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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

R Leonard

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Everything posted by R Leonard

  1. To leave the UK, even as a neutral, you'd probably need a pretty good excuse. If someone were to approve your departure, by air would be safest, but that limits your continental options to Lisbon or, maybe, somewhere in Spain . . . anywhere else as a landfall on the continent, and yes, including Vichy, you would sooner or later have to deal with some very unfriendly people in black & silver suits, leather trench coats, or both, who, undoubtedly, would be even less sympathetic to your excuse for making the move than the folks you had to convince in Britain. Trying to go anywhere from the UK to where the Germans held sway, which was most of Europe, was a one way ticket to a concentration camp or to a hole that they'd make you dig. "But I'm a neutral!!" So what? You had been in the UK. And inquiries? "What, a citizen of <pick your neutral country, there weren't all that many> named Joe Blow? Left Britain when? Heading where? Never heard of him."
  2. I checked the Fold3 site and got 91 hits on the search "Boat Pool Baker" (with the quotation marks). Most are simply passing reference on this or that page of whatever ship's war diary, usually along the lines of "transferred 3 LCMs to Boat Pool Baker". Did not look at anywhere near all of them. https://www.fold3.com Might be worth a subscription to you, might not. If not, they sometimes offer free access all their documents, usually for about a week around Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but they don't every year and you'd have to keep checking the site as those dates approach. Access, paid subscription or otherwise, will allow you to download the page of the document of your interest. A boat pool was a repair and distribution operation for small craft, up to, including, and apparently predominantly, landing type craft. These were distributed across the Service Force as necessary in support of supply functions at various installations and activities in operations. From what I’ve seen in a brief run through on boat pools in general was that the constant demand from fleet subordinate activities put considerable stress on operations, thus the need for various AKA vessels to transfer their boats TAD to the Boat Pool to meet the demand. In other words, a captain might be told to TAD a number of his boats to the Boat Pool so that the Pool can further assign them to a specific task. For what it is worth.
  3. A sergeant. The division patch is that of the 36th Division, a Texas-Oklahoma National Guard unit formed in late July - early August 1917 at Camp Bowie near Fort Worth. The insignia is an arrowhead pointed down with the letter T superimposed. The arrowhead represents Oklahoma and the T is for Texas. His collar brass (the round device with US on it) also shows the number 3. This is the 3rd Texas Infantry Regiment which was later renumbered as the 143rd US Infantry. This helps us identify the time frame of the photo since that change occurred in October 1917 when the 3rd and 5th Texas Infantry Regiments were combined to form the 143rd US. The distinctive unit insignia behind the collar brass is, probably, since I don’t have one handy, the insignia of the 3rd Texas Infantry although it could be an early insignia for the 143rd. It is certainly not the current insignia 143rd Infantry which was approved in 1926. The wreathed shield, barred, with a star surmounting is typical of Texas units of the time and even survives in the modern insignia of the 144th US Infantry which was formed in the 36th Division at the same time as the 143rd. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/143rd_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States) for the current 143rd insignia and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/144th_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States) to compare with the insignia of the 144th. The qualification badges are, on the left “Expert” and on the right appears to be “Marksman” although the glare in the photo could be covering the detail that would make it a “Sharpshooter” badge; the difference being the marksman badge has a plain center to the cross, but the sharpshooter badge has a superimposed circular target. My bet, just because of the glare, is that it a Marksman qualification badge. The rectangles below the badges would identify the weapon for which he earned the qualification badges, but the photo does not have enough detail for further identification. So, photo was probably taken sometime between the end of July and mid-October 1917.
  4. Journalists . . . don't know squat about that which they write.
  5. Personally I think you could stand to a little more research before posting . . . "Sergeant Major of the 2nd Class" . . . there is no such rank in any of the US services. I know his true rank and he is not a "soldier" either. I could go on, but you need to get your facts straight, avoid innuendo, and write a little more coherently. Then you can explain why your cited examples have anything to do with military history, especially as related to this sub-forum, World War II, or admit you are posting just to be obnoxious.
  6. Well. my area of study, US naval aviation WW2, is pretty far removed from the subject matter of these two photos, but, I'd say offhand that both appear to show Austrian troops in the 1914-1917 time period. Where? Not a clue . . . Europe, maybe? At first, I thought the first might be German army, but a close exam shows some of the troops wearing the same cap as in the second photo, which is distinctly Austrian.
  7. Never stop reading and never get your history from the TV, movies, or UTube.
  8. R Leonard

