To August 7, 1946
United States................................................................................................................................... 1238
Report of the President’s Evaluation Commission on First Bikini Test—Vice Admiral Blandy’s Initial Report on Second Atomic Bomb—Seabees Start Work for Third Bomb—Operation Crossroads Findings—Rocket Powered Torpedo—Naval Air Ready Reserve Numbers 29,000—Colleges to Aid Naval Jet Research
Transmitting Magnetic Compasses in Ships—Helicopters in the Royal Navy—Lessons and Implications of Pacific Air Defense— Various Notes
The French Navy and Its Budget
The Disintegration of German War Industry
Treaty Draft Lists Naval Vessels to Be Retained by Italy
Soviet Planning a “Mighty Navy”-—Russian Science Plan
Other Countries.............................................................................................................................. 1261
U. S. Abandons “Five Freedoms”—Navy Accepts New Amphibious Mariner
Merchant Marine........................................................................................................................... 1263
Normandie to Be Sold for Scrap
Report of the President1 s Evaluation Commission on First Bikini Test
Department of State Bulletin, July 21.— In compliance with its directive from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Evaluation Board for the Atomic Bomb Tests has submitted a preliminary report of the test held at Bikini Atoll on July 1, 1946. The members of this Board were:
Dr. Karl T. Compton, Chairman Mr. Bradley Dewey, Deputy Chairman Mr. Thomas F. Farrell Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, U.S.A.
Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, U.S.A.
Rear Admiral \V. R. Purnell, U.S.N.
Rear Admiral R. A. Ofstie, U.S.N.
The report which follows covers the general observations of this Board.
TEXT OF REPORT
The members of the Board inspected target ships the day before the test, witnessed the explosion from an airplane 20 miles distant, and then approached to within 9 miles of the atoll for a brief view. On the following day, as soon as safety clearance had been received, the members flew to Bikini and began their examination of ship damage. Many photographs have been studied, and military and scientific specialists interviewed in an attempt to obtain an over-all understanding of test results prior to the compilation of all the data. From its previous study of the plans for the test, and from its observations in the Bikini area, the Board considers that the test was well conceived and executed by the services in close co-operation with a large civilian staff. It is satisfied that the conditions of the test were well-chosen and that the highest skill and ingenuity have been used to obtain a maximum amount of data in an unbiased, scientific manner. It believes that the commander, staff, and personnel of Task Force One deserve high commendation for their excellent performance and their notable co-operative spirit.
Effective precautions appear to have been taken to safeguard personnel against radioactivity and associated dangers. The Board’s present information is that the bomb exploded, with an intensity which approached the best of the three previous atomic bombs, over a point 1500 to 2000 feet westerly of the assigned target, and at approximately the planned altitude. The target array in no sense represented an actual naval disposition but was designed to obtain the maximum data from a single explosion. The most important effects produced by the bomb are the following:
(1) A destroyer and two transports sank promptly and another destroyer capsized. It later sank, and the Japanese cruiser Sakawa sank the following day. The superstructure of the submarine Skate was so badly damaged as to make it unsafe to submerge the vessel. The light carrier Independence was badly wrecked by the explosion, gutted by fire, and further damaged by internal explosions of low order, including those of torpedoes. All the above vessels were within one-half mile of the explosion point.
(2) Numerous fires were started on other ships, including one on a ship 2 miles distant, which was apparently due to some unusual circumstance since the other fires were much closer. Here it should be remembered that the target ship decks carried a great variety of test material not ordinarily exposed on the decks of naval vessels.
(3) The only major combatant ships within one-half mile of the explosion point were the battleships Nevada and Arkansas and the heavy cruiser Pensacola. The blast struck these from the after quarter. Apparently little damage was done to their hulls or their main turrets but their superstructures were badly wrecked. These ships were unquestionably put out of action and would, along with many others within three-fourths of a mile, have required extensive repairs at a principal naval base.
(4) Other ships in the target array suffered damage in varying degree, depending on position and type of ship, but there was relatively little damage at distances greater than three-fourths of a mile.
(5) The primary material effects noted were due to blast, buckling of decks and bulkheads, and destruction or deformation of lightly constructed exposed objects, including stacks, masts, and antennae. Secondary effects were due to fire, and it is noteworthy that Army Quartermaster stores and miscellaneous equipment placed on the decks for the test proved more vulnerable than normal naval deck gear. It should be pointed out that since the targets carried no personnel the fires were uncontrolled and undoubtedly there was more damage than there would have been under battle conditions. Singularly, although considerable amounts of explosive ordnance were exposed on decks and in gun turrets, there is no indication on ships which remained afloat that any of this material was exploded by direct action of the atomic bomb. Firefighting ships entered the target area as soon as they could obtain radiological security permission and subdued a number of fires. The speed and efficiency with which these ships acted preserved for later examination a great deal of evidence of bomb action which might otherwise have been lost.
(6)Examination of the flashburn effects produced by the initial radiation from the explosion indicates that casualties would have been high among exposed personnel. However, it is the opinion of the Board that persons sheltered within the hull of a ship or even on deck in the shadow of radiation from the bomb would not have been immediately incapacitated by burns alone, whatever might have been the subsequent radiological effects.
(7)Within the area of extensive blast damage to ship superstructures there is evidence that personnel within the ships would have been exposed to a lethal dosage of radiological effects. Personnel casualties due to blast would no doubt have been high for those in exposed positions on vessels within one-half mile of the target center. Beyond this, any discussion of the blast effect upon personnel will have to await the detailed reports of the medical specialists.
In general no significant unexpected phenomena occurred, although the test was designed to cope with considerable variation from predictions. There was no large water wave formed. The radioactive residue dissipated in the manner expected. No damage occurred on Bikini Island, about 3 miles from the explosion center.
From what it has seen and from what it has ascertained from data now available, the Board is able to make certain general observations:
(1)The atomic bomb dropped at Bikini damaged more ships than have ever before been damaged by a single explosion.
(2)The test has provided adequate data of a sort necessary for the redesign of naval vessels to minimize damage to superstructures and deck personnel from this type of bomb. Because of the nature of the first test (air burst) little information has been obtained on hull effects. Damage to ships’ hulls will be studied specifically in the second test when a bomb will be exploded under water.
(3)A vast amount of data which will prove invaluable throughout scientific and engineering fields has been made available by this test. Once more the importance of large-scale research has been dramatically demonstrated. There can be no question that the effort and expense involved in this test has been amply justified both by the information secured and by greatly narrowing the range of speculation and argument. Moreover, it is clear to the Board that only by further large-scale research and development can the United States retain its present position of scientific leadership. This must be done in the interests of national safety.
The Board desires to say that it has had the fullest co-operation of the task force commander, and that every opportunity has been afforded it in carrying out its mission. The members of the Board have had access to all data thus far accumulated and have had every facility for personally inspecting the results of the test.
Vice Admiral Blandy’s Initial Report on Second Atomic Bomb
New York Times, July 25.—Admiral Blandy’s report follows:
This is Vice Admiral Blandy. I am speaking to you from the bridge of my flagship, the Mount McKinley, which lies just off the eastern reef of the Bikini lagoon only a few miles from the center of the target array. We can nowr see more clearly some of the results of the world’s first under-water atomic bomb explosion. It took place this morning at 8:35 a.m., local time. The battleship
Arkansas, a concrete oil barge, and a tank landing craft are the only ships known to be sunk. But as six of the eigfit submarines were submerged for the test, we don’t yet know whether any of them were sunk or not. None came to the surface and two have been sighted from the air in the proper submerged position. The Saratoga is listing to starboard and is down by the stern. Part of a large smokestack has fallen on the flight deck. Her elevator has dipped from one side below the level of the flight deck.
The ex-Japanese battleship Nagato also has a very slight list. We cannot immediately determine the fullest damage to other ships since water in the lagoon near the targets is still radioactive. So there is no apparent damage other than that already mentioned. We do not know the exact efficiency of this bomb yet. But it appears to be evident in every respect that it was detonated at its underwater location. There have been no injuries or loss of life and all precautions continue to protect personnel of this joint task force. This morning, from my observation point 9 miles from the center of the target array, we watched the atomic bomb blast send a huge torrent of water towering into the air. We estimate that this column was 5,000 feet high, with a column of gas and vapor 9,000 feet high at its peak. The water column was 2,100 feet wide at base and considerably wider at the top. The huge wave formed as a result of the blast dissipated rapidly and was only about 7 to 10 feet high when it reached Bikini Island. It did not inundate Bikini Island itself but did overflow' a small island near it. Ships lying outside the lagoon were not affected in any way by either waves or the small underwater shock.
The shock has apparently shaken loose some red coral and it floats to the mouth of Bikini atoll. But there have been no marine earthquakes or other phenomena which would affect any area. The effects of this test explosion are strictly local.
In this test, the first of its kind in history, we have not had to contend with the threat of fires, but w-e have had an equally great problem—underwater hull damage. There are no fires on board the ships and no oil fires on the water. There is a large oil slick on the w'ater, however, apparently from the sunken Arkansas.
