8 April 1942

8 April 1942


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April 1942 Alternate Indian Ocean

Note - OTL only the dive bomber squadrons from Akagi and Carrier Division Two went out to attack the Cornwall and Dorsetshire because Carrier Division Five had trouble re-arming its torpedo planes.

5 April 1942, The Kido Butai South of Colombo - At 0730 in the morning on 5 April, Vice Admiral Nagumo was less than impressed with the performance of Carrier Division Five. Akagi, Hiryu, and Soryu had all armed and spotted six Zeroes and 18 Val dive bombers each with the efficiency and professionalism that was the trade mark of the Kido Butai at this point in the war. However, the same could not be said for the arming and spotting of Carrier Division Five's torpedo squadrons, something that in Nagumo's opinion was taking far too long. Five minutes earlier the carrier Shokaku had finally blinkered that its strike force would be spotted and ready no later than 0740 but the same could not be said for the Zuikaku where the arming of her 17 Kate torpedo bombers was not going smoothly. On board the bridge of the Akagi numerous comments were made about the junior status of the "sons of the concubine" in the Fifth Carrier Division. On Genda's advice, an exasperated Nagumo ordered Akagi, Hiryu, Soryu, and Shokaku to begin launching their strike forces at 0745. Each carrier would launch three Zeroes to replenish the fighters on combat air patrol with three additional fighters from each carrier accompanying the 54 dive bombers and 17 torpedo bombers. While no British carriers had been sighted at this time, the fighters were viewed as a necessary precaution. Zuikaku was ordered to continue arming her torpedo bombers which would be held in reserve in case they were needed. Additionally, at 0730, the cruiser Tone was ordered to launch a scout plane to relieve Chikuma's scout plane that was currently keeping tabs on the British task force.

Once the Shokaku signaled that her torpedo planes and fighters were ready, the order to launch was blinkered from the flagship. By 0800 the entire 83 plane strike under the commander of Lieutenant Commander Egusa Takashige, commander of the Soryu's dive bomber squadron, was in the air and on its way to attack the British ships, now less than 200 miles to the southwest. As soon as the last of the planes were airborne, the Kido Butai swung back to the northeast in order to be in position to recover the aircraft from the morning's strike on Colombo. Prior to their mission, Egusa's pilots were briefed to expect the carriers to be 50 miles further to the northeast than their point of launch.

Zheng He

Note - This raid happened OTL.

5 April 1942, Akyab Burma - While Lieutenant Commander Egusa's strike force was heading for its rendezvous with Force D, 12 G3M Nell bombers escorted by six Zeroes attacked the airfield at Akyab in Burma where the British still maintained a small garrison and a refueling unit. The Japanese believed the raids on Port Blair had all originated from Akyab although only the 5 April raid earlier that morning by No. 62 Squadron's Hudson's had stopped there for refueling. With no opposition, the attacking Japanese aircraft had a free run although there were few tangible targets to attack. They did manage to sink a small minesweeper in the harbor and they claimed destruction of two aircraft which were in fact two non-flyable derelicts - a Hurricane and a cargo plane. No Japanese aircraft were shot down during the raid.

Zheng He

Lieutenant Commander Egusa Takashige, commander of the Soryu's dive bomber squadron, and leader of the attack on Force D. In April 1942 he was one of the finest dive bomber pilots in the world:

Zheng He

Mitsubishi G3M Nell Type 96 Bomber:

HMS Warspite

Zheng He

Johnboy

It may come down that the defending fighters not having enough height to combat the Japanese strike planes. As they are clawing for elevation the Zeros will be bouncing them.

What of all the other planes? Do any of them try to get airborne or will they be targets for the Japanese to strafe and bomb?

Zheng He

Zheng He

A very bloody day. Overall the Commonwealth did better than they might have. While they lost most of their fighters, most of the pilots are alive. This can be helpful either to fly the remaining planes, have experienced pilots when replacement planes arrive, or be able to rotate pilots forbthosevwounded or train newbies.

The damaged Japanese planes may not make it back to the carriers or may have to be marked down as losses. It also reduces the squadrons and their strike capabilities.

Riain

Sloreck

Johnboy

Zheng He

RAF No. 222 Group put up a spirited defense of both Colombo and Trincomalee during Operation C. What they lacked was numbers and at Colombo, good raid warning (they had a working radar at Trincomalee). The two PODs I used for this part of the TL were better raid warning on 5 April and a concentration of all fighters at Colombo to give them some numbers.

Yes it leaves Trincomalee totally exposed but it was done under the philosophy of it is better to defend one position with strength than two positions with weakness.

Zheng He

Seven RCAF pilots from No. 30 Squadron pose for a group photo on the wing of a Hurricane IIB after the morning battle of 5 April 1942. Pilot Officer Jimmy Whalen is seated on the wing farthest to the left:

Zheng He

California native and Eagle Squadron veteran Don Geffene at Colombo in March 1942. Don was one of the No. 30 Squadron pilots killed during the morning of 5 April 1942:


Windsor Locks, Ct. – April 8, 1942

On April 8, 1942, a U.S. Army P-38 Lightning fighter plane, (Ser. No. AE-982) crashed at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks. The pilot, Second Lieutenant Philip R. McKevitt of Vinton, Iowa, was killed.

Source: The Woonsocket Call, “Army Pilot Killed At Windsor Locks”, April 8, 1942.

Just after takeoff, Lt. McKevitt noticed a problem with the right engine, and attempted to circle around back to base for landing. (Witnesses later reported hearing the engine sputtering.) As he was doing so, the aircraft went into a spin with insufficient altitude to recover, and crashed. The plane came down in an area a quarter of a mile from the Turnpike Road in the southwest section of Bradley Field, and burned.

The crash investigation committee requested that the right engine be sent to Middletown Air Depot to be dismantled and checked for any signs of sabotage.

Lt. McKevitt began his flight training on May 3, 1941, and graduated from Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, on December 12, 1941. He arrived at Bradley Field only the week before his accident.

Lt. McKevitt is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton, Iowa, Lot 76-so. part of N. For a photo of his grave see www.findagrave.com memorial #43301321

U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-4-8-1

Windsor Locks Journal, “Army Pursuit Planes In Two Fatal Crashes”, April 9, 1942


April 1942 Alternate Indian Ocean

USS Long Island and USS Yorktown tied up at Ford Island shortly before the Battle of Midway:

ViperKing

Zheng He

One of the funnier little facts of the battle. Wally Short's VB-5 went aboard YORKTOWN for Midway but was temporarily designated VS-5 in order to avoid confusion with Max Leslie's VB-3. The actual VS-5 commanded by LCDR Burch cooled their heels in Hawaii.

ITTL, part of the actual VS-5 is going out onboard LONG ISLAND but they are being listed as part of the composite squadron which is how the US usually organized its air groups on CVEs during the war.

ViperKing

One of the funnier little facts of the battle. Wally Short's VB-5 went aboard YORKTOWN for Midway but was temporarily designated VS-5 in order to avoid confusion with Max Leslie's VB-3. The actual VS-5 commanded by LCDR Burch cooled their heels in Hawaii.

ITTL, part of the actual VS-5 is going out onboard LONG ISLAND but they are being listed as part of the composite squadron which is how the US usually organized its air groups on CVEs during the war.

Ah, the websites didn't clarify much and the ORBAT in the book I have on Midway didn't go into details on specific squadrons aboard which carriers.

Either way, this free's up scouting assets that can be used full time while essentially giving Fletcher another entire bomb squadron to throw at the Japanese.

Carl Schwamberger

One of the funnier little facts of the battle. Wally Short's VB-5 went aboard YORKTOWN for Midway but was temporarily designated VS-5 in order to avoid confusion with Max Leslie's VB-3. The actual VS-5 commanded by LCDR Burch cooled their heels in Hawaii.

ITTL, part of the actual VS-5 is going out onboard LONG ISLAND but they are being listed as part of the composite squadron which is how the US usually organized its air groups on CVEs during the war.

This mixing & redesignation was very common. Torpedo Eight which was popularly suposed to have been wiped out actually had half the squadron on Oahu. In the previous month it had taken on the air crew & some ground crew desiganted for another recently authorized squadron. They were to train with Torpedo Eight for a few weeks. When the Hornet was ordered out Waldron took a mixed aircrew from both groups. So a portion of the original T8 survived.

Requipped in June T8 ended up on Gudalcanal & was run down to a cadre attacking Japanese supply convoys & warships during its weeks there. I cant recall it it was rebuilt again in 1943. 'Dawn Like Thunder' has a detailed account of T8s 1942 history, which is a interesting supplement to other accounts of the air war @ Guadalcanal..

AlanJWhite

VT-8 had losses in 2 ways..it lost >55% or nearly 95% depending on definition

VT-8 was planned to be the first squadron to be converted from Devastator to Avenger.

In Spring 42 they had a detachment ashore in Norfolk working on this, who stayed there till after Hornet herself sailed for the Pacific.
These must have been extra pilots and crew since nearly a full the squadron remained on board still using the Devastator
(though they could not be launched because of the Doolittle Raid).

Later 21 Avengers made the trip to Oahu under Lt Larson, but arrived a day after Hornet went north to Point Luck
It is interesting to speculate how these aircraft would have been used if they had arrived in time.
A typical airwing at this time was around 27 F (increased from 18 pre war) , 36 DB, 18T
so in theory the Avengers would have to replace the Devastator one for one
Perhaps a deck park could have accommodated them as extras but that was not tried.
Certainly no attempt was made to fly the Avengers to any of the three carriers, perhaps an indication of their level of deck training.

However because the field on Midway had space, 6 Avengers under Lt Fieberling were sent to operate from there.
As it happened, these planes made the first attack by USN resources during the battle
but 5 out of six were downed for no hits made
and the lone survivor barely returned home with a dead gunner.

Later all the 15 remaining Devastator from Hornet attacked and everyone was shot down for no result,
only one man, Ensign Gay, surviving from the crashes.

So of the aircraft that actually contributed to the battle, VT-8 loss rate was >95%
and equivalent to more than the normal complement of a VT Squadron
so perhaps the urban myth has some justification in fact.

Note: This level of loss was higher even than other USN Torpedo Squadrons
VT-6 lost 10 of 14 a/c (even though they attacked at nearly the same time at VT-8)
VT-3 lost 10 of 12 a/c (even though in their case some of the escorting fighters had managed to arrive with them)
This variation may be due random factors or to the comparative level of training since both Yorktown and Enterprise had some war experience.

However as you say, counting the aircraft that remained in Oahu, overall VT-8 lost only 20 a/c out of 36 along with 60 crew dead from 108.

Vl100butch

Good comment, but you need to change Dauntless to Devestator.

remember the Dauntless was a dive bomber. the Devestator was the torpedo bomber.

AlanJWhite

Good comment, but you need to change Dauntless to Devestator.

remember the Dauntless was a dive bomber. the Devestator was the torpedo bomber.

Zheng He

Back from my trip to Disney World. More updates in the next few days. Here is OPERATION PEDAL.

0800 Hours, 30 May 1942, Port Blair, Andaman Islands - A difficult night for the garrison at Port Blair was about to become an even lousier morning. During the middle of the night two Dutch PBYs from No. 321 Squadron had dropped a total eight 500 pound bombs on the docks while the Dutch submarine K-XIV lobbed several shells from her 88mm gun into the harbor. Damage was minimal. The bombs from the PBYs set a warehouse on fire while K-XIV's shelling damaged a supply barge. However, the raid once again established the exposed nature of the post and caused a great deal a fear among the civilian population.

