Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/11/17 07:06 PM
Battle of Atlantic

Now perusing Morrison's The Battle of the Atlantic. Mentions a B-18 sank a sub or disabled it for the destroyer Lansdown (U-153). The U-boats could be mercilessly: machine gunning survivors in the water. Lots of ships sunk in the Caribbean.

Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/11/17 07:36 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

The U-boats could be mercilessly: machine gunning survivors in the water



In the interest of balance, I'd check out the Laconia incident.


Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/11/17 08:35 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Yes. Very familiar. No sense in going back and forth, but I can cite numerous other incidents where U-boat crews followed orders and killed innocents from downed ships in the water. Some U-boat commanders didn't follow those orders and spared or assisted survivors. Some let crews abandon ships before they sunk them. But, there were many reports from survivors of being shot at mercilessly in the water including women and children.

Stephanie Belser-2
(Top Gun APC)
08/11/17 09:44 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

I'd recommend the book of the same title, written by Terry Hughes and John Costello.

Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/11/17 11:29 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

Quote:

The U-boats could be mercilessly: machine gunning survivors in the water



In the interest of balance, I'd check out the Laconia incident.




This is interesting because it was Sep of 42. By that time, there were many documented incidents of U-boats harming innocents: S.S. Caledonia and Essie Bolivar in March of 42 had life boats machine gunned; S.S. Oregon in Feb had men machine gunned in the water. Several other incidents along the east coast and in Caribbean. It may be a part of the reason for the American reaction.


Ralph Hood
(Top Gun)
08/12/17 10:21 AM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

I grew up in Brunswick, GA, on the coast halfway betwixt Savannah, GA and Jacksonville,FL We had a shipyard there, and some of the ships were Torpedoed shortly off the coast.

Although I was born in 1941, I still remember:

Blackouts

Beaches were off-limits (we rented a house on the beach one summer--I went to the beach after dark--Daddy ran to get me and found me just before a jeep full of military men found us and held guns on us)
Seeing a ship launching
victory in Japan celebration
FDR's death

Most of this I remember because my father was a history buff who told us how important all of the above was, and why. On VJ Day he came home,picked up my sister and me and took us downtown to see the (wild!) celebration.

Ralph H



Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/12/17 12:27 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

some of the ships were Torpedoed shortly off the coast.



Frequent sinkings off Miami Beach, because the hotels resisted the blackout and ships coming up from the Caribbean oil refineries were silhouetted. Philip Wylie, who lived in Miami at the time, wrote bitterly of that in Generation of Vipers.


Andrew Niemyer -KDLH
(Top Gun)
08/12/17 12:38 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Read Michael Gannon's seminal work "Operation Drumbeat." It covers both Drumbeat (Paukenschlag) and Neuland. He lays a lot of the loses squarely at E.J. King's feet, citing his direct refusal to listen to the Royal Navy's suggestions and advice, in no small part due to his Anglophobia.

Gannon followed up with another, great book, looking at the six months' campaign that led to "Black May" and the breaking of the Kriegsmarine's U-boat campaign in the North Atlantic in May, 1943.

Best,
Andy


Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/12/17 01:17 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

So many great books: so little time. The Samuel Morison series Dean and I are reading is 15 books. Homework for Duluth?

Trig Johnston
(AVSIG Member)
08/12/17 04:43 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Also check out Mush Morton's foray into Wewak with the Wahoo. Infantry was a legitimate military target, swimming or not. Some did not agree as with Eugene Flucky, Medal of Honor recipient from Barb's famous patrol 22 miles inland in a shallow, uncharted river that resulted in the sinking of many Japanese Men of War and Maru's.

Ray Tackett
(Top Gun)
08/12/17 08:17 PM
Battle of Atlantic

I don't remember if it was Morton in Wahoo or some other sub, but on another
such upstream run, a torpedo unintentionally struck a bridge as a busload of
troops was passing and dumped it in the river. Because it was damage done to
the enemy, they got a bus silhouette painted on the conning tower.


Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/13/17 05:28 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Several instances later in this book of U-boats allowing crews or passengers of attacked ships to get into life boats unmolested after torpedoed. Seems a lot of it was up to the captain. More stories of shooting unarmed folks too.
In May of '42, the three most dangerous areas were: Passes of the Mississippi, East Coast of Florida and the Yucatán Channel.


Randy Sohn
(Gradn Exlated Ordre of teh Fyling Fingres)
08/13/17 07:22 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

May of '42




Dave, that made me recall a Johnny Horton song/recording - "Sink the Bismark".

best, randy


Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/13/17 08:11 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

Dave, that made me recall a Johnny Horton song/recording - "Sink the Bismark".



Yeah, that was written in conjunction with the 1960 movie of the same title, because the producers feared some of their audience wouldn't know what it was about.

