The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:55 pm

Hello everybody,

I will ignore the repeated insults of people that don't deserve any attention and I will answer ONLY to polite people:


Hi Paul,
I see your scenario and I'm afraid I would have totally panicked in such a situation.
However, we know about people like Cmdr.Glasfurd (HMS Acasta) who was fired at by 2 German battleships and decided to do his utmost to damage them, despite HMS Glorious was already lost: he succeeded but died. We know Adm.Beatty comment to the explosion of his second ship at Jutland from the signature of Mr.Wadinga: he did not turn away the battlecuiser squadron for that. We know about Cmdr De Cristofaro (RN Tarigo) who, after a shell amputated his leg, refused to leave his bridge and ordered another attack against the enemy: he sank with his ship.
There are several heroism examples in which, in situations even worse than Leach's one, the commanding officer did his duty up to the end, succeeding and/or dying. I still consider Leach and Wake-Walker attitude quite timid according to the standard of the Royal Navy (as well as Troubridge's one).


Hi mstary1,
the comparison of Leach decision with Lutjens, Kummetz or Italian Admirals' ones is not totally correct IMO: they had either explicit orders not to engage at all or to engage only in clear superiority situation (a very ambiguous definition).
AFAIK, Leach had no such order and was at sea to sink Bismarck, not to perform any other task that could justify his retreat.....


Hi Byron,
on paper, I'm sure Churchill would have sacrificed PoW in exchange with Bismarck, aren't you ? For sure Pound suggested Tovey that the sacrifice of a heavy cruiser was a light prize to pay for maintaining the contact with Bismarck instead of loosing contact. However the point here is not to blindly sacrifice one ship or the other, but to try to damage Bismarck in order to prevent her from her mission against the British traffic.
Wake-Walker orders were to locate Bismarck. However, once BC1 was in sight, there was no need of explicit orders for a flag officer to engage the enemy and support the action of the battleships (this is also the advise of Adm.Santarini in his book).
Once Holland was killed, Wake-Walker's duty was to try to stop Bismarck, replacing Holland, not to blindly continue his shadowing role, even after having been "solicited" by the admiralty with the "intentions" signal.


Hi Francis,
you are (unfortunately) right. What matters for history is the final result and I fully understand Churchill final decision "Leave it", while Troubridge was not so lucky and was trialed by CM because the Goeben succeeded.
However the final result cannot completely hide the deficiencies of some officers and that's why IMO a serious inquiry would have been preferable to the easy solution, the "sugar-coating" of the reports. My strict personal opinion, of course.




Finally,
Paul Mercer wrote: "I'm sorry if this method of address offends you, but I think it is the polite way to do things"
:clap:
I do agree, even if we (Paul and myself) are in disagreement about the evaluation of the military behaviors, we can discuss politely. Civilized manners should not be forgotten in this debate, but I think the desperation of some people unable to argument is surfacing in their insults.....


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:56 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alberto Virtuani,

civilized manners imply that those " hooligan/deniers " following the examples of their " looser " leaders ... at first stop offending persons with their invented " conspiracy theory " they try to state being invented by us and recognize/acknowledge that this unfortunate and shameful series of events is written into the still available official documents and has been already written and revealed/disclosed by the most important British historians already, long time ago.

That is the first step to restore a civilized way to discuss among us into this forum with those persons.

The only thing we can accept is that we ( me and you ) have been going a lot deeper into the analysis and the connections among the various events, ... always and only related to the same 2 Officers subject to the Board of Inquiry -> Court Martial attempt request and we have connected the final rewarding by the King to the ADM/205/10, ... as it is obvious and self evident even if never written before by any historian.

But we know the reasons why both a deeper analysis ( intentionally false statement on Tovey dispatches ) as well as the final rewarding connection was never correlated to this shameful event by the historians, ... it is too easy to understand why it happened.

Only Sir Henry Leach did it, ... when he pretended to try to fully restore his father memory, ... with his biography, ... obviously.

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by HMSVF » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:20 pm

However, we know about people like Cmdr.Glasfurd (HMS Acasta) who was fired at by 2 German battleships and decided to do his utmost to damage them, despite HMS Glorious was already lost: he succeeded but died. We know Adm.Beatty comment to the explosion of his second ship at Jutland


Glasfurd and Barker where undeniably brave. IMHO they should have been awarded the VC - especially Glasfurd as Roope was for his actions with HMS Glowworm . As a counter argument I would say this. He was the captain of a destroyer.Destroyers were expendable when compared to battlecruisers. He also knew that there was a multitude of vessels streaming troops and equipment back from Norway. I suspect the reason why Glasfurd didn't get the VC was because to award the VC would have opened up the can of worms that is tightly sealed shut under the 100 year rule in regards to Guy D'Oyly-Hughes conduct and complete mismanagement of HMS Glorious.

