The Second World War / World War Two

titch

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I think, in one form or another, that actually did happen - Churchill was often outbid by his experts
yes, this seems to be the case mostly, Churchill wanted Admiral somerville court martialed after the battle of cape spartivento, but he was found to have acted correctly, he wanted admiral wake-walker and captain leach court martialed for breaking of the bismark action, but admiral tovey threatened to resign if that was carried out,so it went no further BUT he overruled the first sea lords objections and sent HMS prince of wales and HMS repulse to deter the Japanese, they where not deterred.
 

Yithian

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Churchill was surrounded by a group of wise men who worked to amplify his good decisions and cushion the impact of his bad ones. The Chiefs of Staff Committee, in particular, was an effective brake because of its relative unity. On key issues they would agree to resign as a block if their advice was ignored, but Churchill knew this would be deleterious to his own plans and never forced such a matter.

'Pug' Ismay, Churchill's Chief Military Adviser and Secretary of the Imperial Chiefs of Staff Committee:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastings_Ismay,_1st_Baron_Ismay

Leslie Hollis, Senior Assistant Secretary to the War Cabinet (Ismay's No. 2, in effect):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Hollis

Alanbrooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff (Head of the Army) and Chairman of the Imperial Chiefs of Staff Committee:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Brooke,_1st_Viscount_Alanbrooke

Cunningham ('ABC'), First Sea Lord:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Cunningham,_1st_Viscount_Cunningham_of_Hyndhope

'Peter' Portal, Chief of the Air Staff:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Portal,_1st_Viscount_Portal_of_Hungerford

Smuts, a mentor to Churchill and one of the few men he would listen to at all times:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Smuts

Incredibly, despite being an Afrikaner, plans were discussed to install Smuts as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the event of Churchill's death. Far from being idle speculation, these plans went as high as the Palace. As it was, he was appointed Field Marshal and given a place on the War Cabinet. I can't think of a man so important in his lifetime who is so unknown beyond the borders of his own country so soon (in historical terms) after his death.

There's a statue of him standing in Paliament Square, but I'd be surprised if more than one in fifty could tell you who he was.
 

Ogdred Weary

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A friend of mine was in a bar in America, when talking to a colourful local character, he happened to mention World War II; to which said character enquired: "World War II, was that in Iraq or Afghanistan?" the man was in his sixties.
 

Yithian

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A friend of mine was in a bar in America, when talking to a colourful local character, he happened to mention World War II; to which said character enquired: "World War II, was that in Iraq or Afghanistan?" the man was in his sixties.
I've heard Gulf War II from Americans with reference to the invasion of Iraq.
 

Ogdred Weary

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I've heard Gulf War II from Americans with reference to the invasion of Iraq.
Likewise, this gentleman's thinking appears to be more addled than that though.

Warming to the subject of war he also asked "what's more dangerous a war or a boat?" those were the only two variables.
 

Swifty

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I've heard Gulf War II from Americans with reference to the invasion of Iraq.
I wanted to sign up for service during the first gulf war, I was about 18, the dad of the 'girl next door' talked me out of it one day when we were in his back garden looking at his model railway .. I'm glad he did because another lad in my year at school went over there and had serious PTSD when he got back, he told me it wasn't the shooting at people and being shot at that messed him up, it was when they got to a village and someone had set fire to a young boy using a car tyre filled with petrol and nobody was talking about how it had happened. The message was obvious, we'll even kill our own kids to mess with your heads.

.. anyway, Merry Christmas ..
 

titch

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Currently reading "convoy sc122 and hx 229 by Martin middlebrook, an American merchant ship has just been torpedoed, and for various reasons four escort ships seen the survivors in the lifeboats but didn't stop to pick them up. They where never seen again, and I wonder how often that happened.
 

maximus otter

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...an American merchant ship has just been torpedoed, and for various reasons four escort ships seen the survivors in the lifeboats but didn't stop to pick them up. They where never seen again, and I wonder how often that happened.
Perhaps the escort ships' captains made one of the very hard decisions they were paid for: "Shall we leave a few seamen in lifeboats to fend for themselves, or shall we provide the unseen U-boats with four very large stationary targets full of hundreds of men while we stop to pick up survivors?"