Unfortunately, the night's activities were not the end. Four Lockheed Hudsons from No. 62 Squadron operating out of Trincomalee blazed over the harbor at 250 miles per hour and less than 100 feet. With no bombs in their bays to increase fuel efficiency over the long flight the pilots could push their bombers to near maximum speed. The Hudsons spit lead from their twin nose mounted .30 caliber machine guns in a repeat of their April raids, destroying one E8N Dave in the harbor and damaging a tugboat. The bombers were already heading away from the target before the shotai of A5M Claudes on combat air patrol could react. The fighters attempted to pursue but the Hudsons were not much slower than the Claudes and the Japanese pilots were forced to respect the concentrated fire from the bombers' turreted machine guns. After a couple of half hearted passes that saw no damage to the planes on either side, the fighters returned to their patrol altitude.

AlanJWhite

I thought the Nakajima E8N was reported as a "Dave" and the Mitsubishi FM1 was the "Pete"

Mind you both were biplane float planes so perhaps.

Zheng He

1200 Hours, 30 May 1942, Trincomalee, Ceylon - Two Canadian PBYs from No. 413 Squadron took off from Trincomalee harbor as the first element of OPERATION COCKPIT. For the crews it was mission that would take almost 16 hours. As with the other raids each plane was loaded with four 500 pound high explosive bombs. Their job was to drop their bombs as well as flares on the airfield and the oil storage tanks to start fires in order to help guide the other aircraft to the target area.

Three hours later, the Catalinas were followed by 10 Wellingtons from No. 215 Squadron and four B-17Es of the US 10th Air Force. The Wellingtons were loaded with four 1000 pound bombs while the Flying Fortresses carried eight 500 pound bombs each. Their target was the oil storage tanks at Sabang. The bombers were led by a single No. 62 Squadron Hudson loaded with an auxiliary fuel tank and extra communications gear to serve as an assembly ship for the small formation and to assist with over water navigation.

Both Somerville and D'Albiac were on hand to meet the aircrews before they launched and to see them off. Both men appreciated the risks associated with such a long distance mission.

Zheng He

1300 Hours, 30 May 1942, Indian Ocean, 280 Miles Southwest of Sabang - Radar operators on the Eastern Fleet's carriers and HMS Warspite had been tracking the annoying blip approaching from dead astern for almost thirty minutes. The fighter director on HMS Indomitable had been trying to vector two Martlets on to the contact but its pilot was doing a good job of playing hide and seek in the clouds.

The crew of the G3M Nell of the Mihoro Naval Air Group based out of Sabang could scarcely believe their eyes. On the homeward leg of a routine patrol they had just stumbled across a task force of warships that included aircraft carriers less than 300 miles southwest of their base. The roving enemy fighters made it difficult to get a good count of what could only be enemy ships because in order to survive they had to stay out of sight in the clouds. However, after several minutes of playing hide and seek the cloud cover broke and the Nell's crew found themselves right above the enemy task force. The radio operator hurried to send out a message, knowing that he probably did not have much time. He was right, as the message was sent the pilots turned their bomber away from the task force and dove for deck, picking up speed but they were too late as a Martlet from HMS Formidable got on their tail and peppered the Nell with .50 caliber machine gun bullets turning the lightly built bomber into a flaming wreck.

Back at Sabang, most of the message was received before it cut off, "Two CV, two BB, distance 300, course 30, bearing 210, speed." The only problem was the air units were not at full strength. The G4M Betty squadron had taken losses during the raids against the Cocos Islands and the G3M unit was tasked with patrol duty. Still, an enemy carrier force this close could not be left alone. A single Betty was launched on the bearing signaled by the patrol bomber to provide an up to date scouting report while ground crews rushed to arm and fuel any bombers and fighters that were not undergoing maintenance. Ninety minutes later the first of 12 torpedo armed Betties took off followed by six torpedo armed Nells and six Nells armed with 250kg high explosive bombs. The bombers were escorted by 14 Zeroes.

Onboard HMS Indomitable, members of the carrier's air department and Rear Admiral Boyd's staff worked furiously to develop a plan to deal with the expected attack from Sabang. Basic time and distance calculations told them that they had at least two and probably more like four hours before enemy aircraft showed up. Boyd did order the task force to alter course to the south due to the prevailing winds in order to simplify flight operations. While Boyd had hoped to make a surprise attack against Sabang, part of him looked forward to the upcoming action. He believed that between his task force's 56 fighters and the now well drilled radar operators on his ships, the enemy was in for a rough afternoon.

Redbeard

1300 Hours, 30 May 1942, Indian Ocean, 280 Miles Southwest of Sabang - Radar operators on the Eastern Fleet's carriers and HMS Warspite had been tracking the annoying blip approaching from dead astern for almost thirty minutes. The fighter director on HMS Indomitable had been trying to vector two Martlets on to the contact but its pilot was doing a good job of playing hide and seek in the clouds.

The crew of the G3M Nell of the Mihoro Naval Air Group based out of Sabang could scarcely believe their eyes. On the homeward leg of a routine patrol they had just stumbled across a task force of warships that included aircraft carriers less than 300 miles southwest of their base. The roving enemy fighters made it difficult to get a good count of what could only be enemy ships because in order to survive they had to stay out of sight in the clouds. However, after several minutes of playing hide and seek the cloud cover broke and the Nell's crew found themselves right above the enemy task force. The radio operator hurried to send out a message, knowing that he probably did not have much time. He was right, as the message was sent the pilots turned their bomber away from the task force and dove for deck, picking up speed but they were too late as a Martlet from HMS Formidable got on their tail and peppered the Nell with .50 caliber machine gun bullets turning the lightly built bomber into a flaming wreck.

Back at Sabang, most of the message was received before it cut off, "Two CV, two BB, distance 300, course 30, bearing 210, speed." The only problem was the air units were not at full strength. The G4M Betty squadron had taken losses during the raids against the Cocos Islands and the G3M unit was tasked with patrol duty. Still, an enemy carrier force this close could not be left alone. A single Betty was launched on the bearing signaled by the patrol bomber to provide an up to date scouting report while ground crews rushed to arm and fuel any bombers and fighters that were not undergoing maintenance. Ninety minutes later the first of 12 torpedo armed Betties took off followed by six torpedo armed Nells and six Nells armed with 250kg high explosive bombs. The bombers were escorted by 14 Zeroes.

Onboard HMS Indomitable, members of the carrier's air department and Rear Admiral Boyd's staff worked furiously to develop a plan to deal with the expected attack from Sabang. Basic time and distance calculations told them that they had at least two and probably more like four hours before enemy aircraft showed up. Boyd did order the task force to alter course to the south due to the prevailing winds in order to simplify flight operations. While Boyd had hoped to make a surprise attack against Sabang, part of him looked forward to the upcoming action. He believed that between his task force's 56 fighters and the now well drilled radar operators on his ships, the enemy was in for a rough afternoon.

Zheng He

1500 Hours, 30 May 1942, Indian Ocean, 340 Miles Southwest of Sabang - The G4M Betty out of Sabang was over 50 miles beyond the point where the Nell had reported sighting the enemy task force two hours early. For the perplexed crew on the bomber in meant one of two things - either the task force had changed course or the sighting report had been wrong.

However, a few minutes later their lucked changed. One of the pilots spotted a floatplane below them flying due east. The Betty's pilots changed course and dropped altitude to follow the unsuspecting aircraft, in this case a Supermarine Walrus from HMS Warspite on ASW patrol. Ten minutes later they were rewarded when they sighted a large formation of ships including three aircraft carriers heading due south. As the bomber scurried into the clouds and swung north to head home the radio operator sent out his sighting report hoping the strike force which was in the air by now would pick it up, "Three CV, two BB, distance 350, course 180, bearing 180, speed 15."
Back at Sabang, the message was picked up and relayed to the commander of the air strike that had been in the air for almost 30 minutes although he had also picked up the sighting report and adjusted the course of his 38 plane strike force accordingly.

The Japanese were not the only ones who picked up the sighting report from the Betty. While the radar operators on the British ships had trouble sorting out the Japanese bomber from their own planes the FECB operators on HMS Indomitable had no trouble intercepting and translating the scouting report that was sent in the clear.

There was no doubt in anyone's minds that the enemy had a firm fix on the task force and that a strike was likely inbound. The air defense plan that had been worked out over the past several days based in part on lessons learned from OPERATION FRANTIC was put into motion. First HMS Illustrious and HMS Formidable recovered the Martlets they had combat air patrol while HMS Indomitable launched seven Fulmars. The Fulmars climbed to 20,000 feet where six would serve as the forward high altitude barrier CAP while the seventh with Lieutenant Commander Bill Bruen of No. 800 Squadron in the observer's seat would perform an airborne control role.

Shortly after the Fulmars launched, Illustrious and Formidable put up a total of 16 Martlets while both carriers spotted an additional eight Martlets each and HMS Indomitable spotted six Sea Hurricanes and four Sea Gladiators.

Zheng He

1615 Hours, 30 May 1942, Indian Ocean, 260 Miles Southwest of Sabang - The Japanese strike from Sabang had been in the air for 90 minutes when they got their first indication that they were on the right course to the enemy carriers. As the formation continued on its due south course a sharp eyed Betty pilot spotted a biplane several thousand feet below them also heading south. He signaled the strike leader's bomber and the strike force's course and was slightly adjusted to put it on the exact same heading as the unsuspecting patrol plane.

Unfortunately, the strike leader did not think to keep his hunting dogs on their leashes. Two Zero pilots also saw the Swordfish from HMS Hermes' No. 814 Squadron and the ever present desire of fighter jocks to go for an easy kill took over and both fighters shot forward and the slow moving torpedo bomber met its demise but not before the rear gunner was able to get off a message that they were under attack by enemy fighters.

Every ship in the British task force picked up the message and on the carriers, the air staffs quickly concluded that based on the call sign given, the plane in question was part of the northern patrol arc and was likely somewhere between 100 and 150 miles from the task force. This meant an enemy strike was no more than an hour away and maybe no more than 30 minutes out. With a heightened sense of urgency the deck crews on the big carriers put additional fighters in the air - 16 more Martlets, six Sea Hurricanes, and four Sea Gladiators. One Sea Hurricane and one Martlet did not launch due to engine trouble while a Martlet from the early launch had to return HMS Illustrious for the same reason. Still, there were now 46 fighters in the air with four more Martlets and two Sea Gladiators spotted on the flight decks and all ships in the task force were at action stations and prepared to repel air attack.

Zheng He

Sorry about the lack of updates. I've been sick and I thought that would actually give me more time but I've been in bed a lot.

BTW, the patrol bomber sighting the Walrus and following it back to the task force is what happened OTL with Force Z.

Paulo the Limey

Sorry about the lack of updates. I've been sick and I thought that would actually give me more time but I've been in bed a lot.

BTW, the patrol bomber sighting the Walrus and following it back to the task force is what happened OTL with Force Z.


April 1942 Alternate Indian Ocean

1200 Hours, 24 August 1942, M/S Tannenfels , 950 Miles East of Mauritius, Indian Ocean – M/S Tannenfels had been running west hard at her top speed of 16 knots for almost three hours when her captain ordered her to slow to 10 knots, convinced that he had left the enemy warship. He could not figure out how his converted merchant ship had been able to run from a warship although he assumed it was because the captain decided his first duty was to protect the merchant ships he was escorting.

Tannenfels’ captain planned to continue heading west until nightfall and then he would turn to the southeast in order to get clear of any shipping lanes while avoiding long range air patrols from the multitude of Allied bases in the region. He still had five days before he needed to meet up with the raider Thor and he preferred to avoid any additional contact with Allied convoys and patrol ships until then. He wished he had a reconnaissance plane like the converted merchant raiders did, although it was unlikely there were other Allied ships this far south.

Little did he know that the distance between Tannenfels and HMS Devonshire had closed to less than 50 miles and Devonshire was still bearing down on him at 20 knots. At 1100 hours, Devonshire’s Walrus floatplane had launched with orders to fly northeast for 100 miles and then fly a dog leg to the south and then double back to Devonshire to the west.

