Dowding's Costly Blunder in the Battle of France - Page 15




 
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November 28th, 2011  
LeEnfield
 
 
Mary Seacole did as much work out there as Florence Nightingale but did not have the push that Florence had. Still Mary became a firm friend of Queen Victoria
November 28th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
It seems that Mary did more, she used all her own resources for years and went bankrupt. At least the people she helped were grateful and continued gathering funds to help her for year.
November 29th, 2011  
42RM
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samneanderthal
Hi 42RM,
I could go into detail, but watch the discovery channel's episode about the Folklands, in which British officers explain that had the Argentinians had more than a handful of WW II mines in Port Stanley or attacked the ships with their planes a little differently, the British would have lost and that they were running out of supplies, so had the Argentine forces held out for a few more days the fleet would have had to withdraw. Also the Argentine forces ran out of exocets, etc,
The British victory was composed of equal measures of professionalism and luck, both essential factors in the prosecution of a war. On paper, Argentina appeared to have a decided edge, in men, materiel, planes, position, and supply lines. The Argentine advantage, however, was eroded away by the British forces as the war developed, the experience of the British military being a decisive factor.

Britain also used the press much more efficiently than Argentina, giving the impression of even-handedness, truthfulness, even humbleness in advancing its claims, when in reality the military manipulated the few reporters assigned to the fleet by feeding them exaggerated but believable reports about the large numbers of British troops, ships, and planes being sent to the South Atlantic. While the Argentine press releases were discredited almost from the first day of the campaign, Britain's official government press office was regarded by most westerners as the only news source that was even partially veracious. In other words, Britain won the psychological war, and by doing so, gave an enormous boost to its military position. As the war progressed, even Argentina began believing British claims. This was, of course, precisely what Britain intended.

The sinking of the Argentine ship General Belgrano not only removed from the seas Argentina's most powerful warship, but also effectively marked the end of the naval war in the Falklands; thereafter, Argentina kept its ships within sighting distance of the mainland.

Argentina seemed to have a large advantage in air power at the beginning of the conflict, but never was able to use its large numbers of fighter-bombers to establish control of the air space over the Falklands. Instead, twenty British Sea Harriers flying round the clock effectively knocked the Argentine Air Force out of the sky in the first two weeks of the shooting war. The slower Harriers showed an uncanny ability to outmanoeuvre the faster but clumsier Skyhawks and Mirages, shooting down the Argentine planes in an astonishing ratio of about fifteen British kills for every one for Argentina.

The Argentine Air Force demonstrated immense bravery and tenacity in attacking the British fleet, which was bottled up in Falkland Sound with no room to manoeuver. But its best efforts were thwarted by a high number of dud bombs, including six that actually hit British ships, by the myriad of antiaircraft missiles thrown at the attacking Argentine jets, and by the short amount of combat time (2-10 minutes) that each Argentine plane actually had over the target areas. Essentially, each Argentine aircraft had to line up over the combat zone, quickly dump its bombs and missiles, perhaps turn around once for a strafing run, and then head back to home base, or run the risk of running out of fuel. This left the Argentine craft at an enormous disadvantage in pursuing the Sea Harriers, in picking better targets, in avoiding missiles. In the end, Argentina lost perhaps one-half to two-thirds of its serviceable combat planes, depending on which claims one chooses to believe; more importantly, the Argentines lost a large percentage of its trained fighter pilots, a resource that will be far more difficult to replace than the aircraft themselves.

On land Argentina fared little better. Brigadier General Menendez, who had spoken out against the original Argentine invasion, was simply the wrong man to be defending the Argentine beachhead. He consistently showed himself incapable of making the simplest military judgements. His strategy, his placement of troops, his supply lines, his responses to British actions, all demonstrated woeful military incompetence. Paradoxically, President Galtieri recognised Menendez's deficiencies on his only visit to the islands, but refused to replace him, on the grounds his removal might demoralise the Argentine populace and soldiery.

The British forces were allowed to land at San Carlos Bay virtually unopposed. Argentine troops at Goose Green were reinforced by Menendez, but provided with no further support when they most needed it. Once Goose Green fell, Menendez seemed to pursue a persistent policy of retreat, falling back from entrenched positions at the least sign of pressure from the advancing British. As a result, he soon found himself besieged at Puerto Argentino / Port Stanley, encircled by land and cut off by sea, with no air support whatsoever. At the end, his soldiers broke and ran before the final British attack.

Contributing to the Argentine defeat on land was the dichotomy between the Argentine enlisted men and their elitist officers, many of whom never moved from their relatively plus surroundings in Port Stanley, while the men in the trenches were struggling to find something hot to eat and something warm to wear. A number of the intermediate officers abandoned their units under British military pressure, leaving them in charge of their sergeants or corporals. The vast gap between the privileged officer class and the poorly trained conscripts that comprised much of the Argentine army resulted in a demoralisation of the forces in the field, and a tendency for them to crumble before the relentless British onslaughts.

Contributing to this was Argentina's poor supply chain: while goods and war materiel piled-up in Port Stanley, the soldier in the field received less and less in food, clothes, and weaponry as the war progressed. He felt abandoned by his own people, and consequently did not fight as well as he could have fought, had he been properly maintained and directed. The fault for the military debacle must lie directly with the heads of the Argentine armed services.