maximus otter
 

Ringo

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Currently reading "convoy sc122 and hx 229 by Martin middlebrook, an American merchant ship has just been torpedoed, and for various reasons four escort ships seen the survivors in the lifeboats but didn't stop to pick them up. They where never seen again, and I wonder how often that happened.
In my favourite book, "HMS Ulysses" by Alistair Maclean, they are under instructions from the Admirality not to pick up any survivors. The rescue ships just become sitting ducks illuminated by the flames of the burning ship or even if there are no flames, the enemy is monitoring the position and can just lie in wait. The convoy must get through...full speed ahead for Murmansk!
 

titch

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Perhaps the escort ships' captains made one of the very hard decisions they were paid for: "Shall we leave a few seamen in lifeboats to fend for themselves, or shall we provide the unseen U-boats with four very large stationary targets full of hundreds of men while we stop to pick up survivors?"

maximus otter
the first destroyer was the only escort near the convoy, and there were 6 U-boats in contact, so it couldn't stop, the 2nd destroyer had been picking up survivors from another sunken ship when it seen the lifeboats, but again decided it was better to hurry back, the same applied to the first corvette, the 2nd corvette asked for permission to pick up the survivors, but was ordered to hurry back, the 54 crew and naval gunners of the Harry luckenbach were never seen again
 

titch

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In my favourite book, "HMS Ulysses" by Alistair Maclean, they are under instructions from the Admirality not to pick up any survivors. The rescue ships just become sitting ducks illuminated by the flames of the burning ship or even if there are no flames, the enemy is monitoring the position and can just lie in wait. The convoy must get through...full speed ahead for Murmansk!
I was unimpressed by "HMS Ulysses" it seemed far too much of a movie film script, have been you read "the cruel sea" the author also served on convoy duty, but his approach to telling his story is very different
 

Ringo

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I was unimpressed by "HMS Ulysses" it seemed far too much of a movie film script, have been you read "the cruel sea" the author also served on convoy duty, but his approach to telling his story is very different
And therein lies the rub...it would make a perfect movie. The rights were sold but no movie was ever made. I love it because it is so overly dramatic and tragic whilst also being poigniant. I haven't read Cruel Sea but I might search it out.
 

Krepostnoi

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And therein lies the rub...it would make a perfect movie. The rights were sold but no movie was ever made. I love it because it is so overly dramatic and tragic whilst also being poigniant. I haven't read Cruel Sea but I might search it out.
The Cruel Sea has been mentioned elsewhere on here. It is a tremendous read, although not for the faint-hearted. It also contains a singularly memorable exemplar of mordant humour in the face of an obviously hopeless situation. I assume Monserrat based it on something he witnessed, because it otherwise seems too unlikely to be fictional, if that makes sense. I don't wish to spoil the moment, but you will know it when you see it. It has stuck with me over decades, whereas details from other books have vanished from my mind. I cannot recommend the book highly enough. Maybe if I had naval experience myself, I would spot errors and fabrications, but as an interested amateur, the way it captures the varied experiences of sailors at war seems to ring very true to me.
 

Yithian

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The Cruel Sea has been mentioned elsewhere on here. It is a tremendous read, although not for the faint-hearted. It also contains a singularly memorable exemplar of mordant humour in the face of an obviously hopeless situation. I assume Monserrat based it on something he witnessed, because it otherwise seems too unlikely to be fictional, if that makes sense. I don't wish to spoil the moment, but you will know it when you see it. It has stuck with me over decades, whereas details from other books have vanished from my mind. I cannot recommend the book highly enough. Maybe if I had naval experience myself, I would spot errors and fabrications, but as an interested amateur, the way it captures the varied experiences of sailors at war seems to ring very true to me.
I still haven't read the book, which is absurd given that I've listened to a radio adaptation and that Jack Hawkins (star of the superb film) is my favourite actor, but everybody I know who has says that it the writing bears and indelibile smack of truth.
 

Yithian

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If you're of the same generation as me the following fact might shock you: today is the day that the start of the Falklands War is equally distant from the start of the Second World War as it is from the present day.

It being my primarily point of research, I referred in conversation to what had happened in 'the war' while in the UK last summer and my niece asked 'which one?'.

My grandmother still remembers the bombs falling across London in 1940, but it's becoming the stuff of history books. I recall in the 80s being taken from said grandma's brother to brother (she was the youngest of five), two of whom served in the SBS and one who served in the merchant navy. To say they were the most unassuming of fellows would be an understatement: dogs, fishing, the ocassional tot of rum, but even this fleeting association with the present won't last long.

Inevitable, of course, but hugely significant--I have no faith in either the teaching of history or family inheritance to ensure that we learn the lessons. Many today know nothing about the Falklands War--literally nothing.
 

