Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
The point of octane ratings as a measure of formulation and additives is avoidance of compression-ignition, historically known as "knock", before the intended spark-ignition that can be controlled by settable ignition timing. Engines designed to produce higher compression, and therefore having more charge in the cylinder to produce expansion-pressure and having a slightly longer power stroke, are capable of producing more power...but only if the charge doesn't pre-ignite as the piston is still moving up in the compression phase. "Knock" drastically cuts output power, by causing the charge expansion force to push back on the rising piston as it approaches top dead center. And, "knock" also puts tremendous stress on the pistons, crankshaft and crank bearings. In rotary engines it can blow cylinders clean off the crankcase. in conventional engines it has a history of blowing holes in piston tops, generally resulting in instant engine destruction.

Compression is set by the engine's design engineers. It can't be changed by normal aircraft-mechanic action-options. Changing it requires either new pistons, new heads or a new crankshaft.

Ignition timing can be controlled by the mechanics, but that has a limited control over knock prevention. If an engine will knock on too-low-octane fuel for its designed "compression ratio", the "fix" would be advancing the timing so that spark ignition occurs before compression ignition...but if compression ignition is occurring before top dead center, advancing spark ignition that far results in engine output being cut way down...maybe to 20%...or the engine even not being willing to run at all.

The mechanics also can change the carburetors or fuel injection to feed more fuel into each cylinder, i.e. "enrich" the mixture. A richer mix has a little less tendency to compression-ignite, because the cylinder has less oxygen in it, so there are fewer points at which that first oxygen-plus-fuel reaction may occur. But an engine running rich uses more fuel; tends to foul its plugs and valves because the insufficient available oxygen tends to react with the hydrogen atoms and results in unburned carbon that condenses out on "cooler" surfaces like piston tops, valves and plug tips; and can result in burned valves and exhaust system destruction or fires due to the extra heat of the still-combusting carbon in the exhaust flow.

There's a popular misconception, greatly encouraged by the automobile gasoline companies over the past 80 years, that octane rating is somehow indicative of chemical energy capability. That's not true. There are differences in gasoline formulation energy content, but they are not related to octane rating.
Hi JWilly48519, thank you for this detailed but easy to understand explanation. I have a feeling that I have dipped my toe in such a deep pool of knowledge on the forum, that if I needed to know about Quantum Physics, I would quickly 'see the light'
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
It depends on who you classify as modern day and who you ask.

The majority of the people on the street, in pubs or in shopping centres would not have a clue who John Curtin was or be able to give you more than a brief précis of WW2. Popular historical literacy is that deficient and there is next to no coverage of history in the curriculum beyond very basic, dumbed down narratives. It is only compulsory to Grade 10, not taught in depth or by specialists, and very much tied to bog basic texts, tropes and popular myths.

There are ‘pop history’ books on specific aspects of the World Wars, notably by a bandana wearing former rugby player, but they stick to story rather than providing analysis or the big picture. They were, a few years ago at least, not uncommon as Fathers Day gifts. They push the Traditional Ocker Line of “Curtin brung the boys home, even though the Poms tried to stop him, and that saved us from Japan.”

Beyond that surface level, among those who know, there would be less of an embrace of the above view of Curtin’s actions than in the 1980s. Distance from the events allows a bit more of a nuanced perspective. A revisionist approach exists amongst the (very, very small) academic historical community.

If you stopped someone on the street, John Curtin would get the same level of recognition as Stafford Cripps in Britain or Harold Ickes in the USA. More luck with older generations than the young.
Hi Simon, thank you for this, I guess its all about what history we (the local populace) need as part of our general education. Is there much named after him?
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
According to the wiki page for one of the Pensacola convoy units ( 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment (75mm Gun)) which fought on Java, it was 'truck drawn'; I would assume all US FA units would have truck movers.


The elements of the 147th FA Regiment stayed in Australia IOTL

One additional battalion was supposed to go to Timor but it was turned back to Australia
Hi Nbcman, thank you for this, that's helpful.
 
