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Incredible Shipbuilding Capacity of the US in WW2

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by gusord, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Wasn't this "pivotal paper" Operation Bolero(the invasion of continental Europe in 1942).


    King...King...King...This is getting tiresome.

    Two words..."Douglas MacArthur". King was not the only one in a position of power that wanted to actually fight a war in the Pacific.

    King had agreed to the "Germany first" strategy, while holding Allied positions in the Pacific. MacArthur was less-than-agreeable to this position.

    Further, there was disagreement as to the forces necessary to hold Allied positions in the Pacific, as is evidenced in this Marshall memo to FDR.

    http://marshallfoundation.org/library/digital-archive/memorandum-for-the-president-36/
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It would appear that the only one posting fantasy excuses is yourself...You look for excuses, find them, and post them. Paying no never mind that, so far, they have been incorrect.


    It appears that you have narrowed down the "serious histories" to those that only agree with your position...Hence, the misguided appearance of being "unanimous". Meanwhile, history is quite different.


    Let's see...

    The UK could not afford to pay for all their "war toys", so the USA changed their "Cash & Carry" to "Lend-Lease"
    The UK did not have enough destroyers, so the US gave them 50.
    The UK could not afford to keep or man their holdings in the Caribbean, so the US took them over.
    The UK could not keep it's forces in Iceland, so the US took it over.

    Now, who needed whom.

    Seriously...It was a combined effort.
    You would do best to remember that.


    Love that song!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H-Y7MAASkg
    Shame this is beyond your ken.
     
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  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    King's or the US Navy's supposed delinquency is often contrasted with British practice, but it's worth noting that the British avoided using convoy wherever possible. On the outbreak of war, they instituted convoys in the North Atlantic; but outside the estimated U-boat danger zone, ships continued to operate normally. The convoy system was only extended to places like Sierra Leone or the South Atlantic after the U-boats expanded their operations to the area. Even in the North Atlantic it was not considered necessary at first to escort convoys all the way across. Westbound convoys would be escorted through the danger zone and then dispersed to proceed independently to port. Eastbound convoys had minimal escort, often only a single armed merchant cruiser, mainly just to keep them together, and would be met by antisubmarine escorts in mid-ocean for the last, dangerous leg of the voyage.

    Collecting ships into convoy was vastly inefficient; it's estimated that the mere act of convoy reduced imports to Britain by 1/3 before a single ship was sunk. And of course it tied up escorts; warships sent to a quiet area like the Caribbean or South Atlantic meant fewer ships for the endangered routes like the North Atlantic or for other naval operations. So wherever possible they let ships travel independently, including from their port of lading to wherever they might assemble into a convoy for the Atlantic passage. They even allowed the faster merchant ships and liners to cross the Atlantic on their own until the U-boat threat became too strong.

    Hitler's U-Boat War by Clay Blair notes that in the first 28 months of the war, Sept 1939-Dec 1941, approximately 1200 1100 merchant ships were sunk, of which just 291 were in convoy. Some were stragglers from convoys, but most were those which the Admiralty deliberately allowed to operate independently. It's not as simple as "all ships belong in convoy".
     
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  4. albanaich

    albanaich New Member

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    American fantasy at its best. . . . . .

    American troopship lift had the same capacity as the UK. . . a small note, the President Coolidge could like 5,000 troops, most of the British troopships could likfe 15,000. Did you overlook that or deliberately omit it?

    The UK could not afford to pay for all their "war toys", so the USA changed their "Cash & Carry" to "Lend-Lease"
    The UK did not have enough destroyers, so the US gave them 50.
    The UK could not afford to keep or man their holdings in the Caribbean, so the US took them over.
    The UK could not keep it's forces in Iceland, so the US took it over.

