...Those Marvelous Tin Fish: The Great Torpedo Scandal Avoided

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by DaveJ576, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    Optimally, the plan is the same as the IJN used for Kates, 3rd man was Navigator/Observer/Bombardier with a large bomb, AP or otherwise.

    The level bombing worked better than Torpedoes, but that was a really low bar from the Mk13
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  2. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    It was less Harry Yarnell's problem, as it was BuePers for continually sending , throughout the 1930s overaged, incompetent, washed up, useless officers to Comand the 16th Naval District. Hart sacked 3 officers starting with Adm. Smeallie in 1939, until the navy sent out Admiral Francis Rockwell, in Late October1941, a year too late.
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  3. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

    Oct 29, 2017
    Somewhere where rockets fly.
    You won't get any argument from this quarter.
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  4. Threadmarks: Post 10 - Side Bar: A Discussion of Submarine Tactics - 1941-1942

    DaveJ576 Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2008
    Portage, MI

    Before we get into the specifics of the war, I feel it is prudent to step out of character and this timeline and discuss an OTL factor that very well might prove to leaven the effect of our now fully evolved and tested torpedoes.

    On the afternoon of 07 December 1941 the Submarine Service found itself, through providence, to be the only force within the USN with the capability of carrying out offensive operations against the Empire of Japan. The rest of the Pacific Fleet had either been destroyed or pushed into an impotent defensive role by the brilliant, if not audaciously risky Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.

    And yet, the Submarine Service utterly failed to so much as even slow down the Japanese juggernaut. Numerous factors, many deeply imbedded in Navy policy and doctrine, served to impede the initial success of the submarine force. It took eighteen months of trial and error, persistence, technological retrenchment, and tactical development to overcome these factors. Once overcome, the Submarine Service cut the heart out of the Japanese merchant marine and dealt severe blows to the IJN, sealing the fate of the Mikado warlords and their dreams of Japanese hegemony in Asia.

    Why then, was the service unprepared to fight?

    In general, USN submarine skippers in the pre-war period were by and large a very cautious group. This led to some serious issues when the war started. There were several reasons behind this:

    1. Being Lieutenants or Lieutenant Commanders they were too junior to have any experience from WWI. Even if they had, our contribution submarine wise to the first war was very limited and nothing on the order of what the Germans and British had. We just didn't have the time to develop comprehensive and cohesive strategies and tactics for the sub force during the first war. With the exception of this less than one-year limited taste of combat, the U.S. Submarine Force was completely untested.

    2. Several notable submarine accidents with the resultant losses of the boat and/or the crew in the interwar years (S-5, S-51, S-4, O-5, and Squalus among others) had focused a lot of negative publicity on the force. The problems in the Submarine Service mirrored what was going on in the rest of the Navy (USS Mississippi turret explosion, Point Honda destroyer grounding, etc.). Pressure on the Navy Department from the press and the Congress to stop the accidents caused a new emphasis on safety and caution to creep into operational orders. Placing your boat in any situation that smelled of danger was frowned upon to put it mildly.

    3. Despite the problems of caution noted above the Navy was eager to showcase what it could do. Heavy emphasis was placed on the annual Fleet Problem (a fleet wide exercise), various smaller exercises, and the Presidential pass-in-review. These things were hyped up and promoted and the desire to have them come off seamlessly and problem free was foremost in the minds of the admirals. Excellence in performance during these exercises became one of the prime considerations for promotions. Aggressive sub skippers were judged to be reckless and their boats were ruled as “sunk” in the exercises. Given the relatively small size of the Navy after the post-WWI draw down and the lack of promotional opportunities this provided for officers, the desire to not screw up and follow the script became paramount in the minds of many sub skippers. Innovation and outside the box thinking had been effectively stifled.