In regards to Beatty...

Well. Despite the BCF's losses he had the 5th Battle Squadron with him and the odds were still in his favour - he had the 4 most powerful ships in the world with him. He was hardly on his own. Indeed,if it hadn't have been for his (Beatty's) mismanagement and poor communication the likely hood of losing HMS Queen Mary would have been lessened as the Evan Thomas would have been far closer than he actually was to the BCF. Might have save HMS Indefatigable too. We will never know. What is known is that Beatty was apoplectic when Harper produced his report and ordered tracks to be altered (for instance he cocked up an instruction to Chatfield which lead to HMS Lion doing a full 360' turn which was removed from his version the tracks, he requested that Grand Fleet accounts were suppressed (begrudgingly he acknowledged that "I suppose it doesn't matter if we hear that the Grand Fleet got its feet wet" and that his mishandling of his ships (even after Dogger Bank they still couldn't get target allocation right which left SMS Moltke free of fire and able to fire unimpeded). Such was the fury of the "Jutland Scandal" that HMS Beatty and Jellicoe ended up being renamed HMS Howe and Anson...

Different circumstances, different ships, different numbers, different numbers.Different strategic problems

In regards to Troubridge... Well the counter argument is what occurred off Coronel. Christopher Craddock was shafted by the Admiralty and Churchill. He was denied proper support in the form of HMS Defence and knew what happen if he didn't engage as Troubridge had already been hung out to dry. Indeed he gave the governor of the Falklands his letters in regards to the Admiralty farcical handling of Spee's threat and also personal possessions as he knew he wasn't coming back. Troubridge was shafted by Churchill's meddling and Battenbergs incompetence. Was Craddock sacrifice glorious? Well,the germans were not particularly damaged, the biggest negative was that they had fired a fair amount of ammunition and had reduced the chances of making it home to zero.Not through damage inflicted but through his overwhelming victory at Coronel,no way would the RN (or more importantly the navy obsessed public) accept that.






So roll on to 1941. Hood has just disintegrated in from of his eyes taking admiral Holland with him. His ship is brand new with a workmen still on board.He has been kept in close formation so the Germans already have the range, they just need the correct deflection. His bridge is then taken out by a shell killing almost all of those around him. All of this occurs in minutes. His ship (unbeknown to him) has hit Bismarck 3 times before Hoods immolation, after his evasive manoeuvres and many hits I believe that no hits were obtained and fire became ragged. Its one thing to be able to fire,its another to fire effectively and on target. Seeing as this new battleship has just sank Hood and peppered HMS POW he withdraws and regroups. Leach will be aware that the RN has several battleships in the Atlantic and a couple of carriers. If he can hang on to Bismarck and keep "tag" on her till Tovey or other units arrive then he will achieved his mission.

Im sure that the counter argument of course is that HMS POW should have continued the fight and attempted to severely damage Bismarck. Well, that relies on the idea that POW was in a position to do that. Salvo counts can tell you so much, but the definitive test is how effective was the fire. If it was ragged and inaccurate as Mr Virtuani's friend Admiral Santarini stated

"We shouldn't allow ourselves to be misled by the lack of hits after 06:00,as mechanical breakdowns and violent rudder movements to avoid enemy fire substantially hindered any efforts to hit again"

HMS POW was one of 3 ships (if you included the now sunk HMS Hood) that had the necessary firepower, the necessary speed and armour (or not in Hoods case) that could match Bismarck. It's a hell of gamble to risk one of the 2 ships remaining that could (theoretically) match Bismarck. If Leach goes for bust and sticks it out but fails to cripple Bismarck (not an unreasonable or unlikely scenario given her performance after 06:00) given whats occurred within 10 minutes or so of battle but loses HMS POW in the process then that leaves just KGV. Lets remember this is May 1941 - no battleship has been sunk or crippled at sea by aircraft from a carrier . If POW is sunk or crippled whats stopping Bismarck from doing a 180 and going back up the Denmark Strait? Who is going to stop him?

Lastly, through experience I will not judge people who face life and death decisions too harshly. You get one chance with the cards you are dealt. No amount of training or simulation will prepare you for the real thing. You can simulate a scenario a 1000 times but nothing prepares you for the adrenaline and feelings of living through a desperate event.Unless you have been in a life/death situation its difficult to portray.