Zheng He

1300 Hours, 24 August 1942, HMS Devonshire , 920 Miles East of Mauritius, Indian Ocean – The sighting report came in from the Walrus at 1300 hours and there was no doubt the ship was hostile as nervous gunners fired on the amphibian as it made a pass overhead. The pilot climbed out of range and orbited to the stern of Tannenfels . Oliver’s tactic paid off. Seeing the floatplane approach from the east, Tannenfels’ captain assumed there was an enemy cruiser or battleship in that direction and once again he ordered his ship to full speed.

Onboard HMS Devonshire , shortly after the scout plane’s sighting report came, her Type 273 radar picked up an approaching contact at 25,000 yards. After 15 minutes the range had closed to 10,000 yards. With an accurate radar plot and up to date s sighting reports from his scout plane, Captain Oliver ordered his forward guns to open fire while making course corrections to bring all eight of his guns to bear on the target.

Devonshire bracketed Tannenfels with its third salvo and scored two hits with the fourth. Tannenfels ’ captain quickly realized his error but it was too late. Devonshire was now closing at 25 knots and there was no way the converted merchant ship could escape from the cruiser’s guns now that they had the range. Four more hits turned Tannenfels into a wreck and with his ship on fire and taking on water her captain struck his colors.

At 1330 hours, Captain Oliver ordered his gunners to cease fire. After rescuing 35 members of Tannenfels’ 45 man crew, Devonshire finished off the German ship with gunfire.

Zheng He

Zheng He

The German blockade runner M/S Tannenfels, sunk by HMS Devonshire on 24 August 1942:

Zheng He

Zheng He

After an early 1942 refit in the United States, the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire spent the next two years with the Eastern Fleet:

Jeandebueil

0900 Hours, 24 August 1942, 1000 Miles East of Mauritius, Indian Ocean – The Free French Bougainville class aviso Savorgnan de Brazza was escorting the merchant ships Logan and Starfox on a run to the developing Allied base at Exmouth Gulf, Australia. The ships were outside of the standard convoy lanes due to the unique nature of their route that had originated in Dar es Salaam and taken them to Diego Garcia, Reunion, and Mauritius.

During the mid-morning hours of 24 August, Savorgnan de Brazza’s skipper Captain Jean Luc Picard spotted a lone merchant ship sailing on a relatively parallel course. Besides Admiral Somerville’s instructions for ships to sail in convoy, reports of enemy raider activity in the area were a cause of heightened concern and he attempted to raise the ship on bridge-to-bridge and invite to join the small convoy. The ship repeatedly ignored his attempts at communication and when Savorgnan de Brazza attempted to close with it, the silent merchant ship began to pick up speed and change course. Captain Picard ordered his crew to action stations and fired two warning shots from his forward 5.5 inch guns.

As soon as the warning shots were fired, the captain of the German blockade runner/raider supply ship M/S Tannenfels ordered his ships to full speed on a course due west while returning fire from his single six-inch gun.

Captain Picard knew right away that he could not catch the fleeing ship given his ship’s best speed of 15.5 knots. He also had a responsibility to protect his charges and from that standpoint he had done his job. Picard did send out sighting and position reports which were picked up by the Allied bases at Port C, Diego Garcia, and Mauritius and the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire patrolling 150 miles to the west.

Archibald

Coulsdon Eagle

Zheng He

Derek Pullem

Palantir

Jeandebueil

The Triomphant: Philippe Auboyneau until april 1942. An elegant man, he served as a liaison officer aboard the Warspite in 1940 and had a good relationship with Cunningham and was in fact the author of the "Gentlemen Agreement". He joins the Free French in July 1940 and became the leader of the Free French Naval Forces in the Pacific as a captain and using the Triomphant as his flagship). After Pearl Harbour, he led a couple of raids against Japanese naval bases and ensured the successful evacuation of the Australian garrisons at Nauru and Ocean Islands. After April 1942, he became a rear admiral and received the command of all the Free French Naval Forces and reached Africa. His deputy, the Lieutenant Pierre Vital Arthur Emile GILLY, took the command of the ship until late July before being replaced by the captain Paul ORTOLI (coming from Corsica hence his name), who also joined the Free French in July 1940 and was close to Charles de Gaulle. He commanded the ship until september 1943.

Le Mistral: It seems that Wikipedia (en) did a mistake. The ship was seized by the RN in July 1940 and became the HMS Mistral and was given back to the French in August 1945. It was used for convoy duty in the Atlantic and around the british coast and enjoyed a rather uneventful career during ww2. So I have no name for it. Since it's a free french ship ITTL, I assume that the RN has given the ship back to the Free French like many others destroyers in 1940 and 1941. I can give some fictional names for a fictional captain: Guy Tonnerre or Pierre Baron: those were usual in Britanny and many french navy officers came from that region.

Le Léopard: In november 1940 , the new captain of the destroyer was Jules Evenou the man commanded the ship until May 1943 (when the ship sank). Lieutenant in 1940, he joined the Free French in august 1940, but probably to protect his family and relatives, used a pseudonym and called himself Jacques Richard. The man seemed to have been a talented and rather brash officer: he sunk at least two german submarines between february 1941 and july 1942. In july 1941, he became lieutenant-commander and commander in april 1943. He tended to disobey orders and to act on his own initiative: In November 1942, while officially, he had to sail for Indochina, he secretly sailed for the Island of Reunion (under the control of Vichy), without any orders, with his ship and 40 free french commandos ( Naval Infantry or "Fusiliers Marins"). They took the island on their own, both by force and negociation and the Reunion became a free french territory. After that, he had a pleasant career, with a ton of medals and regular promotions.


File #403: "Training Directive No. 29 April 8, 1942.pdf"

%ff Officers and all other personnel handling
Civil Air Patrol correspondence are required to take this course. All
personnel concerned with the conduct of wartime correspondence she'd be
familiar with the principles and meohanies of military correspondence.
5.

After each member concerned has read and %horoughly understood
the text, conferences will be called for at least two class room
instruction periods of one hour each, which will Include general discussions
and question-and-answer periods.

Tr a i n i n g D i r e c t i v e N o . 2 9

DENCE, HOW CONDUCTED
I. Definition
The term "commmlication" includes official writings such as
letters, memoranda, reports, indorsements, and telegrams.
2.

Channels of Communication

a. The channels of communication aorrespond generally to the
c h a i n o f c o m m a n d a s w i l l b e n o t e d i n p a r a g r a p h 1 3 b , b e l o w. H o w e v e r, t o
save time, reduce clerical work to

minimum, and e'-ffect decentralization
of detail, unit corders are authorized to correspond directly with
the headquarters concerned on matters which pertain to their assigned
responsibilities and which do not establish policies. Such correspondence
may be with

it headquarters within the civil Air Patrol or with command,
staff or other officers in charge

f Civil AirFatrol activities.
b o To t h e o o

a n d e r l o w e s t i n t h e c h a i n o f c o m m a n d w h o i s
capable of performing that f

mction, is delegnted the responsibility for
taking appropriate action on any matters p&ssing through b is headquarters.
It is important that every possible effort be made to delegate responsibilities to the lowest echelon which is capable of performing a particular
function.
3.

Courtesy in Correspondence

Official correspondence should he courteous in tone and free
from any expression of a personal nnture or that might give offense.
Comm

mioations should be written according to the accepted rules of good
English composition.
4.

As a general rule, all official communications will be
answered within 24 hours. If a delay occurs, the communication will be
acknowledged immediately and information furnished as to the cause of the
delay and the probable date that reply will be made.

A n o f fi c i a l s o m m t m i c a t i o n w i l l r o f e r t o o n e s u b j e c t o n l y.
L e t t e r s o f t r a n s m i t t a l w i l l b e u s e d o n l y w h e n n e c e s s a r y, a n d w h e n u s e d
will refer only to the matter transmitted none are required with routine
reports, req

For all letters the paper used will be 8 x 10

inches. When more
than one sheet is used for a communication, including indorsements thereon,
all will be of the same size. Qne side only of the paper will be used.
7.

Unused margins of not less than the fo't'lowing widths will be left
in each communication:
To p m a r g i n , fi r s t p a g e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 i n c h
To p m

r g i n , s e c o n d a n d s u c c e e d i n g p a g e s . . . . . . . . . . . 1 ¼ i n c h e s
Left largin . . . 1 inch

Bottom margin. . . . . 1 inch
8. Folding
L e t t e r p a p e r, o r d i n a r i l y, w i l l b e f o l d e d i n t h r e e e q u a l f o l d s ,
parallel with the bottom, the lower fold over the face of the letter and the
t o p f o l d t o w a r d t h e b a c k o f t h e l e t t e r.

When typewritten, the body of a communication will ordinaxd

be
single spaced with a double space between numbered paragraphs.
I0.

For other than filing purposes the several parts of a communication
ordinarily will be arranged and fastened together inthe following order:
Original withpages in numerical sequence followed
by original indorsements in numerlcal sequence,
except that the last indorsemmtwith copy or copies
thereof will be on top.
C o p y o r c o p i e s , i f a n y, o f t h e b a s i c c o m m u n i c a t i o n
f o l l o w e d b y ' c o p y o r c o p i e s , i f a n y, o f i n d o r s e m e n t s
except the last, in numerlcal sequence.
c.

I n c l o s u r e s , i f a n y, i n n u m e r i c a l s e q u e n c e .

11. Heading
a. Nothing but the heading will be written in the upper third
o f t h e fi r s t s h e e t o f e a c h l e t t e r. I t c o n s i s t s o f t h e f o l l o w i n g i n t h e
order given:

Tr a i n i n g D i r e c t i v e N o . 2 9
Designation of the headquarters
Reference file n

ber if called for
Post office address
Date
Subject
To whom sent

b. For all letters to be signed by a subordinate, for or
o r d e r o f a o o z m a n d e r, t h e l e t t e r h e a d i n g u s e d w i l l b e t h a t o f t h e h e a d quarters of such o

er and it will not contain the title o£ any
s u b o r d i u

a. The body' begins just below the upper third of the first
sheet. If a letter has several paragraphs they will be numbered
oonseoutivel

in a single series with arabic numerala. If subparagraphs
are required, they will be designated as follows, "i" being the assumed
number of the paragraphz
I. _a.

oation including the pages
bearing indorsements will

in a single series,
midway, about one-half inch from the bottom.

a. The signature will ordinari

consist of the first name,
middle initial and last name. Signatures wall be made with pen and ink,
o r w h e n n e c e s s a r y, w i t h i n d e l i b l e p e n c i l . N a m e s i g n a t u r e s w i l l b e
followed by the

pewritten name, identical with the signature, followed
by the du

assignment and designation of the trait.
b. Except as otherwise prescribed, a commander may require a
suitable officer subordinate to himself to sign certain oo

unications
f o r h i m . W h e n h e d o e s s o , h o w e v e r, h e i s a s

t.ou SO signed as though he, t

e]t', had signed it.
e. When a subordinate signs a co

mAnioation for a eounander,
one of the following forms will be used:
(1)

hor eomnanderz "For Wing Com

(4 spaces)
John Doe (signed)
Adjutant, Wing No. 41."

Tr a i n i n g D i r e c t i v e N o . 2 9
(2)

ate oomanderz
"By ordep of Group Commander SMITH-

(4 spaces)
John Doe (signed)
JOHN DOE, (typewritten)
Adjutant, Group No. 512."
14.

a. Each typewritten letter will be made with at least

wo carbon
copies, with enough extra carbon copies for offices through which the
communication passes. One copy will be £ox

arded with the original of the
oomu

Lteatien to the office or headquax

rs of action, one copy will be
inclosed for caoh inte

office or headquarters of record through
which the original eomnmication is sent, and one copy will be retained
for the

ecords of the sanding office. For example, a letter from a
S q u a d r u n C o n u n a n d e r t o h i s W i n g C o m m a n d e r, w i l l b e f o r w a r d e d w i t h a n
o1

.glual and three carbon copies for distribution as follows:

Original and first carbon copy- Wing
Headquarters.