    4. The Navy at the time was dominated by the "Gun Club", a group of like-minded senior officers that had staked their long and distinguished careers on the idea of the primacy of the big gun battleship. They believed (not without reason) that the battleships and cruisers were the center of the fleet and that their long-range guns would carry the day in any battle. Unfortunately, these ships were extraordinarily expensive and getting large numbers of them built was hard to push by an isolationist and passive Congress. They placed in jeopardy a great deal of their personal reputations, literally placing their careers on the line, to convince everyone that this was the way to go. These admirals held virtually all the senior positions in the fleet. They made almost all the major decisions, including the format of the fleet exercises. With the best of intentions in mind, and sometimes with not, weight in the exercises was placed on the gun line, other elements such as aviation and submarines were de-emphasized and sometimes the rules were even skewed to make the gun line virtually omnipotent. The exercises were nearly always held in perfect weather conditions with calm seas and good visibility. They were held in areas (like Hawaii and Panama) were sonar conditions were well known, and the general location of the opposing submarines was already known to the other force. In essence, they stacked the deck against the submarine force and created conditions under which the failure of an attack against the surface fleet was a foregone conclusion. These “leaders” were not stupid; they fully understood that the airplane and submarine were tremendous threats to their precious battleships. Submariners were bullied into a supporting role for the battle line, and had been cowered into a position of impotency in the face of destroyer opposition by the Gun Club officers, mostly to preserve the idea of the battleship as the queen of the fleet. Eventually the restrictive and unrealistic nature of the exercise rules became so prevalent and accepted that many of the submariners themselves came to believe in their supposed vulnerability. These false beliefs were reflected in some of the tactics that became standard in the pre-war years and that proved to be totally useless or unwarranted once the war started. Some of these false beliefs included:

    · Attacking on sonar bearings only from 100 foot depth or more. This was done to remove the potential of the periscope being sighted. Unfortunately, the fairly primitive submarine sonar gear of the day and the lack of emphasis on proper sonar training produced information that was not accurate enough to allow precise fire control solutions to be generated. Bearings and speed of the target were imprecise, range was nothing but a guess, and angle on the bow was completely unknown. These are all very important elements of torpedo fire control.

    · Unwarranted and unjustified fear of aircraft and destroyers and their ability to detect you. It is actually very difficult to visually detect (remember, no radar in the pre-war years) a surfaced submarine in most conditions. This led boats to dive too early and thus lose their all-important asset of surface speed and maneuverability. In anything other than a dead calm sea, seeing a periscope amongst the chop and whitecaps is actually pretty difficult. I have personally witnessed this myself. But it was drilled into the skippers that virtually any exposure of the scope equated to instant death.

    · Depth charges held tremendous destructive power, were instantly fatal, and one or two is all it takes to destroy a sub. This is actually true, but only if the depth charge explodes less than 75 feet away from the boat! Actual tests showed that much beyond that range, a depth charge may give you a good shake and scare the hell out of you, but they rarely caused fatal damage. Only a large accumulation of damage over time caused by these far off misses would prove fatal. That is not to say that depth charges were not dangerous. Indeed they were. You still had to fear them, but not to the extent that was previously believed. They were very hard to accurately target and only very near misses or direct hits would be instantly fatal.

    When the occasional submarine skipper raised the BS flag and tried something different, he was quickly hammered back into place by the exercise referees. These sore thumbs were quickly reported up the chain and the only thing that saved their careers was the occasional sympathetic squadron commodore.

    Where am I going with this? Sub skippers of the USN in the late 1930’s and early 40’s could be broken into three main groups.

    Some understood that the state of affairs prior to the war was complete rubbish, but kept their mouth shut and only rarely spoke out or acted on their beliefs. They understood that banging their head against the un-moveable wall of the Gun Club was utterly useless. They worked from within the Submarine Force to improve things the best they could and bided their time until the conditions were right (the war), then unleashed their beliefs in a cold hard fury against the Japanese. Strange as it may seem, this group produced some outstanding skippers early in the war. They also mentored and trained the junior officers who commanded boats later in the war that shot the bottom out of the IJN and the Japanese merchant marine.