Hi Butchpfd, thank you, I take your point and will be diligent in my use of Tankers and Oilers, and note that many Oilers are not fast, and so don't work well with refueling Task Forces at sea. The point I was trying to make is the USN ships can refuel in anchorages, I'd point to Tarakan and Balikpapan in early December 1941, as Hart moved his surface fleet out of harms way. But the bigger picture pointed out to me is the Asiatic Fleet need more than just fuel, a resupply of ammunition and the myriad of small stores needed to keep ships working would have to be shipped from the continental USA.

And I haven't even mentioned any US Carrier, although to keep that thought in vogue, it has been suggested that you can't operate carriers in narrow seas like the Java Sea, for instance. I think they could and when needed navies did. The Royal Navy took a beating operating off the Norwegian coast, and the Med, and probably the biggest lesson they took from all that is a need for an armoured deck, with the increased danger of land based aircraft. The Japanese also did it, I've been reading of their raid of Darwin (trying to keep ahead of myself() but I'm not sure where their carriers were when they launched the raid, either Banda Sea or Arafura Sea are my guess, or had they dared go into the Timor Sea?
Re: Asiatic Fleet Supplies. Hart had about 6 months operational supplies for the Asiatic Fleet Stored at Cavite, Manila or Olopango. When the Asiatic Fleet Train left Manila on 11 -12 December 1941, they had stores for about 60 days of operations and as many parts as could be loaded. The limiter was ammunition. None could carry much more then designed for. Hart had no ship capable of carrying ready for use 6" or 8" ammunition, the sub Tenders carried 3"&4" for the subs, Black Hawk carried Torps and 3" & 4" and a limited amount of 5"/25 cal.
There was 6 months uniforms for USN&USMC, abandoned in Manila as well as @6 months dry stores, and over 200,000 tons of POL, when the Navy was forced to evacuate Manila and Olopango . At least the Marines burned what they could not evacuate from Olopango. Hart did not have the men to destroy all the stocks in Manila.
Worst was there were 5 Danish freighters empty at Manila that Hart wanted to charter but the navy wouldn't allow.
 
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Hi Nevarinemex, pump ballast, where was that please.
I came across it over the last week. So it's in Bookmarks, History or both. I want to say that it was a British reference.
There was a discussion that two ports were too shallow for deeper draft liners(?). The British Convoy Commander
and the American Captains did come to agreement and would risk it. I'll need a day to find it. It's nothing so grave
as to influence the history.

At some levels benefits can outweigh the risks involved. As with LORD GORT and his decision on MATADOR.
 
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American Mk VIII, and X worked fairly well, far better then MK XIV family. Over 200 American torpedoes were lost in the bombing of Cavite, over half were Mk VIII and Xs
 
Re: Asiatic Fleet Supplies. Hart had about 6 months operational supplies for the Asiatic Fleet Stored at Cavite, Manila or Olopango. When the Asiatic Fleet Train left Manila on 11 -12 December 1941, they had stores for about 60 days of operations and as many parts as could be loaded. The limiter was ammunition. None could carry much more then designed for. Hart had no ship capable of carrying Reade for use 6" or 8" ammunition, the sub Tenders carried 3"&4" for the subs, Black Hawk carried Torps and 3" & 4" and a limited amount of 5"/25 cal.
There was 6 months uniforms for USN&USMC, abandoned in Manila as well as @6 months dry stores, and over 200,000 tons of POL, when the Navy was forced to evacuate Manila and Olopango . At least the Marines burned what they could not evacuate from Olopango. Hart did not have the men to destroy all the stocks in Manila.
Worst was there were 5 Danish freighters empty at Manila that Hart wanted to charter but the navy wouldn't allow.
Why didn't the navy want to charter those valuable ships?
 
One was going to be used to transport GEN MacArthur's wine cellar of fine Australian wines to his Summer Palace at Baguio.
The other four were for gold transport. /s

My suspicion is that USAFFE was involved.
That story is not true. Baguio is a mountain city in central Luzon, a ship can't get there. Besides why ship wine to a city that was about to be occupied by the Japanese? In 1941 the Philippines gold reserves amounted to 20 tons. It was shipped to Corregidor and then to the U.S. aboard the submarine USS Trout in early February 1942.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26505284/frank_wesley-fenno
 
Why didn't the navy want to charter those valuable ships?
Bureaucratic sloth, Hart wanted 3 as cargo, convert 1 as another Destroyer Tender, and the last as an ammunition ship. Conversions to have been done at Cavite, as was most of Otus'was as a sub tender at Pearl then Cavite..
 