    Fact checking

    Journalists . . . for the most part don't understand history can't read maps any ship that's grey and has a gun is a battleship if the writer never heard before of XYZ event, there must have been a, GASP, coverup. I could go on and on . . . but fact checkers for journalists is somewhat incestuous.
  9. R Leonard

    Fact checking

    Is there some question about the presence of US Marines at Cape Gloucester?
  10. No. Simply because he would have already reached the mandatory retirement age for serving officers before the North Koreans invaded . . . without already having 5 stars he would have already retired.
  11. That was my question . . . never answered other than some vague claim to knowledge of Japanese carrier operations, which I also challenged. I can elaborate on his foul ups at Midway, but I wanted to give the OP a chance to present his case.
  12. Well, of course. Film makers are in the entertainment business, they are not in the history business. Anyone expecting to see history adhered to from opening credits to final credits will be very disappointed.
  13. Oh, and if you were to look closely at, then, Commander, Browning's performance at Midway, you just may come away with a "Whoa, he really messed that up," moment.
  14. I see nothing in the available literature, including various heavy tomes on USN/carrier operations; articles; papers; the naval registers from 1917 to 1942; and even a somewhat poorly written, overly effusive, and error riddled Wiki entry which would indicate that Browning had any exposure to, or gathering of, specialized insight into Japanese carrier operations. I even went so far as to peruse some of his own writings from his tour of duty at the Army’s Command & General Staff School. No, nothing there either. He was never a Japanese Language Officer – a duty which required a two-year assignment to the US embassy in Tokyo, nor do the registers otherwise indicate he was an otherwise qualified Japanese translator. Not to mention that the Japanese were notoriously close-minded about allowing non-Japanese naval personnel, especially Americans, gathering information on their operations. The experiences of Halsey’s staff aboard Enterprise leading up to Midway were pretty much centered on strikes on remote Japanese outposts and providing escort to USS Hornet for the Doolittle raid, none of which provided any exposure whatsoever, absolutely none, to Japanese carriers and their operations. From what I’ve seen there was nothing he ever wrote pre-war that those involved at command levels with US Naval Aviation did not already know nor did such writing specifically address the Japanese or any of their doctrine, operations, or practices. He may have been one who wrote on carrier operations and pitfalls in a NWC thesis paper, but it was not earth-shattering insight. So, always being willing to learn, perhaps you could point to some documentation I may have missed that might illuminate your claim to his extensive knowledge of Japanese carrier operations?
  15. Oh my sweet Aunt Tillie, where ever did you get the strange idea that Miles Browning was the "real hero" of Midway?
  16. R Leonard

    Uniform id

    Probably the easiest thing to do is contact the Army Personnel Center (0845 600 9663) and see what they say about accessing his records. There's a system on this side of the pond for US records & I'm certain that there's one on the other side. You might also want to throw the question to these guys who are pretty good at ferreting out info: http://ww2talk.com/index.php They could also give some insight to navigation of the records acquisition process. There is a Royal Engineers museum in Gillingham Kent, but they specifically say they've no personnel records and to contact the personnel center . . . which is where I found the above contact information.
  17. R Leonard