    The USA needed, wanted the business so they went from Cash only to Credit - it was all paid off by the British
    The USA did not have ANY escort vessels in 1941 so the British had to give them 50
    The USA did not have ANY escort vessels to spare for defence of thier ships in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico so the British had to take over
    The USA did not have anti-submarine aircraft to defend NY Harbour - so the British had to send a squadron to defend it

    You can play this 'I am an American blowhard' game as much as you like but the reality is the USA had in 1941 an army that was ranked somewhere behind Czech and an airforce and navy that had never fought a modern war.

    In 1942 the USA was liability for the British - not a gain. It has to be supported with escort vessels and ships off the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico, its airforce had to be equipped with 600 British spifires, its bases in the UK had to be built and supplied by the British.

    Clearly the USA was an overwhelming productive power - but not in 1942 - 43 when it was largely dependent on the UK to hold the line - never mind the Tizard mission and Radar, the atomic bomb and penicillin.

    World War II was war for world dominance - the USA was fighting for dominance over the UK as much as it was with Germany. As in any war the side that stays out the longest and comes in when everyone else is exhausted is invariablly the winner.

    As for the UK ind 1939. . . . .British plans never involved the UK fighting on the continent, and although British was not fully prepared in 1939 it was far better prepared than the USA in 1941. The ammunition factories and armament plants were nearing completion - not completely unbuilt.

    From 1936 onwards the UK strategic vision of WWII was a battle for global dominance of the air and sea, and that land operations would only be possible when this dominance was achieved. WWII played out almost exactly as the British planned it. You can read about it the books 'Grand Strategy' from the HMSO series.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    You do realize that "Grand Strategy" was written ex post facto, right? Heinie-sight.
     
  6. albanaich

    albanaich New Member

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    And I do wish people would read books before they posted. . . . . Say Planning for Coaliition Warfare Vols 1 - 2 and Hemisphere Defence from the US Army 'Green Book Series'. . . . . You can read them here. You might note how keen the US Army was to appease Japan against the wishes of FDR

    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-WD-Strategic1/USA-WD-Strategic1-2.html


    n the fall of 1940, seeing that the British, though so weak as to have to depend in the long run on American support, were still strong enough to make good use of it, the Army planners began to show less anxiety over the immediate effects and more over the remote consequences of furnishing that support. They realized that as the danger to the British Isles became less acute, to support Great Britain might well amount to supporting, at first indirectly and then directly, British positions throughout the world--in short, to acquiescence in British grand strategy. The planners were very uneasy over the prospect. . . . . . . . .

    Troopships

    Even if all the troops had been ready and equipped, they still could not be sent overseas immediately. Large numbers of professional soldiers were needed as cadres in the United States to train other soldiers, and sufficient shipping space was not available. Though combatant ships of the "two ocean" Navy, troop transports, and cargo vessels were under construction, it was clear that the movement of troops overseas would long be limited for want of ships

    Iceland

    In the end, the Army force deployed to Iceland during 1941 was to number only about 5,000 men, the marines were required to stay to swell the American garrison to 10,000 men, and only a token British force was relieved for duty elsewhere.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I OCR'd those books back in the '90s, while I was at Purdue. I did the first digital versions of the Green Books for the Center of Military History.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'm seeing more anti-American fantasy than "American fantasy".
    You made claims about troop transport. You have done nothing to support them in spite of requests to do so and the fact that they have been brought to question by others who have supported there position.
    While the business was certainly beneficial it's not clear that it was needed. Indeed some in the military were upset at how much we were sending to Britain when our own forces needed building up.
    The US "didn't have any escort vessels in 1941"???? What an absurd statement, the US had over 100 modern destroyers alone in 41. Now clearly the US didn't have enough escorts in 42 but then nobody else did either.

    I don't see that we are the "blowhards" here. You are mixing fact and fiction and being extremely selective in coming to very questionable conclusions.

    By the way no one had fought a modern air war prior to getting into WW2 the same can with some justification be said of a modern naval war.

    The US was hardly a liability for the British in 42. The war in the Pacific along with the US entrance into the war did require some reallocation of resources but that's hardly the same thing.

    I'd like to see some sources for the 600 spitfires in 1942 by the way ... and how many of them were deployed outside of Great Britain?

