Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Operation Juno

German Schlachtschiff KMS* Gneisenau firing her guns at HMS Glorious.
(Photo taken from Gneisenau's sister ship, KMS Scharnhorst.)
(Source)
For my first battle post for the month of June, I could have gone with the obvious, the Battle of Midway but I thought I would go with a perhaps lesser known battle which took place off the coast of Norway in June of 1940. A battle in which a British aircraft carrier was sent to the bottom by a pair of German surface ships.

The loss of HMS Glorious was the only occasion in history where a fleet carrier was engaged and destroyed by enemy surface units. (At Leyte Gulf, Japanese surface units sank an American light carrier and two escort carriers. American surface units sent a Japanese light carrier to Davy Jones' locker in return. Different by degree perhaps, not so different to the crew lost on those ships!)

In the early days of World War II in Europe, Germany was running amok. Poland had been overrun (with help from our later "buddies" the Soviets) in September of 1939. Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg had been dispatched before June of 1940. France was on the brink of surrender in early June.

The Norwegian campaign began in April of 1940, the Germans were concerned about the British interfering with shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which traveled by sea down the coast of Norway. The British were concerned with the Germans using the territorial waters of neutral Norway for military purposes. Both sides decided to invade, Hitler moved first.

The fight in Norway was tough, the Norwegians fought hard, it took the Germans two months to defeat them. The help provided by the British and the French was not really intended to benefit Norway, it was intended to benefit Britain and France.

While the Germans were defeating the Norwegians in main actions in the south, the Western Allies occupied the port of Narvik, in the far north of Norway, from which port Swedish ore was shipped to Germany. Long story short, due to the disasters being suffered by Britain and France after the Wehrmacht drove from the Ardennes to the Channel, the decision was made by Britain and France to withdraw from Norway. If their home countries fell, there was no point to holding onto Narvik.

In naval terms the campaign was a disaster for the German Kriegsmarine -
The German losses at sea were heavy, with the sinking of one of the Kriegsmarine's two heavy cruisers, two of its six light cruisers, 10 of its 20 destroyers and six U-boats. With several more ships severely damaged, the German surface fleet had only three cruisers and four destroyers operational in the aftermath of the Norwegian Campaign. Two torpedo boats and 15 light naval units were also lost during the campaign. Two German battleships and two cruisers were damaged during the campaign. (Source)
But on the 8th of June HMS Glorious, escorted by destroyers HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent, were spotted by German Schlachtshiffe KMS Scharnhorst and KMS Gneisenau.
The commanding officer of Glorious, Captain Guy D'Oyly-Hughes, was a former submariner who had been executive officer of Courageous for 10 months. He was granted permission to proceed independently to Scapa Flow in the early hours of 8 June to hold a court-martial of his Commander (Air), J. B. Heath, who had refused an order to carry out an attack on shore targets on the grounds that the targets were at best ill-defined and his aircraft were unsuited to the task, and who had been left behind in Scapa to await trial. On the way through the Norwegian Sea the funnel smoke from Glorious and her two escorting destroyers, Acasta and Ardent, was spotted by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at about 15:46 pm. The British spotted the German ships shortly after 16:00 and Ardent was dispatched to investigate. Glorious did not alter course or increase speed. Five Swordfish were ordered to the flight deck and Action Stations were ordered 16:20. No combat air patrol was being flown, no aircraft were ready on the deck for quick take-off and there was no lookout in Glorious's crow's nest. Scharnhorst opened fire on Ardent at 16:27 at a range of 16,000 yards (15,000 m), causing the destroyer to withdraw, firing torpedoes and making a smoke screen. Ardent scored one hit with her 4.7-inch guns on Scharnhorst but was hit several times by the German ships' secondary armament and sank at 17:25.