    Another group spoke out strongly against the silliness of the policies and tried radical new tactics during exercises. They were determined to change the system and felt that they had the best interests of the Navy at heart (and they did). They sometimes proved their point, but they didn't last. The Gun Club wielded enormous power; they did not like being proved wrong and often squashed these mavericks like a bug.

    The last group were the careerists and ladder climbers. They were so immersed in the system that they couldn't see the faults nor did they understand the unreality of their training. They were utterly confident in their ability to drive a submarine effectively and believed their tactics to be sound. When the reality of war hit them like a sledgehammer, proving their entire belief system to be horribly flawed, they couldn't handle it and failed miserably. If the Japanese didn't get them then our Navy did and they were relieved of command.

    As the USN moved into 1941 and the inevitability of eventually getting into the war became clear, a new attitude of getting ready came to the forefront of naval policy. Unfortunately, it proved to be too little, too late and the USN Submarine Service entered into war on December 7th woefully unprepared for the battle that awaited them. It took nearly a year of trial and error combined with the willingness to admit you were wrong before positive results became common. It also took the leadership of men like Charles Lockwood, Chester Smith, Wreford Chapple, Elton Grenfell, Mush Morton and others to show that taking risks by aggressively taking your boat into harm’s way, tempered by common sense, was the only way to carry the war to the enemy. To the credit of the force, the Submarine Service was able to swallow their pride and honestly self-evaluate, admit fault when needed, and correct the deficiencies in time to win the war.

    Having next to useless torpedoes was definitely a factor. How much this realization tempered the actions of the skippers and crews on patrol is a matter of debate. A strong argument can be made that if the fish had worked the way they were supposed to it would have helped to reduce the problems in training and lack of aggressiveness. In other words, if you are going into battle with a wooden gun, you will be a lot more hesitant to take risks. But it you are going into battle with a load of nuclear warp grenades you can afford to be more aggressive. I see this argument and understand it, but the problems that were created by the unreality of pre-war training ran deep and were going to take time to work out.

    There were also significant problems at the senior leadership level too. Carpender, Wilkes, English, Withers, Hart, and of course Blandy and Christie, all men with a lot of gold on their collars made some rather stupid and unusual tactical and strategic decisions that went a long way to render the force impotent. A lot of the criticism of these men is admittedly Monday-morning-quarterbacking, but when their contemporaries like Lockwood and Voge spoke out about their policies I have to believe there was something to it.

    So, as we move into the war phase of this timeline, I believe we have to temper our expectations a little of how quickly things will go. There will undoubtedly be a vast improvement, but maybe not as much as many of you may think.

    I welcome your comments. Thank you for your contributions.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  5. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

    Oct 29, 2017
    Somewhere where rockets fly.
    That is a good summary of the United States Navy, December 6, 1941. I will comment later on some of the results as the Word of God drops from on high, but I think a very tough year is still in store for the USN if we keep this ATL realistic. One magic bullet does not fix a system of systems.
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  6. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    I am a bit of a Hart ran, but his patrol decisions were strange . Imo he should have aggressively pushed his S boats to the probable invasion points and Ports on Taiwan . The fleet boats should have gone to the choke points to the North and East. I believe Hart's decisions were colored by the massive losses of torpedos and materiel at Cavite and the need to move almost all his train, especially his Sub tenders South sooner then desired.
  7. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Jun 20, 2009
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    This captures it pretty well. I'd add the senior officers (English, Withers, Doyle, Christie) failed to understand the doctrine was faulty, so the Force started the war with standing orders to remain submerged within (IIRC) 600nm of a Japanese base, to avoid detection by aircraft.

    They also showed a drastic unwillingness to "dig deep" for qualified COs; the typical skipper was Class of '30 or '31, & IIRC, the youngest of the war was Class of '35. (You can look at the patrol results tables in Blair & find his name; I can't recall it.) Even when XOs had more combat experience, more senior men were given the boat... This, IMO, bred more caution in operations than the war situation warranted.

