Sir John Valentine Carden Survives. Part 2.

Ah, yes. As I thought I remembered reading there or somewhere else, the US forces had bombers actually in the air, in the Philippines, waiting for orders to attack which didn't come...
(And the article mentions that the Imperial Japanese airfields on Formosa were in the meantime covered with fog, if I understand right, grounding their planes...)
 
While Dec 8th is very likely to be a bad day, on Dec 9th there is the ability to work out what went wrong at Manila and Pearl so that it doesn't happen so badly again. The USAAF is not run by Admiral King and can send someone on the next flight to London to ask how the RAF has been doing this business for a while, and within a week have a detailed answer.
There were US observers for the Battle of Britain (Cheney and Saville) who wrote detailed recommendations and doctrine, Dowding gave lectures on it in the US and the War Department was running air defence exercises and planning on it from at least January 1941. The problem was not lack of knowledge, it was an organisational problem and a leadership problem - Air defence was not a priority and everyone involved, bar a few lone voices, saw it as a secondary duty.

As an example the senior duty office in the Dowding system had direct command authority over the entire air defence organisation. In the US system the air defence 'controller' had no actual control over anything, instead they had to liaise and pass messages between the various elements. So the signal corps could limit radar running time (to save maintenance) and the duty officer of the Pursuit squadron could form their own view on any message and decide whether to launch or not, the AA guns only got alerted if their commander thought it was a good idea, etc.

Things got better with practice and experience, but the basic problems lingered well in the 1950s. SAGE and NORAD were as much about radical organisational changes as the improved technology.
 
18 November 1941. Misurata, Libya. Operation Crusader, Day 17.
18 November 1941. Misurata, Libya. Operation Crusader, Day 17.

The few days of resting and resupplying should have been a pleasant interlude for the men of XIII Corps, except a terrible storm raged, soaking everything and everyone. Despite this some pushing in the direction of Homs had been done, and the small town of Zliten had been captured a few days earlier.

The reconnaissance efforts had shown that the next main line of resistance ran from Homs on the coast to Tarhuna inland. This seemed to be yet another extensive position and from captured men and documents it consisted of three Italian Infantry Divisions, with the remaining German forces around Tarhuna to protect the inland flank.

Lieutenant-General Godwin-Austin and General O’Connor had planned XIII Corps’ attack on Homs to coincide with the arrival at Tarhuna of XXX Corps. The 4th Indian Division, with an extra large contingent of Royal Engineers, had the difficult task of preparing the route so that the New Zealanders and 2nd Armoured Division would be able to move at a reasonable pace up to Tarhuna. The New Zealanders had arrived at Beni Ulid, with 2nd Armoured close behind them at El Merdum. The planned combined attack was due on 20 November. It wasn’t clear yet how the rainfall would affect progress towards Tarhuna, many wadis were impassable due to the water runoff. There was some flexibility in the plan, allowing for an extra day or two, which would allow XIII Corps to continue to build up their stocks of supplies.

The RAF were doing their best to keep up with the advance, though many landing grounds were waterlogged, but they still hoping to have enough aircraft within range for the attack. The Royal Navy were doing wonders at getting supplies forward and still blockading Tripoli. Another Italian convoy had been intercepted and destroyed the previous week. Tripoli’s harbour had taken a beating from the escorting ships of a British convoy heading for Malta. HMS Ark Royal’s aircraft had scored some good hits of targets inland. HMS Nelson, along with three cruisers had bombarded the docks for a good ten minutes before withdrawing out of range.

In one of their other operations, a submarine had taken as small party of Free French delegates and dropped them off in the vicinity of Tunis. These men were tasked with feeling out the situation regarding what the Vichy Regime might make of Italian and German troops coming over the border from Libya. It was suspected that some resupply ships for the Italians and Germans had been offloading in Tunisian ports and being convoyed across the border. While it was unlikely that Tunisia would side with De Gaulle, just like Syria, but they too would be worried about the consequences of providing the British with a reason to declare war.
 
El Pip, thanks for a very succinct summary of the USA air defence failings in 1941.
What was remarkable in UK air defence development was the joined up thinking led by Dowding and Tizard. In 1937 before there were any practical RAF controlled Radar systems in service Dowding and Tizard set up an interception experiment at Biggen Hill where a 'control room' was fed information from (non existent) RDF stations and fighters sent to intercept under ground control.
These experiments meant that by the time Chain home became operational the RAF had worked out a lot of the practical problems with using ground controlled interception thereby greatly increasing it's effectiveness and operational use.
Do not get me wrong it was by no means perfect (the Battle of Barking Creek for instance) but the system was robust, fast and adaptable, oh and according to Adolf Galland never ever equalled by the Germans at anytime during the war.
 