Scharnhorst switched her fire to Glorious at 16:32 and scored her first hit six minutes later on her third salvo, at a range of 26,000 yards (24,000 m), when one 28.3-centimetre (11.1 in) hit the forward flight deck and burst in the upper hangar, starting a large fire. This hit destroyed two Swordfish being prepared for flight and the hole in the flight deck prevented any other aircraft from taking off. Splinters penetrated a boiler casing and caused a temporary drop in steam pressure. At 16:58 a second shell hit the homing beacon above the bridge and killed or wounded the captain and most of the personnel stationed there. Ardent's smokescreen became effective enough to impair the visibility of the Germans from about 16:58 to 17:20 so they ceased fire on Glorious.

Glorious was hit again in the centre engine room at 17:20 and this caused her to lose speed and commence a slow circle to port. She also developed a list to starboard. The German ships closed to within 16,000 yards and continued to fire at her until 17:40. Glorious sank at 18:10, approximately at 68°38′N 03°50′E, with 43 survivors.

As the German ships approached Glorious, Acasta, which had been trying to maintain the smokescreen, broke through her own smoke and fired two volleys of torpedoes at Scharnhorst. One of these hit the battleship at 17:34 abreast her rear turret and badly damaged her. Acasta also managed one hit from her 4.7-inch guns on Scharnhorst, but was riddled by German gunfire and sank at around 18:20.

Survivors estimated that about 900 men abandoned Glorious. The Germans did not try to pick up survivors. The Royal Navy knew nothing of the sinking until it was announced on German radio. The Norwegian ship Borgund, on passage to the Faroe Islands, arrived late on 10 June and picked up survivors, eventually delivering 37 alive to Thorshavn of whom two later died. Another Norwegian ship, Svalbard II, also making for the Faeroes, picked up five survivors but was sighted by a German aircraft and forced to return to Norway, where the four still alive became prisoners of war for the next five years. It is also believed that one more survivor from Glorious was rescued by a German seaplane. Therefore, the total of survivors was 40, including one each from Acasta and Ardent. The total killed or missing was 1,207 from Glorious, 160 from Acasta and 152 from Ardent, a total of 1,519.

The sinkings and the failure to mount an effective rescue were embarrassing for the Royal Navy. All ships encountering enemies had been ordered to broadcast a sighting report, and the lack of such a report from Glorious was questioned in the House of Commons. It emerged that the heavy cruiser Devonshire had passed within 30–50 miles (48–80 km) of the battle, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral John Cunningham, who was carrying out orders to evacuate the Norwegian Royal Family to the UK and maintain radio silence. Some survivors from Glorious and Devonshire testified that a sighting report had been correctly sent, and received by Devonshire, but that it had been suppressed by Cunningham, who departed at high speed in accordance with his orders. It was also alleged that there was confusion over the use of wireless telegraphy frequencies on board Glorious which could have contributed to the failure of any other ship or shore-station to receive a sighting report. The absence of normal airborne patrols over Glorious and its destroyers, in conditions of maximum visibility, were named as contributors to the sinkings.

The circumstances of the sinking were the subject of a debate in the House of Commons on 28 January 1999. (Source)
The last photo of HMS Glorious.
(Photographed in May 1940 from the deck of HMS Ark Royal; the destroyer with her is HMS Diana.)
(Source
)
As I read that account (and others at the sources listed below) I was struck by the following:
  1. Glorious's captain was a submariner.
  2. Glorious's CAG (which is what the USN calls that position, Commander Air Group) wasn't aboard but was awaiting court-martial back at home base for refusing a mission that he felt was beyond the capabilities of the aircraft embarked on Glorious.
  3. All three British ships were apparently making far too much smoke, perhaps due to overconfidence?
  4. Glorious, once spotted, made no speed or course changes, no combat air patrol was aloft.
  5. Scharnhorst hit Glorious on her third salvo which started a fire on the hangar deck and holed the flight deck removing any chance for Glorious to get her aircraft in the air.
  6. Subsequent hits left Glorious losing speed and apparently out of control as she was circling slowly to port.
  7. HMS Acasta did manage to severely damage Scharnhorst before being destroyed by German gunfire.
  8. Although approximately 900 men managed to get off Glorious, only 40 actually survived and two of those were from the escorting destroyers. The Royal Navy learned of the sinking from German radio broadcasts.
Harsh lessons were learned that day, the sea is good at teaching those sorts of lessons.