    There was also a really bad CO/PCO & XO/PXO selection process (some of which could only be resolved with war experience): too many were simply unsuited for command in battle. Some lacked nerve, others merely the specific kind of nerve needed for sub warfare. (IMO, allowing engineers & others to fleet up, rather than selecting for command, was a mistake.)

    Lockwood did the best in getting rid of the dead wood, but even he wouldn't given more-junior officers commands. And he was far, far too enamored with the "guerrilla" missions to P.I.:rolleyes: He seemed to forget the goal was sinking merchantmen, not making MacArthur look good.:confounded:

    Some (most?) of the Force's problems could only be uncovered by experience. Cutting down the conning towers, frex, should have been a design feature before the war ever started--except subs were meant for fleet scouting, not commerce raiding... So, too, the TBTs should have been fitted athwartships at the conning tower, not fore & aft, & the deck gun should've been a 4"/50 (pirated from an S-boat, as needed). Pumps should've been much quieter. And the topsides paint scheme should have been grey or blue (or a shade of blue-green), not black: black silhouetted too well.

    And the basing decision is one I hope you can answer: whose stupid call was it for them to operate out of Oz, instead of Hawaii?:eek::confounded::confounded:

    So you've got room to improve the outcomes beyond just fixing the Mark XIVs.:)

    If you can push a certain San Fran customs officer under a trolley before Nov '41, even better.:cool: (Much, much worse for Japan, however...:eek::cool::cool:)
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  8. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

    Jan 15, 2014
    I think a reasonable way to assess the improved results of this TL's fixed torpedoes would be to examine the OTL record of attacks and consider the same events but with having almost no duds right from the start of the Pacific War. This is a simplistic way but it avoids the difficulty of predicting the changes in tactics and attitude though of course those will change and maybe earlier.

    One other factor with having working torpedoes is the effect the greatly increased hit rate may have on extending the time on patrol. Sub captains with confidence in their torps won't be expending 4 shots on a single freighter to try to achieve one detonation. They won't burn through their loadout as rapidly.
  9. sonofpegasus Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Would it be possible in the late 1930's or even after the war was declared in 1939 (Roosevelt could ask Churchill personally then as 1st lord of the Admiralty) for one or two of the more promising submarine officers to attend the RN 'Perisher' course either as observers or as candidates. This might have create a butterfly or two later down the line for the USN
  10. zert Casual Reader, Interested Follower

    Dec 19, 2010
    Good summarization of the troubles of OTL submarine commanders and what they had to deal with from misguided and nearsighted superiors. The stubbornness and stupidity of some career admirals and captains in all services hurt the US. The lean years of the interwar period with limited budgets and wanting to cover their sacrosanct tactics and commands screwed several countries. Not learning enough of the previous war and being unwilling to adapt to new tactics needed to changes in technology just to protect their power bases. I agree that the first year of the War for the US Navy, Submarine and Surface, will be the source of hard lessons.

    Keep up the good work and I appreciate the time you put in to keep this believable and educational.
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  11. steamboy Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2015
    I didn't know this about the USN, and its odd that the IJN's problems were almost the same but magnified. Their naval exercises were even more scripted than the USN's ones to emphasise how their plans WOULD work. This also happened in the IJN's submarine force who's entire focus became 'Kill hostile warships' and support the battle line, and during exercises, their performance in them was always perfect due to the IJN not daring to break with how its expectations were shaped and formed. The only area of innovation outside of this stifling control from the commanders of the navy was the Carriers.
  12. Tjyorksgeezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2017
    Considering King's antipathy/hostility towards the RN and his refusal to learn even the obvious lessons of Asw from them between 1939 and 1941 chances of this happening are slim to sod all.
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  13. steamboy Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2015
    Indeed and if some poor unsuspecting officer suggested it to King then the reaction would be this;