Second carbon copy - Group Headquarters

Third carbon copy - File, Squadron Headquarters

b. Except as otherrAse prescribed and subject to the provisions
Of paragraph 2, above, communications, whether from a subordinate to a
s u p e r i o r, o r v i c e v e r s a , w i l l p a s s t h r o u g h i n t e r m e d i a t e c o m m a n d e r s . T h i s
rule will not be interpreted as including matters in relation to whiGh
intermediate commanders can have no knowledge and over which they are not
expected te exercise control. It is incumbent upon the writer o£ the basic
letter to determine the number of intermediate eonmmders through whom the
letter will pass and to furnish one copy for the headquarters of each such
c o m m a n d e r. I f a l e t t e r i s a d d r e s s e d t o a h i g h e r h e a d q u a r t e r s f o r a c t i o n
but is expected to be forwarded by that headquarters for further action,
addd,ticeaa3, copies w411 be provided.

A military letter is answered by an "indorsement" which is made
p a

h e l e t t e r. T h e w i d t h o f a n i n d o r s e m e n t w i l l b e t h e s a m e a s t h a t
o f t h e l e t t e r. T h e fi r s t i n d o r s e m e n t w i l l b e g i n a b o u t ½ i n c h b e l o w t h e
lowest element of the next preceding matter on the same page or at the top
of the succeeding page. lndox

aemente follow one another serially with a
spaee of about

inch between them if they are on the same page. They will
be single spaced, with double space between paragraphs. Midway on the page

Training Directive No. 29
a p p e a r s t h e s e r i a l n u m b e r o f t h e i n d o r s e m e n t . I f c a l l e d f o r, t h e fi l e
number appears in the upper left corner on the same line as the serial number.
A double space is left between the serial number and the indorsement heading.
The indorsement heading includes the official designation of the headqtwrters, office or individual sendiugthe indorsement, the name of the place,
and posto£fioe address from which the indorsement is being sent, the date,
a n d t h e w o r d " To " , f o l l o w e d b y t h e o f fi c i a l d e s i g w

t t o n o f t h e p e r s o n t o
whom the indorsement is being sent. The body and ending of the indorsement
eo

t'orm to the instructions oonoeruing letters, with the exception
that the first line of the bo

commences two spaces below the heading.
16.

a. References to general orders, bulletins, circulars, or other
s4m4

g=
( i ) P a r a g r a p h n u m b e r, i f a z


(3) T i t l e o f s e r i e s , e . g . , . G e n e r a l O r d e r s , .
" Tr a i n i n g D i r e c t i v e , " e t c .
Number in series
Source
Year of issue
Indication of subject matter referred to
when such is not learl

indicated in context.
(8) Example: "Reference paragraph 5, Section X,
General Orders No. l, Civil Air
Panel, 1942."
b. References to letters or indorsements ordiuari

will
include the fo].lowlng=
( I ) F i l e n u m b e r, i f e n y
(2) Office marks, if ar

Deslgnatlon or other indleP.

ion of the addressee.
Example, "Reference letter GM 9, Headquarters
Civil Air Patrol, February 13, 19h2,
Subject "Unlforma and Insignia for
Staff Personnel," to all Wing Commanders.

.l always contain a specific reference by
paragraph number or other designation to the regulation, order, d

rective,
l e t t e r, o r o t h e r w r i t t e n m a t t e r o f s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r, w h l e h i s a p p l i c a b l e
to the subject of the correspondence,

a. A cop7 of a communication which accompanies the original,
as required by paragraph

i, above, will not constitute or be noted or
otherwise treated as an inclosure thereto.

Tr a i n i n g D i r e e t l v e N o . 2 9

b. Each inelosure will have noted thereon, ordlna

V in lead
pencil, but when deeL-qble in In

If2)) TXht se nf auemt btehraitn£tthA as earn£ ei nse l o s u r e
e
(a) Example: fuel. i

o. If in duplicate, triplicate, ere., the

Aes at the
upper right of its number as an inelosw

(1) ,aple: znol. : ,znel. 1.2,ete.
d . N o +

e m a d e c a t h e f a c e o f
a oo

zunleation, on a llne with the last IAue of the signature, beginning at
the left margin.
e. When an laelosuze is first placed with a oomuaicatlo

ade showing its number tAtle if in duplicate, triplicate,
ere. that fact

Example, 2 lnels. - 1 - P i l o

) b s e r v e r R e p o r t ( D u p . ) .
2 - Personnel Orders No. 14

f. When inclosures are added or withdrawn, notation of that
faet will be made.
(i) Example: 2 Znols. - 1 - Personnel Orders No. I0
Added: Roster, Hq. Wing No. 31.
(2) IMmaple, 1

ol. - 1 - Fore 01)-9
w/d 2 Xnols. - 2 & 3.
g. If inclosures are not added to or withdrawn from a eommmioati

es, notatlcu will be made showing to

al number of
inOlosures and that no ehange has been made.

m o d e l l e t t e r, a t t a c h e d h e r e t o , a r e a r r a n g e d
in

ph I0, uM arranged and fasteaedt i.e.,
original with pages in numerical sequence followed by

indorsanante
in numerieal mequenee, expept that the last iudorse

top. Fastening of pages should be sueh as to permit intentAaml separatlon without
mutilation. Paper clips sho

be used z'ather than pins or staplo8.

i n p a r a g r a p h 11 , " H e a d l n g , , , a ¢ i s I

, m a y b e p r i n t e d , t

g Direotive No. 29
otherwise produced on the upper one-thi

of th..e" page,, but. that names of
officers or other persc

il not. be inoluded without.
S p e c i fi c
a u t h o T i z a t i o n .
-

. _ n e ts ,wa m xb z -n o s ezd oim t ha r ioi r dria p r y 6 o ma t e t h ie lss zze ,o8

p x p e r i n cs e d ,
i
c no . I
i l l - e e r t r n p e g n a h o t h m r o a i i e f a 11 u h e s
d . C o r r e s p o n d e n o e p e r t a i n i n g t o m a t t e r s o f p o l i o y, m a t t e r s u p o n
which the Regional Commander may be expected to take aotion, or matters
about which he ahould be informed, will pass through the headquarters of
t h e R e g i o n a l C o m m a n d e r. 0 r d i n a r i

y, c o r r e s p o n d e n c e p e r t a i n i n g t o o t h e r
m a t t e r s w i l l p a s s f r o m W i n g C o m m a n d e r s t o t h e N a t i o n a l C o m m a n d e r.
e. Correspondence with a headquarters will be addressed to the
@om

anding officer thereof by offiolal designation

ly and not by'name,
e . g . , e C o m

d e r, W i n g N o . 4 2 , C i v i l A i r P a t r o l " " N a t i o n a l C o m m a n d e r,
CivA1 Ai

Patrol.n Correspondence with co,and, staff, or other officers in
charge of Civil Air Patrol aotlvlties, as mentiened in paraEraph 2a, above,
should be addressed to the individual aoncerned by offlolal designation only
a n d n o t b y n a m e , e . g . , " C o

m u n l o a t i o n s O f fi c e r, W i n g N o . 3 3 , C i v i l A i r
Patrol..
19.

Model Letter (see pages 9, i0 and ii).

(Training Directive No. 29)
Group No. 516, Civil Ai

Patrol
Glenwood School
Glenwood and Detroit Avenues
Toledo, Ohio
April 6, 19

S u b J e o t - F i l m s f o r C i v i l A i r P a t r o l Tr a i n i n g P r o g r a m .
To: .

Commander, Wing No. 51, Civil Air Patrol.

i. This Headquarters wishes to seeure films suitable for use with
the courses of the Training Program.
2. It is requested that info

atiou relative to the availabilAty
of such films be furnished.
(Name signed)
JOH

W i n g N o . 5 1 , C i v i l A t r P a t r o l , C o l s . p 0 . , A p r i l 8 , 1 9

ol.
1. Approved. It is understood that films aen

ioned in basis letter
c a n b e s e c u r e d f r o m t h e Wa r D e

t . A d v i s e a s t o p r o p e r

o e e d u r e r e q u e s t e d .
(Haas elgned)
JO

H q . , R e g i o n H o . 5 , 0 1 v l l A i r P a t r o l , 0 h l . , I l l . , A p r i l i 0 , 1 9 & 2 . To s N a t i o n a l
ao

a n t l o n i n v i t e d t e b a s l e l e t t e r. T h i s H e a d q t v u

l l d e l a 7
any action on this matter until ins

(N e ,d,8.od)
RICHARD R, ROE,
Oomlnd:t.

Re.on No. 5.
(Page 10, 21) No. 29).

Tr a i n i n g D i r e c t i v e N o . 2 9

CIVIL AIR PATROL, Off. Nat'l. Comdr., Washington, D.C., April 1O, 1942. ToComdr. Group No. 516, Civil Air Patrol.
1. This Headqua

ers is now working on plans to secure from The
C h i e f S i g n a l O f fi c e r, t r a i n i n g fi l m s a n d fi l m s t r i p s w h i c h w i l l b e o f v a l u e f o r
u s e w i t h C i v i l A i r P a t r o l Tr a i n i n g P r o g r a m .
2. As arrangements have not been completed, it will be necessary
t e d e l a y a c t i o n p e n d i n g fi n a l a d j u s t m e n t . H o w e v e r, i t i s b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e
following general rules will govern:

. National Headquarters will make available selected training
films and strips.
_b. Each Regional Commander will arrange an itinerary within his
Region and supervise the showing of films, using a projector which it is hoped
to borrow from the Army Air Forces. This activity will be routed to Regional
Commanders on a schedule arranged by National Headquarters.
3. A directive setting forth full details will be issued at the
earliest p

acticable date.
By direction of National Commander JO

SONs
(Name signed)
THOMAS BROWN,
E x e c u t i v e O f fi c e r.

H q . R e g i o n N o . 5 , C i v i l A i r P a t r o l , C h i . , I l l . , A p r i l 1 4 , 1 9 4 2 . To : C o m d r. ,
Wing No. 51.
1. Attention invited to 3d Indorsement. No further action will be
taken until directive on this subject is issued.
By order of the Regional Commander:
(

ame signed)
JOHN SMITH,
Chief Clerk.

Tr a i n i n g D i r e c t i v e N o . 2 9

5th Ind.
W i n g N o . 5 1 , C i v i l A i r P a t r o l , C o l s . , 0 . , A p r i l 1 6 , 1 9


The WW2 Medical Battalion, Infantry Division

Members of the 15th Evacuation Hospital transport wounded troops from Dodge WC-54 Ambulances into Hospital Ward tents. Photograph taken in August, 1944.

Background:

The Medical Battalion was a Divisional medical unit developed to furnish medical support for the Infantry Division. Its primary mission was to organize and conduct the necessary evacuation and medical care for casualties of the Division. Because of the high mobility of the Division, the installations of the Medical Battalion had to be of a more temporary nature and possess increased readiness and ability to maintain contact with the different units of the Division. The Medical Battalion was thus charged with the evacuation of ALL casualties from the Infantry Battalion and Regimental Aid Stations. If for any reason, casualties could not be gathered at the Aid Stations, the Collecting Companies would remove casualties directly from the field.
The Medical Battalion was organized as a kind of ‘miniature’ medical organization in order to maintain the best operative coordination of all the existing facilities and to give flexibility to a possible expansion of the medical service when necessary. It always accompanied the Division in the field!

Organization:

T/O 8-15, April 1, 1942, showing the organization of the Medical Battalion, Infantry Division.

