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JFMUO

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About JFMUO

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    Newport, RI
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    Military History
  1. 30 years did not dim Marion Carl's esteem for his skipper; we spoke at my commissioning in June '72. He had helped Kirk Armistead (senior surviving Marine Fighting 221 officer) in putting together the AAR, and the pointed words concerning any pilot committed to combat in the F2A should be considered as lost before he leaves the ground, Marine Fighting 221 had only received the F2As in Dec 41 after Lexington's Fighting 2 received the F4F. Before that they had F3Fs (given Jesus Villamor's kills over Manila in a P-26 in Dec 41, one could wonder if they should have kept the Grummans?) Not sure about the second assumption. One of TF 16's problems (most evident in the shambles of Hornet Air Group's problems) was that its COS, CAPT Miles Browning, did not produce a coordinated order for the strike. He left this to the CAGs on Enterprise and Hornet. And he did not coordinate with his TF 17 counterpart. This accounts for much of the scattered nature of the attacks. The disparity also appears in the transcript of Jimmie Thach's oral history. Incidentally, Waldron had no clue that about 19,000 ft above and behind following him was Jim Gray's Fighting 6. Interesting to point out that the only Midway MoH was received posthumously by Marine Scout Bombing 241's Capt Richard Fleming. Cheers
  2. Wish the article was a bit more accurate, particularly on the circumstances of the torpedo attacks. LCDR John Waldron took Torpedo 8 off on his own, separating himself from Fighting 8 and Bombing 8 after an in air spat with his CAG, CDR Stan Ring on the location of Kido Butai. Waldron was right but ensured his squadron would attack alone. Torpedo Six under LCDR Gene Lindsay was supposed to have cover, prearranged with Fighting 6 skipper, LT Jim Gray...except that when Lindsay's (new) XO, LT Art Ely made the prearranged signal, Fighting 6 was nowhere to be found. In one of Midway's unanswered controversies, Gray was at 20,000 ft and above...Torpedo 8. He turned around back to Enterprise. This was in CAPT Murray's CV-6 AAR. Gray's explanation did not wash with a lot of Midway veterans, nor with CM Steve Smith who, when he landed his shot to pieces TBD-1 (6-T-12) back on Enterprise, went looking for Gray with his pistol drawn as 6-T-12 was pushed over the side as hopelessly irreparable (according to a number of accounts including one eyewitness, future Yale Prof. Alvin Kernan who was then a VT-6 AO. (Smith would receive the Navy Cross and would become a legend in the brown shoe community...over 7000 hours as a torpedo plane pilot, DFCs to go with the NC and a commission.) Now to YAG. LCDR John S. (Jimmie) Thach, skipper of Fighting 3, only had 6, not 10 F4Fs available to accompany the strike by Bombing 6 under LCDR Max Leslie, and Torpedo 3, under its new skipper LCDR "Lem" Massey. Massey had just been moved and promoted from Torpedo 6 where he had been XO and earned the DFC during the Marshall Islands raids. According to Thach, Leslie and Massey had serious discussions about who he should use his scarce fighters (Fighting 3 only had a total of 16 aircraft and had to supply aircraft for CAP duty as well; two fighters where lost on deployment to Yorktown when a landing F4F overshot the barrier and crashed into the squadron XO just landed aircraft, killing the XO in the cockpit. Massey knew the CAP had gone after the SBDs at Coral Sea, not the TBDs, who went through the battle pretty unscathed and put torpedoes into the Shoho. Figuring the Japanese had learned a lesson, the decision was made and Thach went with Massey. 6 fighters were simply not enough despite incredible courage by Thach and his pilots (the only Navy fighters over Kido Butai) and Massey pressing home. The odds were just too great. Give the time lags between torpedo attacks, it was the swirling fight around Torpedo 3's attack that drew the attention at the critical moment. The other unsung heroes were Red Park's pilots in Marine Fighting 221, 4 of his 5 divisions flying the F2A. Nearly wiped out, the started the ball rolling by messing up the attack on Midway and creating the scenario for the need for a second strike...set the chain of events in motion. I had the privilege of talking one-on-one to then Capt Marion Carl one of Marine Fighting 221's survivors who earned the Navy Cross (and another at Guadalcanal which is what he thought I wanted to talk about). His recounting of Midway was startlingly brilliant.