Operation Juno was originally planned for late May and was intended to disrupt the flow of Allied reinforcements to Norway. In reality, the Allies were already planning on (and were in the midst of) evacuating Norway. With France falling and Britain in peril, fighting men could not be spared for a secondary theater.


Not that it means much, but I have run through this very scenario in the computer game Atlantic Fleet. I managed to escape the Germans with "only" the loss of HMS Ardent. The key was an ancient stratagem called "Run away, run away!"

HMS Glorious was damaged but made her escape through nothing more fancy than hightailing it from the Germans as fast as the engines could drive the hull through the water. That and making copious amounts of smoke to confuse the German gunners. By having the two destroyers weave back and forth across Glorious' wake, I managed to save two ships out of three. One being the carrier.

But that was a computer game, turn based as well. In real life things are seldom that simple. As the brave crews of HMS Glorious, HMS Ardent, and HMS Acasta learned, most paying with their lives.

The Final Resting Place of HMS Glorious
Google Maps
For what it's worth, some sources (Ovid for one) say that the month of June is named for the ancient Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter. So the first battle post for June is about an operation named after a Roman goddess who may (or may not) be the origin of the month name, June. I never argue with poets.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Campaign
https://codenames.info/operation/juno-i/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Juno
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Glorious




* Schlachtshiff (plural Schlachtshiffe) is the German word for battleship. KMS stands for Kriegsmarine SchiffKriegsmarine was the name for the German Navy in WWII and Schiff is the German for ship. In WWI German ships were designated much like the Royal Navy's. SMS Seine Majestäts Schiff, His Majesty's Ship (which is of course HMS in the Royal Navy).

50 comments:

  1. No CAP? Good visibility and relatively calm seas as shown in the first photo? What was someone thinking, or not? Three ships gone and over 1,500 men lost? What a cock-up as the Brits might say. Good posting with the photos and detail Sarge, nicely done. More info than I knew about the Norwegian Campaign. Curious I am about why the Brits didn't have a carrier plane better than the Swordfish? I know about the CAM ships and their Hurricanes but those were a stop-gap measure. German naval gunnery seemed pretty good, third salvo erased use of the flight deck here while Hood was hit on the second salvo by Prinz Eugen?

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    1. No doubt the Swordfish was one of those "just muddle through" British things. The only modern British aircraft I can find which served later in the war on British carriers was the Seafire, a navalized version of the Spitfire. A very good aircraft though tricky to land on the boat (very narrow undercarriage).

      German gunners in all branches were very good at putting "warheads on foreheads." Zeiss optics and excellent training. Their guns were also pretty damned good.

      Britain and France were in deep kimchi militarily and politically after WWI. If it wasn't for the Channel, the Wehrmacht would probably have paraded through London in 1940.

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    2. Aye, as witnessed already at Jutland, Krupp guns + Zeiss optics + German rigorous training made deadly combo...
      Another case would be the battle between HMAS Sidney anbd the german auxilairy cruiser Kormoran which ended in rare mutual kill...

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    3. Jutland is another example, I had forgotten the battle between Sidney and Kormoran, perhaps a topic for a future post?

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    4. One of the reasons the Swordfish, craptastic as it was in comparison to US or Japanese planes, was, supposedly, so effective is that it was just so craptastic. Modern, for the times, gunnery computers on German ships were calibrated for bigger faster better aircraft, not some throwback to WWI.

      One of the best things the Brits got out of Lend-Lease was access to US carrier planes. Fighters, bombers and torpedo-bombers.