Basic personnel figures (1942 data) : 34 Officers, 470 Enlisted Men, 1 attached Chaplain (of which 24 were Medical Officers, 8 were Medical Administrative Corps Officers, 2 were Dental Officers, and 470 were Enlisted Men – among which 67 Noncommissioned Officers, 52 Technicians, and 351 Privates First Class/Privates).
Vehicles used for transportation numbered (1942 data) : 36 x ¾-Ton Ambulances, 14 x 2-Wheel Cargo Trailers, 7 x 250-Gallon Water Tank Trailers, 9 x ¼-Ton Trucks, 4 x ¾-Ton Command & Reconnaissance Trucks, 3 x ¾-Ton Weapon Carriers, 6 x 1 ½-Ton 4ࡪ Cargo Trucks, and 16 x 2 ½-Ton 6࡬ Cargo Trucks.

Organic Units:

The MEDICAL BATTALION, Infantry Division consisted of:

  1. 1 Battalion Headquarters
  2. 3 Collecting Companies (usually designated Company A, B, and C)
  3. 1 Clearing Company (usually designated Company D)

Diagramatical view of the organization of the Medical Battalion, Infantry Division.

Medical Battalion Headquarters:
Battalion Headquarters was an agency of command and control, consisting of the Commanding Officer (MC), the Executive Officer + Plans & Training Officer (XO + S-3, combined duty), and the Adjutant + Personnel Officer (i.e. MAC + S-1). Another Officer in charge of Intelligence (S-2) was later (1944) added and usually delegated as a Liaison Officer at Division Headquarters. The attached Chaplain was usually present at the Clearing Station. Enlisted personnel employed at Battalion Headquarters were members of the Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment. A Captain of the Hq & Hq Det was the Supply Officer for the Medical Battalion, and also the general Supply Officer of the Division. The CO usually was a Lieutenant Colonel.
Headquarters established the Medical Battalion’s Command Post! This was to be located in vicinity of the Clearing Station, which was the focal point of the Division medical support. Here were located the offices of the Medical Battalion CO and his staff, and the Message Center. A telephone line generally connected the Medical Battalion CP with the Division CP.

Illustration showing the organization of the Medical Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Medical Battalion:
The normal functions of the Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment was the daily operation of activities necessary for the complete administration and maintenance of the Medical Battalion through such services as supply – mess – and clerical duty. It further operated the Division’s medical distributing point. The Headquarters Detachment normally set up its installations in vicinity of the Clearing Station and the Medical Battalion CP. By centralizing Battalion Headquarters and the Headquarters Detachment close to the Clearing Station, contact was always rapidly maintained with Collecting Companies by means of Ambulance-borne messages. By dispersing (most important) the transportation equipment and personnel of these installations, there was little likelihood of them being involved in enemy air attacks.

Personnel, exclusive of Battalion Headquarters, usually consisted (1942 data) of : 1 Captain (MAC), 1 First Lieutenant, 2 Second Lieutenants, and 44 Enlisted Men. The total number of available vehicles was 15.

Battalion Headquarters Section: consisted (1942 data) of : 3 Officers and 8 Enlisted Men.

The rest of the Headquarters organization included :

View of a Medical Battalion Command Post

Detachment Headquarters Section: consisted (1942 data) of : 1 Officer and 16 Enlisted Men. The Officer in command was usually a Captain. The Officer in command was later made responsible for Battalion supplies, designated S-4.

Personnel Section: consisted (1942 data) of : 1 Officer and 4 Enlisted Men. The Officer in charge, i.e. a Second Lieutenant was assisted by Personnel Clerks. This particular Section operated under supervision of the S-1 (Adjutant).

Illustration showing Supply Section distributing Medical and General Supplies to the Medical Battalion …

General and Medical Supply Section: consisted (1942 data) of : 1 Officer and 8 Enlisted Men. The Officer was either a Second Lieutenant (MAC) or a qualified Warrant Officer. This section operated under supervision of the S-4 (Supply Officer).

Motor Maintenance Section: consisted (1942 data) of : 1 Officer and 8 Enlisted Men. The Officer in charge was a First Lieutenant (MAC). This Section also operated under the S-4.

The COLLECTING COMPANY, Medical Battalion, Infantry Division:
The Medical Battalion had three (3) Collecting Companies, each identical in organization, transportation, and equipment.

Diagram showing the organization of a Collecting Company.

Collecting Companies were the forward echelon of the Division Medical Service. They were the connecting links in the chain of evacuation between Infantry Aid Stations and Division Clearing Stations. Their mission was to:

  • Remove evacuees from Infantry Regiment Aid Stations to Collecting Stations
  • Prepare evacuees at the Collecting Stations for further evacuation
  • Transport evacuees by Ambulance from Collecting Stations to Division Clearing Stations

Method showing how to fill out a Clearing Station Tag, there are two different parts. Obverse side: Section A – Admission and Section B – Disposition Reverse side: Instructions. This Tag is the early version M.D. Form 53, authorized May 21, 1942 (later superseded by DA Form 8-29 authorized July 12, 1944). It is important to note that the evacuee’s name and ASN are indicated on the Tag by means of an imprinting machine (Addressograph M70)

The major functions of the Collecting Companies were fourfold:

  • Contact > to establish and maintain contact with the Medical Detachments of combat troops (in the present case, the Regimental Medical Detachment – Infantry Rifle Regiment)
  • Treat > to establish and operate a Collecting Station, administering the treatment necessary to return minor casualties to their units, or to prepare more seriously injured casualties for further evacuation to the rear
  • Evacuate > to relieve the Medical Detachments of casualties, moving these to the Clearing Station, or returning them to duty
  • Transport > to transport casualties to the Clearing Station

Each of the three (3) Collecting Companies was responsible for the collection of all casualties from Aid Stations of the Division, the temporary treatment of these casualties, and their evacuation to the Clearing Station. The Collecting Companies provided medical support for the respective Infantry Regiments. When Standard Operative Procedures (SOP) were in effect, ONE Collecting Company usually accompanied the Regimental Combat Team (RCT). Occasionally an entire Collecting Company would not immediately accompany a combat team to position for battle. Some Collecting Company personnel with Ambulances and/or other transportation could remain behind with the Medical Battalion until such time as they were required in the operation of their Company. Such parts as remained behind constituted a kind of Company reserve, which was temporarily under command of the Medical Battalion CO until called for by the Collecting Company commander. Ambulances and personnel were meanwhile used for short missions, such as for evacuating units on call. Only the Collecting Companies had Ambulances!

T/O 8-17, April 1, 1942, showing the organization of the Collecting Company, Medical Battalion, Infantry Division.

Basic personnel distribution was as follows (1942 data) : 2 Captains, 2 First Lieutenants, 1 Second Lieutenant (MAC), 14 Noncommissioned Officers, 6 Technicians, and 82 Privates First class/Privates.
Vehicles for transportation consisted (1942 data) of : 12 x ¾-Ton Ambulances, 2 x 1-Ton Cargo Trailers, 1 x 250-Gallon Water Tank Trailer, 1 x ¼-Ton Truck, 1 x ¾-Ton Command & Reconnaissance Truck, 2 x 1 ½-Ton Cargo Trucks, and 1 x 2 ½-Ton Cargo Truck.

Illustration showing some of the means of transportation used by a Collecting Company . A 3/4-Ton Weapon Carrier with 1-Ton Cargo Trailer.

Company Headquarters:
The Collecting Company Headquarters consisted of 1 Captain and 17 Enlisted Men. The Headquarters was an administrative as well as a tactical organization. It provided for the control, administration, supply and mess of the individual Collecting Company.

Collecting Station Platoon:
The Station Platoon established and operated a Collecting Station for the emergency treatment of casualties being evacuated from the battlefield to the Clearing Station. The Collecting Station itself was set up in several Departments all casualties brought in from the field passed through the Receiving Department & Property Exchange. Depending on the severity and nature of their injuries, casualties were treated either at the Seriously Wounded or Slightly Wounded Departments. Gas Casualties, if any, were treated at some distance from other casualties in order to prevent possible contamination. After treatment, the wounded requiring further evacuation were sent to the Forwarding & Property Exchange Department, where they were then loaded into Ambulances, while slightly wounded, fit to return to duty, were directed back to their units.

The Station Platoon consisted (1942 data) of 1 Captain, 2 First Lieutenants (both Medical Officers), and 14 Enlisted personnel. For functional purposes the Platoon was divided into a ‘Liaison Section’ and a ‘Collecting Station Section’. Since it was imperative for the Collecting Company to establish and maintain liaison with the aid Stations, a Liaison Section was usually created – T/O do not however prescribe such specific function – so it had to be improvised from well-trained EM, there were normally 4 liaison agents under command of a Sergeant (who usually operated the Message Center as well).

Receiving Department of a Collecting Station in the field

Collecting Platoon:
The Collecting Platoon consisted (1942 data) of 1 Officer (i.e. Second Lieutenant MAC), and 71 Enlisted Men. For functional reasons it was divided into a ‘Litter Bearer Section’ and an ‘Ambulance Section’. It is important to note the subsequent organization of these subsections for instance, the ‘Litter Bearer Section’ consisted of 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal, and 40 other Enlisted Men. The Section was subdivided into two small separate groups providing 4 Litter Squads each, it should be noted, that no transportation was provided as an organic part of the Litter Section – while the ‘Ambulance Section’ was commanded by 1 Second Lieutenant (MAC), 1 Staff Sergeant, 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal, and 26 other EM. The Ambulance Section operated 12 x ¾-Ton Ambulances which represented its organic means of transportation (usually subdivided into two subsections of 2 Ambulance vehicles each).

The primary duty of the Litter Bearer Section was to evacuate casualties from the Aid Stations to the Collecting Stations. When unit Medical Sections were forced to move quickly in order to maintain medical support of units to which they were attached, Litter Bearers would have to clear the battlefield of wounded in the areas abandoned by the Medical Sections. Litter Relay Posts were therefore established with the aim to shorten the distance of the carry and ease the work of the Bearers. The wounded soldier was first carried by Hand Litter to a point on a road or trail, designated Litter Relay Post. Here, the casualty was transferred to a Wheeled Litter, and the Litter Squad then returned to the Aid Station to pick up another casualty. In the meantime the first casualty was taken to the Collecting Station. After delivering the patient, the Wheeled Litter men returned to the Relay Post for another casualty.

The Ambulance Section operated Ambulances which were driven by a Light Truck Driver, assisted by an Orderly. Casualties were ordinarily evacuated by Ambulances from the Collecting Station to the Clearing Station. The vehicles were often used for various missions, picking up casualties when the unit was on the march, either from Collecting Posts or directly from the marching columns, and evacuating them to the Clearing Station. They could also transport sick and injured personnel from camp or bivouac dispensaries to Clearing Stations. Furthermore they provided extra service transporting Litter Bearer Platoons to assembly areas, delivering medical supplies forward, carrying messages to other areas, and administering emergency treatment of casualties during evacuation…

The CLEARING COMPANY, Medical Battalion, Infantry Division:
The Clearing Company of the Medical Battalion operated Clearing Stations as necessary for the sorting and treatment of patients evacuated by the Collecting Companies. Patients were prepared at the Clearing Stations for further evacuation to the rear.

T/O 8-18, April 1, 1942, showing the organization of the Clearing Company, Medical Battalion, Infantry Division.