Radioactivity is a greater factor this time than in the air drop, because target ships have been drenched with contaminated w'ater and spray, and the vapor cloud spread over nearly all of them; this cloud is still visible, lying on the horizon like a low cloud bank.
Local currents in the lagoon do not diffuse the radioactivity in the water as rapidly as did the wind, and the task force may not be able to enter the lagoon as quickly as on July 1.
The drone boats, under remote radio control, have already made reconnaissance patrols among the target ships and are bringing out water samples. The course of events will be watched continuously from the air and radiological patrols will inform us when wre can proceed into the lagoon with safety.
I w'ish to say in conclusion that once again all units of this joint Army-Navy-civilian task force have done their job perfectly in carrying out the test. Their co-operation, as in the first test, has been perfect, and I wish to congratulate all the personnel, service and civilian, w'ho participated.
Outstanding groups so far have been our weather forecasters, the bomb preparation and firing units, the Army and Navy air groups, the drone units particularly, and the target preparation group, especially those who submerged the submarines with no one on board.
Units yet to perform more functions are the radiological safety units, the salvage group, and the technical personnel, who must now obtain the information from thousands of instruments. I know I can count on them to equal the performance of the other units.
Later today I may be able to give you a more detailed report.
Seabees Start Work for Third Bomb
New York Herald Tribune, July 30.— Seabees already are at work here preparing for the third atomic-bomb test, the deep explosion scheduled for some time next year, although there has been no official word from Washington that this experiment will be carried out. Some experts have indicated that authorities have not fully made up their minds concerning it. Vice Admiral W. H. P. Blandy said, however, that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had given permission to keep the Seabees here, and they are preparing to place permanent moorings in the lagoon. From these moorings it is planned to extend three to five long cables across the atoll reefs into deep water. One vessel of each type, from battleship to transport, will be secured to each cable, like beads on a string. Currents and prevailing winds are depended upon to keep them strung out over deep water.
The Bikini shelf descends at a 45-degree angle so that there is mile-deep water very close offshore.
The purpose of an explosion at such a depth would be to force most of the bomb’s power into the water, creating a hammer effect against hulls. In last Thursday’s shallow test, at an undisclosed depth, it was estimated that half the force of the bomb was expended upward into the air.
Ashore and afloat surveys still are being made of results of the recent explosion, and Blandy said he hopes to have his main report eady in October. There will be numerous other technical reports, which will not be made public, but which should constitute a sort of naval atomic encyclopedia to be studied for years in the future, he said.
Indicative of the nature of this type of work, Blandy said washing decks with salt water is the best remedy thus far found for removing radioactive deposits, but this is only about 30 per cent effective and some other means must be found, plus protective clothing for personnel.
Eight puppies and three adult dogs which lived on Bikini Island through the atomic- bomb burst were found well and hungry today. Seabees said the half-wild dogs ran away when the island was being evacuated prior to Thursday’s bombing, and so had to be left behind. They were found today in an abandoned mess hall.
Operation Crossroads Findings
New York Times, July 30, by Hanson W. Baldwin.—Operation Crossroads has ended; and the atomic bomb has been reduced to the comprehension of the average man. It remains a terrible and devastating weapon that may—if used in a future war—help to return the world to the dark ages. But it is probably not the “absolute weapon,” and it is a measurable and finite force, many of the mysteries of which have been stripped away by the two atomic tests just completed.
In the opinion of the majority of the military men and scientists who compose the Joint Task Force 1—the largest and most successfully conducted military test in history—the atomic bomb is primarily a strategic rather than a tactical weapon, its maximum effect can be obtained against cities and thickly populated and closely concentrated industrial areas rather than against navies or armies. It might, under certain favorable opportunistic conditions when grand strategy dictated, be used against a fleet; but ships of steel widely dispersed over blue water withstand the atomic blast considerably better than closely concentrated houses of Vi ood and brick, and no fleet, if it were reasonably alert, could be wiped out by one atomic bomb.
The bomb, in other words, has not yet replaced navies, armies, or air forces and the conventional weapons, and it is not likely to do so in the foreseeable future. But it is far more than just another weapon, and the air burst and subsurface burst at Bikini Atoll have illustrated its potentialities.
Some Bikini observers who had been feeding on Buck Rogers fantasies before the tests, were disappointed at the relatively localized effects of the bomb.
But Dr. Karl T. Compton, chairman of the evaluation board appointed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the tests, has emphasized that two atomic bombs did more damage to ships than any prior weapon in history, and he reiterated yesterday that, so far, the world has experienced the explosion of only one atomic bomb at a time; in any future war atomic bombs would be used, not by ones or twos, but by scores. But because of the expense of the bomb, and the relative scarcity of plutonium and uranium, atomic bombs— as we know them today—are more likely to be utilized against area targets on land—in other words, cities—than against dispersed ships. Nevertheless, the summarized results of ships sunk and damaged in Tests Able and Baker, in so far as these results are available, indicated graphically the finite and limited —but tremendous—power of the atomic bomb.
A summary of Operations Crossroads is:
Bombs detonated—two; both were Nagasaki-type bombs, and exploded normally and within the pressure ranges expected.
Test Able on July 1 was an air burst several hundred feet above the target fleet. The bomb, dropped from a B-29, missed the bull’s-eye ship, the battleship Nevada, by about 2,400 feet, but it exploded in the air within 50 feet of the desired altitude.
Test Baker on July 25 was the first subsurface atomic burst in history. It was intended to simulate an atomic attack upon a fleet in harbor, and relatively few of the world’s harbors are more than 100 feet deep. The bomb was not on the bottom of the lagoon—about 180 feet deep—nor was it just under the surface. The exact depth is an official secret, but it was probably 25 to 40 feet.
Some 73 target ships and vessels, ranging from oil barges and landing craft to battleships, were used in the first test and at that time 17 additional landing craft were drawn up on, or near, the shores of Bikini Island, 3 miles from the detonation point.
The same target ships, many of them battered, less five ships sunk in the first test, plus two replacement destroyers and the landing craft on Bikini, were used in the second test—a total for the second test of about 87 ships, landing craft, and boats. Two patrol planes were also moored on the water in both tests, as was a section of Army river-bridging equipment.
Ships sunk and damaged in the air-burst test included the Japanese cruiser Sadawa, destroyers Lantson and Anderson, transports Gilliam and Carlisle, sunk; carrier Independence, cruisers Salt Lake City and Pensacola, submarine Skate, an oil barge and LST, the battleships Arkansas and Nevada, a destroyer and two transports, damaged. Other ships received light to negligible damage.
Chief damage July 1 to the Arkansas and Nevada was to superstructures; some ships, including the Arkansas, had their boiler casings punctured by the blast down the stack, and would have been unable, at least temporarily, to raise steam in the affected boilers.
The ships sunk in the second, sub-surface test included the Arkansas, which disappeared as the column of water, mist, fog, and spray covered the target area; the carrier Saratoga, which sank 7 hours later, her bottom plates torn open; the Japanese battleship Nagato, which sank last night; the bomb craft, and an oil barge. One LCT, previously reported sunk, was found later, capsized and drifting.
Ships damaged include the battleships New York and Pennsylvania, which have taken some water; the destroyer Hughes, transport Fallon and submarine Dentuda, beached, and the Salt Lake City and Pensacola, with slight lists. Other vessels, particularly submarines, may be added to this list later. The two bombs, in other words, sank 8 ships and 2 craft and damaged rather seriously at least 20 other ships, craft, and boats out of a collective target total for the two tests of about 160 vessels. Three major units, the Arkansas, Saratoga, and Nagato, were sunk by the underwater blast.
The tests showed that the destructive radius of the atomic blast against ships was considerably more localized than the general public and some scientists had expected, but only slightly less than Operations Crossroads personnel had anticipated. The form of the waterspout in the second test, which was much shorter than forecast, and the great extent of the cloud of vapor, mist, spray, and gas, which had a diameter of perhaps 3 miles, were definite surprises.
The air burst proved very damaging to superstructures but not to hulls; the subsurface burst was damaging to hulls but not over quite as wide a radius as anticipated, and the wave action seemed to be somewhat less punishing to the ships than had been thought.
Rocket Powered Torpedo
New York Herald Tribune, July 28.— Rocket power, which scientists harnessed to propel planes and projectiles through the air, has now been adapted for use under the sea, Westinghouse Electric Corporation an-
nounced today with approval of the United States Army Air Forces. A new aerial torpedo—called the hydro-bomb—uses the thrust of burning, expanding gases to propel itself through water instead of air, and can stand the shock of being dropped 600 feet or more from a plane going 300 miles an hour, F. L. Snyder, a company engineering manager, said. The weapon, which the company claims is the simplest and least expensive to manufacture of all aerial torpedoes, was designed and built for the air forces.
“Our researchers conceived the idea of propelling the torpedoes with a true rocket motor, pushing the 2,300-pound projectile through the water much the same as a Fourth of July skyrocket is projected through the air,” Mr. Snyder said.