Naughty_Felid

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If you're of the same generation as me the following fact might shock you: today is the day that the the Falklands War is equally distant from the the Second World War as it is from the present day.

It being my primarily point of research, I referred in conversation to what had happened in 'the war' while in the UK last summer and my niece asked 'which one?'.

My grandmother still remembers the bombs falling across London in 1940, but it's becoming the stuff of history books. I recall in the 80s being taken from said grandma's brother to brother (she was the youngest of five), two of whom served in the SBS and one who served in the merchant navy. To say they were the most unassuming of fellows would be an understatement: dogs, fishing, the ocassional tot of rum, but even this fleeting association with the present won't last long.

Inevitable, of course, but hugely significant--I have no faith in either the teaching of history or family inheritance to ensure that we learn the lessons. Many today know nothing about the Falklands War--literally nothing.
We had a distant cousin, (lovely lad in his early 20's), who served in the Navy and went to the Falklands. I remember we were all pretty worried as no-one really had any idea what he would face.

Sadly I can't even remember what ship he was on as we've all drifted apart over the years. In fact I'm not even sure how I'd track down that part of the family.
 

oxo66

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today is the day that the start of the Falklands War is equally distant from the start of the Second World War as it is from the present day.
Great fact! I nearly sent it to a friend without checking...
But 1982 - 1939 = 43; 2019 - 1982 = 37. It works if you take end of WWII to beginning of Falkands war.
 

Yithian

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Great fact! I nearly sent it to a friend without checking...
But 1982 - 1939 = 43; 2019 - 1982 = 37. It works if you take end of WWII to beginning of Falkands war.
Yes, I subsequently figured that out.

Very tired and ale-addled brain couldn't manage the maths last night.

I suppose it's legitimate if you consider 'war time to war time'. And that's appropriate enough as pretty much everybody in the Army and Navy in Spring 1982 was thinking 'this is the biggest thing we've had on our plate since (either) Suez (or) The Second World War.
 

Yithian

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This kind of story is really not good for my blood pressure.
Vandals have thrown paint over the RAF Bomber Command Memorial - the tribute to more than 55,000 personnel who died in its service during the Second World War.
The imposing statue of aircrew surrounded by several poppy wreaths was left splattered with white paint after the fourth attack in six years.
"This is the worst example of vandalism we have seen at the memorial and it is utterly heartbreaking to see the memory of all those brave airmen disrespected in this way," said David Murray, head of the RAF Benevolent Fund charity.
Source:
That's not all:

A memorial to Sir Winston Churchill [and Roosevelt] was also targeted.
[...]
The Canada Memorial, also in Green Park, was vandalised over the weekend. It commemorates members of the Candian Forces killed during the First and Second World Wars.
Source:
I'd be happy to see the culprits flogged in the street.
 

Naughty_Felid

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This kind of story is really not good for my blood pressure.
Vandals have thrown paint over the RAF Bomber Command Memorial - the tribute to more than 55,000 personnel who died in its service during the Second World War.
The imposing statue of aircrew surrounded by several poppy wreaths was left splattered with white paint after the fourth attack in six years.
"This is the worst example of vandalism we have seen at the memorial and it is utterly heartbreaking to see the memory of all those brave airmen disrespected in this way," said David Murray, head of the RAF Benevolent Fund charity.
Source:
That's not all:

A memorial to Sir Winston Churchill [and Roosevelt] was also targeted.
[...]
The Canada Memorial, also in Green Park, was vandalised over the weekend. It commemorates members of the Candian Forces killed during the First and Second World Wars.
Source:
I'd be happy to see the culprits flogged in the street.
I'm guessing the white paint symbolizes the white poppy? So that's a protest.

We need to be educating these kids not trying to lynch them. Bomber Command is a particularly emotive subject after all.
 
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I'm guessing the white paint symbolizes the white poppy? So that's a protest.

We need to be educating these kids not trying to lynch them. Bomber Command is a particularly emotive subject after all.
I doubt if it represents the white poppy, those who wear it remember and respect the war dead.
 

Yithian

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We need to be educating these kids not trying to lynch them. Bomber Command is a particularly emotive subject after all.
If kids are indeed responsible, I agree.

Given the other recent targets, I suspect political motivation. It's hardly likely to be agrieved Germans, so I'm assuming that the culpits are the cowards that live safely in a nation protected by our armed forces yet agitate against them.
 
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