Hi Merrick, the Tatsumiya Maru carried 650 mines, I expect internally, using some sort of rail system. I thought she carried four 120mm guns, and was painted a warship grey. Flying closer, they would have observed the doors at the rear through which the mines slid out. Having said all that, your question has made me question myself, and I'm off to research that.
Her TROM on the Combined Fleet site: http://www.combinedfleet.com/Tatsumiya_t.htm is unclear, because it states that she turned back prematurely after being sighted by the patrol plane and that she laid her mines short of the assigned position before turning back. It's not clear if this was before or after being spotted.
 
The reference is in Wikipedia under SS America. The Wakefield and West Point were required to pump ballast
and potable water overboard to enter Bombay/Mumbai Harbor. and moor pier side. It's in the Convoy BM 11
section.
 
Hi Vetinari, thank you for this, I remember discussing the Australian I Corps being redeployed quite some time ago, and I thought, (still do) that both 6th and 7th divisions were slated for Java, however I was going to do some work on the whole timetable of the arguments and plans for the return of the AIF.

Do modern day Australians see Curtin's actions as Australia establishing nationhood, independence from the 'old' country
Some, on the Left generally do, many on the Right do as well. There are many traditionalists who think Curtin was a bit of an upstart. it was mainly Evatt, the Foreign Minister who composed the telegrams sent in Curtin's name. Curtin and Evatt should be recognised IMHO as the real fathers of Australia's independence although to be fair, all the PM's before that walked the same path leading to the same conclusion. Evatt was an ex-High Court judge who had retired to stand for Parliament. He was a legalist and surprisingly knew the Law and believed everybody else should as well. Unfortunately he died from Senile Dimensia post war after his becoming Leader of the Opposition. He led the Australian delegation to the San Francisco conference which established the United Nations and formulated several strategies that resolved what were considered insurmountable problems between the Great Powers and the Medium and Small powers in how the UN was to operate.
 
Hi Simon, thank you for this, I guess its all about what history we (the local populace) need as part of our general education. Is there much named after him?
There is a suburb in Canberra named after both John Curtin and Herb Evatt. There is the occassional street and assembly hall in the local suburbs, but apart from that not much else.
 
Australias left is fragmented (ha) but wartime labour is generally viewed as the good old days when the ALP were actually left nationalists, or when the ALP cooperated with us the real left communists…. The left popular history hagiography is that they’re saints of saving capitalism from itself and did so in the least worst way possible. There’s a political truth to that story that animates the popular myth in the left. It isn’t the best historical reading though.

They’re mostly likable as politicians though.
 
MWI 41120702 The Race Begins

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
1941, Sunday 07 December, 02.00 Hours (Singapore Time)

"Operation Matador is ON!" The signal sparked a measured burst of activity among the troops camped across northern Malaya, as units began following their own carefully planned timetables. For some it was a very early start to the day, travelling under a three-quarter moon (when it wasn’t hidden by rain clouds). For others, it was the beginning of a frustrating wait until their assigned time to move. North of the border, recon patrols and SOE agents were already at work, paving the way for those that would follow.

The first Thai forces encountered were just a few border guards and local police. The main Thai army units were three infantry battalions: 5th at Hat Yai, 41st at Songkhla, and 42nd at Pattani. These would wake up with guns pointing at them if things went to plan.

His Majesty’s Armoured Train Lancelot had been waiting for the signal since before midnight, just outside the border town of Padang Besar. Two sandbagged flatbeds were in front, with a section of Engineers and a platoon of 5th battalion, 14th Punjab Regt, riding in the two carriages behind. At 2 AM, the rest of 5/14 Punjab quickly secured the Thai side of the town, capturing the police unit and border guard without any fuss. Satisfied the town was safe, Lt Col Stokes ordered one company to move forward along the dirt road that meandered into Thailand. At the same time he gave the green light to Capt Keith Norton, Middlesex Regt, the train commander.