Let me rephrase. I meant that, as soon as the Kido Butai has returned to Japan and re-equipped, they'll be sent south to launch a mass raid at Malaya/Singapore to try to break the British resistance, probably somewhere (in time) between the OTL raid on Darwin and the OTL Indian Ocean Raid.
Yum , Yum , 6 Japanese carriers not in open ocean but closing on a semi-restricted area that will have most of the surviving allied subs in or near it, scratch one flat top or two.
 
Yum , Yum , 6 Japanese carriers not in open ocean but closing on a semi-restricted area that will have most of the surviving allied subs in or near it, scratch one flat top or two.
Yep. And remember, these will be submarines carrying the old-but-reliable Mark VIII(** in this case, probably), rather than the new-but-untested Mark 14.

As to the latest post, We'll have to see how this latest attack plays out. It looks like things won't finish up until close to December. It's interesting to note just how long a front the Germans are trying to protect here, somewhere in the region of 75 km.
 
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Do not get me wrong it was by no means perfect (the Battle of Barking Creek for instance) but the system was robust, fast and adaptable, oh and according to Adolf Galland never ever equalled by the Germans at anytime during the war.

While the deaths in that fiasco were tragic I think you can argue that they were inevitable. There's a difference between pre war practice and taking off with live weapons and handling the consequences of that. Even if the USAAF had listened to their officers who had observed the Battle of Britain there would still be a learning process. The Japanese meanwhile had been fighting a live war in China for four years and had gone through that process already.
 
In one of their other operations, a submarine had taken as small party of Free French delegates and dropped them off in the vicinity of Tunis. These men were tasked with feeling out the situation regarding what the Vichy Regime might make of Italian and German troops coming over the border from Libya. It was suspected that some resupply ships for the Italians and Germans had been offloading in Tunisian ports and being convoyed across the border. While it was unlikely that Tunisia would side with De Gaulle, just like Syria, but they too would be worried about the consequences of providing the British with a reason to declare war.
Is de Lattre not commanding the French forces there like IOTL ?
 
El Pip, thanks for a very succinct summary of the USA air defence failings in 1941.
What was remarkable in UK air defence development was the joined up thinking led by Dowding and Tizard. In 1937 before there were any practical RAF controlled Radar systems in service Dowding and Tizard set up an interception experiment at Biggen Hill where a 'control room' was fed information from (non existent) RDF stations and fighters sent to intercept under ground control.
It's even earlier than that. The WW1 London Air Defence Area system linked up early warning and intelligence (from spotters and signals intercepts), processed it and passed it to the ground commanders. It as the lack of decent radio communication that meant they could not do guided intercept and there was a brief period of debate in the mid to late 1920s about whether the weight cost of a radio (early radios were very heavy) was worth it, but even before radios got light the RAF had decided they were.

This meant that as early as 1930 Fighting Area HQ (the name before Fighter Command) was running exercises with ground interception, within a couple of years they were able to direct whole squadrons onto incoming bombers as the systems got worked out and radios improved.

This is not to undermine the impact of radar or Dowdings work on filter rooms and so on. But the basic command principles and the system had been in development for years before Dowding was appointed. He was adapting and refining something that already existed, not inventing something new.
 
Well looks like they are gearing up for a big blow though I don't think that any Free French overtures at this point will do much in fact I think compared to OTL the Free Frenches position maybe weaker.
 
El Pip, thanks for a very succinct summary of the USA air defence failings in 1941.
What was remarkable in UK air defence development was the joined up thinking led by Dowding and Tizard. In 1937 before there were any practical RAF controlled Radar systems in service Dowding and Tizard set up an interception experiment at Biggen Hill where a 'control room' was fed information from (non existent) RDF stations and fighters sent to intercept under ground control.
These experiments meant that by the time Chain home became operational the RAF had worked out a lot of the practical problems with using ground controlled interception thereby greatly increasing it's effectiveness and operational use.
Do not get me wrong it was by no means perfect (the Battle of Barking Creek for instance) but the system was robust, fast and adaptable, oh and according to Adolf Galland never ever equalled by the Germans at anytime during the war.
Soft! Factors! Matter! (Imagine a clap after each word there.)

I feel like this was one of the major failings of the Germans in WW2: Their consistent failure to examine and recognise the power of soft factors.

Perhaps not the perfect anecdote. But whenever the U-Boats started getting a worse plastering, the Germans decided that the innovation on the part of the Allies was a Technical one, and thus demanded a technical solution.

I mean. Consider the Flak Towers. The Nazi answer to the problem of Air Defence is to build these towering monuments to man's hubris and arrogance. And not to join up their existing assets into a better functioning, integrated system.