      And, yeah, where was the damned CAP. Or at least some aerial recon in a box formation 30-40 miles outside of the carrier, rotating as needed. Any pilot could tell you there's never enough time flying, so it's not like the aircrews weren't available.

      Caught sleeping, or with their heads up their backsides. Seems to have happened in the Pacific, too.

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    5. Oh yes, caught with heads up and locked they were.

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  2. Hmmm, The Captain is in a war zone, doesn't have any of his ship's weapons (AKA Airplanes) ready to bear. And get's sunk. Sounds like dereliction of duty to me.

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    1. You are not alone in that assessment, according to Wikipedia's article on the Glorious' CO -

      In June 1939, as a captain, he was given command of the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious. D'Oyly-Hughes had learned to fly and continually rejected the advice of the ship's professional aviators, according to Winton. (Carrier Glorious, book by John Winton, RN retired) Returning to Britain from the Norwegian Campaign on 8 June 1940, Glorious and her destroyer escort of HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent were surprised and caught by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Norwegian Sea. All three ships were sunk with the loss of at least 1,533 lives. D'Oyly-Hughes went down with his ship.

      Glorious had been sighted in conditions of maximum visibility, a condition in which an aircraft carrier would normally have one or more aircraft out on a Combat Air Patrol. Glorious had no such patrol, and was unable to reach maximum speed before coming in range of the enemy's 11-inch guns. Winton describes D'Oyly-Hughes' lack of belief in the effectiveness of air patrols and the questions raised by numerous commentators, including eyewitnesses from Glorious and Scharnhorst, about the captain's judgment in this and other matters.

      Yes, the captain killed himself, most of his crew, most of the crews of two destroyers, his ship, and the two ships escorting him. But hey, he knew better than the experts (one of whom was awaiting court martial back at Scapa Flow).

      Gross dereliction of duty in my book.

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    2. Thanks for that follow-up. Seems the USN (current) is not the only fleet riddled with feckless and incompetent captains.

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    3. Nearly all human endeavors wind up with incompetents in key positions. Not sure why.

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    4. Was he really a moron, or just unlucky enough that fate called him to account for his mistaken beliefs? It still feels like pretty early in the history of actual carrier combat, the phase wherein Muphry teaches you (painfully) that everything you thought you knew was wrong.

      "Everyone in life has a purpose, even if it’s to serve as a bad example.”

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    5. Well, USN and IJN carrier tactics 5 years earlier were, in 'good' air conditions, to push out air reconnaissance assets even in peacetime. So, no, the actions taken by Captain D'Oyly-Hughes were sub-nominal, to say the least.

      Let's see. Hmmm. Krauts everywhere in their sneaky assed U-boats, and their sneaky fast S-boats, and other navy ship assets, along with their known use of Q-ships and surface raiders, along with all their armed flying boats, and the use of the FW Condor as an armed naval reconnaissance aircraft.

      So having absolutely no air cover, even though she had on board Gloster Gladiator fighters and Fairley Swordfish and even a squadron of Hawker Hurricanes being evacuated from Norway. And she didn't report the sightings of unknown ships. And she didn't do anything to evade in knowingly dangerous waters.

      No excuse at all. Piss-poor performance by the Captain all around. No air cover. No preparation for hostile encounter. Sitting fat and lazy. And he took 1,518 people along with him when he decided to stick a German gun into his mouth and pull the trigger. Damned expensive suicide. This is the type of 'commanding' you expect on a refitted civilian ship hastily pushed into 'coastal defense,' not on a major surface combatant.

      I suspect some sort of in-bred, buddy-buddy conspiracy was the only reason this dufus got his command in the first place. A sub commander in charge of, inherently, an air asset? WTF? It was a damned expensive way to cull the not-worthy from their command structure.

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    6. a bear - Churchill recognized it as a disaster, the prevailing attitude was, "forget about it, we have a war to fight."

      The captain in question was very brave in WWI, some sources indicate he was an overbearing martinet as a commander. Perhaps he was suffering from PTSD? Perhaps he was an example of the Peter Principle?