The engine of the hydro-bomb, he explained, is nothing more than a large pipe packed with sdlid fuel which, when burning, creates expanding gases that are expelled through a nozzle. Escape of the expanding gases through the nozzle sets up a reaction against the hydro-bomb like the kick of a discharged shotgun, pushing it through the water. When the torpedo hits the water, the impact throws a switch that ignites the rocket motor’s solid fuel. Electrical controls with a gyroscope keep the bomb on its path and special controls regulate its underwater depth.
Naval Air Ready Reserve Numbers
New York Herald Tribune, July 31.—The U. S. Navy’s first-line air force, which had to
stretch the limits of endurance in the desperate days of the Solomons and the Coral Sea, will be backed up the next time, if there is a next time, by a well-trained “ready reserve” of experienced flyers. This assurance came yesterday from Rear Admiral Edward C. Ewen, U.S.N., war-time skipper of the carrier Independence, and now chief of the Naval Air Reserve Command, with headquarters at Glenview, 111. He is in New York for an inspection of naval aviation facilities and was interviewed at the Commodore. Twenty- nine thousand naval aviation personnel, comprising 6,100 pilots and the officers and men of their ground and shipboard supports, will be maintained in a state of readiness for combat under the program.
This force will be sufficient to man on 30 days’ notice every one of the 73 “preserved” carriers on the Navy’s reserve list, Admiral Ewen said. The ships are veterans of the war on inactive duty, which will be kept in shape so they can put to sea within 60 days. The reserve program, now in effect at 21 air stations throughout the country, is divided into three parts.
In the first group is the “ready,” or organized reserve, made up of 6,100 pilots, 2,800 nonflying officers and approximately 20,000 enlisted personnel for air-support groups. These men, drawn from Naval Reserve veterans, will receive two weeks of cruise training each year, and will attend 48 drill periods annually, to keep them at peak efficiency. In addition to 100 hours of flying each year, the ready reserve will receive refresher instruction and practice in gunnery, bombing, tactics, navigation, instrument flying, carrier landings, communications, and night operations. They will draw two months’ pay a year.
The force will be organized into 55 carrier groups, 45 observation squadrons, 21 patrolbomber squadrons, and 24 transport squadrons. In addition, each station will have at least one fighter squadron of U. S. Marine Corps flyers.
Back of the ready reserve, Admiral Ewen said, will be the “stand-by,” or volunteer reserve, comprising an indeterminate number of pilots wrho will be in a semi-trained status by virtue of 50 hours of flying practice each year. The stand-bys will receive no pay.
And finally, at the base of the entire structure, will be the 40,000 pilots and 500,000 aviation personnel in inactive reserve who can be located, according to the reserve chief, “at the touch of a button.”
To maintain the 21 stations for the program, Admiral Ewen explained, there is to be a force of 13,000 officers and enlisted personnel, recruited from the Naval Reserve for active duty as “station-keepers.”
The unit at Floyd Bennett Naval Air Station, Brooklyn, now has under commission in the ready reserve one large carrier group, two escort-carrier groups, a patrolbomber squadron, one marine fighter, and one marine fighter-bomber squadron, giving it a total complement of 300 flyers. Two transport groups are in process of organization at the field.
Colleges to Aid Naval Jet Research
New York Herald Tribune, August 4.— The Navy Department has signed two-year contracts totaling more than §2,000,000 with Princeton, Cornell, Purdue, and New York Universities and the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute for the development of a program of basic scientific research, it was announced today by Dr. Harold W. Dodds, president of Princeton.
Established at the request of the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics, the program is part of a national education plan to insure the future of the United States in basic research in scientific fields. The program, given the name of “Project Squid” by the Navy, will involve fundamental research in aerodynamics, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, aimed at developing liquid rocket and intermittent jet-propelled weapons.
About 150 scientists from the five institutions will work on the project under the direction of Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, head of Princeton’s chemistry department and dean of the university’s graduate school. During the war Dr. Taylor headed a Navy program at Princeton for the Bureau of Ordnance and was cited for his research work in connection with telemeters—data-recording devices used in the development of guided missiles—guidance devices and fuel combustion. •
Dr. Dodds explained that basic experimentation was neglected during the war in favor of applied work. Under “Project Squid” the 150 scientists again will concentrate on basic research work.
Administration headquarters for the project will be on the Princeton campus, but laboratory work will be carried out at the various colleges. Dr. Dodds said he hoped the program would get under way within ten days.
A six-man policy committee, headed by Dr. Taylor, will govern work at the five institutions. Members of the committee in addition to Dr. Taylor are Dr. Theodore Karman, director of the Guggenheim Laboratories at the California Institute of Technology; Dr. Arthur S. Adams, provost at Cornell University; Dr. Richard Courant, head of the mathematics department at New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Dr. E. S. Roberts, chief engineer of the Chemical Construction Corporation, of New York, and Professor Robert N. Pease, of Princeton. Working under the policy committee will be a technical committee, headed by Professor Pease and composed of members of the five institutions participating in the project.
Transmitting Magnetic Compasses in Ships
The Nautical Magazine, May 1946, by W. E. May.—Of recent years there has been an increasing demand, in ships, for instruments to indicate the ship’s head. Whereas it has always been necessary that this information should be available at the ordinary navigating and steering positions, a state has now been reached where Radar and Direction Finding Radio can only be fully efficient if the operators are able to know the direction of the ship’s head at any instant. A magnetic compass at each position would not solve the problem as the proximity of electrical apparatus would make the compasses erratic. The only solution is the installation of a compass with repeaters.
Between the two world wars the gyrocompass grew in popularity since it seemed to have great advantages over the magnetic compass. Repeaters showing the ship’s head by the master compass could be placed anywhere where they were needed. Needing no special nonmagnetic position it could apparently be fitted anywhere in the ship, though actually a specially strengthened deck was required under it, instead, as it was susceptible to vibration. Unlike the magnetic compass it did not require correction, or compensation, as it is sometimes called, but, on the other hand, like any electrical apparatus, it required frequent attention and needed, at least, an annual overhaul. Its great disadvantages were its cost and the space it took, but many were fitted, as no other form of repeating compass was available.
Long ago, attempts were made to design repeating systems operated by the magnetic compass. The advent of the gyrocompass gave these attempts a temporary set-back but between the wars they were revived by the needs of aircraft. More complication in airplanes means the same problem which had already been encountered in ships. Magnetic compasses were unsatisfactory in many of the positions in which they were needed but, on the other hand, no known form of gyrocompass can be used in aircraft. The problem was tackled and a number of solutions arrived at. Of these the two which have achieved most publicity are the British Royal Air Force Distant Reading Compass and the American Fluxgate. Each of these makes use of a gyroscope in its system, and the inventors have therefore been hailed by the uninformed as inventors of gyrocompasses for use in the air. Such claims are, of course, entirely fallacious. Neither instrument is a gyrocompass. Each is a different form of repeating magnetic compass.
As the war progressed there came an increasing demand for repeating compasses for use in the little ships, the British M.T.B.’s, the American PT boats, the German E-boats. Gyrocompasses were too heavy for these little craft and each nation tried transferring its repeating magnetic compasses from the air to the sea. Although a certain success was attained none of the compasses gave a perfect answer, and at the end of the war the Germans were still experimenting with a number of types specially designed for ships.
The Compass Department of the British Admiralty was well ahead and produced an instrument called the A.T.M.C.* which has
* Admiralty Transmitting Magnetic Compass.
proved most successful. This compass is very similar to an ordinary magnetic compass, to look at, except that the whole bowl rotates in the binnacle. An arcuate strip of metal is riveted to the under edge of the compass card and extends through nearly 180°. Four equally spaced electrodes project into the bowl, which is filled with a conducting liquid, and are connected to the external circuit of the equipment from which alternating current is supplied. The electric current can pass through the liquid between any electrode and the nearest portion of the arcuate strip. The resistance of each liquid path will, of course, depend on its length. Two liquid paths between the ends of the arcuate strip and the corresponding electrodes form, together with two resistances in the external circuit, a Wheatstone’s bridge arrangement. As long as the ends of the strip are equidistant from their corresponding electrodes the resistances of these tw’o liquid paths are equal and no current will flow across the bridge. If now the ship alters course, the card remains stationary, pointing to the North, while the bowl is carried round with the ship. One end of the strip will pass beyond its electrode wrhile the other will recede from its opposite number. The second liquid gap will thus become larger than the first, upsetting the balance of the circuit so that a current will flow across the bridge. This current is taken to a valve amplifier, the output from which is applied to a follow-up motor which, in turn, drives the bowl round until the two electrodes are again equidistant from the two ends of the arcuate strip. At the same time it drives a transmitter which sends out impulses to the repeaters, causing their cards to rotate in step with the rotation of the bowl.
A peculiarity in the design of this compass is that, as the bowl chases the card, the lubber line does not remain fore-and-aft but follows the north point of the card. In fact the coincidence of the lubber and the north point indicates that the arrangement is working correctly. In order that the ship’s head can be read from the master, a scale is attached to the bowl and is read against an index on the binnacle. Should electric power fail, the bowl is rotated by hand until the lubber is fore-and-aft and the bowl is then locked by a bolt. The compass then becomes an ordinary magnetic compass.