Which I suppose speaks to an inherent weakness of the Nazi system/Authoritarian systems. Power is centralised around an individual, but one individual cannot possibly wield power alone. And so, you end up with powerful subordinates, who must be played off against each other. Which leads to the construction of parallel authorities and capabilities, which are then viciously guarded.

And so you can't have an Integrated Air Defence System, because that requires everyone to talk to each other and trust each other.
 
Soft! Factors! Matter! (Imagine a clap after each word there.)

I feel like this was one of the major failings of the Germans in WW2: Their consistent failure to examine and recognise the power of soft factors.

Perhaps not the perfect anecdote. But whenever the U-Boats started getting a worse plastering, the Germans decided that the innovation on the part of the Allies was a Technical one, and thus demanded a technical solution.

I mean. Consider the Flak Towers. The Nazi answer to the problem of Air Defence is to build these towering monuments to man's hubris and arrogance. And not to join up their existing assets into a better functioning, integrated system.

Which I suppose speaks to an inherent weakness of the Nazi system/Authoritarian systems. Power is centralised around an individual, but one individual cannot possibly wield power alone. And so, you end up with powerful subordinates, who must be played off against each other. Which leads to the construction of parallel authorities and capabilities, which are then viciously guarded.

And so you can't have an Integrated Air Defence System, because that requires everyone to talk to each other and trust each other.
Another problem with the Axis powers is keeping units (particularly air squadrons) in combat, rather than periodically rotating them out. This means that some units build up impressive amounts of experience, but this is rarely transmitted back to be used in training new pilots. In fact, training as a whole was a serious weakness in Axis air power.
 
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Hindsight is a marvellous thing!
We can sit here in the 21st Century and pontificate that of course the French in Tunisia and elsewhere should have told the Germans (and Italians) where to get off! And confronted them when they wanted to cross the Tunisian Border.
But put yourself in the shoes of a French Commander in mid 1941.
La Belle France is partially occupied by apparently superior German Forces. The Sacred soil of France is defended only from the unoccupied portion by a very much reduced and heavily scrutinised post Armistice Army. The Government of France approves of the German initiatives. After all, the government of Marshall Petain was in full agreement that the core of French society needed revitalising. And over two million French POWs still remain in Germany, men vitally needed to keep France a major power.
The French Empire is allowed to continue. And their release is dependent on the continued goodwill of Germany.
The Armistice terms are clear. Or so they seem. France is a Non-belligerent. it signed an Armistice. So nothing untoward can occur by French Forces towards the Axis Forces.
Else Germany will accuse France of failing to abide by the terms of the Armistice. And perhaps the autonomy of the Vichy Zone will be further limited and perhaps the POWs may not be released.
As for the Italians, well we French know how well they fought in the Alps in 1940. And look at their efforts in Albania and Greece. No wonder the Ros Biffs are running rings around them.! But that seems to be the only place the Ros Biffs are winning. The Battle of the Atlantic seems to be all U-Boats! Which narrative do you listen to, the Ros Biffs or the Allemandes?
Darlan was being asked at this time OTL for permission for the German supply convoys to land at Tunis and Bizerta and for the supplies to be forwarded to Tripoli. Also he was being asked to provide (sell or make available, my references are not clear on this) some hundreds of French Army Trucks to move the supplies to the border. He did manage to use French Bureaucratic inefficiency to delay a decision on this for some months. But note he was being ASKED! Not told!
So, you are the French commander in Tunis. You have the British having bombarded Oran and sinking French warships and killing French sailors. You have the failed British attempt to put De Gaulle into Dakar again with French lives being lost, but thankfully French honour is preserved as Perfidious Albion has to sail away without achieving their objectives.
Now, the Italians, (and you have a serious problem with the Italians. Didn't they want Corsica as part of the Armistice terms until the Germans told them to back off?) and some Germans want to seek to be interned. That means they are treating you as a real nation, not someone they can dictate to. So you do the internationally recognised thing, allow them to enter, disarm them and in time repatriate them to their home nation. After all, the Allies thought this was a good thing when Romania allowed the Poles to move to France so what is the difference?
I yield to the honoured gentleman who has the difficult task of writing this section. It has always been a difficult section in all AH time lines that I have read. i do not envy him the task of writing an acceptable result. But I await with baited breath to see it.
 
There is a reason why Dugout Doug is a figure of considerable scorn amongst many. That article lays out exactly why.
Sutherland should surely share some blame for the fiasco though right?