Just over two miles out of the town, the train slowed down as it approached the first bridge beyond the border and stopped 50 yards away. Immediately Lieutenant Vanya Ringer led a dozen Indian soldiers running towards the bridge, torchlight beams bobbing, quickly followed by four Indian Engineers. At the bridge, Ringer had a Lewis machine gun set up and trained along the rails, while other soldiers climbed part the way down the bank on either side, rifles at the ready. Two engineers followed them, one each side. The other two followed Ringer and the remaining six soldiers across the bridge,

Torches searched out for wires or demolition charges, but none were found, and quickly the engineers were all back up on the track waving the train forward. Gingerly she crept forward, the soldiers and engineers climbing on board as she passed them. Then with the train across, and all aboard, it picked up speed and at a steady 20 mph moved forward to the next bridge.

To the southeast, in the border village of Changlun, on the Alor Star – Hat Yai main road, a full squadron of the 8th Australian Light Horse also waited patiently for 2 AM. Then they quickly surprised and secured the Thai border guards in the adjacent village of Sadao. Then the barriers were removed and the first troop of Marmon Herrington armoured cars set off. They were preceded by a small dark Austin Ten motorcar, which flew a pennant copied from the Thai governor of Songkhla. Two Malay soldiers sat in front and a Malay officer in the rear, all volunteers from the Malay Regt in Thai uniforms. They would deal with any further road blocks or patrols on the way to Hat Yai.

Scouts had previously reconnoitred the road several times, locating potential check points, weak bridges, and places where main force units could go off road to avoid roadblocks. A detachment of MPs, in their distinctive red caps, white webbing, and white sleeves, followed the armoured cars with a platoon of seconded troops attached. At successive designated points, a few were dropped off to manage the military traffic that would follow.

KrohCol (12th Indian Brigade, with attached units) carried out a particularly difficult operation with three objectives to secure. One was the important town of Yala. Two pairs of SOE agents in Yala, posing as travellers, cut the telegraph and telephone lines to Hat Yai and Pattani.

KrohCol's units started from two locations.

Some advanced from Kroh along the road in the central mountains to Yala. That road was for long thought of as a backdoor to the Jitra and Gurun defensive lines. It had a very perilous two mile stretch about 25 miles across the border from Kroh, called ‘the Ledge’, which was another KrohCol objective. There the road was cut into the mountainside, high above the upper reaches of the Pattani river. Destruction of this length of road would have limited any attacking Japanese force to what could be supported over goat trails. The ‘Ledge’ was taken by 4/19 Hyderabad, a troop of Australian Light Horse armoured cars, and Indian engineers of 15 Field Coy Madras S&M. However, the road was difficult to drive: narrow, constantly rising or falling, with many bends, passing bays were few and far between.

Part of KrohCol advanced toward Yala from Kelantan, near the east coast. At the border village of Rantau Panjang, the Golok River marked out the border. A company of 5/2 Punjab crossed the river by boat and quickly seized the village, surprising the border guards and taking them prisoner. Then after an hour, the armoured train Galahad started for Yala with the rest of 5/2 Punjab

Galahad crossed all the small bridges with caution but without stopping. However, there were two major bridges, both box-girder construction. Galahad reached the first, a single span over the Tan Yong Mat River, by 5 AM. Its small guard was quickly overcome, and the bridge declared safe in a matter of 30 minutes. The second bridge, over the Sai Buri River, was a far more impressive affair, and wasn’t going to be taken as easily.

Both columns were to converge on Yala, where the Kelantan – Hat Yai railway crossed the Pattani River, and where a ferry connected with the road down to Pattani, KrohCol's third objective.

RAF recon missions took off at daybreak, to observe and report British progress and also any Thai army activity.

All commanders had been strongly reminded to avoid bloodshed if possible and keep Thai casualties to a minimum. But nevertheless, the objectives had to be taken. British forces had to get to Songkhla and Pattani before the Japanese. Could they get there in time, deployed and ready? The race had begun!
 
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