A compass, designed on the principles described above, w*as first brought to the attention of the British Admiralty by Mr. E. L. Holmes, of Henry Hughes & Son, Ltd., of London in 1929. His compass did not meet naval requirements and since, at that time, no future was seen for it in the Royal Navy, the subject was not then pursued. War-time necessities led to the revival of the basic idea and the technical staff of the Admiralty Compass Observatory have now- produced a satisfactory instrument. The advantages of this type of equipment over the other types of repeating compass which have been mentioned are:
(1) It has been designed for ship use and is not an instrument designed first for aircraft and then adapted to marine use with the inevitable reduction in efficiency.
(2) The master compass is itself an ordinary magnetic compass and can be used as such. There is, therefore, no need to carry an additional magnetic compass for use in emergency should the electrical supply fail.
The advantages over the gyrocompass are:
(1) The equipment is lighter, smaller and cheaper.
(2) The maintenance needed is far less and there is less to go wrong for, w-hile the outside electrical systems are comparable, the magnetic master is far less complicated.
(3) Since it is itself an ordinary magnetic compass, no emergency compass is needed.
The advantages over ordinary magnetic compasses are:
(1)Repeaters can be fitted wherever needed,
and at these positions it is no longer necessary to obtain freedom from magnetic interference. I have already pointed out the advantages when Radar or Directional Radio are fitted. There are in addition advantages in using repeaters at the various steering positions. For example, the emergency after steering position wras usually, at one time, fitted on the poop where a magnetic compass was easily fitted. Nowadays it is becoming customary to make the steering engine compartment the emergency steering position, and in the presence of so much moving machinery no reasonable performance can be expected from a magnetic compass. *
(2) There is only one magnetic compass to adjust, so that the operation is quicker and easier, while subsequently one table of deviations will be applicable to all positions instead of one being required for each.
(3) Since the bowl keeps in step with the card there is less tendency to swirl error.
Compared with the gyrocompass the transmitting magnetic compass has one apparent disadvantage: that the master needs to be fitted in a position free from magnetic disturbance. This should not be so great a disadvantage as it at first appears, since every ship should already have such a position for her ordinary magnetic compass. In a warship a magnetic compass may be dispensed with since armor, etc., make the provision of a satisfactory position almost impossible, while the chances of a gyrocompass failure are much reduced by duplication and by the better maintenance rendered possible by a large crew of skilled technicians.
The merchant ship and yacht cannot afford to dispense altogether with a magnetic compass and it is no use fitting this magnetic compass, in a bad position, even if it is only needed in emergency, on the score that it will seldom be used. The motorist who carried a spare wheel in case he got a puncture but omitted to fit a tire to it on the grounds that a puncture was unlikely, would be thought a little mad. How much more foolish is the man who fits an emergency magnetic compass in a position where it cannot be expected to be accurate. He may be endangering the ship and her crew.
At one time it was almost standard practice in merchant vessels to build the lower half of the wheelhouse, or pilothouse, of steel and the upper half and top of wood. The roof of this structure provided a platform for the standard magnetic compass. Provided the ship is designed so that funnel, masts, and derricks are far enough away so that they do not cause magnetic inconvenience, such a position is ideal foi the master transmitting compass. Bearings can be taken from it when desired and repeaters will indicate its heading wherever required in the ship. Complaint might be made that this compass indicates magnetic North instead of true North as does the gyrocompass. This difficulty could be overcome by fitting a re-transmission link between master and repeaters to take out the variation.
It is confidently asserted that an equipment with the features I have described is ideal for yachts and small merchant vessels since it has many of the advantages of the gyrocompass at a greatly reduced cost, while it can be maintained without the assistance of the highly skilled technicians needed to keep the delicate mechanism of the gyrocompass in running order.
Helicopters in the Royal Navy
The Aeroplane, July 19.—Extreme speeds, approaching that of sound, have been much in the news during the past six months, but there are times when the possibility of maintaining no speed at all in the air may have greater value than that of hurtling along at 600 or 700 m.p.h. Their Lordships of the Admiralty are alive to this fact, and it is one of the reasons why a small helicopter unit is maintained by the Royal Navy. This unit, based at Portland, is actually a detached flight of No. 771 Squadron, stationed at Gosport.
At present the flight, comprising two officers and nine ratings, is equipped with American aircraft, the Sikorsky R4-B being the only machine available. As, however, we may, with a bit of luck, see two British helicopters, the Bristol and the Fairey, flying before the end of this year, the Navy will perhaps be able to use British aircraft in the near future.
The applications of vertical-lift flying to naval purposes are so many that it would need an entire issue of this journal to deal with them, a fact which may surprise some airplane-minded readers, who take a poor view of the helicopter because of its low horizontal speed.
Certain naval applications of the helicopter are obvious, as, for instance, submarine spotting or gunnery observation, but others may be less so. Take the case of individual transport from ship to shore or ship to ship. Imagine a convoy of anything from 40 to 50 merchant vessels assembled and ready to sail. Each captain must receive his sailing orders, delivered to him by hand. A motor launch chugs away out to the convoy and visits ship after ship, the officer given the job climbing ladder after ladder, and the whole operation wasting hours of time. Replace the launch by a helicopter and the pilot need not even make deck landings. He stops his aircraft a foot or so above deck level, hands out the papers and flies on.
Gunnery spotting during naval target practice can be carried out with exceptional precision, owing to the helicopter’s ability to hover. Offshore patrols, lighthouse supply and communication in rough weather, putting pilots aboard, and air-sea rescue are just a few applications of the marine helicopter.
The naval Sikorskys at Portland are used at times with wheeled landing gear, but more often they are equipped with pontoon floats. No hydraulic or frictional shockabsorbing mechanism is provided in the float undercarriage arrangement, but there is a self-contained damper in each float. The float comprises two main air chambers and a small overflow one. The bottom air chamber, which makes contact with the sea or the deck of a ship, is inflated at § lb. per sq. in. pressure only, while the upper one is pumped to I5 lb. per sq. in. pressure. Rubber tubes connect up the lower, or buffer chamber, with the small overflow one on top of the main chamber.
Flotation arrangements are by no means ideal. The pontoon gear does not render these aircraft suitable for putting down on the sea in exposed areas when there are whitecaps, as downwash from the rotor is not sufficient to flatten even the smaller wave crests. Moreover, when floating, movement of the hinged rotor-blades is aggravated by the pitching of the machine.
The marine operation of helicopters is, at present, a specialist’s job, calling for considerable skill on the part of pilots and a high standard of efficiency amongst maintenance crews. At Portland, the helicopter unit is housed in an old seaplane hangar, with a concrete slipway set at an angle of 25 to 30 degrees to the water. For launching and beaching the float-equipped helicopters, a steel tube cradle has been designed.
When coming in from a flight, the pilot puts down on the wrater, taxis his aircraft on to the submerged cradle, and is then haluled up the slipway by a power-driven winch. Here it may be noted that whilst a wheeled helicopter is very difficult to taxi on land, a float-equipped one behaves very well on calm water and is extremely maneuverable.
With these pontoon models, once the floats are in the cradle, no extra support for the tail, or straps for the floats are necessary. The helicopter goes up the slope without the slightest trouble. The cradle for each float is fitted with eight small, closely spaced wheels to overcome the problem of sudden gradient variation between the hangar floor and the slipway.
Beaching in even a moderate surf, or anything of a swell is, nevertheless, a tricky business with the cradle submerged. Under these conditions it has been found best to have the cradle hauled out of the water and fly straight into it. This procedure may be difficult in a cross wind, but the two pilots at Portland, Lt. A. E. Bristow (Flight Commander) and S/Lt. D. H. Knight, are masters of the complicated Sikorsky control system.
In the operation of marine helicopters, a pilot must concentrate on his job and develop a very accurate judgment of height when near the water. In a dead calm, for instance, the water has a still, glistening surface, and the only indication of height when putting down is given at the last moment, by ripples from the rotor downwash. It is quite safe, however, to put down with a little forward speed, provided that the floats are not allowed to plough deep. When taking off from still water, under heavy load, pilots find it helpful to make a run of a few yards, thus gaining translational lift.
Maintenance at Portland is something of a nightmare to the ground staff, owing to difficulty in obtaining American parts. However, it is surprising what can be done with the aid of a small lathe coupled with a large amount of skill and ingenuity on the part of maintenance personnel. Salt corrosion is the chief worry when operating marine helicopters. Fine salt spray, whipped up by the rotors, settles all over the machine and penetrates between outer skin and frames. Corrosion occurs despite all precautions, such as washing-down with fresh water and soap, ample greasing and the use of seaplane varnish.
These 771 Squadron helicopters are constantly participating in naval exercises. They carry out general fleet photography (in particular, torpedo photography), radar calibrations, gunnery spotting at target practice, air-sea rescue practice, photographing minefields and a host of other tasks. The two pilots average about 36 flying hours per month, between them.
