1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

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wadinga
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1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:27 pm

Hello All,

Attached is the only criticism of tactics by VCNS Tom Phillips which I found in my initial study of ADM 205/10.

VCNS comments on Tovey's Report and considers Dalrymple-Hamilton should not be favourably mentioned in any communique or be considered for awards


Image


Tom Spencer Vaughn Phillips was not a popular staff officer with many who served under him, and his lack of popularity flavours much of the comment on his later command of Force Z and his responsibility for its destruction. However, this appears to be a case where he is particularly ungenerous to Rodney's captain, since as we can see from the signal log, and even his own comments, the Admiralty sent a series of contradictory instructions to Rodney with regard to their estimate of Bismarck's destination, starting with a contradiction to Tovey's 10:47B estimate based on the faulty D/F plotting. Of course, he, VCNS, never sent the Admiralty best guess location for the D/F position of Bismarck to anybody until far too late either. A vastly more serious blunder.

This analysis by the VCNS was actually done when he had reports and charts to go on, as opposed to any premature opinions he might have formulated based on limited information whilst the Bismarck operation was still on. His criticism is entirely unjustified IMHO for the failings above, and there seems to be some question when Rodney actually turned SE. Phillips says 21:00 whereas Rhys-Jones map shows a turn at 19:00 ie as soon as Phillips' latest contradiction was received and decoded.

In the event, Pound and Alexander ignored this churlish comment and Dalrymple-Hamilton received the praise he richly deserved. Based on very limited information, he had passed over Bismarck's future track not so many miles ahead of her, and with a bit of luck might have intercepted. Of course it was his guns which largely battered the Bismarck to bits later on.

Nowhere in this document is any other officer blamed for any shortcomings during the operation. That means Leach and Wake-Walker.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by dunmunro » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:52 pm

Thanks for that!

You'd think that if anyone had unkind words for Leach and W-W it would have been Phillips.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:58 pm

Hi Sean, thanks a lot, very interesting.

I agree with you about the merits of Rodney in the destruction of Bismarck, even if I must admit I never studied in depth what Phillips is saying about her not "obeying" orders to chase Bismarck towards the Biscay Bay.

I however agree with Phillips in requesting a special mention for the Fleet Air Army, with a lucid analysis that it was the Fleet Air Army to actually cripple the Bismarck (and not the big guns ships).

In regard to your final statement (that however nothing has to do with the topic of this thread.......but is fully in line with your recent role in this forum......a role supported by someone else....), I would say that you are correct, there is no criticism for Wake-Walker or even for Leach.

In their cases, everything was "embellished" to allow the final acceptance of their actions, at least after what had been officially classified as an INVESTIGATION over PoW retreat. :wink:


Bye, Alberto
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by dunmunro » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:54 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Sean, thanks a lot, very interesting.

I agree with you about the merits of Rodney in the destruction of Bismarck, even if I must admit I never studied in depth what Phillips is saying about her not "obeying" orders to chase Bismarck towards the Biscay Bay.

I however agree with Phillips in requesting a special mention for the Fleet Air Army, with a lucid analysis that it was the Fleet Air Army to actually cripple the Bismarck (and not the big guns ships).

In regard to your final statement (that however nothing has to do with the topic of this thread.......but is fully in line with your recent role in this forum......a role supported by someone else....), I would say that you are correct, there is no criticism for Wake-Walker or even for Leach.

In their cases, everything was "embellished" to allow the final acceptance of their actions, at least after what had been officially classified as an INVESTIGATION over PoW retreat. :wink:


Bye, Alberto
So now Tom Phillips is part of Tovey's gang? :shock:

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:09 pm

Hi Duncan,
why do you say so ? Tom Phillips was free to express what he thought was a "minor" fault in Rodney's Captain behavior.

The "serious" matters, like PoW retreat, were, as per official classification, INVESTIGATED but, having been embellished, finally approved. Apparently no investigation was needed for Dalrymple-Hamilton.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by dunmunro » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:57 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Duncan,
why do you say so ? Tom Phillips was free to express what he thought was a "minor" fault in Rodney's Captain behavior.

The "serious" matters, like PoW retreat, were, as per official classification, INVESTIGATED but, having been embellished, finally approved. Apparently no investigation was needed for Dalrymple-Hamilton.


Bye, Alberto
The RN had as fine a bureaucracy as any navy and bureaucracies tend to leave a paper trail. Having been INVESTIGATED where's the minutes and/or results of the INVESTIGATION?