Wonder what British audiences thought of "Hit the decks a-runnin', boys and spin those guns around"...;-)


Randy Sohn
(Gradn Exlated Ordre of teh Fyling Fingres)
08/13/17 09:09 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

Wonder what British audiences thought




Dunno, but I guess that "every British seaman knew and understood".

best, randy


Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/13/17 10:08 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Reminds me...you probably know this, but when Ray Middleton was in England procuring the airframe for his Stringbag restoration, he got to meet the actual bloke who put the torpedo into the Bismarck.

Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/13/17 10:49 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Did he say which one?

http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2722


Randy Sohn
(Gradn Exlated Ordre of teh Fyling Fingres)
08/13/17 10:59 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

when Ray Middleton was in England procuring the airframe for his Stringbag




Wow! No, I didn't know that Ray had, again - wow! Interesting that it all came down to a Stringbag, huh?

best, randy


Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 09:50 AM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

This guy.

Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 09:55 AM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Sadly, he had to do a nonflying restoration...his bid for an airworthy job was a show stopper <g>.

Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 11:36 AM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

This guy.




That's great! Thanks. Amazing that he could get that low and close in that dated bird and disable the rudder. Hand salute!


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 08:13 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Those are some amazing old guys - going up against the Bismarck in a biplane must have felt like a one-way trip...

Randy Sohn
(Gradn Exlated Ordre of teh Fyling Fingres)
08/14/17 08:52 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

against the Bismarck in a biplane




Yup, true, many/most people have a really hard time believing me when I describe the Stringbag's assault against the Bismark.

best, randy


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 09:11 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

I read a LOT of WWII history when I was a kid, and quite a bit about that pursuit and battle. The notion that the Allies were still fighting with biplane torpedo bombers was hard to conceive of, but there they were.

Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 10:02 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

The Navy didn't prepare much for anti submarine warfare even though it was used in WW I. Using subs was a small part in our Naval strategy, but played a large role for our foes. The Navy focused more on its bigger ships thinking the smaller ones could be built quickly. The Navy was way ahead of the Army in using aircraft for attacking enemy ships. Of course, Billy Mitchell didn't think a Navy was needed anymore. Naval aviation was controversial before the war started. It quickly showed its need. In the Guadalcanal book I just finished, they showed the B-17s as having a 1% effectiveness bombing ships.

Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 10:17 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

He was the guest of honor at a Mess Dinner when I was at Lossiemouth. Quite the story teller!

Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 10:18 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

I expect if they were trying to hit a moving ship from altitude they would have been useless - heck, they missed factories! But coming in low and slow would have left them as four-engine skeet...

Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 10:24 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

He was the guest of honor at a Mess Dinner when I was at Lossiemouth. Quite the story teller!




How did he relate what he did? Did he just zone in on the task at hand and blank out risk, or relate something different?


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
08/14/17 10:25 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

Those are some amazing old guys - going up against the Bismarck in a biplane must have felt like a one-way trip...




The best part of that article was the quote "The great thing about the Swordfish was that the bullets just went straight through. After all, it was only made of canvas."


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
08/14/17 10:34 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

I'm not sure I would have found that comforting. :-)

Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/16/17 09:38 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Thanks, just finished it. King doesn't come off very well, does he...

Andrew Niemyer -KDLH
(Top Gun)
08/17/17 07:47 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Quote:

Thanks, just finished it. King doesn't come off very well, does he...




No, the author has no love for him, that's for sure. It kind of jibes with other things I've read about him over the years. EJK's name certainly doesn't pop into my mind when I think about the great USN Admirals of WWII. Many sing his praises as being "the right SOB for the job," but Gannon certainly isn't buying into that.

Best,
Andy


Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
(Top Gun)
08/18/17 08:42 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

He said it was primarily persistence. Just a matter of continuing to maneuver until the targeting problem was solved. They never doubted that they could accomplish it.

Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/19/17 03:32 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

And on the other side of the planet, Paul Allen has found the wreck of the Indianapolis. 18,000 feet down.

Kcid LlirreM
(Top Gun)
08/19/17 05:02 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

About 15 years ago I attended a reunion of the 509th group held at Wendover airport. Wendover is the base where the 509th trained to drop the atomic weapons. A number of vets were there annd a reunion of the Indianapolis survivors was held there at the same time. Interesting conversations.

We should do a gig there sometime. One of my favorite WW2 airfields.


Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
08/19/17 05:50 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

Yeah, I remember Wendover. There used to be a club there that had the state line painted across the floor, with all the gambling on one side. It might have been the base's O club...not sure.

SWMBO and I drove through there on our honeymoon and stayed in a former palatial home that had deteriorated into a fleabag hotel with tiny rooms and bathroom down the hall...a drunk moaned loudly at half-hour intervals all night. Driving through many years later, we tried to see what it looked like, but the highway had moved and we couldn't find it.


Jeff Hartmann CIC
(Top Gun)
08/20/17 01:01 PM
Re: Battle of Atlantic

One of the times I was at Indy for the race, the hotel where we stayed had an Indianapolis reunion. There were about a dozen survivors (I think). They had a huge model of the ship on display.


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