  14. DaveJ576 Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2008
    Portage, MI
    Perisher is a good course of instruction, admittedly one of the best in the world and it worked well for the RN in the environment that their boats operated in. However, the USN method of training officers and crews was pretty damn good as well, once we worked the kinks out that I described above. It produced some of the finest submarine officers and leaders of men in the world. I would submit Mush Morton, Dick O'Kane, Gene Fluckey, George Grider, Lawson Ramage, George Street, Ned Beach, Creed Burlingame and a bunch of others as evidence of the efficacy of our perfected doctrine and training.
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  15. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

    Oct 29, 2017
    Somewhere where rockets fly.
    This was the Navy that beat the first team, when it was outnumbered, outgunned and out technologied in the RTL, so let me provide some reasons and counterpoints.

    Let's look at Hart's problem. (Map.)


    1. There is a strong north south current in the Formosa Strait.
    2. The older a pre-WW II sub gets the more brittle and subject to stress cracking. This means safe operating depth decreases with age of the boat. Sometimes as much as 1/3 of commissioned rating, especially in a riveted hull.
    3. Predicted concentration of initial Japanese landings based on two factors; Philippines weather and nice gentle sloping sandy beaches and a protected three sided enclosure from current and wind would be where? Lingayan Gulf. And what makes a good bottle with a stopper to sink all the invasion shipping concentrated there? Lingayan Gulf.
    4. S-boats have half the cruise and patrol endurance of a GATO.

    Umpire conditioning: during the fleet problems and NWC paper exercises, the "scouting" sub's main mission was to survive to report. As radio was the reporting method as no-one had thought of recorder transmitter buoys for the purpose (although a prototype sono-buoy is in use, figure that one out.), the sub had to practice day-hide/night rove operations to "scout" for the Japanese fleet. It was not just "remain submerged within 600 NM of a Japanese air base"; it was remain submerged near Japanese naval units, listen and look, and radio when it is safe. It was a pogo act.

    Never fought a submarine war. Did not know how to fight a submarine war. This has to color how PCOs and PXO's (prospective captains and execs) are selected. In a surface navy, seasoned men of maturity and with experience as watch officers and deck watchers climb to command. These men over decades have learned how to fight the sea and its weather, so that their ships do not succumb and their men function as a team. This is a centuries proven method for successful ship command. It does not work with aircraft and I suspect submarines. There, the environment is less measured judgement tempered by experience and more snap decisions compressed by time and reinforced by arcane technical knowledge of what machines can do. A certain cocky arrogance will exhibit itself.

    Fighter pilots and sub captains should be very much alike.

    Actually letting "engineers" to fleet up is a "symptom" of trying to do things the right way. Submarines are machines of enormous complexity. Knowing how that machine behaves under pressure (pun) is 3/4 of the knowledge base a sub skipper needs.

    In Lockwood's defense, he DID what Doenitz could not do. He adapted, improvised and overcame to the extent that his force improved and successfully fought a U-boat campaign with correct strategy and tools available. If he had been in Doenitz's shoes with Doenitz's tech base and those kinds of resources thrown at him, the British would be speaking with a Midwest accent now.

    1. I am in favor of reduced silhouette, but faster dive and better seakeeping awash condition would have been more helpful.
    2. TBTs should have had improved night optics as well. Did anyone bother to think about an IR heat detector? The US HAS THEM.
    3. What is wrong with the 5/25?
    4. Mufflers all around and silencing in general. Diesels put a lot of noise into a surface duct.
    5. Test for camouflage from surface and air in peace. WAR is too late.


    Which one? There were several who needed the trolley treatment.

    Lingayan Gulf. Three Japanese carriers would have had "premature accidents" if a certain US sub had good fish. Yorktown might be a museum ship if Nautilus had any luck. Kongo's career would have been much shorter and a tough hard Solomon Islands campaign would have been easier if a few tankers had met their makers sooner than later.