      Parliament wanted answers in 1999. As did relatives of the lost. They didn't get them.

      It's possible we'll never know.

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    7. Beans - "Piss-poor performance by the Captain all around." is true, why is the only question in anyone's mind. Was he the wrong man in the wrong job? Was he a flaming prick? Was he worn out and perhaps should have been retired? Who knows?

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  3. Notable thing: the Kriegsmarine losses of the Norwegian campaign also meant that almost any chance of Sealion was gone...
    Even with full pre-war strength and full support of Luftwaffe (which eventually never managed to achieve air superiority) it would bexceptionally tough mission for the Kriegsmarine to challenge the Home fleet and ensure safe landing , and further resupply of Heer troops. With just 3 CL/CA and 4 DD it was mission impossible...

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    1. Exactly on point Paweł. The Kriegsmarine was unready for war in '39 and was even less capable after the Norwegian debacle.

      I also note that the film, The King's Choice, is now available on Amazon. I need to watch that, the clip from the film on YouTube of the sinking of KMS Blücher was impressive.

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  4. A most excellent post on this engagement.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Not unlike that described in "Last stand of the Tin Can Sailors".

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    2. One of the guys I worked with on the Battleship Iowa was on the Hoel.

      He signed my copy of Hornfischer's book, and it's something I'll always treasure.

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    3. I can only imagine the two destroyer captains saying to themselves, "What is that entitled Ass doing over there?" But because said entitled ass was in overall command, what else could they do but try to go down doing the best they could, in the manner of the fine followers of Nelson only could, not like the feckless bubblehead they had for a commander.

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    4. Skip - Roger that. The "little boys" often do their duty when everyone around them is flailing and failing.

      Gotta love the cans.

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    5. Juvat - I was reminded of that as well.

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    6. Drjim - that's quite a keepsake, he was one of the 86 who survived, 253 of his shipmates did not. USS Hoel was a ship John Paul Jones would have been proud to command, "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." The destroyermen did their job.

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    7. Beans - It's what fighting ships do, go down fighting.

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    8. Yes, that is what ships are supposed to do, if they go down. Go down fighting all the way.

      Which leads me to...

      So... What are LCS supposed to do? Sorry, cheap shot. But seriously...

      Have you been following the FREMM debate over at Cmdr. Salamander's blog? Seems we could get a fighting Frigate with 2 75mm guns (potentially upgradable to 5" guns) with fully tied in firesupport, for the price of a Lock-Mart plus-sized LCS with a single 57mm that can't hit squat. Proven hull, proven design, vs more vapor ware. Or buying Navy versions of the USCG National Security Cutter?

      Both options are fighting ships, no doubt about it. Versus whatever Lock-Mart wants to put out that can't handle actual sea conditions, let alone sitting pier-side.

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    9. Bob DeSpain was quite a guy. He was a very strong swimmer, and for the entire time they were in the water, he swam between the groups trying to keep them together.

      One of the first times I met him I mentioned I'd read a couple of books about The Battle Off Samar, and he looked at me and said "Oh, you're one of those 'experts', then?".....which stopped me cold. I replied no, all I'd done was read a few books. I forget what he said back to me, but we kinda became friends, and always chatted a bit when we saw each other.

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    10. Beans - I'm not sure what LCS is, I know what it isn't. It isn't a warship.

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    11. It was Bob DeSpain? Wow, he was quite a sailor, a real man. Have you seen this? A nice tribute to the man.

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    12. LCS is someone trying to make a jetski out of a tuna boat. Powered by directly scooping dollar bills into the engine, which turns said dollars into some nebulous power that supposedly turns the waterjets to make a displacement hull become a planning hull. Yeah, no.

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    13. Thanks, Sarge. I hadn't seen that, and I just forwarded it to my friends on the Iowa.

      Bobby was helluva guy, that's no doubt. Wiry, spry, and when I found out how old he was, I about fell over.