Leach experienced possibly the worst 10 minutes of any captains experience at sea. He lost his Admiral,his flagship, has just been inches (or less) away from death himself and had to get a hold of the situation whilst also dealing with a damaged ship which was suffering from some pretty serious faults. We can argue how bad till the cows come home.To be doesn't matter what we think 75 years later but what Leach thought at the time.


My (polite and cordial) counter argument



Best wishes


HMSVF

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by wadinga » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:10 pm

Hello Antonio,

Once again you make up things that never happened:
Court Martial attempt request
There is no evidence there ever was a "Court Martial attempt request"
revealed/disclosed by the most important British historians already, long time ago.


No British, American, German or even Zimbabwean historian has revealed or disclosed any Conspiracy Theory about Denmark Straits. Only you and Alberto have invented it and suggested collusion between RN officers to deceive anybody, although you are extremely vague about who it is they were supposed to deceive, since everybody from lowly crew members to the Prime Minister are now supposed to be in on it. According only to you.


Your ludicrous obsession with awards:
we have connected the final rewarding by the King to the ADM/205/10, ... as it is obvious and self evident even if never written before by any historian.
Disregards that Wake-Walker and Leach's recognition for their sterling service in the Denmark Straits was first marked with their remaining in post from about 31st May onwards.
never correlated to this shameful event by the historians
There is no shameful event. No word of criticism based on even the shallowest analysis of the accuseds' actions has ever been recorded.
Only Sir Henry Leach did it, ... when he pretended to try to fully restore his father memory, ... with his biography,
Whose biography? Henry Leach's autobiography gives no further evidence, as he was clearly only aware of Tovey's baseless, unsubstantiated allegation from Kennedy's book. Only Wills wrote a biography of John Leach and he apparently made no effort whatsoever to investigate the CMDS threat, but like many others parroted it because in the end it was completely dismissed in 1941 as without foundation or effect.

That is the first step to restore a civilized way to discuss among us into this forum

The first step is for you to withdraw your name calling of cowardice. You have presented no worthwhile evidence at all and despite its endless repetition no-one has yet accepted any of your points. Pathetic personal jibes calling those who quite reasonably question the basis and content of your Conspiracy Theory, "ignorant", "ill-educated" and "loosers" (sic) are hardly civilised.


All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:46 am

Hello everybody,

as anyone can see above, Mr.Wadinga (as well as many others among the "deniers") is not willing to condemn the personal insults and attacks of his fellow RN hooligans (started already in 2013 !): therefore he is totally "partner in crime" with them and he will be treated as they all deserve: ignoring his repeated denial of the overwhelming evidences pointing to a serious threat against the two officers, that is clearly a "motive" for the subsequent SHAMEFUL (but comprehensible in wartime) "sugar-coating" of the reports.

If he prefers to think that Pinchin's Plot is a correct battlemap, that Churchill and Pound were happy when they knew that a British battleship had retreated in front of the enemy having sustained "superficial damages" only (and when a flag officer refused to re-engage the enemy when in superiority, loosing contact), that Tovey wrote point 17 and 19 of his despatches without the clear intent to sell a less poor version of the story for Leach and Wake-Walker, that Barnes' answer and ADM 205/10 don't suffice to explain the political decision to "leave it", that all the historians and Sir Henry Leach were so incompetent to trust the CM story, and that decorations were well deserved also for the timid officers, it is by now his personal problem ONLY.



Adm.Santarini wrote (quoted by HMSVF): "We shouldn't allow ourselves to be misled by the lack of hits after 06:00,as mechanical breakdowns and violent rudder movements to avoid enemy fire substantially hindered any efforts to hit again"
Adm.Santarini says PoW gunnery performance was excellent (pag.50-54), until the Hood explosion, then it was affected by the violent turns, especially the 160° turn away that put "Y" turret out of action.
Had Leach decided to continue the fight and had he steered an almost parallel course to Bismarck, her gunnery precision could quickly have been restored (as per McMullen opinion, in his interview: "Guns are OK") and PoW was clearly still able to further damage Bismarck (as Pound apparently outlined to Tovey in his May 28 letter, based on Tovey May 31 answer). Whether PoW would have been severely damaged (probably), crippled (possible) or sunk (unlikely) is a matter of speculation, as well as Bismarck possible damages severity.



Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:51 am

Sigh! And so it goes on!
Gentlemen,
This debate is rapidly approaching 150 posts, I have the greatest respect for the knowledge and expertise that you have displayed in them, so let me ask a couple of final questions. it is all very well to quote the heroism of other ships captains who sacrificed their ships in one final battle but as you are all pretty expert in your evaluations please tell me how long you think PoW would have survived against two powerful ships with a combined output of 16 guns plus of course PE's torpedoes? There is a fine line between heroism and foolhardiness, it is all very well to sacrifice yourself'and be awarded a posthumous VC but quite another to take another 1400 or so people with you and lose a valuable ship for little result. Personally, I think that once PoW started having gun problems she did not have a chance in hell of defeating the combination of Bismark and PE and Capt Leach knew it, so he made the only the sensible decision available to him and disengaged in order to save his ship and crew. Cowardice? No way! A decision by an experienced Captain? Certainly!
Second question, what do you think the effect on the Admiralty and the population in general if two of their capital ships had been destroyed, so say nothing about the massive publicity Dr Goebbels would have made about it? So in your expert opinions, would it have still been worth it?

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by dunmunro » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:46 am


Adm.Santarini wrote (quoted by HMSVF): "We shouldn't allow ourselves to be misled by the lack of hits after 06:00,as mechanical breakdowns and violent rudder movements to avoid enemy fire substantially hindered any efforts to hit again"
Adm.Santarini says PoW gunnery performance was excellent (pag.50-54), until the Hood explosion, then it was affected by the violent turns, especially the 160° turn away that put "Y" turret out of action.
Had Leach decided to continue the fight and had he steered an almost parallel course to Bismarck, her gunnery precision could quickly have been restored (as per McMullen opinion, in his interview: "Guns are OK") and PoW was clearly still able to further damage Bismarck (as Pound apparently outlined to Tovey in his May 28 letter, based on Tovey May 31 answer). Whether PoW would have been severely damaged (probably), crippled (possible) or sunk (unlikely) is a matter of speculation, as well as Bismarck possible damages severity.



Bye, Alberto
Santorini expounds on PoW's loss of output:
In fact, apart from Hood blowing up, the loss of efficiency of the PoW's heavy guns was probably the worst event that occurred to the British side.(p.109)
and fully supports Leach's decision to withdraw.

He concludes that after Hood's loss there was a near zero chance for PoW to successfully continue the action.

Santorini's analysis is flawed because he doesn't use the correct open fire times for Bismarck and then gives incorrect times for Bismarck and PE's hits on PoW, which has the effect of minimizing the number of hits scored by the KM side in the interval between Hood's loss and PoW's salvo 18. Regardless his analysis is that after Hood was sunk it was Lutjens who erred in not pursuing and attempting to sink PoW.

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by HMSVF » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:20 pm

Had Leach decided to continue the fight and had he steered an almost parallel course to Bismarck, her gunnery precision could quickly have been restored
While POW does this,what’s the Bismarck doing ?

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:37 pm

Paul Mercer wrote: "Cowardice? No way! A decision by an experienced Captain? Certainly!"
Hi Paul,
while I have to accept your personal viewpoint, I have exactly an opposite one.
PoW had gunnery problems but not so serious (please see here if you want to discuss them (http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopi ... =60#p79609), her heavy damages could have been repaired in Britain while some additional damage to Bismarck could have result in her loss because she was alone with PG. Leach was a senior officer but he had NO action experience at all (at Jutland his ship was not firing nor fired at).



However I agree that there is no point in debating these opinions here, a serious investigation would have been needed , while it was preferred to "sugar-coat" the militarily poor part of the story and to "leave it".



Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by HMSVF » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:52 pm

There is a fine line between heroism and foolhardiness, it is all very well to sacrifice yourself'and be awarded a posthumous VC but quite another to take another 1400 or so people with you and lose a valuable ship for little result. Personally, I think that once PoW started having gun problems she did not have a chance in hell of defeating the combination of Bismark and PE and Capt Leach knew it, so he made the only the sensible decision available to him and disengaged in order to save his ship and crew. Cowardice? No way! A decision by an experienced Captain? Certainly!
Hi Paul,


Absolutely agree. Bearing in mind what was occurring in the Mediterranean as well it would have been disaster if HMS POW had been sunk or severely damaged. The RN situation in WW2 was not that of WW1. Apart from KGV,POW,Rodney & Nelson (the late being relatively old) the rest of the battleships the RN possessed were WW1 vintage. Some had received substantial rebuilds, the rest hadn't, and all of them had been built to WW1 standards. The R's were hopelessly outdated,Malaya had a half reconstruction in the 30's but was otherwise untouched, Barham was pretty much the same as she was in the late 20's and Repulse...

Well Repulse had speed.

And a good crew.