    Not sure of that. Nose wander is still a problem, so spreads are the only viable solution.

    Not in the cards. King really HATED the RN. I mean in the Andrew Jackson kind of way.

    I suggest that the difference between victory and defeat was the willingness to learn humility and adapt to reality. For some reason the Germans (Doenitz and Raeder) and the Japanese (Yamamoto, Abe, Toyoda, et al.) seemed to have trouble at the top of the food chain to figure it out, while the allies either fired their duds (Pound) or found a way to work around them, (MacArthur, King, Halsey and Arnold). It seems, though, that as you went into the mid ranks, that everyone down there at the op-art level knew what was going on and did their best, (except for the Russians, whose leadership between Stalin and the field grades was unusually good, while individuals like Kulik and Kruschev outlived their justified oxygen user consumption rates. They seem to be the WW II oddballs, hanging on to their worst and eliminating their top talent. Someone should have killed Stalin early. No replacement could possibly be worse as a warleader from the RTL successor pool available.)


    That is actually a good way of saying in op-art, "plan for what can happen and not what one expects to happen." I would go even further and suggest that the USN for all of its follies and underestimations, actually went into the Pacific War with a reasonable war plan that was probably the best thought out and gamed of any war plan implemented by the WW II combatants. It needed little modification, most of the war games based on it, proved prescient and accurate (the Philippine Islands turned out exactly as predicted at the start and at the finish of the war. The USN KNEW the American army's weaknesses.), and the few modifications, the submarine campaign being one, actually improved the outcome. Although it should be noted, "Unrestricted submarine and air warfare" , became parts of the plan almost as soon as the USN could see that happening from 1936 on.

    Agreed. (^^^^)
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  16. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Jun 20, 2009
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    There were other possible landing beaches, to be fair, but it was widely acknowledged Lingayen was the #1 choice. So why in the flaming blazes was there only a single S-boat there on the day?:mad:
    I understood that. I'm saying, how dumb were they not to recognize the umpiring was biased & the actual conditions weren't going to be like that? Am I being unfair?
    In '41, okay. In half/most of '42, okay. By '43, being flat unwilling is a mistake. Younger means more aggressive & more flexible. It does stand out in fighters, & IMO also in subs--but it also applies in all senior command positions. Marshall understood that. It's why he selected younger officers. Look at what happened across the board: older men replaced when they couldn't cope with the new techniques or pace of war.
    You see that today: they are.
    I disagree. IMO, a selection for leadership & for ability to make right calls makes more sense than somebody who knows the ship backwards but can't fight his way out of a paper bag. I don't mean technically unqualified (or he wouldn't have his dolphins), but...
    Agree entirely. Lockwood was far & away the best of the sub COs I'm aware of. He wasn't without flaws, is all, so if I could get his attention, those would be the places I'd do it.
    I wouldn't oppose that, but surfaced ops would've been enhanced, & IMO that's a good thing.
    Good point. Agreed.
    IMO, it's more gun than fleet boats really need most of the time.
    Another good point. Agreed.
    Also agreed entirely.

    And we're back to herding cats...:openedeyewink:
    I can't recall his name.:mad: (He should be notorious.) It's in Farago's afterword: he boarded Nishin Maru II, took the codebook (part of a "Customs inspection"), copied it, & gave it back--but copied it in a way the Japanese couldn't help notice. At a time ONI had already broken it. Needless to say, Japan changed it.:rolleyes: And OP-20G wouldn't have the manpower to crack it again til 1/43.:eek: Had the Sub Force started the war with it broken, the war would have been over way sooner.
    All true.

    The tankers matter is one I overlooked. It astounds me priority on tankers wasn't raised earlier. It was perfectly possible to turn Combined Fleet into nothing but floating batteries a year or more sooner.
    True. However, on quite a few targets, it took two whole spreads (6 fish) to achieve a single hit, when it would've been possible to sink with only two well-placed shots. (Coming back later & finishing the job with the 4"/50 sometimes would also be good.;))
    Not learning ASW lessons from RCN or RN gave the Germans a real gift...but I'm not sure it was only King.
    +1. It would be an excellent idea. Better still would be an exchange program.