      That ship has an astounding effect on Old Sailors. I've seen them come up the forward brow using a walker, and by the end of the tour, they don't need it.

      The six years I spent volunteering on her were some of the best of my life....because of people like Bobby DeSpain, and the people I got to meet and work with from all branches.

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    14. Beans - so you're familiar with the LCS propulsion system...
      ;)

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    15. drjim - No problem, glad to share.

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    16. OldAFSarge, worked at a boat dealership. Waterjets cut functional horsepower by at least 30%, if I remember. Traditional screws, maybe in a fan housing like on subs, or go total wacko and go azipod either with props or ducted fan drive, would have been much more successful. Actually, a ducted fan style would make the screws less prone to damage in shallow waters, so there's that. Waterjets for riverine work, okay, I'll buy that, less prone to FOD, able to work in hull-skimming depths. So for a river gunboat? Heck, yeah. Conversely, all the things that make waterjet so fantastic in riverine work are what you don't need in actual littoral combat, unless one expects to take a 4kt semi-displacing (no, just a displacing) hull up the Mekong. The better control using screws or pod-screws are what is needed in brown water, especially since you know your littoral ship will end up in blue water and you don't want it to be a total pig when there's enemy in the area.

      Plus, waterjets make so much frigging 'noise' both acoustically and visually, the use of a waterjet for ASW work is just not done. Variable pitch props to give good performance at low noise is the way to go.

      Waterjet on your bazillion dollar yacht? Maybe. But props and semi-conventional propulsion methods are so much more efficient. After all, offshore racers don't use waterjets. And those are the real masters of going fast over water.

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    17. drjim,

      Hopefully you'll find some group out there, maybe a museum or even a guard unit, that needs/wants radio operators like you to learn from and hang around with. Highly jealous of your time on the Iowa. Wow. Got to do one (1) tour of the Alabama and that wasn't enough. Wanted to immediately join the restoration people, except I lived in central Florida, so the commute would have been a bear (and not having enough dinero, too)

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    18. Beans - you do know your propulsion systems!

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    19. Beans & drjum - I've toured both Alabama and Massachusetts, impressive ships. I need to get aboard an Iowa class, the Iowa herself spent a number of years tied up to a pier in Newport when we first got to Little Rhody. Impressive ships!

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  6. North Sea and Atlantic is just too cold.

    I see elsewhere that CDR Heath was cleared of all charges, made CAPT, and finishing as Commanding Officer of HMS Heron (Royal Naval Air Station) at Yeovilton.

    /LJ

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    1. Good. I am actually surprised that he wasn't found to be 'at fault' for this disaster, also. I wonder how much guilt he carried inside his head for not being there for his people on that fateful day?

      And, yes, the North Sea and the North Atlantic are just too cold and too violent to allow any but the best to command, especially when at war (dangerous enough in peacetime.) Captain Dumb-butt should have had a nice secure command somewhere around India, not in a critical area and with a critical asset.

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    2. LJ _ I did spend some time looking for what happened to Capt. Heath, glad to hear that he was exonerated.

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    3. Beans - Sometimes we just can't know how a man (and now woman) will behave when given command of a fighting ship. He performed valiant service in WWI, decorated for bravery on more than one occasion. Truth be told, there are no "safe" oceans, they will try to kill you, war or peace.

      Sometimes the fact that someone is no longer fit for service comes far too late, and at a very high cost.

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    4. Yeah, sorry, just viewing the world from a dark position right now, for a reason you know about.

      Not like the USN didn't have it's share of incompetents and less-than-aggressive skippers early in the war. Or, well, right now in our fleets. It just sucks that a bad pilot can take his plane, maybe with a handful of people, down, but a ship captain has a small town to kill off due to his incompetence. And it's not like this has only happened once in the history of both the British and US navies. It seems to run in cycles, over and over and over again, too much death and destruction involved in weeding out those who were or are not worthy. When a captain gets promoted for achieving paperwork, not actual physical achievements, that right there is one of the signs. And it sucks that it takes a war or other bloody event to cull the herd and change the attitude, until the war is over, and things go back to normal (bad ways again.)

