained, but push him to far and you are in for a world of hurt. Nor would making comments to your tame press about how if only the British had done what he Mac had suggested,everything would have gone differently help. Note that our author has declared that no matter what Mac is not going to suffer an accident or be killed in action, which makes me wonder what humiliation he has planned for him in the future.

RR.
 

Eboracum

Banned
Any chance the USS Lanikai under Kemp Tolley, might get a look in? She was actually part of the tripwire picket force in the South China Sea when the Japanese attacked.

She later had an incredible and hair raising escape through the fall of the Philippines and the DEI, before escaping down to Geraldton and then Fremantle, after which she acted as a patrol and survey vessel off the Western Australian coast. She was later transferred to the RAN and Tolley was assigned as USN attaché to the Soviet Union.


There’s a great mini-podcasts on her and her crews exploits here


And Tolley later wrote a book about the experience “The Cruise of the Lanikai: Incitement to war”, which is still available as an ebook.
 

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@Fatboy Coxy question would the various Chinese Warlords in the KMT come panhandling given a greater perceived focus by DUKE? I don’t care about that rancid scumbag Mao and his Cult they can piss up a rope for all I care given their lack of effort OTL. But if Malay holds I could see Chiang and his faction going to DUKE for more aid and expansion of movement of war materials along Burma since any lengthening of Malay will delay any advance by the Japanese into Burma though I don’t hold much hope for the supplies reaching the front lines an increase even a minor one would be a shot in the arm for some units.
 
Any chance the USS Lanikai under Kemp Tolley, might get a look in? She was actually part of the tripwire picket force in the South China Sea when the Japanese attacked.

She later had an incredible and hair raising escape through the fall of the Philippines and the DEI, before escaping down to Geraldton and then Fremantle, after which she acted as a patrol and survey vessel off the Western Australian coast. She was later transferred to the RAN and Tolley was assigned as USN attaché to the Soviet Union.


There’s a great mini-podcasts on her and her crews exploits here


And Tolley later wrote a book about the experience “The Cruise of the Lanikai: Incitement to war”, which is still available as an ebook.
Lanaki, had barely cleared Manila Bay whe notice of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Hart's fleet notification was sent. She returned,to Manila before starting on her epic voyage.
That voyage in my opinion is a modern rival to Captain Bligh's voyage after the Bounty mutiny. That voyage, even today after over 200 years is still one of the finest examples of seamanship.
 
MWI 41111008 The Secret Voyage

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
1941, Monday 10 November;

They had left Liverpool’s Princess jetty, on the Orient Line’s hard worked SS Orcades, now a trooper for the MOWT, one of seven troopers leaving on the 30th October 1941. On board was second lieutenant Michael Lambert, eleven months into his commission, commanding the 9th Platoon, C Company, 1st Bn Cambridgeshire Regiment. The battalion was pretty settled now, apart from the constant churn of men due to transfers, promotions, sickness, etc. Lambert, who was close to promotion to Lieutenant, and his platoon, had months of hard training behind them, and along with the rest of the battalion, and were considered battle ready. Crammed on board with them was the 1/5 Sherwood Foresters, also part of the 55th Brigade, along with other smaller units, totalling nearly 3,300 troops.

Along the Irish coast, protected by a Royal Naval escort, they were joined by an eighth trooper, Sobieski, a Polish ship, sailing from the Clyde. Another 2,000 troops were on her, the 2nd Bn Cambridgeshire Regiment included, as well as 251st Field Park Company, 18th Divisional Engineers. With them was Mechanist Staff Sgt Edwin Buddings, a professional soldier of eight years, who’s promotions were thanks to a greatly expanding army. Aged 29, he was both sage and father to his young engineers, nearly all hostilities only, as well as a number of the officers. Nevertheless, even he couldn’t help being overwhelmed with the sight of all the big liners, interspersed with the smaller escorts, darting about like worrying sheepdogs.

And so, the 18th Division, commanded by Major General Merton Beckwith-Smith, left the UK bound for Basra and the Middle East. The plan was to acclimatise in Iraq, joining their heavier equipment which was being sent on convoy WS 12Z two weeks later. However, on the strategic level, with the Germans doing so well in Russia, thoughts had turned to forming a new infantry corps, using the 18th and 50th Divisions to fight in southern Russia, with their lines of communications coming down through Georgia, Persia and Iraq.

Just after dawn on the 2nd November, south of Iceland, the convoy was buzzed by two low flying aircraft, causing a stir among the watching troops, although the escorts were unfazed. An hour later ships began appearing from over the horizon, a couple of really big ones, a battleship and an aircraft carrier, with light cruisers and destroyers in attendance, along with a fleet oiler and six merchant ships. An almost frenzy of chattering signalling lamps heralded a calm and disciplined redeployment, as the new ships took over the escorting duties, while the old RN escort turned east, along with the six newly arrived merchant ships. Quickly the word went round the grapevine, from ship to ship, Americans, but what were they doing out here?