Hindsight is a marvellous thing!
We can sit here in the 21st Century and pontificate that of course the French in Tunisia and elsewhere should have told the Germans (and Italians) where to get off! And confronted them when they wanted to cross the Tunisian Border.
But put yourself in the shoes of a French Commander in mid 1941.
La Belle France is partially occupied by apparently superior German Forces. The Sacred soil of France is defended only from the unoccupied portion by a very much reduced and heavily scrutinised post Armistice Army. The Government of France approves of the German initiatives. After all, the government of Marshall Petain was in full agreement that the core of French society needed revitalising. And over two million French POWs still remain in Germany, men vitally needed to keep France a major power.
The French Empire is allowed to continue. And their release is dependent on the continued goodwill of Germany.
The Armistice terms are clear. Or so they seem. France is a Non-belligerent. it signed an Armistice. So nothing untoward can occur by French Forces towards the Axis Forces.
Else Germany will accuse France of failing to abide by the terms of the Armistice. And perhaps the autonomy of the Vichy Zone will be further limited and perhaps the POWs may not be released.
As for the Italians, well we French know how well they fought in the Alps in 1940. And look at their efforts in Albania and Greece. No wonder the Ros Biffs are running rings around them.! But that seems to be the only place the Ros Biffs are winning. The Battle of the Atlantic seems to be all U-Boats! Which narrative do you listen to, the Ros Biffs or the Allemandes?
Darlan was being asked at this time OTL for permission for the German supply convoys to land at Tunis and Bizerta and for the supplies to be forwarded to Tripoli. Also he was being asked to provide (sell or make available, my references are not clear on this) some hundreds of French Army Trucks to move the supplies to the border. He did manage to use French Bureaucratic inefficiency to delay a decision on this for some months. But note he was being ASKED! Not told!
So, you are the French commander in Tunis. You have the British having bombarded Oran and sinking French warships and killing French sailors. You have the failed British attempt to put De Gaulle into Dakar again with French lives being lost, but thankfully French honour is preserved as Perfidious Albion has to sail away without achieving their objectives.
Now, the Italians, (and you have a serious problem with the Italians. Didn't they want Corsica as part of the Armistice terms until the Germans told them to back off?) and some Germans want to seek to be interned. That means they are treating you as a real nation, not someone they can dictate to. So you do the internationally recognised thing, allow them to enter, disarm them and in time repatriate them to their home nation. After all, the Allies thought this was a good thing when Romania allowed the Poles to move to France so what is the difference?
I yield to the honoured gentleman who has the difficult task of writing this section. It has always been a difficult section in all AH time lines that I have read. i do not envy him the task of writing an acceptable result. But I await with baited breath to see it.
A succinct conclusion of the difficulties involved.
 
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It's even earlier than that. The WW1 London Air Defence Area system linked up early warning and intelligence (from spotters and signals intercepts), processed it and passed it to the ground commanders. It as the lack of decent radio communication that meant they could not do guided intercept and there was a brief period of debate in the mid to late 1920s about whether the weight cost of a radio (early radios were very heavy) was worth it, but even before radios got light the RAF had decided they were.

This meant that as early as 1930 Fighting Area HQ (the name before Fighter Command) was running exercises with ground interception, within a couple of years they were able to direct whole squadrons onto incoming bombers as the systems got worked out and radios improved.

This is not to undermine the impact of radar or Dowdings work on filter rooms and so on. But the basic command principles and the system had been in development for years before Dowding was appointed. He was adapting and refining something that already existed, not inventing something new.
Oh, I definitely concur with you on this, "Air Defence" by Major- General E.B. Ashmore published in 1929 gives a very good description of how British air defence was evolved and organised from the onset of WW1 and shows the very sound foundation that was laid down at that time. Dowding was fortunate in what he inherited but i would argue that he and Tizard were fundamental in the transformation of RAF air defence in the period 1935 to 1940.
However the 'Dowding System' was Ii would argue distinct enough to worthy of the name.
 
Oh, I definitely concur with you on this, "Air Defence" by Major- General E.B. Ashmore published in 1929 gives a very good description of how British air defence was evolved and organised from the onset of WW1 and shows the very sound foundation that was laid down at that time. Dowding was fortunate in what he inherited but i would argue that he and Tizard were fundamental in the transformation of RAF air defence in the period 1935 to 1940.
However the 'Dowding System' was Ii would argue distinct enough to worthy of the name.
My position would be that it was a revolutionary system that had been enabled by the evolutionary developments that preceded it. 'Revolutionary' innovations rarely spring into existance apros of nothing, after all.
 
t. Even if the USAAF had listened to their officers who had observed the Battle of Britain there would still be a learning process.
They ignored what Chennault had developed during the 1933 Air Corps exercises, and later published in _Coast Artillery Journal_ that he would later employ in China against Japan
 
They ignored what Chennault had developed during the 1933 Air Corps exercises, and later published in _Coast Artillery Journal_ that he would later employ in China against Japan
they were good at ignoring their own people, ditto to not listening to billy mitchell
 
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