      I guess I'm just tired of watching the decline of once great institutions, from our military to our businesses, as the paperwork warriors and MBAs take over and it's all about the feelz and nothing about reality, and actual real leaders are hounded and taken to court and kicked out.

      Guess I'll go watch some Hallmark TV or Fred Astaire movies and try to 'lighten up, Francis.'

      But I just can't stand all the death due to lack of common sense. Come on. He was on a friggin aircraft carrier, which had actual planes and pilots and fuel and spares and all that stuff. I could understand him not using his small boats for recon, but... PLANES!! AIRCRAFT!!! Right there, available for use. During a War. Worn out or suffering from PTSD or whatever. Still no excuse. Yeah, I'm armchair admiraling here, but... Gah. Old, tired, heartsick, just tired of hearing about actual or circumstantial incompetence.

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    5. Not to worry Beans, I merely offer alternate possibilities.

      I get where you're coming from, those sailors who died were somebody's kids, kids like my own kids who served in the Navy.

      I mourn their loss, I am angry at the circumstances that led to their deaths. Yet still the truth is hidden, no doubt to protect those in power. Makes me sick.

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  7. Hey Old AFSarge,

    That was a heck of a good post. I spend time reading all the links and I was amazed by the incompetence of the Captain of the Glorious and I was not surprised that the RN tried to cover up the chain of screw-ups. The same British got in charge of Singapore and 80,000+British and Australians went off to Japanese prisoner camps.

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    1. Thanks Mr. G - yes, it took a while for the Brits to get their act together in WWII.

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  8. As a Brit I seem to recall reading somewhere that the captain was, shall we say, somewhat less than stable and probably should not have been serving let alone in command of a major asset. I'm not sure but I think at the time there was a preponderance of 'big gun' sailors in the RN who refused to believe that the day of the battleship had ended, you then add to that that from the end of WW1 to the mid 1930's the RAF flew the planes off the carriers so there was no organic air arm so the types of aircraft were somewhat sub-optimal. I stand be corrected but I think that when the RN got the Fleet Air Arm back in the late 1930's one of the senior officers simply stated that the UK should just buy American aircraft. That went down well.
    BTW the sister ship of Glorious, HMS Courageous was sunk very early in the war by a U-boat. Churchill wanting offensive action at all costs sent it out to find U-boats. it did. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Courageous_(50) I should add the Swordfish stayed in service throughout the war as it proved very successful on anti-submarine operations (although an open cockpit in the Atlantic in winter must have been a bit chilly) as it could get airborne when other more modern types couldn't get off the flight deck.
    Retired

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    1. The US Navy had their fair share of battleship admirals as well.

      I remember the story of HMS Courageous, also the merging of the RAF and the RNAS in WWI, then splitting again later.

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  9. The RN flew the USN's Wildcat and Corsair from carriers. They actually got the Corsair carrier-qualified sooner than the US did. We gave it up as a lost cause, but the Brits employed a curving final approach for their RN aircraft, and that is what the long nose Corsair required for the pilot to see where the deck was.
    With this adjustment to operations, the USN/Marines eventually got around to landing them on carriers late in the war. By Korea, it was the prop plane still in use on USN carriers, due to the high bomb load they could carry. BTW, this high tonnage was due to Lindberg's assistance in the islands. He was flying with the Marines, after loosing his spot flying P-38's with Bong or McGuire's groups. Caught too much heat for shooting down enemy planes, since he was a civilian. Anyway, he determined that the F-4U could carry much more weight than was thought, and designed a bomb mount that he ended up hanging 4,000 lb bombs on. (FDR was an ass)

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    1. Then RN also flew the Avenger off of their carriers.

      Concur on your assessment of FDR.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)