No. 771 Squadron, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. G. M. T. Osborne, D.S.O., D.S.C., RN., was stationed in the Orkneys last year, and when it was moved South, in September, 1945, the helicopter flight was sent to Portland, one of the machines being flown down from the Orkneys by Lt. Bristow. He covered the 754 miles in 12 hours’ actual flying time, with seven petrol stops on the way. The journey was completed in two days, despite very bad visibility on sections of the route. Hops averaged about 110 miles each, and Bristow gives special praise to ground-crew men of the Royal Air Force who refuelled his helicopter at each stop. In every case they were ready for him and the job was completed in a matter of minutes.
Lessons and Implications of Pacific Air Defense
The Aeroplane, July 19.—True function of defense is the prevention of war, the creation of an armed strength actual and potential which will be sufficient to make an enemy attack unprofitable or alternatively to resist it adequately if it is launched. There is also the age-old tradition that defense begins where the last war left off, with the result that, as history so clearly shows, the initial advantage is with the aggressor, who has been busy developing attack to overcome the traditional defense.
Whether there is to be a next time or not, there is every indication that from now on it will be much more vital to make progress in defensive methods than in methods of attack. The time lag is not likely to be so prolonged, and the pessimist, of course, believes that whoever drops the first atomic bomb will win, with the prospect of a draw if both sides are able to score hits simultaneously.
Here again, of course, we fall into a fundamental error. We are inclined to think in terms of atomic bombs being dropped just because that was what happened in the last war, when the probability is that reduced in size, but very little less potent, they will be sent as a Christmas present by parcel post, or left behind in the top drawer of the desk of an ambassador who has been handed his passports. Against this precious thought is the realization that science has not often failed to provide an antidote to its discoveries and that the fundamentals of future defense may be adequate means for using the antidote within a fractional space of time. With these qualifications it is possible to consider the problems of Pacific defense with a certain amount of assumption based on last-war experiences and a limited quantity of intelligent anticipation.
The basis of Pacific defense is that it is a large area bordered by four great or potentially great powers: The British Commonwealth represented dominantly by Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, with the Malayan Union and numerous Colonies; the United States and her dependent territories in Hawaii and the Philippine Islands; Russia; and China. This presumes the successful liquidation of Japan. As all the countries involved in the strategy of Pacific defense are Allies of the last war and officially at least firm friends, it is inevitable that defense thinking involves an inference that nations now friendly may become hostile and, indeed, there is more than slight evidence that the hostility is being bred in part at least by the desire for defense.
The fundamental truth that peace is indivisible is nowhere more obvious than in the Pacific, where the aim of all the powers concerned is to obtain as many bases as possible as far away from the central defense area as possible. This is a strategy based on the experiences of the last war, where, for example, coastal defense aerodromes became the last line of defense rather than the first line, the purpose for which they were designed. In a war of fleet carriers and fleet trains, enabling vessels to stay at sea virtually indefinitely, the 1914-18 conception of air warfare became obsolete. Present defense strategy is more and more favoring advanced island bases from which carriers may operate.
Thus, we have the inevitable conflict between what may be interpreted as a genuine defense requirement and what is imperialistic expansion. With every pow’er anxious to obtain bases as far as possible from its own shores, it is inevitable that there should be differences of opinions and needs, and with every power officially friendly there is always apprehension that the strategy of defense is directed against a particular nation and may, therefore, be interpreted as an unfriendly action.
British and American aspirations must inevitably be wide, because they have basic interests on both sides of the Pacific. China and Russia obviously have a lesser area to concern them in the problem of legitimate defense. Even so, the mere fact that they think in terms of defense presumes the possibility of a friendly nation becoming unfriendly, which means, in turn, that Russia and China may have, in terms of present- day strategy, justification for bases near British and American tenitory. The ability to intercept or forestall an enemy attack, always important, becomes vital in an atomic age.
Thus, any consideration of Pacific defense involves the scattered islands and the vast sea much more vitally than the mainland territories. The tiniest atoll may become the launching point of aircraft carrying atomic bombs or the site for despatching atomic rockets on their journey. The range of modern aircraft and the still greater potential range of rockets adds intensity to the problem and makes of prime consideration the holding of territories from which such attacks could even conceivably be launched.
The trouble with this argument is that it attempts to forestall what cannot genuinely be forestalled so long as national sovereignty remains. The nearest Russian territory to the United States is only 50 miles away across the Bering Straits. British territory provides the greatest length of border with the United States, and Chinese territory is near enough to American territory to rank defensively with its borders to Russia and the British Empire.
The simple fact is that island bases or no island bases in the Pacific, it would be simple enough with existing weapons for Russia to attack any other Pacific power, for Britain or America to attack each other or Russia, or for China to attack any of the other three without any of them leaving territory to which they have an undisputed claim. There is, it seems, an unanswerable argument that defense in the Pacific is already a stalemate.
American bombers based on Alaska can be interpreted as a potential menace to Canada and Russia. British aircraft in Canada may be interpreted as a menace to the United States; and vice versa, British aircraft in India or Malaya or American aircraft in the Philippines may be considered potentially menacing to China, and so it goes on.
Without any additional territory there is no Pacific power which is not in a position to attack another Pacific power if it felt so inclined, and there is also ample scope for lesser powers in these days when the size of the nation has little relation to the size of the destructive force it is able to unleash. There are French, Dutch, and Portuguese possessions which enter into the picture.
If an attempt is made to reduce defense problems to individual territories, it would possibly be shown that Australia and New Zealand are in the most favored positions, but neither of them are out of aircraft range of alien territory, still less out of range of potential rockets. The student of Pacific defense may well, therefore, consider the problems in relation to the status quo.
There is an argument in favor of distant bases occasioned largely by the prospect of germ warfare with its material advantage of eliminating an enemy population without destroying the material advantages of its civilization—buildings, dockyards, and so on ■—but even this Wellsian conception of the war of tomorrow has got to be matched against the potential risks to the attacker and the almost inevitable contamination of the invading force after the germ attack. There is also the possibility that the antidote in the form of inoculation may foiestall the desperate inferences of this type of warfare.
If the Pacific illustrates the futility of future wars it will do well—but the strategist concerned with possibilities rather than probabilities must find in it a defense problem of almost unsurmountable difficulty. To guard against every possibility is in itself a manifest impossibility; to be reasonably prepared is the best for which most nations aspire, and that preparation is likely to follow the conventional pattern of strong coastal defense reinforced by as many advance bases as it is possible to acquire.
Convention and last-war experience must remain the basic needs of present defense, and the Pacific is likely to offer dominant activity for defense air forces, combined with a naval policy designed to give bases to the fleet train and carrier escorts which, in the last resort, are likely to outwit the most carefully laid plans of fixed defenses. It is not unreasonable to assume that the fixed-defense tradition of the Maginot Line and the West Wall may have their moral for the fixed-island defenses of the Pacific. Fixed bases may be sound theory, but they are doubtful practice.
Outside the field of diplomacy, the practical defense of the Pacific for all interested nations seems logically in the direction of mobile defenses in the form of carriers, backed by a strong air force to defend their bases and the heavy industries upon which their efficiency depends; but to what extent this rather conventional conclusion will be in keeping with the realities of the next war is another matter. The possibility of a powerful nation being eliminated through the parcel post is, after all, so revolutionary a possibility that it seems diplomacy and common sense are the only true defense and alternative to the elimination of civilization as we know it.
Cruiser squadrons and destroyer flotillas of the Royal Navy are to revert as nearly as possible to their pre-war numbering on August 1. This is being done to preserve the long-standing associations which individual squadrons and flotillas have formed with local British communities in various parts of the world, and also because most fleet trophies and mementoes are inscribed with these numbers.
To avoid postal delays, relatives and friends of men should note the new numbers, which are as follows:
Home Fleet.—10th Cruiser Squadron will become 2nd Cruiser Squadron: 2nd Destroyer Flotilla will become 4th Destroyer Flotilla; 17th Destroyer Flotilla will become 5th Destroyer Flotilla.
Mediterranean Fleet.—15th Cruiser Squadron will become 1st Cruiser Squadron; 14th Destroyer Flotilla will become 1st Destroyer Flotilla.
East Indies Fleet.—5th Cruiser Squadron will become 4th Cruiser Squadron.
British Pacific Fleet.—2nd and 4th Cruiser Squadrons will become 5th Cruiser Squadron.
South Atlantic Station.—Cruisers will become 6th Cruiser Squadron.
America and West Indies Station.—Cruisers will become 8th Cruiser Squadron.—London Times, July 13.
Rear Admiral Charles Lambe, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air), speaking at the first reunion dinner of 854 Naval Air Squadron in London on Saturday night, said the air branch of the Navy was likely to represent one-third of all naval man power. As all the Navy’s aircraft carriers could not be kept in commission, the Admiralty envisaged organizing 25 reserve squadrons.—London Times, June 24.
In answer to a question in the House of Commons, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty announced on Wednesday the institution of grants from public funds, up to a maximum of £150, to impecunious parents of successful candidates in the “special entry” examinations for naval cadetships—i.e., those who come from secondary and public schools between the ages of 17 and 18j. In future, he stated, no candidate should be prevented by lack of means from joining the Navy as a special entry cadet.—London Times, June 28.
