CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:28 pm

Hello everybody,

I have opened a thread about :

CM-DS prelude : Somerville for Spartivento


If you do not have any value add to provide about this thread, please go discussing your other subjects in another place.

Bye Antonio :D
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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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:01 pm

Hello everybody,

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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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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:03 pm

Hello everybody,


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It does not have to surprise that this occurrence had a great echo inside the overall Royal Navy.

Bye Antonio :D
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: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby dunmunro » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:36 pm

Somerville was judged correct in his handling of the action. I don't think there was any need for Somerville, or anyone else, to falsify reports and/or to conspire to thwart the Board of Enquiry. The lesson here, that was promulgated throughout the navy, was that while the politicians might be watching, it was the RN that would do the judging, and would do so fairly based upon the carefully considered facts of the case.

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:55 pm

Hello everybody,

and last of course Stephen Roskill :

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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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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:59 pm

Hello everybody,

continuing with Stephen Roskill from Churchill and the Admirals :

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Now everybody can read, ... correlate and make up his own opinion about what was the state of the affairs between the Prime Minister, ... the Admiralty and ... the Flag Officer's at Sea, ... on December 1940.

It should be much less surprising now what they tried to do almost on the same way, ... on May 1941.

Bye Antonio :D
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: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby dunmunro » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:21 am

Antonio, do you think that military leaders should be given Carte blanche to act as they see fit, with no oversight or review from their superiors and/or their democratically elected political leadership? Does anyone here believe that?

What happened to Somerville proved that the review process worked and produced the proper result, namely that a competent flag officer retained his command despite unfair calls for his removal, and this was all done with no need for a wide conspiracy to thwart the will of the Admiralty and/or the War Cabinet.

What I hope to find was that there a searching inquiry into what happened on PoW after Hood was destroyed, and that the findings of that inquiry will allow us to better understand Leach's actions.

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Re: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:56 am

Hello everybody,

by making a comparison between the executed Capo Spartivento inquiry ( Somerville ) and the non executed Bismarck Chase inquiry ( Wake-Walker and Leach ) some points are very evident.

1) Despite the different results, in both cases the inquiry process was started during the operation itself, before the Officers had reached home and had presented their written reports to their superiors and the Admiralty.

2) In the Somerville case no superiors have been even noticed about the inquiry been on his way; in the other case Adm Tovey was requested to be the one calling the inquiry at first by Adm Pound.

3) In both cases the starting point was Political ( Churchill ) and not military by the Admiralty initiative.

.... and I can continue with many more different aspects anyone can realize by simply comparing the 2 cases.

It may be too simple, ... but why they did not wait in both cases the full operation reports to be presented, ... being initially scrutinized by their superiors and the Admiralty, ... and only after and solely based on the initial analysis done, ... proceed in case of a real need to an inquiry call based on the early reports analysis results ?

That will have prevented those ridiculous occurrences we are realizing now.

As far as I know after having had to digest the aborted Bismarck chase one, ... no more easy inquiry call by Churchill on the Royal Navy Flag Officers during WW2, ...

Maybe they realized it was better to proceed the way I suggested above ... and had become more wise ...

Bye Antonio :D
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: CM-DS prelude : Sommerville for Spartivento

Postby wadinga » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:40 pm

Hello Antonio,

I have recently acquired the published Papers of Sir James Somerville (Naval Records Society)

P266 He wrote to his wife:

Alan Hillgarth, * who's just been home dined with me last night. He has been at Chequers for the weekend. Asked Winston why a Board of Inquiry had been ordered on me and all Winston said was "My boy, mistakes are often made in war." You can take that answer either way. After dinner I got a signal that Bismarck and Hipper were out [sic] were out........


To me there's only one way to read it. Even Winston admitted he'd jumped the gun, based on irrational over-reaction to signals from the operation without actually knowing any of the detail. There are pages and pages of material which I may get round to posting, but the bottom line is that even though Lord Cork's Board of Enquiry exonerated Somervile and he unofficially wrote to him saying the criticism was disgraceful, the Board of Admiralty still continued to say the Commander of Force H was at least partially at fault. Keeping on the right side of the PM.

Earlier P256 7th April Somerville wrote to Admiral Dudley North, another victim of political and Admiralty machinations over their joint criticism of the Mers-el-Kebir attack requirement:

By the way I found out what was in the famous letter which had to be retrieved unopened. It was to inform me that Bobbie Harwood would be relieving me. Apparently that was decided last September! In due course the letter was sent and someone woke up to the fact that it would be associated with the 27th November and in view of the Board of Inquiry that would not do. So that's why it was recalled so hurriedly. I also hear that Tom P[hillips] is the one who is striving so desperately to get rid of me and understand he's sick as mud about Genoa ie it was not someone else who did the job. Well as you know I don't care a raspberry and if they've got a better bloke for Force H, then send him out quick.......


and to the same correspondent on 13th July P285

Syfret has joined me temporarily and from talks I've had with him it's abundantly clear that Winston was at the bottom of your affair and mine too! I told Syfret what we objected to was the fact that our brother Admirals did not have the guts to stand up to W even when they knew something quite unfair and improper was being done...........


Of course, if subtle Pound let Winston have his way and it backfired, then maybe the former First Lord would mind his own business, but the effect on the troops' morale- Somerville and his subordinate captains, was destructive and did not "ginger them up" at all. However a political advantage in a fight with the PM was hardly worth such damage to general morale so Pound would surely have been less keen to do the same over Leach and Wake-Walker even if Winston had learned nothing from the earlier reverse.

One of those subordinates at Spartivento was Lancelot Holland.

All the best

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


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