Argentina made a very poor showing indeed: with better officers, better supply lines, with more aggressive tactics, Argentina could have at least fought the British to a standstill, and perhaps driven them off the beaches at Port San Carlos. But they did not
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November 29th, 2011  
BritinBritain
 
 
42RM, Its all wasted on the little twonk.

But to keep on track, Dowding was spot on with his handling of the Battle of Britain.
November 29th, 2011  
42RM
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
42RM, Its all wasted on the little twonk.
Yes, but his distorted version must not be allowed to stand alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
But to keep on track, Dowding was spot on with his handling of the Battle of Britain.
Agree.
It was "Stuffy" Dowding who created Fighter Command from the ground up from 1936 to 1940. It was Dowding who created the Dowding System of the radar early warning defence against incoming hostile aircraft--the system which is still effectively in use today throughout the world. It was Dowding who laid down the master plan and the strategic principles which were the secret of the successful defensive actions called the Battle of Britain.
November 29th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
Had the ancient duds exploded, or better yet, had there been enough exocets there would have not been much left. Luck again rather than professionalism.

I am sure that Dowding's brilliant planning included relying on Polish and a Check ace (Frantisek, 17 kills druing the BoB, higher than that of Dowding trained British pilots who had been flying Hurricanes for years) of squadron 303, that entered service as late as August 31, 1940 to defeat the Germans. By the way, the Poles also had to train their own ground crews to repair Merlin engines in a Hurry.

There can be no justification for wasting over 1,100 mediocre fighter planes and nearly as many pilots, the French bombers, army and navy and 100 of the best fighters in Dunkirk and Ariel, in order to be left with more Spitfires and Hurricanes than pilots. Britain had a big pilot training expansion program that started in 1935, yet Dowding was left very short of pilots as early as 1940.

By the way Dowding did send only a handful of Spitfires to France almost immediately after war was declared (it was not so difficult to send planes and crews after all), which were involved in the Barking Creek Fiasco on Sept 6, 1939 that included Sailor Malan.
November 29th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samneanderthal
Had the ancient duds exploded, or better yet, had there been enough exocets there would have not been much left. Luck again rather than professionalism.

I am sure that Dowding's brilliant planning included relying on Polish and a Check ace (Frantisek, 17 kills druing the BoB, higher than that of Dowding trained British pilots who had been flying Hurricanes for years) of squadron 303, that entered service as late as August 31, 1940 to defeat the Germans. By the way, the Poles also had to train their own ground crews to repair Merlin engines in a Hurry.

There can be no justification for wasting over 1,100 mediocre fighter planes and nearly as many pilots, the French bombers, army and navy and 100 of the best fighters in Dunkirk and Ariel, in order to be left with more Spitfires and Hurricanes than pilots. Britain had a big pilot training expansion program that started in 1935, yet Dowding was left very short of pilots as early as 1940.

By the way Dowding did send only a handful of Spitfires to France almost immediately after war was declared (it was not so difficult to send planes and crews after all), which were involved in the Barking Creek Fiasco on Sept 6, 1939 that included Sailor Malan.
Ok here is an attempt to change direction, did anyone do anything right in your opinion?

So far you seem determined that the German, British, Italian, Russian, French Command were wrong on pretty much everything, further to that Churchill, Hitler and Stalin were wrong so how about this for a change of pace who was right?
November 29th, 2011  
lljadw
 
Who was right ? Sam of course .
Play it again ,Sam .
November 29th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
Hi MontyB,
There were plenty of excellent leaders: Mannerheim and many Finnish generals, the Greeks, dozens of German field marshals and generals (Manstein, Guderian, Rommel, Hoepner, Hoth, List, Leeb, Richthoffen, Gallant, etc,), O´Connor, Slim, several Poles (one closed the Falaise pocket for Monty), Bradley, Stillwell (the brightest American general who was given the least resources and stuck under Chiang and Mountbatten), Sprague, Spruance, Niemitz, Rokossovski, Pokrishkin, etc,
They all made mistakes but were much more often right than wrong.
November 30th, 2011  
BritinBritain
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samneanderthal
Hi MontyB,
There were plenty of excellent leaders:, Stillwell (the brightest American general who was given the least resources and stuck under Chiang and Mountbatten), .
You talk so much crap its unbelievable. Under Stillwell the Chindits suffered more casulties after Wingate was killed. Stillwell had no idea of the conditions that the Chindits had to fight in, he also had the habit of crediting Chindit successes to his Chinese troops.

Stilwell insisted that the Chindits capture several well-defended Japanese positions. The Chindits had no support from tanks or artillery and this led to heavier casualties than before. Some have considered these operations to be abuse. Chindits were badly misused by U.S. General “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell (who hated the British and in turn, has come to be reviled by the British; one English documentary of late continues this, referring to him as an “unsavory character”). The surviving Chindits, wracked by disease, malnutrition and atrocious losses, were only evacuated by executive order weeks later.

When US General Joseph Stilwell began to use the Chindits as assault infantry at Moguang – a role for which they were ill-suited – a more forceful commander could have stood against Stilwell and prevented needless bloodshed. Of the 5,000 casualties endured by the Chindits during the second expedition, 3,800 had become so under Stillwell.

Calvert against Stilwells orders pulled what remaining troops out

Stilwell was recalled by President Roosevelt.
 


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