    Uniform id

    Perhaps the Royal Regiment of Artillery OR the Corps of Royal Engineers. Both had a collar device of a grenade over a scroll, both of which sported the Latin, "Ubique" ("Everywhere"). The difference between the two, which I can't make out from the photo, was the number of flames coming from the top of the grenade; RRA had seven flames, CRE had nine. Were I forced to make a guess, I'd say Corps of Royal Engineers.
  18. Not US cadets, not a USMA, VMI, Citadel, Norwich, nor even Texas A&M. Quite a few others college OTC (that's right, OTC, ROTC came later) in the US of that period I could name. Most either wore a USMA style grey uniform, such as VMI, Citadel, Norwich, or PMC, or the dark blue officers service dress blouse (such as VPI or the Aggies) from the 1908 regulations circa the time of the blouse in the photo. I believe it is a British or Commonwealth blouse. US Army uniforms were high collar until about 1924 when they switched to an open collar,flat lapel type blouse over a shirt and tie. Today, Aggies still wear that open neck type, the famous "pinks & greens;" VMI, Norwich, & Citadel wear cadet grey like USMA but with slight variations on trim and different buttons; PMC, and I believe, NMMI went out of business a long time ago; VPI wears the USMA style service blouse only in blue, not grey. Everybody else, ROTC, that is, wears standard contemporary US Army attire as they always have.
  19. From the Norfolk, Virginia “Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch” July 9, 1949, page 9: “Takes No Superman to Fly Jet Fighters – Two Veteran Navy Pilots Convinced New Planes Easier and Safer, Too” – By Herald Latham You don’t have to be a superman to fly jet propelled airplanes. At least, no more so than to fly any combat plane. That is the sentiment of a man who should know – Commander W. N. Leonard, USN, commanding officer of the Navy Fighter Squadron VF-171, one of the Navy’s two operational jet squadrons. During his 11 years in the Navy, Leonard has amassed a total of more than 2,300 hours flight time. Most of it has been in fighter planes. He has flown jets for several hundred hours during the slightly more than three years the Navy has had them. He has flown from the decks of aircraft carriers and from operational land bases. Leonard’s opinion is seconded by another flier who demands a healthy respect. Lt. Comdr. W. B. “Wild Bill” Biggers, USN, executive officer of VF-171, says the same thing. Biggers is a veteran of 3,500 hours flight time and has been in the Navy for about eight and a half years. Too Old to Fly – According to armchair critics these men are too old to be flying fighter planes, even conventional types, much less the hot jets. Leonard is 33 and Biggers is 29. They agree, however, that insofar as the mechanics of flying is concerned, the jet is easier to fly that the conventional reciprocating engine powered airplane. “Why then,” they were asked, “is it that the public and pilots who have never flown jets think it is so hard?” They explained it this way: Aside from a publicity stunt to attract adventuresome young men into military flying, the opinion that a jet is a ‘hot’ plane has been built up because it is probably the most publicized flying machine in history. Classified Hush Hush – The jet has been classified as “hush hush” by high military officials. That puts the public’s imagination to work. Man is prone to exaggerate, so you get the feeling that super-natural powers are a prerequisite to jet flying. Then too, Biggers and Leonard continued, when a pilot is transferred from conventional planes to jets he thinks of himself as a student pilot once more. As a student progresses from one type of plan to a more advanced one, he is confronted with more speed, more difficult flying conditions and has to conquer more “musts” in precision flying. Actually, the hard thing about breaking a new pilot in on jets is that you have to convince them that jets are more simple than any plane he has ever flown before. “Just what do you mean by simple?” “Well,” Biggers said, “it’s like this. The jet cockpit is much more simple. It does not have near the number of engine instruments and gauges the older planes have. Engine instruments are the major worry for pilots at the crucial moments of taking off and landing.” “You don’t have the trouble with engine torque when full power is suddenly applied. Since the engine is almost vibration free, the pilot is not subjected to fatigue as in reciprocating engine powered planes,” added Leonard. Torque, as explained by Biggers is the tendency of an airplane to rotate on its longitudinal axis when full power is suddenly applied. It is caused by the propeller acting as a brake in the acceleration of the engine and thus the left wing f the plane is forced down if the engine rotates to the right. When the left wing of plane falls at extremely low altitudes, a crash might result. Alert All The Time – “The big trouble with jets is that you have to be on the alert all the time,” Leonard said. “Jets travel at such high speed that a slight miscalculation in navigation will result in your