So losing HMS POW Would have been a disaster .To have attempted to have engaged in her condition (she had been hit 7 times?) and re plot the range, with turrets and guns that were causing concern- while the Bismarck is in his stride ,seems lunacy. You could be completely pummelled or worse for no actual result. The RN has numbers, the Kreigsmarine hasn't,nor aircraft carriers. It's not the 18th century, this isn't a duel. You fight to win and if that means pulling back and amassing numbers then thats what you do. Considering the turbulent episode he suffered on the bridge I'm amazed that he was able to do as much as he did. Pure fluke that he wasn't killed, maimed or incapacitated..


Best wishes


HMSVF

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:16 pm

Alberto wrote -
"Hi Byron,
on paper, I'm sure Churchill would have sacrificed PoW in exchange with Bismarck, aren't you ? For sure Pound suggested Tovey that the sacrifice of a heavy cruiser was a light prize to pay for maintaining the contact with Bismarck instead of loosing contact. However the point here is not to blindly sacrifice one ship or the other, but to try to damage Bismarck in order to prevent her from her mission against the British traffic.
Wake-Walker orders were to locate Bismarck. However, once BC1 was in sight, there was no need of explicit orders for a flag officer to engage the enemy and support the action of the battleships (this is also the advise of Adm.Santarini in his book).
Once Holland was killed, Wake-Walker's duty was to try to stop Bismarck, replacing Holland, not to blindly continue his shadowing role, even after having been "solicited" by the admiralty with the "intentions" signal."

- - -

Hi Alberto,
I presented my post as questions because I think the relevant answers are important to properly understanding the sequence of events. When Holland is killed, command responsibility passes to Wake-Walker. At that point what are Wake-Walker's options in the eyes of senior command. Do Holland's orders to engage posthumously remain in effect? Does Wake-Walker have the option to independently re-assess the situation in light of the loss of Hood and damage to PoW? Do Tovey's previous orders to Wake-Walker to locate and maintain contact with Bismarck remain in force? Do Tovey's orders, as the senior office in command of the operation supercede Holland's engagement orders? What degree of independence of action did Leach retain after the mantle of command fell to Wake-Walker? When was Leach able to give Wake-Walker an accurate report of Prince of Wales' condition? Was it physically practicable for Wake-Walker to order a re-engagement at the point when he learned of the degree of damage suffered by Prince of Wales?

I do not know the answers to these questions, but would suggest that they would have a material bearing when judging any command decisions undertaken by Wake-Walker?

B

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by pgollin » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:27 pm

.

I'm afraid that I find the idea that everyone should be nice and polite to A & A rather farcical.

They have thrown around the accusations of cowardice almost every opportunity they have - hardly nice and polite.

In addition, they seem to object to the phrase "conspiracy theory" when what they have presented a mish-mash of unsubstantiated claims, cherry-picked data and misunderstood bearings (as well as misunderstanding simple English). Those faults have enabled them to assemble a mess which all but themselves can see is faulty and rightly can be classed as a "conspiracy theory".

A & A seem to be saying that despite their lack of coherent evidence that everyone MUST accept their mish-mash because to do otherwise would be rude, despite their rudeness in constantly accusing people of cowardice and cover-ups.

"What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander".

.

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Reubs64 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:11 pm

I find it ludicrous that Leach was a coward for not behaving to some sort of Monty Pythonesque criteria, where "heroes" are men who shrug off the loss of a limb.." only a flesh wound " etc. Every poster who disagrees with these ridiculous theories are labelled " hooligan/deniers " loosers (sic) etc and are only civil if they agree with their assertions. Iam sure there will be some cranks and crackpots that will lap up the bilge that has been served up as fact but you only have to read through this thread to see the revulsion and disgust at the way two brave officers have been disrespected in such a "cowardly" manner. The sooner this tripe gets published and consigned to the dustbin the better.

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by wadinga » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:20 am

Hello Reubs 64,

Your unparalleled use of the apposite adjectives "Tripe" and "Bilge" for the very first time, to describe the Conspiracy Theory, gains you automatic induction into the Worshipful Company of hooligan/deniers " loosers (sic). Congratulations and welcome! :D

If you would like to give us your nationality too, so we can add it to the international listing, that would be helpful. We may be able to convene a new Chapter.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Post by Reubs64 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:17 am

Hi Wadinga, many thanks for the induction 😊, nationality is English/French. I personally can't wait for the aforementioned book to be published as whilst I don't feel a Pulitzer will be forthcoming Iam sure it will be available in all toilets worldwide shortly after release :)

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