Primary functions of the Clearing Company included:

  • Reception > receiving casualties brought into the Clearing Station by Ambulance of the Collecting Companies
  • Triage > sorting of casualties according to the nature and severity of their injuries
  • Treatment > administering appropriate treatment to save lives, reduce suffering, and prevent permanent disability
  • Care and Shelter > providing temporary care and shelter of casualties until their physical condition permitted further evacuation
  • Slight Injured > returning slightly wounded casualties to duty with their units
  • Records > preparing appropriate medical records for the patients
  • Dispensary > operating and running a Dispensary for treatment of personnel of the Medical Battalion when the Division was not engaged in combat
  • Guard> performing Interior Guard Duty for the Medical Battalion, sharing this duty with the Collecting Companies

The distribution of personnel was (1942 data) as follows : 6 Captains, 6 First Lieutenants, 13 Noncommissioned Officers, 23 Technicians, and 84 other Enlisted Men.

The Clearing Company was further subdivided into 1 Company Headquarters and 2 Clearing Platoons.

Organization of the Clearing Company, showing the 2 Clearing Platoons..

Company Headquarters:
The Company Headquarters was organized to perform the functions of command, administration, mess, supply, and motor maintenance. Company Headquarters established their Command Post at the Clearing Station. Supply Sergeant, Motor Sergeant, Mechanics, Bugler, Truck Drivers, and basic medical personnel, completed the Headquarters and remained with the CP. Headquarters did not operate their own mess but messed with the Clearing Company. When each Clearing Platoon established a separate Clearing Station, the CP simply remained at one of them, while the remainder of the Company Headquarters, such as supply and mess personnel, were divided between them.

The Clearing Company consisted (1942 data) of 1 Captain, 1 First Lieutenant, and 22 Enlisted personnel. The Headquarters operated an administrative as well as a tactical agency.
Vehicles included 1 x 1-Ton Cargo Trailer, 1 x 250-Gallon Water Tank Trailer, 2 x ¼-Ton Trucks, 2 x 2 ½-Ton Cargo Trucks.

View of Receiving Department of a Clearing Station, where Litter Squads are in operation, either unloading Ambulances or removing patients from the Department

Clearing Platoon:
The Clearing Platoon consisted of Medical and Dental Officers, assisted by a fairly large number of Technicians. It operated a Clearing Station which was the last (second echelon) element in the Division medical service. The Station was generally set up in tents or in existent suitable buildings, and was arranged into Departments for administration and treatment of casualties. The installation consisted of a Clearing Station Office, a Receiving Department, with different sections for either Seriously Wounded or Slightly Wounded casualties, a Shock Section, an Operating Section, a Dental Department, a Gas Department (if necessary), extra Wards, a Dispensary (for Medical Battalion personnel, when not in combat), a Laboratory Section, a Supply & Storage Department, a Mess Section, a Forwarding Department, and a Morgue.

There were 2 Clearing Platoons in the Clearing Company, which were identical in organization, transportation and equipment. Each Platoon was capable of operating a Clearing Station, so that it could operate at considerable distances from Company Headquarters. The functions of the Clearing Platoon were largely technical, of a professional nature, so only a small amount of administrative work was necessary.
For command, administration, function, and training, each Clearing Platoon could be further subdivided into 2 separate Sections, a ‘Technical Section’ and a ‘Transportation Section’.

View of Army Ambulances evacuating casualties from a Clearing Station …

Normally one of the 2 Clearing Platoons remained as a reserve in vicinity of the Clearing Station. It could then relieve or reinforce the Clearing Station in operation, or it could be dispatched forward or rearward to establish another Clearing Station for the care of casualties occurring from major fluctuations of the frontline. Platoons of the Clearing Company were to be prepared to reinforce each other in emergencies, or leapfrog each other, according to the number of casualties requiring treatment, and the progress of the combat troops.

Each Clearing Platoon consisted (1942 data) of 5 Officers and 49 Enlisted Men.
Vehicles included 2 x 1-Ton Cargo Trailers, 1 x 250-Gallon Water Tank Trailer, 1 x ¼-Ton Truck, 3 x 2 ½-Ton Cargo Trucks.

Ilustration showing the organization of the Airborne Medical Company.

Remark:
Frequently during heavy engagements, a Surgical Hospital moved to the vicinity of the Clearing Station to take over cases requiring extra surgical treatment. The advantage was that a Surgical Hospital was equipped with mobile operating rooms and necessary auxiliary equipment to perform major surgical operations. It also had a number of Ambulances in order to evacuate cases requiring urgent surgery from the Clearing Station to its own installations. For administrative purposes, it should be noted that patients evacuated for treatment by a Surgical Hospital were considered removed from the Division, as were those evacuated by higher echelon Ambulances to Evacuation Hospitals.

Picture showing the Seriously Wounded Department, Shock Section, of a Clearing Station

Notes:
Needless to add that similar organizations, like the Army Medical Battalions, existed for other branches of the U.S. Military. The functional organization of the Cavalry Division included a Medical Squadron, the (early) Motorized Division had a Motorized Medical Battalion, the Armored Division had an Armored Medical Battalion, the Mountain Division a Mountain Medical Battalion, the Engineer Amphibian Brigade (later ESB) an Engineer Amphibian Medical Battalion, and the Airborne Division an Airborne Medical Company.

For those readers who are interested, here follow some incomplete data related to above organizations:
Medical Battalion, Infantry Division, T/O 8-15, April 1, 1942– 35 Commissioned Officers & 470 Enlisted Men + 101 Vehicles and Trailers.
Medical Battalion, Infantry Division, T/O 8-15, July 15, 1943– 35 Commissioned Officers, 2 Warrant Officers & 429 Enlisted Men + 90 Vehicles and Trailers.
Medical Battalion, Infantry Division, T/O 8-15, July 3, 1944– 35 Commissioned Officers, 2 Warrant Officers & 407 Enlisted Men + 90 Vehicles and Trailers.
Motorized Medical Battalion, Motorized Division, T/O 8-65, C-1, July 31, 1942– 36 Commissioned Officers & 484 Enlisted Men + 100 Vehicles and Trailers.
Armored Medical Battalion, Armored Division, T/O 8-75, March 1, 1942– 43 Commissioned Officers, 3 Warrant Officers & 456 Enlisted Men + 130 Vehicles and Trailers.
Armored Medical Battalion, Armored Division, T/O & E 8-75, November 21, 1944– 33 Commissioned Officers, 2 Warrant Officers & 365 Enlisted Men + 105 Vehicles and Trailers.
Mountain Medical Battalion, Mountain Division, T/O 8-135, April 1, 1942– 47 Commissioned Officers & 543 Enlisted Men + 69 Vehicles and Trailers + 120 Animals (Horses & Mules).
Airborne Medical Company, Airborne Division, T/O 8-37, September 5, 1942 – 20 Commissioned Officers & 195 Enlisted Men + 45 Vehicles and Trailers.
Airborne Medical Company, Airborne Division, T/O & E 8-37T, December 16, 1944– 27 Commissioned Officers & 273 Enlisted Men + 65 Vehicles and Trailers.


If Germany delayed Barbarossa until April 1942 they would have defeated Russia

The wallies are going to declare war to Germany because the Red Scare is invading western europe?

Maybe the UK, certainly not France or the US.

Glenn239

As already stated, I think Rostov could have been held at a minimum, your logistic arguments notwithstanding. In general terms I think that if AGC stays near Smolensk - as is the general concensus here - then it will retain the capacity to undertake limited depth offensive operations during the winter.

Anchises

A quick note that skilled workers reintegrating into their industry in significant numbers means the Germans have massively demobilized, which in turn means the Germans lack both the manpower and material to stop the Soviets before it seizes a whole lot of land. And unlike the Soviets, the Germans don't have much strategic depth to give up. And the main constraint on German production was a mix of lack of resources and poor organization caused by structural deficiencies in German manufacturing sectors.

In practice, it's unlikely the Germans would demobilize to such an extent given the constraints I mentioned earlier in the thread.

That is not necessarily true and really depends on the strategic situation and on the extent of demobilization. Assuming that Germany has 1 1/2 years until the start, a phased and methodical replacement of skilled workers with new recruits (recently grown ups, Volksdeutsche etc.).

This certainly wouldn't guarantee that all skilled workers are reintegrated but would really help to alleviate the labor shortages of OTL.

ObssesedNuker

Do you think pure strength of will is an adequate substitute for inadequate stocks of fuel and ammunition? Well, you certainly have the attitude for OKH, I'll say that much.

Autumn. During the winter it'd have to be purely defensive, although the same sort of defensive as seen at 2nd Kharkov.

Ideally AGS also stops at the Mius, which was the limit of it's resupply with it's historical forces. Increasing the number of forces will spread it's already inadequate supplies thinner therefore decreasing the depth while drastically weakening (this ignoring the fact that the exchange was usually a organizational clusterfuck for the logistics trail) the transferred-in forces which it can support so that's a bad idea. 2nd Panzer Army holding after the Bryansk encirclement, or better yet falling back to it's supply source near Gomel while 2nd Army takes up a screening position, is a far superior alternative to pushing on in any eastward direction, which would be ruinous for it's strength. It would also allow for a tighter pockets, preventing many of the historical Soviet escapees who would rejoin the defense, and subsequent counter-offense.

Yes, it is necessarily true. Given the level of mobilization Germany achieved according to Tooze by 1941 since 1937, equally extensive demobilization would be required to return Germany to sustainable economy. Furthermore, as already noted, the best strategic situation for Germany in 1943 post-1941-British-peace would be one of a double Cold War arms race between Germany and the Soviet Union on the one hand as well as Germany and the Anglo-American alliance on the other, with the conquests and client states of 1940-41 still requiring significant force commitments of themselves to prevent revolts or rethinking of allegiances. So politically, extensive demobilization just isn't happening.

This certainly wouldn't guarantee that all skilled workers are reintegrated but would really help to alleviate the labor shortages of OTL.

Anchises

1) I never talked about extensive demobilization. Germany certainly isn't going to end their "loot and exploit" slave economy.

But we are talking about a scenario where the shooting stops for a year and a half. With a lot of fresh 18 year olds and with pool of Volksdeutsche eligible to be drafted into the Wehrmacht or SS, we would certainly see a certain ammount of demobilization of crucial skilled workers and scientists.

phased replacement of some mobilized skilled workers and scientists != demobilization

The Germans certainly wouldn't sit on their hands during a ceasefire. They would take measures to alleviate their (skilled) labour shortages. Straw maning me into saying that the Germans would "demobilize " isn't changing that.

2) "I really doubt" hardly seems like a defintive statement.

You postulate that the Soviets would be able to produce 350k additional trucks if production would have continued unimpeded. There might have been some factors that would have slowed down production, so it seems feasible to assume that this number might have been undershot.

Then you postulate that the Soviets recieved 312k trucks during Lend and Lease.

Lets assume that the Soviets manage to produce around 300k additional trucks, given the problems in a planned economy run by a crazed paranoid sociopath this seems like a healthy pessimistic estimate.

Your numbers of course ignore that the American trucks were far superior to anything the Soviets could have produced. Especially the 200k delievered Studebaker trucks. So the actual growth in logistical capabilties isn't really reflected by the numbers you post.

Taking into account the hypothetical growth of the Soviet army between 41 and 43 it seems to me that there certainly would be more trucks and mobility but not to the degree that a simple comparison of (partly hypothetical) truck numbers would indicate.

Now lets take the changed strategic situation into account:

Instead of having the cream of the crop of the Wehrmacht freezing to death or being encircled/smashed along a ridiculously overextended front, the Soviets have to face them in Poland.

The Luftwaffe would not sustain the losses it did IOTL due to bad weather and constant rebasing. Instead it would defend a comparatively small area that by this point probably would be litered with ground based aa.

Then there is the rail conversion issue and assorted problems.

And technological issues where the Soviet industry struggled in certain high tech areas. Let me just say that the promised German technology imports imho are unlikely to happen. The Greater German Reich never really planned to fullfill its commercial agreements.

Taking all of this into account it seems to me that saying the Soviets would be ready to invade the Reich in 1943 is the same hybris that made the Germans think they were ready for Barbarossa in 1941.