Since 1922 there had only been the United States Fleet, with most of its ships in the Battle Fleet, stationed on the west coast to counter the main perceived threat, Japan. A second, much smaller force, formally named the Scouting Squadron was stationed on the east coast. But the start of WW2 had forced the USN to consider the threat of war in the Atlantic as well as the Pacific. Recognising the need for more ships, Congress approved the Two-Ocean Navy Act in July 1940, intent on increasing the Navy by 70%. At the beginning of February, the two forces were renamed the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets, each with its own CinC. Now began a transfer of ships from the west to east coasts, the USN working hard at keeping pace with President Roosevelt’s increasing demands to support the British in the Atlantic.

In October 1939, with the agreement secured from all the nations on the American Continent, Roosevelt had declared a Pan American Security Zone, the maritime area’s border was based on straight lines between points about 300 nautical miles offshore, within which the signatories would not tolerate belligerent acts. This was quickly broken by Britain, when the Royal Navy cornered the Graf Spee, and formal complaints were made. But clearly the zone benefited Britain more, while the Kriegsmarine was told by Hitler to avoid hostile acts towards US ships to avoid starting a war. Worried about Britain’s potential collapse, Roosevelt did more, firstly, in September 1940, Britain and the US agreed the destroyers for bases deal, 50 old four stacker USN destroyers were taken out of reserve and handed over to the RN in return for 99-year leases on airfields and ports on British colonial islands around the Atlantic. Then in March 1941, the Lend Lease act came into play. At about the same time, Roosevelt secretly had the USN begin to prepare undertaking escorting of European bound convoys, requiring another 77 old ships to be taken out of reserve and recommissioned. By the summer they had begun escorting duties between Newfoundland and Iceland.

But these moves increasingly led to conflict, something Roosevelt was prepared to accept. On May 21, SS Robin Moor, an American vessel carrying non military supplies, was stopped by U-69 750 nautical miles (1,390 km) west of Freetown, Sierra Leone. After its passengers and crew were allowed thirty minutes to board lifeboats, U-69 torpedoed, shelled, and sank the ship. The survivors then drifted without rescue or detection for up to eighteen days. September 4, the USS Greer was attacked by U-652, narrowly avoiding two torpedoes and responding with depth charges while sailing near Iceland. On October 17, a "wolfpack" of German U-boats attacked a British convoy near Iceland again, and overwhelmed her Canadian escorts. USS Kearny and three other USN destroyers were summoned to assist. Reaching the convoy, Kearny was engaged in depth charging U-boats, and in return, a torpedo fired from U-568, hit her on the starboard side, killing 11 and injuring 22 others. The crew confined flooding to the forward fire room, enabling the ship to get out of the danger zone with power from the aft engine and fire room. Regaining power in the forward engine room, Kearny steamed to Iceland at 10 knots, arriving 19 October.

And then came the loss of the USS Rueben James, signalling that the USN was in all but name, at war with Germany. As one of five USN destroyers escorting the 44 merchant ships of convoy HX-156, she’d left Newfoundland on the 23 October. The convoy was attacked on the night of 30/31 October, Rueben James being involved in depth charging U-boat contacts, when about 5.30am, she was hit by two torpedoes, fired from the U-552, which punched into her port side, causing a couple of explosions, possibly detonating the forward magazine, blowing away the front of the ship. She went down fast, and although the US escort commander was quick to respond and sent two other destroyers to her aid, only 44 of the crew were saved, the other 100, including all the officers, lost.

Back to our convoy, and in part thanks to intelligent routing due to Enigma intercepts, combined with HF/DF direction finding, the fast-sailing convoy had avoided the U-boats, and with the USN taking over escort duties, they duly arrived in Halifax, Canada. For the troops, including Lieutenant Trevor Whymark, 5th Royal Norfolk Bn, on the Duchess of Atholl, the news they were in Halifax was somewhat perplexing, the general opinion was they were bound for the Middle East, given the tropical uniforms provided, in which case they should be in a port on the west African coast. Furthermore, they were being ordered to disembark here, but the real surprise was coming! As Corporal Roger Osbourne, 4th Suffolk Bn, remarked, we left a very cramped trooper named Andes, marched along the quayside about half a mile, kitbag and rifle slung, and up a gangway, onto a big American trooper, the USS Wakefield, the SS Manhattan, a luxury Liner in a previous life.