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:39 am

Hello Alberto,

How much of 205/10 have you seen? Is there any other documentation like this, signed by the VCNS, naming Leach and Wake-Walker? Please show us if there is. A Court Martial is a serious matter, as Dunmunro says there is always a paper trail.
Apparently no investigation was needed for Dalrymple-Hamilton.
Read again paragraph two "studying the track chart". This is what really happens, an investigation, based on evidence, results in a conclusion. Not a silly threat, made on the basis of no evidence, followed by an embarrassing climb down.
The "serious" matters, like PoW retreat,

You mean the serious matters like
the results of this might have been very serious
in Para 5?

BTW This is a thread I originated Alberto.
that however nothing has to do with the topic of this thread
I say what is included. 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics. Standby for the next document......................

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:37 am

Hi Sean,
I already admitted that there is no written explicit criticism about Leach and Wake-Walker in ADM 205/10, "ONLY" the results of the military investigations (please see pag 332, also for Duncan who asked for these results in ADM 205/10) and the political decisions (pag 333 and 334) are included.

you wrote (my underline): "This is what really happens, an investigation, based on evidence, results in a conclusion. Not a silly threat, made on the basis of no evidence"
TOTALLY WRONG !
The INVESTIGATION was NOT on Rodney, as you try to say: here the only written and classified INVESTIGATION regarding the Bismarck Operation (from ADM 205/59). It should be clear (even for you...) the reference to the 4 pages (331 to 334) in ADM 205/10:
ADM205_59_PoW_Investigation_205_10.jpg
ADM205_59_PoW_Investigation_205_10.jpg (42.54 KiB) Viewed 1167 times
As you see, you need to study many more documents..... :lol:


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

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:53 am

Hello Alberto,

As is becoming most obvious, it is often what you have redacted, in this case by judicious cropping, from the rest of the sheet that that may be more significant.................and why? :D


All the best

wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:16 am

Hi Sean,
I don't even consider anymore your unfair and low accusations, after all the material I have provided you, but I would attribute it to the fact that you need once again to digest how wrong you were in your statements.

Please be free to publish also the rest of the page, where no INVESTIGATION for Rodney is mentioned as you were WRONGLY stating. :negative:

The Bismarck Operation paragraph only lists:
1) the investigation for the PoW retreat in 205/10, file No.4 and
2) the recommendations for the awards in ADM 205/11, file No.10.


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:23 am

Hello Alberto,

Is this page just an index of Pound's correspondence, and therefore the "investigation" reference is nothing more than a mention of page 332 of 205/10?

Al the best

wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:41 am

Hi Sean,
I read it this way.
The fact that 205/10 file No.4 (my mistake for interpreting it as 4 pages in my previous post) is clearly classified in the official index as "investigation" on Bismarck Operation is indicating that this was the only investigation performed, with reference to pag.332, of course.
I have not found any "investigation" for the Rodney.


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

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:03 pm

Hello Alberto,

Is page 4 of 205/10 just the index? what do 10, 4 and 0 apply to?

When the person who put the file together decided which bits of paper to include, they had to make an index. Since the page which would become 332 had no title, the indexer had to make one up by looking at the content. They latched on to the word investigation.

Is the fragment you showed just a tiny part of an index page?

Back at page 25

The Vice Chief of Naval Staff spent his valuable time (there was a war on) reviewing Rodney's movements on maps and her log and comparing her movements with what might reasonably be expected of her and decided to record his negative evaluation. He has revised his previous impression. There was insufficient in his evaluation to discipline Dalrymple-Hamilton, but Phillips decided he should not be rewarded or praised. That is what an "investigation" into tactics looks like.


All the best

wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:50 pm

Hi Sean,
here the explanation on how to read ADM 205/59 from its first page:
ADM205_59_Legend.jpg
ADM205_59_Legend.jpg (51.13 KiB) Viewed 1121 times

I see your point about Rodney and Phillips, however , as far as I could see , there is no "investigation" (classified as that) other than into PoW retreat mentioned in ADM 205/59.
The "Bismarck Action" paragraph is extremely short and only contains two entries referring to 2 different volumes (205/10 and 205/11):
ADM205_59_PoW_Investigation.jpg
ADM205_59_PoW_Investigation.jpg (40.83 KiB) Viewed 1120 times
I can post the full page (albeit very reduced in size) if you still suspect I'm hiding information..... :negative:


Bye, Alberto
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by dunmunro » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:02 pm

I suspect the above refers back the War Cabinet minutes and ends with Churchill's "leave it".

Needless to say it is a bit more that frustrating when such a small snippet is released with little in the way of additional info. Please post the full page.

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