ObssesedNuker

I never talked about extensive demobilization. Germany certainly isn't going to end their "loot and exploit" slave economy.

But we are talking about a scenario where the shooting stops for a year and a half. With a lot of fresh 18 year olds and with pool of Volksdeutsche eligible to be drafted into the Wehrmacht or SS, we would certainly see a certain ammount of demobilization of crucial skilled workers and scientists.

phased replacement of some mobilized skilled workers and scientists != demobilization

The Germans certainly wouldn't sit on their hands during a ceasefire. They would take measures to alleviate their (skilled) labour shortages. Straw maning me into saying that the Germans would "demobilize " isn't changing that.

Eh, given that their "skilled" labour supply still practiced in a industrial environment inferior to mass production compared to those of American and Soviet and had developed their skills as part of that environment. it isn't really much of a use, now is it? As I said before, the German problem wasn't the skill of their labour, it was both much more physical (resource shortages), structural (more old fashioned forms of factory production), and organizational (Nazis party institutional chaos).

In a few other area's I can see there being some undershooting, sure. However, I don't see anything that would slow down truck production in 1941 compared to 1941 absent a German invasion.

Then add the 270K trucks* the Soviets had in 1941 that they don't lose to the Germans in 1941-43 this time around and the additional 220K which the Soviets planned (and did) mobilize from the civilian economy in the event of war.

*Technically, the Soviets lost nearly 23,000 more then that in 1941-43, but seeing as they had only 270,000 to start with that'd overlap with their vastly shrunken domestic production, losses among the lend-lease, and the 220K mobilized I mentioned above.

Kinda? While American trucks were superior to the Soviets in stuff like reliability and handling and off-road performance, to say they were far superior is a willful exaggeration. Soviet trucks still proved up to the job of hauling artillery and supplies around, making up a bare majority (some 59%,if my memory holds correctly) of the Red Army's truck park even at the end of the war. The difference is not liable to be noticeable on the macro level. This is ignoring, of course, that truck vehicles which were cancelled or delayed IOTL by the invasion, like the Zil-15 and Gaz-51, would be able to go into production in significant quantities.

95% of requirements. This is grossly superior to the situation in June 1941, when the standing truck park of 270,000 constituted only 45% of their calculated requirements.

Now lets take the changed strategic situation into account:

Instead of having the cream of the crop of the Wehrmacht freezing to death or being encircled/smashed along a ridiculously overextended front, the Soviets have to face them in Poland.

I certainly don't expect the Soviets to achieve a rapid breakthrough or anything like that. It's gonna be a attritional grind along the frontier, but that still favors the Soviets in the end given their larger (and, on average, younger) manpower pool, better access to resources, better organized (and IATL, undamaged and expanded) industry, etc. etc.

Sure, but by the same token 1943 the VVS would also have well-established bases and air defense by the border, along with modern aircraft comparable to it's 1944-45 gear. The Yak-3, for example, can go into production by 1942 without the initial program getting canned by the invasion like it was in late-'41 only to be revived two years later. Just as importantly, Soviet high quality aviation gas production will have expanded by hundreds of thousands of tons and it's aircraft industries would be boosted by the retention of 50% of it's aluminum production that was historically lost until 1945 and then an additional 70,000 tons on top of that from the completion of the facility in the northern Urals whose construction was delayed so badly that the first production didn't take place until April 1944. The only real uncertain thing there is how Soviet pilot training would evolve over the next two years.

The Soviets proved a lot better at this then the Germans even before lend-lease started showing up, I don't see what "problem" it would be.

Struggled so much they managed to compete with not only the Germans, but also the Americans and British for the next 30 odd years.

I mean sure, there probably are going to be areas where the Soviets may improve but not as much as they would have with lend-lease. Radios for example. On the whole, without a devastating invasion but also without lend-lease, Soviet industry is liable to be just better off period in some areas, better off quantitatively (but not qualitatively) in others, and held back in yet others yet still better off then they were in 1941. I really doubt they won't have anything that won't manage to do the job though, which is all they need.

Because OTL it was going to invade in 1941. If it isn't going to invade it's going to have to pony up, less Stalin turn off the tap as his confidence in the Red Army starts to revive.

Glenn239

Glenn239

You've expressed a bunch of opinions about outcomes, but have demonstrated nothing concrete about what could and couldn't be done on the AGS front with respect to capturing Rostov or even Stalingrad.

As I said, the strategy after the Kiev pocket closed should have switched to AGS as the main effort. We agree that AGC digs in and winters nears Smolensk. It may conduct limited winter offensive operations, but generally speaking, by November it is converting to winter gear, building up supplies, and digging in. The Red Army had already committed significant reserves to the Moscow front before Typhoon commenced, meaning that failure of AGC to advance in depth would have avoided a trap. AGS becomes the focal point, receiving at least 2nd Panzer army as reinforcements, plus enough infantry divisions to take and hold the Crimea in the fall and dominate the Sea of Azov. Use the Luftwaffe to destroy the Black Sea fleet and invade across Kerch towards Krasnodar. Establish rail heads to Kharkov and Rostov, and sea communications to the Azov ports and Crimea from Rumania via the Danube. With the pieces in place and no emergency gutting AGC, the AGS offensive could continue all winter.

Veiovis

Glenn239

ObssesedNuker

Flatly wrong. Unlike you I've backed up my "opinion" by pointing too the historical supply situation AGS with actual numbers and data, which do demonstrate concrete details about what could and couldn't be done on the AGS front. This is something you've singularly failed to do.

Which AGC destroyed. It was the reserves committed after the start of Typhoon which stopped and then threw it back. IATL, without Typhoon, those reserves get sent against AGS. Seriously, your showing a abject lack of knowledge about the chronology of Eastern Front operations and Soviet reserve commitments with this statement.

Like all the historical German Eastern Front plans, this is filled with lofty objectives discussing what the Germans are supposed to do with zero consideration for how they are going to do it. How are the Germans going to establish railheads all the way out to Kharkov and Rostov when they couldn't even get any across the D'niepr during '41? The Luftwaffe couldn't destroy the Black Sea Fleet IOTL over the course of three years despite making maximum efforts to do so, how is it suddenly able to do so in a few months IATL? How are the Germans going to get supplies to the Azov ports when those ports are not operational and the shipping doesn't exist? How is Sevastopol going to fall faster then OTL when the Germans did commit large numbers of infantry backed up by specialist assault troops and siege artillery yet still took until mid-'42 to capture the fortress? How is AGS going to continue the offensive all winter with more forces on it's axis when it lacked the supply throughput even continue the offensive during the fall with less forces OTL? How is AGS going to handle the additional 1 million men and 2,000 tanks and aircraft the Soviets will be able to send against them?

That was weird. Thanks for the heads up.

Glenn239

As before, you have 2nd Panzer sitting 200km from Kharkov in late October twiddling its thumbs doing nothing while AGS struggles to take the city. You're kidding right?

2nd Panzer blows its strength advancing to help AGS pocket Russian forces around Kharkov, does it? You're kidding, right?

As already stated, make AGS the focal point for the main offensive after Kiev and committing all the logistic resources on that front while AGC consolidates on its rail head at Smolensk. The German army did not have the resources to advance on two AG fronts in the fall of 1941. It had the resources to advance on one. So yes, build the rail heads to Kharkov and Rostov, take the Crimea with the forces to hold it, and establish SLOC from Rumania.

ObssesedNuker

380 kilometers, not 200. By comparison, the advance to Tula was

230 kilometers. And this is not taking into the fact that there is no direct transport link connecting Bryansk to Kharkov, which requires 2nd Panzer Army detour through Orel and add another

70 kilometers to it's (and it's inadequate supply support's) journey.

Perhaps you should contemplate why, despite having only 100 kilometers to go post-Kiev and a 3:1 numerical superiority over the remaining Soviet forces after the transfer of forces up to AGC had taken place, Army Group South still took until October 20th to make it to Kharkov and what that says about AGS's logistical situation.

Yes. I mean, advancing around about the 100 kilometers shorter distance to Tula did the same so I don't see why that would suddenly change.

Which results in AGS collapsing much as AGC did but the Soviets now have more resources for their winter counter-offensive and are able to concentrate them against AGS.

Given that Army Group Center's advance collapsed catastrophically, that demonstrates the German army didn't have the resources to even advance on one front. As Martin Van Crewald pointed out, the dispersion of resources was necessitated by the infrastructure. Concentrating more effort over the existing road and rail nets was simply not feasible.

The effect of German resources are conditional upon other issues. The inability to get railheads over the D'niepr came not from any lack of rail repair crews, but from the fact that the Soviets had so thoroughly demolished the rail bridges over the D'niepr so thoroughly that that is how long it would take for them to be rebuilt. So there is no way AGS can get railheads to Kharkov and Rostov unless you are positing the Nazis develop magic. Similarly, the October lack of supply throughput stemmed not from a lack of locomotives and rolling stock, but from the fact the rail network itself was so inadequate and German organization so poorly conceived that the entire thing became logjammed back in Poland, which is something no throwing additional resources at can really solve and indeed is more likely to increase the logjam. Inability to establish SLOC from Romania stemmed from the fact that no ports were operational east of Odessa and repairs took well into 1942 to sort out. And even the historical advances were conditional on the fact that the Soviets October and the vast bulk of their November reserves had to be committed to Moscow in order to respond to Operation Typhoon, which is not the case IATL.

Before blithely making assumptions that the issue is a mere commitment of resources, I recommend you actually do research into the logistical matters to see if that is really the case.

Alexmilman

Well, this is a valid statement but the actual tank-related problems for the Red Army circa 1941 were not the number of tanks but:

(a) Inadequate repair and maintenance resources available for the mechanized units: they were well below the officially defined levels. The main reason was concentration of the limited production capacities upon the "final product". Production of the spare parts for the tanks, tractors (used by the military) and trucks had been minimal. The same goes for the specialists. By the early 1941 the mechanized units had a high percentage of personnel with 4 - 5 classes of education and a noticeable percentage of those not even speaking Russian well. A side issue was a questionable quality of the 1st T-34's: the model had a lot of design issues and very short period of time between the serious repairs (among other things, carburetor had something like 50 hours life span). Then there was a problem with the shells production: by the start of the war the tanks were seriously under-equipped with the armor-piercing shells. An extra year could (but not necessarily would) result in some improvement in all these areas and at least the non-com personnel (who, unlike the conscripts, served for a long time) could learn the new equipment.

(b) Serious flaws of the organization. The Red Army had a number of the huge mechanized corps units but they, unlike the German ones, did not have adequate composition of the tanks, self-propelled (or at least moved by the trucks/tractors) artillery and infantry units. They were mostly tanks, which made them extremely vulnerable to the combined arms and pretty much useless as far as reconnaissance and holding the ground was involved. The proper structure of the mechanized/tank corps was created only by the end of 1942.

(c) As everybody knows, the Red Army tactics circa 1941 was terrible both due to the wrong idea of the "tank war" (understood as "purely tanks") and due to the lack of experience (by the start of the war most of the tank crews in the border units had very limited experience). BTW, supposedly "invulnerable" T-34 and KV had been destroyed in the big numbers during the 1st weeks of the war. The story about "invulnerability" was based upon an assumption that the enemy would be shooting at the front armor but the Germans had been widely practicing attacks on the flanks and even their tank artillery (except for the light models) was adequate for breaking a side armor of T-34 (and even KV), breaking the treads, etc.: there are numerous photos demonstrating that fact. Statement that "they had not much at hand which could destroy those tanks" is based on a popular legend. In a reality, most of the Soviet armor, including numerous T-34s and KV had been destroyed in the battles near the border (and most of it was NOT destroyed by the German aviation: they simply did not have enough planes to do what the legend says they did ). BTW, the German armor-piercing shells had been quite effective even against the front armor of T-34.