In total, six big American troopers, Mount Vernon, Wakefield, West Point, Joseph T Dickman, Leonard Wood and Orizaba, would now transport the 20,000 troops of the 18th Division to the Middle East, thanks to a secret agreement struck between Churchill and Roosevelt, aiding the British, who were struggling with shipping, but urgently needed to reinforce abroad. This was planned to be the first of two such undertakings, the Americans escorting their own troopers as far as Capetown, South Africa, where the troopers would continue but with the Royal Navy as company. The Atlantic escort was formidable, the US aircraft carrier Ranger, two heavy cruisers, Quincy and Vincennes, and their accompanying destroyers, with one planned stop in Trinidad to refuel. The British troopers wouldn’t be idle either, returning to the UK carrying the men of the Canadian 5th Armoured Division. And the whole thing was done in secret, not just from the Germans, but also the US Congress and American people, as Roosevelt stretched the parameters of what help he could give.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Any chance the USS Lanikai under Kemp Tolley, might get a look in? She was actually part of the tripwire picket force in the South China Sea when the Japanese attacked.

She later had an incredible and hair raising escape through the fall of the Philippines and the DEI, before escaping down to Geraldton and then Fremantle, after which she acted as a patrol and survey vessel off the Western Australian coast. She was later transferred to the RAN and Tolley was assigned as USN attaché to the Soviet Union.


There’s a great mini-podcasts on her and her crews exploits here


And Tolley later wrote a book about the experience “The Cruise of the Lanikai: Incitement to war”, which is still available as an ebook.
Hi Eboracum, one wonders if you might be a resident of Eoforwic, or possibly, because of your interest, New Eoforwic?

The trials and tribulations of the USS Lanikai are very interesting, but in answer to your question, at present I plan to create as little change to the US defence of the Philippines in 1941-42 as possible, to limit the amount of ripples I cause among the historical path, I've created enough new avenues to deal with as it is. So it is very unlikely you will read f new exploits of the USS Lanikai, having said that, as 1942 unfolds, there may present a new path for her, although her use is limited.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
@Fatboy Coxy question would the various Chinese Warlords in the KMT come panhandling given a greater perceived focus by DUKE? I don’t care about that rancid scumbag Mao and his Cult they can piss up a rope for all I care given their lack of effort OTL. But if Malay holds I could see Chiang and his faction going to DUKE for more aid and expansion of movement of war materials along Burma since any lengthening of Malay will delay any advance by the Japanese into Burma though I don’t hold much hope for the supplies reaching the front lines an increase even a minor one would be a shot in the arm for some units.
Hi Kelgar04, while other Chinese Warlords may express independent thoughts, the British have enough to keep themselves busy just holding what they have. Aid for China is very much an American provided thing, although Britain holds the gate open. From an American POV, Chiang Kai-shek, although not ideal, is believed to be the best option, and I would expect American support to remain with him. Any Chinese efforts in Burma would be purely to secure the Burma road, allowing the continued flow of supplies form the USA.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
And lastly, apologies for being so sloe with my postings, but real life really got busy, mostly in a good way, grandkids are on school holidays, hence a lot of childcare, and we are in the middle of family trips to Wales and Stoke on Trent. Normally I have a few stories already written to cover these forced abstentions from writing, but I found the last story quite difficult, given I had a lot to get in it.

At this point I should recommend the web site Convoyweb, see http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/, which is a real treasure trove!
 

Ramp-Rat

Monthly Donor
FDR has taken a very bold and politically risky step, one that could have serious consequences for him, should his Republican opponents and a sizeable number of his own Democrats, find out what he has done. Fortunately for him, by the time that his actions become common knowledge, the Japanese having attacked Pear Harbour, the overwhelming majority of Americans, ether Politicians or ordinary citizens will have far more important things to worry about. It will be only post war and after his death, that numerous historians questioning and investigating his actions in the lead up to war, seriously look into this event. As for the British personnel who are right now in transit to Iraq, might find themselves diverted to either Burma or Singapore, as with the onset of the Japanese assault in the Far East, their presence there will be far more urgent. And with the onset of winter in the Soviet Union, and the subsequent stalling of the German offensive, the British will realise that there is little chance of a Soviet collapse at present, and these forces are much better deployed to the Far East, which is an active front for the British. One where their presence can be of immediate benefit to the British, in the short term, while another devision can be raised if needed to support the Soviets. Thankfully with the entry of Japan and subsequently Germany in to the war, their will be no question of American ships sailing in to a war zone, such as applied to American merchantmen sailing into the Red Sea with cargoes for Egypt. As applied prior to American entry into the war and the British capture of Italian and British East Africa.

RR.
 
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