    As for it being up to the British to "hold the line" in 42-43 that's pretty questionable as well. The Soviets were tieing up, holding the line, and indeed taking the offense against the majority of the Heer in that time period. The British were "holding the line" in parts of the far East but the offensive moves for the most part were by the US as were the decisive victories (with some Commonwealth participation) and Torch wasn't just a British operation was it?

    The US and Britain planned (together) for a unified allied conduct of the war and that's what they did. To belittle the US role much less claim the US was "conducting a war for global dominance" over the UK is a gross distortion and misstatement of history. Clearly the US wasn't ready for the war and most US military leaders would have preferred to hold off until the second half of 42 to get into the war but once the US was in (and indeed even before it was in) the US was making significant contributions.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm glad you like Hyperwar, I've put in a bit of time on it.

    I do wonder why you feel qualified to state what your fellow forumites have read and haven't read. Some of us have been on the job for over a half century, and finding something we haven't read is a "wow" moment for us.
     
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  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    So you were talking about the Queen's. How droll of you to think that two comprised the "most" of British troopships.

    Aside from wondering who this nameless "you" is, I'm still wondering if in among all the strawmen you are heaving about, you might be bothered to provide evidence supporting your claims that I questioned. To wit:

    No, the question I think you might benefit from is asking yourself "self, why am I falling back on a strawman argument and unsupported opinion rather than facts in this argument?"

    Where have I tried to "prove the USA is 'superior'" and when did I use scare quotes to indicate that superiority? That is a strawman on your part.
    Where have I stated the USA was not a militarily week nation at the start of WWII? That is a strawman on your part.

    Where is your proof that the "US was almost entirely dependent on the British troopship lift (note the re-inforcement of Hawaii in early 1942)." Please supply some evidence as proof of what is otherwise simply your opinion.

    Who is this "Swiss historian" "Bauerer" and what work of his are you citing as support for your argument?
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Ahhh...British fantasy at it's best!


    http://historyarticles.com/fateful-orders/

    It seems that the capabilities of British troopships are some what less than you are making them out to be. Especially, if Churchill has to ask, or should I say...beg, for American troopships before America has even entered the war.

    Now, I ask you...Did you overlook that or deliberately omit it?

    I'm guessing deliberate omission, as exaggeration of facts is the only hope you have of making your point.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Don't hold you breath. As 600 is then number usually quoted for the entire war, and not just for 1942
     
  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Needless to say, Britain did not give the United States any escort vessels in 1941, although we did give the British ten Coast Guard cutters that year. We had also transferred fifty destroyers in 1940, in return for the right to use bases which helped to secure areas of mutual interest. The "neutrality zone" was a considerable help to the British. The deal originally comprised six bases in the Caribbean, an area of particular concern to the United States and one where there was little Axis activity at the time. The British helpfully threw in Bermuda and Argentia, Newfoundland, which were closer to the North Atlantic convoy routes.

    Speaking of the North Atlantic, the WWI-era flush-deck destroyers were not well suited to those conditions, although they were effective in American waters and later in the central Atlantic (in fact our first U-boat kill was by one of these, USS Roper). We might keep this in mind when we consider the shortage of escorts in 1942.

    In 1942 the British transferred to the USN ten Flower-class corvettes; we also received eight from Canada along with two River class frigates, which became the prototypes for 96 more built in the US, 21 of which were Lend-Leased to Britain. In addition, 24 Royal Navy trawlers were temporarily assigned to American waters. This is as close as we get to "British had to give them 50".
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The flush-deckers were used to relieve the coastal convoy escorts, IIRC.