  3. "Scorched Earth"...you mean Paul Carrell's work on Barbarossa? I was wondering if he had done any serious reading about the German-Soviet Invasion of Poland. There were several "misstatements" in even in this short clip. Westerplatte was not a naval base, it was an Army garrison. (Guess he missed the two movies (1967 and 2003) about the siege of the Westerplatte? Major Sucharski (in command, but effectively led by by Captain Dabrowski) was allowed to keep his szabla (sabre) by the Germans when the garrison of less than 250 officers and soldiers finally had to surrender after 7 days of assaults and bombardment, cut off, with no possibility of reinforcements or resupply of ammunition and medical supplies. Even then, most of the garrison wanted to fight on. (One has to wonder exactly how effective those 28cm SK L/40 guns on Schleswig-Holstein were?) Then there was the bit about the airfields (probably he did see "Feuertaufe"). On the morning of 1 September 1939, the Luftwaffe had hit essentially an empty bag of second-line and trainer aircraft for the first-line combat aircraft had been dispersed to secondary airfields when the discrete mobilization order went out. One should look at the successes that small, outmanned and obsolete force (except for the PZL-37 Los, the most advanced medium bomber of its day...way too few and misused, to be sure). Poland's pilots had been superbly trained (if poorly equipped, though P.11 pilots would claim over 120 confirmed kills before given orders to disband and head West to reform to fight another day...303 Squadron and its following squadrons who proved exactly how good they were in the skies over England very shortly thereafter. I suppose next it will be the lances and sabers against tanks myth. For the serious research, AUSA's Army Magazine, April 1970 edition as I recall. An article deals with the charge of the Pomorska Cavalry Brigade at Krojanty. The Horse artillery batteries that were assigned to each cavalry brigade also did good service in an anti-tank role. Zaloga's research shows that almost 650 German armored vehicles were knocked out, many belonging to 4th PzDiv, and many of those by horse artillery and ant-tank units of the cavalry brigades As a closer, perhaps he might close by explaining why the British Government refused to invite Free Polish units to participate in the June 1946 Victory Parade in London , many of whose officers and men had fought courageously in September 1939, such as General Anders (whose II Polish Corps took Monte Cassino and whose last act in 1939 was to lead the charge of his cavalry regiment against Red Army units) and General Maczek (whose 1st Polish Armoured Division closed the Falaise Gap in Normandy and who brilliantly led the 10th Mech Cavalry Brigade in 1939). Oh, and explain the death of General Sikorski at Gibraltar and why they lobbied so hard after Arnhem to have General Sosabowski removed as the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade? Won't get into Katyn... Hmmm...a bit off the naval topic but then, when the door gets opened....
  4. CDR Ernest Evans of USS Johnston served as an officer aboard DesRon 29's USS Alden, DD-211 during the campaign. (So one can say than 1/2 of the total MoH's for USN destroyermen in WW2 went to officers who served in DesRon 29.
  5. Resolution on the picture of the end of USS Edsall was of poor quality...taken at a distance by one of the Japanese cruisers firing at her, an outtake from motion picture film. She was also being fired at by Hiei and Kirishima and under air attack.
  6. The story of Asiatic Fleet's DesRon 29 (DesDivs 57, 58, and 59) and its 13 Clemson Class DDs is one of the most heroic of the war. Start from the fact that the Clemson Class was one of the most poorly constructed class of ships in the history of the US Navy; as an example not one ever made it to design flank speed during trials. Many had already been decommissioned and even scrapped by the war's start. DesRon 29, sent to the Asiatic Fleet as a reinforcement (from what little was available), by the start of the war, so badly in need of overhaul that when they arrived in the NEI (foresight by ADM Tommy Hart to get them out of the Philippines before they were caught), some of their Dutch counterparts were said to have burst into tears at their condition. War reports by surviving skippers attest to poor condition; not one was recorded to have made more than 27 knots at flank speed; they could barely outpace their own poor Mark 15 torpedoes (the surface version of the infamous Mark 14). Not that that mattered as their torpedo depot went up in flames and explosions when Cavite Navy Yard was obliterated in the Japanese air raid of 10 Dec 41. Their tender USS Black Hawk had been evacuated to Australia. By the time of Java Sea, the torpedoes were gone (except for a few on USS Pope) as there were no reloads carried and no source of torpedoes. But, DesRon 29 carried on the fight. The skippers of USS John D. Edwards, DD-216, CDR Henry Eccles (who earned the Navy Cross and the Silver Star in the last two weeks of the fighting) wrote one of the most pointed and succinct after action reports of the war after he made it out (I have a copy). Five of the DDs would be lost. USS Pillsbury lost with all hands. USS Edsall (see attached) literally blown out of the water. Only a handful of survivors; they were picked up by the IJN, taken ashore, then beheaded. USS Peary was in Darwin Harbour and destroyed in the raid by Kido Butai. One of only 4 MoH's awarded to destroyermen in WW2 went to USS Pope's LT Richard Antrim. Presidential Unit Citations (rare during that part of the war) went to DesDiv 59's USS Pope, DD-225, and USS John D.Ford, DD-228.
  7. You noticed their problem with historical accuracy and context???? Well, at least they visited the museum in Pensacola it seems. Great museum; worst naval aircraft of WWII on display...the SB2A Buccaneer...hanging from the ceiling. And,...the SB2U Vindicator with its fabric covered fuselage (or "Wind Indicator" or other memorable names....) along with the story of Marine Scout Bombing 241 at Midway...and the battle's only MoH...Richard Fleming. Having said that, their little film clip goes back to everything that is wrong with the in game Langley. THe VTs they have on Langley now never flew off of her...and she only ever carried a max of 4 of those (guess they never checked any period naval literature and Jane's for the years she was CV-1, and only magazine storage for 12 torpedoes. Like a Mel Gibson movie,...never let facts and period technology stand in the way...sigh...
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