The French Navy and Its Budget
Revue de Defense National, May 1946, by Andre Reussner.—The law of April 5, 1946, fixed the global amount of credits for the current year at somewhat more than 140.9 billion francs, of which 79 go to the Ministere des Armees (the three branches of the armed forces). Out of this sum the Navy receives 9.5 billions, which will permit it to maintain an “organic” force of 45,000 men, quite inferior to that of our permanent needs, generally estimated at 60,000 men. But the financial crisis has required a severe sacrifice.
What use will be made of these reduced resources? It seems that the personnel of shore services will be reduced to the lowest limits; a great number of ships will be decommissioned, old ships or light craft which are in higher proportion in the present fleet than in 1939 and which are large users of man power. On the other hand, all resources available will go to the formation and conservation of a combat force completely manned, which will give our Navy the means to fulfill, should need arise, its international obligations and at the same time to perfect its technical and tactical training. This force would have as a nucleus the Richelieu; it would comprise in principle 2 aircraft cairiers (of which one, the Collossus, of 18,000 tons and 25 knots, has just been loaned to us through the generosity of the British Admiralty less than a year after the ship had entered service), 2 cruisers of 7,000 tons, 2 light cruisers, and the 2 big ex-German destroyers Marceau and Roche. Thus we would not cut too bad a figure in a hierarchy from which the Japanese and German fleets have disappeared, and in w'hich the Italian fleet, whose fate has not yet been settled by the Allies, will probably play a modest role.
Outside this armament, it is the officers’ schools, the training centers, and specialists’ schools, the cradle of future leaders, that receive the Navy’s chief attention: budgetary restrictions will not touch them appreciably, so that our crews, however small they may be numerically, w'ill remain crews of quality. A ship can be built in 2 or 3 years, but it takes 10 to develop a corps of ratings broken to the trade. The spirit in which the discharge of cadres has been carried out, and the rigorous control over enlistments, which have been reduced but not discontinued, indicates the same preoccupation. In this manner, the essential articles of armament will be safeguarded. Nevertheless, we do not hide the fact that shortage of men will find the Navy in a tight place as long as the sequels of the war are with us, as long, especially, as the servitude to repatriation, minesweeping and the Indo-China transport keep us tied down.
The first of these servitudes weighs heavily on us. It will tend to disappear as our passenger liners, presently sailing for the United Nations, are returned to us. Thus the Pasteur, which can carry 4,500 men per trip, was released by the British at Southampton April 11, and on April 20 undertook two trips between Marseilles and Dakar for the repatriation of Senegalese. Later she will work between France and Indo-China, where we already have the Martchal-Joffre and the Eridan. In addition, the Champol- lion is carrying out the evacuation of the Levant. The Cap-Saint-Jacques and the Felix-Roussel were returned to us in April, but the Chantilly, the Athos II, and the Ville d’Oran were damaged. On the other hand, the Ile-de-France will continue until the beginning of July to effect the transport of Canadian troops.
The minesweeping operations are likewise going very well. They may even be terminated before the time allowed, one year in the Mediterranean and three on our western coasts. By the end of 1945, 14,000 square kilometers out of 26,000 square kilometers of dangerous waters had been de-mined. The littoral of the Golfe du Lion is now entirely cleaned up, and the trawlers that had been operating in the area have been divided between the waters of Corsica, Tunisia, and the English Channel. Off Brest, the Iroise has been cleared, the channels of the Four and of Raz de Sein are practically clear; another channel will be opened between Belle-Ue and the coast, while anti-magnetic sweeping is going on in the estuaries of the Loire and the Gironde. We note in passing ‘(the Pas-de-Calais i^ in the English zone) that 12 of the 14 mines which, sunk in the mud at Dunkerque were barring the entry, have been detected at the price of untold trouble by the British divers; the day is perhaps not far away when the port will be returned to navigalion.
In Indo-China the Navy has taken practically no part in military operations since the regrettable incident of March 6 before Haiphong. Without meeting resistance, and in full accord with the local Chinese and the authorities of the Viet-Nam, the cruiser Gloire landed a contingent of French troops at Tourane, the 26th of the same month, and brought the King of Cambodia to France, where he arrived May 12. Nevertheless, for lack of merchant tonnage, a heavy burden will weigh for some time on the national navy: transport of personnel and materiel from the metropolis or from Cochin- China to Tonkin, repatriations, bringing in rice for the northern provinces where the harvest was poor. Ten small cargo ships of 2,900 tons dw. of the Park type, Canadian origin, were acquired by the Ministry of France d’outre Mer (France abroad) for coastal shipping in the Indo-China area; but for the moment light units of the Navy have been carrying out this traffic and bringing help to the undernourished populations. The law of April 5 provides, it is true, that the Navy may keep until the end of 1946
5.0 men necessary for carrying out the operations in Indo-China, in addition to the
45.0 men granted by the budget. It is hoped that before this complement of 5,000 is withdrawn, the tasks that necessitate them will be withdrawn: otherwise, the balance of the plan of manning our ships will again be affected.
The Disintegration of German War Industry
Engineering, June 28.—In view of the readiness of professional historians to start at any moment a new inquiry into the causes, conduct, and effects of past wars, however ancient, it is rather much to hope that any finality can be achieved, after an interval of little more than a year since the termination of hostilities, in assessing the true course of Germany’s industrial and military collapse. Facts are still being assiduously collected and sifted, at Nuremburg and elsewhere; but another decade of collecting and sifting may still leave important evidence undiscovered, and the true relationship and influence of the garnered evidence may still not be appreciated. Naval men discourse, as of old, of blockades and the potency of the “fleet in being”; air strategists claim that their arm alone prevented Germany from building up an internal organization that-—granted a continuance of domination over Europe—might have set at nought the efforts of the sea forces of the Allies; the soldier, confident in his new mechanized weapons, decries the policy of war at a distance and claims that the infantryman, victorious on the enemy’s soil, is the only sure sign that the conflict is at an end. In any case, the true picture cannot be drawn without a dependable knowledge of the process of decline, as it was seen from within by the vanquished, and not the least important part of the task of the Allied Military Government in Germany is that of obtaining, from Germans and others who saw it at first hand, the facts about the effects of various forms of attack upon the industrial and economic life of the country.
From the Allied side of the fighting line, some fairly clear impressions have been put on record in official dispatches, and no doubt, more will follow. The proceedings at Nurem- burg, and before other war-guilt tribunals, appear to render it unlikely that there will be so many post-war military reviews published in Germany by ex-officers of high rank as were printed after the 1914-18 war; but the desirability of obtaining their views has not been overlooked, and an interesting selection of them has been produced in the United States in an 80-page brochure entitled Defeat, a copy of which has reached us recently. It was prepared by the Intelligence Section of the Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and naturally concentrates rather heavily or. the air point of view; but, as a collection of German opinions on the progressive failure of the German offensive and resistance, it must be regarded as a historical document of some significance, even if partly discounted by the possibility that some, at least, of the officers who were interrogated may have been saying only what they expected that their conquerors would wish to hear.
One of the most detailed statements quoted in the survey is that of Albert
Speer, the former Minister for Armaments and War Production, whose official position may be held to entitle him to first consideration; his was a written statement, which may or may not impugn its accuracy, but it conveys the impression of truthfulness in all main essentials. Asked to state the relative importance of the various kinds of targets, as assessed from “the receiving end,” Speer gave them in the order: attacks on key points in the basic industries or supplies; attacks on transport and communications—though, he said, the effect of these was long delayed; attacks on front-line positions; attacks on final stages of manufacture in industry; attacks on towns; and attacks on naval installations, shipping activities, and airfields. The attacks on the chemical industry were the most difficult to deal with, he continued, because a chemical plant is such a complex organism, and he expressed the opinion that these attacks alone “would have sufficed, without the impact of purely military events, to render Germany defenseless.” In making this statement, it is explained, he was including synthetic-oil plants in the general term of “chemical industry.” Speer added that ball-bearing factories and power stations came into the same category.
Questioned further on the subject of oil, Speer said that the shortage of liquid fuel was felt first in the aviation supplies, and, in the Luftwaffe, it “became insupportable as from September, 1944”; from that date, the allocation was reduced to 30,000 tons a month, whereas the monthly requirements were between 160,000 and 180,000 tons. Stocks of motor spirit and Diesel fuel were maintained for some months longer from Rumanian reserves, and 60,000 tons a month to industry could be allowed to the end of the war, which was “within tolerable limits.” The reduction of industrial output was not due primarily to lack of fuel, but to difficulties in rail transport, which, from November, 1944, onwards, prevented power plants and gas works from obtaining sufficient coal and interfered with deliveries of factory products. Latterly, this difficulty was enhanced by attacks on canals, which had been used to offset the shortage of railway wagons. Reserves of road motor transport were quite inadequate to compensate for the lack of railway rolling stock. Air attacks on the Ruhr reduced rail-borne coal supplies in 1944 from a normal level of 22,000 trucks daily to only 12,000, which caused a serious fall in steel production; by March, 1945, the daily traffic was down to between 3,000 and
4,0 trucks. Speer attributed the final collapse of German war production to the loss, in January, 1945, of the Upper Silesian coal resources rather than to shortage of liquid fuels.