Glenn239

The German army had the logistical capacity for one army group to attempt a deep operation after September 1941. In 1941 it attempted it on two fronts - Army Group Center and Army Group South. If AGC were to hold in place around Smolensk, the logistic resources could be diverted south to allow an advance with AGS into the winter of 1941-1942. If so, Rostov can be taken and held at a minimum and Stalingrad is not out of the question if the Germans were to get lucky.

Trans-shiping loads via barge across the river would certainly reduce the daily capacity of a rail head further east, but not eliminate all together. A similar problem to the point at the border where the European and Russian rail gauges met and all the train loads had to be offloaded and then reloaded.

IMO, the proper move after the Kiev pocket was closed was to allow AGC a limited offensive followed by winter quarters around Smolensk, and to divert the mobile resources to AGS for an offensive to capture all of the Ukraine and possibly even Stalingrad during the winter of 1941/1942. As part of the process whereby AGS becomes the primary effort, the resources necessary to take and hold the Crimean peninsula in the fall of 1941 would be allocated, and then, with Axis domination of the Sea of Azov via airpower, SLOC would be established from Rumania via Crimea to the Sea of Azov ports, perhaps using Sealion assets not employed for Sealion. Between these three logistic solutions - concentration of mechanized resources of all fronts onto one army front, improved rail repair efforts, better employment of sea communications - the logistics problem could be overcome.

Nothing of the opinions that you've provided in response to this proposal alters this conclusion.


April 1942 Alternate Indian Ocean

IIRC, the US Pacific Fleet was even shorter of modern destroyers by October 1942 than they were of cruisers. This timeline it could be a bit different and perhaps a destroyer division or a squadron could be shaken free due to the lack of an Aleutian committment and the pounding of the Japanese heavy cruiser striking forces (IIRC, they are down 5 heavy cruisers in TTL compared to OTL) which means lighter losses in Iron Bottom Sound but until the 1940 2 Ocean Navy warship Pez dispenser starts popping out ships, the USN does not have a ton of extra capacity. This is especially true if Pedestal inflicts additional losses on the USN and/or Torch gets moved up a month to October instead of early November.

Zheng He

0600 Hours, 6 August 1942, Colombo Harbor, Ceylon – The early morning hours of 6 August saw the heavy ships of the Eastern Fleet and their escorts sortie for exercises in preparation for anticipated operations south of the Dutch East Indies. Somerville wanted his ships to practice at sea refueling with the fleet oiler USS Trinity to enhance their ability to operate near Port C and Christmas Island, almost 2000 miles from Colombo. Once the oilers from Port C arrived in a few days, Somerville planned to assemble an at sea refueling group to support his carriers on long range operations.

In addition to refueling training, Somerville also wanted some of the fleet’s new arrivals, particularly the aircraft carrier HMS Furious and the battleship HMS Valiant to learn the fleet’s tactics and formations for maneuvering and air defense. Going to sea on Furious were the 12 Supermarine Seafires of No. 807 Squadron along with 12 SBD Dauntless dive bombers (converted ex-USAAF A-24 Banshees). The dive bomber crews had been training under the tutelage of Lieutenant Tucker and Captain Ring and were now going to sea with their new mounts for the first time for carrier qualifications. Lieutenant Tucker was placed in temporary command of the squadron and due to its somewhat unofficial status and because the unit was flying American planes and commanded by an American officer, the crews took the name Eagle Squadron to honor the Americans who flew in the RAF before their nation had joined the war.

Zheng He

1000 Hours, 6 August 1942, Eastern Atlantic Ocean – While the Eastern Fleet was putting to sea for training, half a world away in the Atlantic Ocean between Gibraltar and the Azores, the warships and merchant ships of the PEDESTAL convoy assembled for OPERATION BERSERK. This exercise included several days of training in anti-aircraft gunnery, air defense tactics, formation maneuvering, at sea refueling, and communications. Additionally, the dive and torpedo bomber squadrons from the three carriers supporting the convoy trained in night launch and recovery operations. This was particularly important for the American crews of USS Ranger’s VS-41 who were not as experienced in night flying as their Royal Navy counterparts. The task force commander Vice Admiral Neville Syfret had a special mission in mind for his carriers’ TBR squadrons.

Concurrent with Syfret’s ships training in the Eastern Atlantic, the carriers HMS Illustrious and HMS Hermes and their escorts sortied from Port Said along with the four merchant ships of the PODIUM convoy for air strike, air defense, and amphibious assault training against the island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. As with his ships’ other operations of the past two weeks, Rear Admiral Vian was told to make sure the Germans and Italians caught wind of what he was up to.

Zheng He

Zheng He

Zheng He

Zheng He

1600 Hours, 6 August 1942, Port C, Cocos Islands, Indian Ocean – FECB personnel from Colombo had flown to Port C to join their counterparts forward deployed to the atoll where they were also joined by RAAF and RAN traffic analysts from HMAS Coonawarra near Darwin. The meeting had been scheduled a few days earlier by AIRCOS commander Captain Frank D. Wagner after his intelligence section briefed him on some interesting developments discovered by the FECB detachment at Port C. Traffic analysis along with some codebreaking from all three locations revealed the same thing – that IJN and JAAF air units were in the process of deploying in strength to Java, Timor, and Bali from bases in Singapore, the Philippines, Sumatra, and Celebes. Traffic analysis also indicated the heavy cruisers of Cruiser Division Five had moved from Singapore to Batavia and that a carrier division of undetermined designation and strength was being deployed from Empire waters the Southern Area Expeditionary Fleet. The consensus was that the enemy was preparing for offensive action against Western Australia and Allied bases and sea lines of communication south of the Dutch East Indies.

While couriering information was incredibly inefficient, Rear Admiral Danckwerts and Captain Wagner preferred security to efficiency and the next morning the personnel from Ceylon and Australia boarded transport planes for the long flights back to their home stations where they could alert their commanders regarding possible enemy courses of action.


April 8, 1942 In the Zone

Rodman was no stranger to the brutal twists and the horrors of war. Nearly half his comrades were killed, fighting in the Philippines. The survivor’s guilt. What the man saw during WW2 changed his life, forever.

Military forces of Imperial Japan appeared unstoppable during the years leading to World War 2, attacking first Thailand, then the British possessions of Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. The US military bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines all fell, in quick succession.

On January 7, 1942 Japanese forces attacked the Bataan peninsula in the central Luzon region, of the Philippines. The prize was nothing short of the finest natural harbor in the Asian Pacific, Manila Bay, the Bataan Peninsula forming the lee shore and the heavily fortified island of Corregidor, the “Gibraltar of the East”, standing at the mouth. Before the Japanese invasion was to succeed, Bataan and Corregidor must be destroyed.

In early December, the Far East Air Force (FEAF) outside Luzon possessed more aircraft than the Hawaiian Department, defending Pearl Harbor. In the event of hostilities with Japan, “War Plan Orange” (WPO-3) called for superior air power, covering the strategic retreat across Manila Bay to the Bataan peninsula, buying time for US Naval assets to sail for the Philippines.

In reality, the flower of American naval power in the pacific, lay at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Eight hours after the attack on Oahu, a devastating raid on Clark Field outside of Luzon left 102 aircraft damaged, or destroyed. Army chief of staff general George C. Marshall later remarked to a reporter: “I just don’t know how MacArthur happened to let his planes get caught on the ground.”

General Douglas MacArthur abandoned Corregidor on March 12, departing the “Alamo of the Pacific” with trademark dramatic flair: “I shall return”. Some 90,000 American and Filipino troops were on their own, left without food, supplies or support with which to fight off the onslaught of the Japanese 14 th Army.

Starving, battered by wounds and decimated by all manner of tropical disease and parasite, the “Battling Bastards of Bataan” fought on until they could do no more.

War correspondent Frank Hewlett was the last reporter to leave Corregidor, before it all collapsed. It was he who coined the phrase “ Angels of Bataan “, to describe the women who stayed behind to be taken into captivity, to care for the sick and wounded. Hewlett wrote this tribute to the doomed defenders of that place:

Battling Bastards of Bataan

We’re the battling bastards of Bataan
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces
And nobody gives a damn
Nobody gives a damn.

Allied war planners turned their attention to defeating Adolf Hitler.

In the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the river gunboat USS Mindanao earned the distinction of taking prisoner the sole survivor of the midget submarine attacks carried out that day, Kazuo Sakamaki. Now short on fuel, Mindanao was reduced to harassing shore artillery and covering small boats evacuating soldiers, from the beaches. On April 8, 1942, Mindanao Executive Officer David Nash confided to his diary: “This has been a hectic day. It looks like the beginning of the end. The planes get nearer each day and this evening the word was received to get up steam and standby to get underway. Meanwhile Ft. Mills started shooting across our heads toward the Bataan lines. All night long our forces were obviously destroying equipment. It looks like evacuation from the Peninsula”.

Bataan fell the following day, some 75,000 American and Filipino fighters beginning a 65-mile, five-day trek into captivity known as the Bataan Death March . Lieutenant Nash was taken prisoner, surviving a captivity many did not to pass the remainder of the war at Bilibid, Davao, Dapecol and the infamous Cabanatuan prison camps.

With a commanding position over Pacific shipping routes, holding the Philippine archipelago was critical for Japanese war strategy. Capturing the islands was important to the US by the same logic with the added reason, this was a personal point of pride for General Douglas MacArthur. Two years almost to the day from that ignominious departure, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered MacArthur to come up with a plan to take the place back. Luzon would come first with the invasion of Leyte in the north, slated for early 1945.

That summer, US 3rd fleet operations revealed Japanese defenses were weaker than expected. The invasion was moved forward to October. Before it was over, the Battle of Leyte would trigger the greatest naval battle, of World War 2.

With deep-water approaches and sandy beaches, Leyte Island is tailor-made for amphibious assault. Preliminary operations for the invasion began on October 17. MacArthur made his grand entrance on the 20 th announcing to the 900,000 residents of the island: “People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”

The fighting for Leyte was long and bloody involving 323,000 American troops and Filipino guerrillas. Day and night through mountains, swamps and jungles, by the time it was over some 50,000 Japanese combat troops were destroyed. Organized resistance ended on Christmas day. By the New Year there was little left, but isolated stragglers.

Not many can find humor in such a place as that. Private Melvin Levy was one who could. A member of the 511 th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11 th Airborne Division, that November, Levy and his comrades were fighting as infantry. He was part of the 511 th ‘s demolition platoon, nicknamed the “Death Squad” for its high casualty rate.

The C-47 came in low that day, but this wasn’t your normal bombing run. The plane was armed with “biscuit bombs”, crates of food and provisions intended to resupply the 511 th regiment. With a comedian’s sense of timing, Levy was holding court before an enthralled group of soldiers, resting under a palm tree. Laughter filled the air as Private Levy delivered the punchline and asked his best friend Rodman, for a cigarette. Rodman took the one out of his mouth and handed it over before turning, for the pack. The biscuit bomb came in at 200 miles per hour, tearing Levy’s head from his shoulders, where he stood.

As the only other Jewish guy in the unit, Rodman presided over Levy’s funeral, the following day. He spoke a few words and placed a star of David, on Levy’s grave.

Nearly half his comrades were killed, fighting in the Philippines. Rodman himself was wounded twice and finished the war, in occupied Japan. He was no stranger to the brutal twists and the horrors of war. The survivor’s guilt. What the man saw during WW2 changed him, forever. The human wreckage wrought by the atomic bomb, the fire bombing, the results of the aerial mining of Japanese harbors literally code-named, “Operation Starvation”.

Rodman Edward Serling had opened a door, never to be closed. A door unlocked, with the key of imagination. Beyond that door is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into, the Twilight Zone.


Watch the video: THE PACIFIC WAR - Japan versus the US. Full Documentary