    One thing about the Destroyers-for-Bases deal I see frequently misunderstood is the status of the British possessions when the deal went through. Some people will tell you that it was a trade, implying that several pieces of the Empire were exchanged for the old destroyers. This is patently absurd. The US got bases from which to operate in those places, not the whole place. The people who hold such a position are usually highly grumpy about it, proving that the more you know, the less you blow.
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Well maybe his claim that the British gave US 600 Spitfires in 1942 was based the fact that when the three Eagle Squadrons were transferred from the RAF to the USAAF in 1942. They were in the possession of more like 45-50 or so Spitfires when the transfer was made. Other than that, that's about all I can come up with for now.
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Just happened to look back at this. The AA gun above the bridge is a 20mm Oerlikon; most likely there was another one in the corresponding position to starboard. Nice photo!
     
  17. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It's an interesting question, and "600" appeared an unnaturally rounded figure (and too large for just 1942), so I asked a friend who is an expert on aircraft serial numbers to look into it. It appears the total number of Spitfires transferred to the USAAF during the entire war. However, that includes all circumstances, "up to 666 Spitfire histories contain the phrase USAAF, but that includes trainers, aircraft on test, post war presentations" and also including temporary transfers such as the six days a Spitfire IX PR went to the 39th Reconnaissance Wing. In total, Morgan and Shacklady's "Spitfire history gives lists of serials transferred to the USAAF 359 V, 43 mark VIII, 79 mark IX and 16 XI", so a total of 487.

    Of those, "Roger Freeman notes 350 Spitfire V were allocated to the US in Britain in 1942 of which 150 were for 8th Air Force units, seems the last mark V was returned to the RAF in March 1945. As well the 8th Air Force used 21 PR.XI of which the remaining 12 were returned by early April 1945."

    So it is likely the other 200 in 1942 went to the USAAF units transferred to the Med.
     
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  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Didn't some US Navy gunfire spotters at D-Day use Spitfires? Men who would normally fly floatplanes from battleships or cruisers. As someone mentioned recently, the same thing was done for Operation Dragoon, with P-51s, since the floatplanes had proven vulnerable in earlier landings.

    I don't know what floatplanes our ships at Normady or southern France normally used, but in the Marianas operation, also in June 1944, the older CAs and one modern CL still had SOC biplanes.
     
  19. Phantom of the Ruhr

    Phantom of the Ruhr Member

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    Yeah, specifically 17 pilots from cruisers Augusta, Quincy, and Tuscaloosa and battleships Arkansas, Nevada, and Texas. They trained on Mk Vb Spits. You can read more about it here: http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spitfires-of-the-us-navy.html
     
  20. albanaich

    albanaich New Member

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    The disinegenous distortions here are pretty impressive. . . . . all to make the USA 'look good' at the expense of the truth

    "We can provide transport for 20,000 men'

    To put that in perspective the UK had under its control 6 large liners which could carry bettween 10 - 15,000 each, that is without reference to smaller ships. So the US offer was not a large one. Probally less than 20% of the British troopship lift at best. One might enquire if the US has such a large capacity why the British Troopship Aquitania made 6 trips from the US West Coast to reinforce the Pacific in March 1942 and why the Queen Mary made 6 trips taking American troops to Australia during the same period. Page 280 -281 'Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War'. . . . that's lift of roughly 100,000 American troops in a month. The Mautertania was also involved in re-inforcing the Pacific with American troops. . . .

    So US troopship capacity was small an unable to cope or British ships would not be re-inforcing the Pacific on a very large scale.

    Next

    Britian gave the US 10 antisubmarine corvette's and 24 anti-submarines trawlers with trained crews to the USN and 53 Squadron RAF Coastal Command was deployed in NY and the Carribeann. The British and Canadians also took over protection of convoys on the Venezula fast tanker run and in the Gulf of Mexico. You may refer to Roskill's 'The War at Sea' and 'Morrison's The US Navy at War'. . . the material is summed up on the Wikipage 'The Second Happy Time.

    The US destroyers given to the UK were for the most part uselless for anti-submarine work (though they would of been effective in 'suicide' attacks on large German surface ships - which was their intended role. Again refer to the British and American histories and Wiki.

    As for the aircraft. .. . . 600 is the figure the total for the war. . . . . . .and they were replaced by the P51 and P47 when they came into service. I'll let you guess what year that was

    Next. . . .. . . .
     

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