The attacks on the ball-bearing factories, according to Speer, did not materially affect the production of essential military equipment, though the use of ball bearings had to be curtailed and other forms of bearing used increasingly, to the extent of some 50 to 60 per cent. If, however, all the ballbearing plants had been attacked simultaneously, or if the attacks had been repeated three or four times at fortnightly intervals, he thought that armaments production would have been brought to a standstill in three or four months. A similar result would have been achieved if the air attack had been concentrated upon electric power stations until 60 per cent of the output was cut off, and concentration upon nitrogen plants would have interrupted the supply of explosives; but Speer reported that the refining of crude oil could be carried on fairly well, even in the face of severe attacks. Heavy damage was caused by the destruction of the gas grid in the Ruhr, but, according to him, the breaching of the Mohne dam produced only a limited effect, because it was not accompanied by the destruction of the other dams in the Ruhr valley. In general, German industry was greatly hampered by the interruption of transport facilities due to air raids, some factories being at a standstill though they had suffered no bomb damage.
Kapitan zur See Fritz Bohme, of the German Navy, confirmed Speer’s observations on the effect of the oil shortage. The destroyers began to feel it as early as 1942 and 1943, he said, and eventually they were allotted only 200 to 300 tons of fuel a month. In 1944, he was allowed only 100 tons a month for an anti-aircraft training ship of some 6,000 tons. The Allied bombing of submarine-building yards, however, he described as “not very effective,” but the German authorities were afraid of the possibility of ricochet bombing attacks by low- flying aircraft against the submarine pens and were surprised that the Allies did not launch them. He complained of the lack of spare parts, due to attacks on factories and transport.
A report by Generalfeldmarschall Milch and other high-ranking officers of the German Air Staff deals more fully with the effect of the attacks against aircraft factories and ball-bearing factories between the outbreak of war and April, 1945. The aircraft industry had been well dispersed before the end of 1943 and, in consequence, an output of between 1,000 and 1,100 aircraft monthly was maintained until the spring of 1944. The intended expansion of the industry was prevented, however, and Milch estimated that the Reich was deprived of about 4,000 fighters on this account, though there were always enough to equip “the relatively inadequate influx of crews,” due to an unsatisfactory training program. By the time that a sufficiency of new personnel was organized, the lack of fuel resulting from continued air attacks had “begun to render these matters of purely academic interest.” Adequate dispersal enabled the manufacture of components for the Me.262 to proceed with little interruption, but “raids on the final assembly plants proved very effective.” Aero-engine production, it was claimed, was always up to requirements. The various officers agreed that “the aircraft industry as a whole was finally and decisively crippled by the collapse of transport facilities as a result of attacks on communications and fuel targets”; and on the eve of the final collapse, some 2,000 trains loaded with Luftwaffe material were said to have been “frozen” in various parts of the Reich—a total which seems rather an exaggeration. Milch admitted that, at one time, ballbearing production was halved, but claimed that it was soon restored to about 75 per cent of full output and that, thanks to ample stocks, the aircraft industry was never seriously incommoded in this respect. From our own observations, however, we can add to this that some of the German war-time ball bearings, produced by slave labor, were much below the optimum standard of finish.
Brief comments from a number of captured German officers substantiate the opinions quoted above, though sometimes they contradict each other in details. A Luftwaffe officer maintained that “you cannot destroy railways with heavy bombers” and that “paralysis of an enemy’s transportation is much more difficult to attain than destruction of his industry”; whereas a German major declared that the “most effective attack was on transportation and gasoline” and that “toward the end of the war, the transportation system was practically dead.” Another major described the attacks on ball-bearing and tire factories at Stuttgart, Hanover, and Schweinfurt as “highly effective”; while a General Staff officer from the Italian front put the destruction of ball-bearing fuel, and heavy equipment plants first among the factors which decided the war. His second explanation was “the complete crippling of the transportation system both at home and on the fronts” and his fourth was “the acute food shortage in Germany due to the disruption of the transportation system.” On the whole, therefore, it would seem that the Allied air strategy was sound, though a heavier concentration on certain targets might have expedited the eventual result.
Treaty Draft Lists Naval Vessels to Be Retained by Italy
New York Times, July 27.—Annex 4 (A) [See Article XLVII]
The names in this annex are those which were used in the Italian Navy on June 1, 1946.
MAJOR WAR VESSELS
Battleships: Doria, Duilio.
Cruisers: Abruzzi, Garibaldi, Montecuccoli, Cadorna.
Destroyers: Carabiniere, Granatiere, Grecale, Do Recco.
Torpedo boats: Abba, Aretusa, Calliope, Caritii, Cassiopea, Clio, Fabrizi, Giovannini, Libra, Mon- zambano, Mosto, Orione, Orsa, Pilo, Saggitario, Sirio.
Corvettes: Ape, Baionetta, Chimera, Cormorano, Danaide, Driade, Fenice, Folaga, Flora, Gabbiano, Gru, Ibse, Minerva, Pellicano, Pomona, Scimit- tara, Sfinge, Sibilla, Urania, plus one vessel to be salvaged, completed or constructed.
MINOR WAR VESSELS
Minesweepers: R. R. Nos. 20, 32, 34, 30, 40, 41, 102, 103, 104, 105, 113, 114, 129, 131, 132, 133, 134, 148, 149.
Vedette: Nos. 201, 204, 211, 218, 222, 224, 233, 235.
AUXILIARY NAVAL VESSELS
Fleet tankers: Nettuno, Lete.
Water carriers: Arno, Frigido, Mincio, Ofanto, Oristanos, Pescara, Po, Sesia, Simeto, Stura, Tronlo, Vipacco.
Tugs, large: Abbazia, Asmara, Atlante, Cap- raia, Chioggia, Emilio, Gagliardo, Gorgona, Licosa, Lilibeo, Linosa, Piombino, Mestra, Porto Em- pedocle, Porto Fossone, Porto Pisano, Porto Rose, Porto Recanati, San Pietro, San Vito, Ventimiglia.
Tugs, small: Argenlario, Astico, Comdevole, Generate Pozzi, Irene, Passero, Porto Rosso, Porto Vecchio, San Bartolomeo, San Benedetto, Taglia- mento.
L-10, N-l, N-4, N-5, N-9, N-22, N-26, N-27, N-32, N-47, N-52, N-53, N-78, N-96, N-104, RLN-1, RLN-3, RLN-9, RLN-10.
Training Ship: Vespucci.
Transports: Amalia Messina, Monlegrappa, Tarantola.
Supply Ship: Miragoia.
Repair Ship: Paoinolti (after conversion from S-H depot ship).
Surveying Ships: Azio (after conversion from minelayer), Cher so.
Lighthouse Service Vessel: Buffoluto.
Cable Ship: Rampino.
Annex 4 (B)
List of ships to be placed at the disposal of the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, U.S.S.R. and France.
MAJOR WAR VESSELS
Battleships: Cesaro, Italia, Vittorio Veneto.
Cruisers: Aosta, Pompeo, Regolo, Savoia, Sci- pione.
Destroyers: Artigliere, Fuciliere, Legionario, Mitragliere, Oriani, Riboly, Velile.
Torpedo Boats: Aliseo, Nimso, Ardimenloso, Ariete, Fortunalo, Indomilo.
Submarines: Alagi, Atropo, Dandolo, Giada, Marea, Nichelio, Plantino, Vortico.
MINOR WAR VESSELS
MTB: MS Nos. 11, 24, 31, 35, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 61, 64, 65, 72, 73, 74, 75.
WAS Nos. 433, 434, 510, 514, 516, 519, 520, 521, 523, 538, 540, 543, 545, 547, 562.
ME Nos. 38, 39, 40, 41.
Minesweepers: RD 6, 16, 21, 25, 27, 28, 29.
Gunboat: Illyria (from Albania).
Vedettes: 237, 240, 241, 245, 246, 248.
Landing Craft Nos. 713, 717, 722, 726, 728, 729, 737, 744, 758, 776, 778, 780, 781, 784, 800, 831.
AUXILIARY NAVAL VESSELS
Tankers: Prometeo, Stige, Tarvisio, Urano.
Water Carriers: Anapo, Aterno, Basento, Bi- sango, Dalmazia, Indria, Isarco, Istria, Liri,
Malauro, Polcevera, Sprugola, Timavo, Tirso VAS 226.
Tugs, Large: Arsachena, Basiluzzo, Capo’Istria, Cabonara, Cefalu, Ercole, Gaeta, Lampedusa, Lipari, Liscanera, Marechiaro, Mesco, Molara, Nereo, Porto Conte, Porto Adriano, Porto Quieto, Porto Torres, Porto Tricare, Procida, Promontore, Rapallo, Salvore, San Angelo, San Antioco, San Reno, Talamone, Taormina, Toulado, Tifeo, Vada, Vigodoso.
Tugs, Small: Generate Valfre, Licata, Noli, Velosca, N-2, N-3, N-23, N-24, N-28, N-35, N-36, N-37, N-80, N-94.