being miles off your course or beyond your destination.” “For example. You’re flying from here to Washington. A conventional fighter will make if in about 45 minutes. A jet will get there in 20 minutes. If the jet pilot has doped off he will be lost. The conventional fighter can dope off and still not be in too much trouble since he has more time to make a correction.” “How does the jets higher landing speed affect its use as a carrier plane?” “From my experience, Leonard answered, “It is the best carrier plane ever built.” He said a jet could be “put down” exactly where you wanted it to go. The higher landing speed is counter-acted by increasing the tension on the wires that catch the plane to slow and stop it. Leonard said high naval officials were apprehensive when jets were first flown from the decks of carriers. They were afraid the high speed and heavier weight would “bust” the jets as carrier based planes. Now, Leonard continued, they are as much for the jets as the old “battle wagon” admirals were for battleships. Pilot Training Not Difficult – “As an operational fighter plane does the jet offer any trouble to new jet fighters?” “No,” was the emphatic answer. “It’s just a matter of fundamental intelligence. If a pilot flies the way he was taught to fly in the first place, he should have no trouble handling the jet,” Leonard said. “Of course,” he continued, “the jet has opened a new field of aviation to the Navy. For that reason, we, the Navy, have been slow in converting to the jet fighter planes in comparison to the way the Air Force has converted. Heretofore, the Navy has stayed below or around the 15,000-foot altitude for fighter planes. Now, with the jet and the new tactics called for by them we can go up to a service ceiling of above 40,000 feet with the F2H ‘Banshee.’” (One of the planes the Navy has offered to pit against the Air Force’s giant B-36.) “Since the Navy is having to develop new tactics, we have used only chosen experienced pilots for the new jets. When these tactics are completed, these men will be designated to other squadrons to help with their organization when they are equipped with jets.” “Do you think you could pick, say, six brand new pilots from Pensacola (the Navy’s student pilot school) and make them into jet pilots just as easily as pilots of conventional airplanes?” “I certainly do,” Biggers answered. “Even to take them to carriers from operations there?” “Yes, during the many months we have been operating from carriers, we have not had one fatal crash or a crash that the jet was not able to fly away from. That includes carrier landings after weeks, or in some cases, months of lay-offs.” What About Reactions? – “The public has been reading about the slowing of the reflexes of pilots at high speeds. Does this actually happen or does it just apply to planes of the future which will break the super-sonic barrier?” “Well, I’d say the reaction to speeds over 400 miles an hour is about the same as below that figure,” Biggers said. “You might compare it to the increase of the speed of a car from 40 to 60 miles an hour. You’re going faster so you start reacting sooner, the same way you do when you approach a curve at 40 and then again at 60.” Both of these experienced pilots summed up jet-propelled flying this way: “You get there in less time.” Leonard was CO of VF-171 from 1948 to 1950. Under his command it became the Navy’s first operational jet squadron and the first jet squadron to carrier qualify. He was the 73d naval aviator to qualify in jets and an ace from the Pacific Theater. He was also one of the F8F pilots who set the climb to time records at the Cleveland Air Show in 1946.
  20. I am certainly the last to claim knowledge on the subject, but your dagger appears to follow the pattern of the Fairbairn-Sykes "commando knife". As to its authenticity, I've not a clue.
  21. Turned down collar. US uniforms of the WWI period had stand-up collars. Not a US uniform.
  22. Whoa there big fella. Easy now. It is always best not to take offense unless and until it is well, truly, and pointedly offered. I was referring to the lug nut who wrote the headline for the article in "Army Times," above.
  23. Perhaps just another fine example of poor writing by selecting the wrong word from someone who portrays him/herself as a "journalist".
  24. The Soviet Navy of that time was not, as they say "a blue water navy." It was a navy that operated in the littorals and narrowly defined waters such as the Baltic or the Black seas. They had no use for aircraft carriers and, furthermore, the with the design of the GZ creating a piece of junk in terms of real aircraft carriers, trying to make it operational would be more trouble than it was worth. Their real mistake was not hauling it to a breakers yard and salvaging the steel . . . think of all those razor blades.
  25. Bombing and torpedoing a hulk is certainly target practice for those doing the bombing and torpedoing. Target practice does not require a gun, it requires a means to deliver the specified ordnance on the given target.
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