    Hell would need to freeze over, first, however.;)
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  17. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

    May 14, 2017
    @McPherson excellent analysis. My one point of disagreement is classifying Halsey and Arnold as duds. Arnold was a competent officer who led the USAAC through a massive expansion, saw it transform into the USAAF, then into it's own seperate branch. He wasn't a genius, but he was competent.

    Halsey, well, he made the right call more than he made the wrong one. He gets hammered, rightly, for his decision to take off after the IJN carriers at Leyte Gulf without leaving a blocking force behind. However, even that decision isn't really wrong. The entire war up to that point had taught the USN that carriers were the most dangerous enemy and to handle them first. So in the abstract, without hindsight, he wasn't wrong for doing what he did. Granted, he should have left his proposed SAG behind, but still. His only other major fuck up was trying to take on that typhoon. That was just boneheaded and stupid of him and he got lucky that more ships weren't lost.
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  18. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

    Oct 29, 2017
    Somewhere where rockets fly.
    Yes. Given what they knew and what they could reliably predict up til 1935 when aircraft carriers, planes (and submarines in the USN case) could reliably produce the results that they would there is no forecastable gameable way to simulate the new conditions. And let's be honest, the Japanese did not know either until 1937 when they started their four year actual war operations.

    Ask BuPers and King. Monkeys in the barrel. Nimitz was open to fresh faces and ideas.

    "Sailor" Malan or Keith Park are RAF examples of "commanders" who showed "leadership and ability" but who were technically incompetent. They killed dozens if not hundreds of pilots because they could make "correct" decisions that were disastrously wrong because they did not understand the difference in technology they confronted; specifically operating characteristics of their own air defense system. I want someone who knows his sub when he attacks a convoy. Not some British example, I mean a Mommsen, someone who KNOWS his systems characteristics. That means an engineer, I'm afraid. To cite another example from the RN, how many T-class boats did the RN lose because the skippers did not know or understand their "peculiar" dive characteristics and surface blow procedures? About a dozen if we are to believe Italian RM records.

    P.S. The two geniuses who need to be third railed in San Francisco in October 1941 are U.S. Customs Service Agent George Muller and Commander R. P. McCullough of the U.S. Navy's 12th Naval District.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  19. DaveJ576 Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2008
    Portage, MI
    All good stuff here guys. I would like to throw in a comment on enlisted Sailors. Dick O'Kane was awesome, but even this Medal of Honor awardee would have been nothing without dedicated, motivated, intelligent, and highly trained enlisted Sailors. It was the Torpedomen, Motor Macs, Quartermasters, Gunner's Mates, and Yeomen that truly made the boat run. Without a great crew even the best officer will be impotent. There is a saying in our Navy today; "The Officers are in charge, but the Chief Petty Officers run the Navy." In all modesty, that is true, and can be extended to the Petty Officers as well. We had a great system that took a Pennsylvania shopkeeper, and Iowa farmer, or a Detroit factory worker and turned them into highly capable warriors in a very short period of time. The Navy, beyond most of the other services required a high degree of technical aptitude and we were able to tap into a latent talent that young men in this country already had and turn them into effective Sailors. I have seen these Bluejackets perform near miracles of innovative technical work in a burning compartment or with seawater spraying in their face. On the whole, we brought back more damaged ships than we should have, only because the Bluejackets knew what to do, were willing to do it, and had leadership that could guide them.
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  20. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

    Oct 29, 2017
    Somewhere where rockets fly.

    (^^^^) There is a huge hole in a sub tender and water pouring in, and it is in Alaska waters, and there is a CPO who will not get with the program until he meets a certain "welder/diver". And there is a machine gun story to go with it. That is the US Navy.