Depot Ship: Anteo.
Training Ship: Colombo.
Auxiliary Minelayer: Fasana.
Transports: Giuseppe Messina, Montecucco, Panigaglia.
Chicago Daily Tribune, July 21.-—The story of the Pacific war from the Japanese side—the blunders, the secret negotiations, the fatal weaknesses-—-was told in statements made public today by the Navy. Highlights of interrogations of Japan’s top planners and fighters, conducted last fall in Tokyo by the United States strategic bombing survey, included:
(1) The Japanese tried to negotiate for peace through the Russians before Potsdam.
(2) The cream of Japanese naval pilots were lost at Midway and in the Solomons, a loss that crippled the fleet for lack of carrier protection and from which it never recovered.
(3) Even as early as Guadalcanal top Japanese Navy officers realized that a Japanese victory was impossible.
(4) A merger of the Japanese Army and Navy was contemplated, but the Navy spiked the idea.
(5) The United States drive through the Solomons, which split Japan off from her vital oil and materials, surprised Japanese strategists, who expected a fleet slugging match in the Central Pacific. The bastion of Truk in 1943 had fewer than 1,000 potential defenders, and the main fleet was ready to run in case of a United States landing because its carriers had been stripped of planes.
(6) The material cost of modern war far exceeded anything the Japanese had foreseen, and acute shortages of oil, steel, and ships developed almost at once, aggravated by “most effective” American submarines.
Again and again throughout the accounts of Japan’s flounderings in large-scale operations, the lack of trained pilots doomed the battle plans. Some 30 per cent of Nippon’s best died at Midway and 40 per cent were injured. The remainder, the nucleus for a rebuilt carrier force, were squandered fighting around Rabaul. When the fleet was ready again, the Japanese discovered they lacked crack carrier pilots and had to use insufficiently trained men. After that, they never caught up. The inside story of the bid for peace was told in a statement obtained from Admiral Toyoda, chief of the Japanese naval general staff.
The plea to the Kremlin to be a go- between was filed before the Potsdam conference of Russian, British, and American chiefs of state. The response, weeks later, was a break in Soviet relations with Japan. Toyoda said that as far back as May, 1945, the supreme war guidance council discussed peace. Negotiations started in June in both Tokyo and Moscow, Toyoda, one of the six council members, continued, but after 20 days “nothing was accomplished.”
Toyoda said that in July “the Russian ambassador in Tokyo was reported to be ill and the foreign office was having difficulty in maintaining contact with the Russian embassy here, so it was decided to send instructions to our ambassador in Moscow to submit to the Russian government our proposal to send a special ambassador there.
“Our ambassador Sato in Moscow approached the vice commissar of foreign affairs with this proposal and when asked, ‘For what purpose are you sending the ambassador— to ask us to intervene with a view to bringing about peace?’ our ambassador replied that such was the case.
“That was about July 13 and this conversation took place in Moscow and the answer given was that since Stalin and Molotov were both about to depart for Potsdam, they promised to give an answer upon their return to Moscow.
“The actual answer that our government did get from Moscow August 8 was breaking of diplomatic relations writh Japan. That was the answer. Thus, our efforts to bring the war to end with the intervention of Russia ended in a flat failure.”
No terms were discussed, Toyoda added.
Toyoda said the Army advocated the Army-Navy merger but that the Navy was always opposed. “If the two were to be combined in one service,” Toyoda reasoned, “the head would probably have to be an Army man. Under him there would be created two sections, the Army section and the Navy section; and with an Army man as minister, it would have been inevitable that the Navy section would have become a relatively weak service.”
On the question of a separate air force, Toyoda thought it “unobjectionable”—provided the Army and Navy both retained their air forces as well.
Soviet Planning a “Mighty Navy”
New York Times, July 24, by Drew Middleton.—Construction of “a mighty navy,” sailing the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and the Baltic Sea in accord with Premier Stalin’s orders that the armed forces of the Soviet Union be maintained at the alert, is forecast in an agitator’s handbook issued by the central committee of the Communist party.
An article on the Navy in the current issue of the handbook will be employed as source material for hundreds of speeches to be made throughout the Soviet Union on Navy Day, next Sunday. A British aircraft carrier and a destroyer, commanded by Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, will visit Kronstadt over the week-end as part of the festivities. The handbook asserts that the Red Fleet has been reinforced with “hundreds of new vessels” since the end of the war and that “our shipbuilding yards will turn out more and more naval vessels.” It adds that “our naval schools are training new personnel for a mighty navy” and that the task of creating a great Navy is “the order of the day.”
“Our people want a strong navy and our navy will be strong,” says the handbook. “The Communist party is seeing to that every day. We have before us constantly Stalin’s instructions that we must always strengthen and maintain at the alert the Soviet armed forces—army and navy.”
The Red Fleet emerged from the war stronger than ever before and with its frontiers extended, and “consequently the role of the Red Navy has been increased in importance,” the handbook declares.
Russian warships are stationed at Dairen and Port Arthur in Manchuria and in the Kurile Islands in the Pacific, the article reports. In the west Soviet naval power has expanded as a result of territorial gains won in war, especially through control of the ice- free port of Kaliningrad, formerly Koenigs- berg, and Memel. In the Far North, Petsamo is now in Soviet hands. Tracing development of the Red Fleet, the handbook says that 112 war vessels were added to the Navy in 1939 and 168 in 1940, and that three times as many submarines were added in 1940 as in 1939. Soviet naval forces sank more than 3,500 enemy naval vessels during the war, the handbook states.
Russian Science Plan
Mechanical Engineering, July, 1946.—Excerpts from a report by Academician S. Vavilov, president of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R., appearing in the May, 1946, Science Bulletin of the American- Soviet Science Society, reveal the following facts regarding the Russian five-year plan of science:
Problems of physics and chemistry and also technical sciences hold an especially important place in the five-year plan of the Academy. This was largely determined by the present-day development of science and by the particular importance of the aforementioned branches.
Physicomathematical sciences are represented in the plan by a number of problems connected with the study of the atomic nucleus and of cosmic rays. Physicists working in connection with other specialists will analyze unusual phenomena peculiar to this branch of science and will work out methods of liberating nuclear energy, which holds out such great prospects to humanity. There is no doubt that in time the application of this energy will provide a new solution for problems of power transport and for other problems. Physicists will continue research into the properties of substances at temperatures close to absolute zero. A considerable amount of work will be devoted to the introduction of oxygen into the technological processes of industry.
The plan includes the investigation and application of semi-conductors and new high- molecular compounds. Much attention is devoted to astrophysics. Gigantic laboratories permit astronomers to study many important phenomena with the help of spectrum analysis and other methods. Like physics, astronomy approaches very closely to the problem of nuclear energy. The study of high-speed gasodynamic processes is of great significance for the construction of superswift aircraft, artillery, and also for other technical branches. These problems are reflected in the plans.
A comprehensive program awaits Soviet chemists. There is no doubt that work on the theory of chemical affinities, on energy and the structure of chemical combinations, the mechanism of chemical transformations, and the study of nuclear reactions, will be widely developed. Efforts will be made to determine the exact yield of decomposition products obtained from nuclear reactions and their quantitative and energy characteristics.
A very comprehensive program has been drawn up for the department of technical sciences. Among questions of great importance are the following: Development of the theory of the stability of movement and oscillation of mechanical units, problems of durability and stability of structures, aero- hydromechanics of the wing theory of machines and mechanisms. Research on the underground gasification of coal is to be resumed, and problems of high-pressure and high-temperature steam will be further developed. Provision is also made for the development of research in the field of electrotechnique, in particular, transmission of electric energy by high-tension current. Urgent tasks confront specialists in petroleum and solid fuels. Mining problems will be broadly represented in the plan of the department of technical sciences. Research into problems of communications, and in particular of short and ultrashort radio waves, is to be extended.
The necessity for building scientific institutes has been pointed out by Stalin. Many hundred millions of rubles will be spent on the construction of institutes for the central building of the Academy and on dwelling houses for scientists, in the course of the next five years. The list of major constructions for 1946 to 1950 includes some 50 objectives. In addition to the central building, there will be erected institutes of organic chemistry, metallurgy, machine-building, ma- chanics, automatics and telemechanics, mining, and others.
Construction of the Institute of Chemical Physics, now under way, will be continued. The building of the Institute of Physics will be enlarged. The Central Astronomical Observatory in Pulkova, which was razed to the ground by the Germans, and the Astro- physical Observatory in the Crimea will be rebuilt. Considerable funds have been assigned for the foundation of a teleseismic station in Pulkova, a hydrophysical station in the Crimea, and similar projects. The Institute of Organic Chemistry, for which a building will be erected in the immediate future, is to solve various problems of great national economic importance, such as those of synthetic rubber, artificial fibers, organic dyes, and chemical pharmaceutical products. This Institute is to deal with the problem of the rational utilization of natural gases, the synthesis of saturated hydrocarbons, the utilization of wood waste, and the synthesis of new kinds of rubber.
Another task of immediate urgency is the construction of a building for the Institute of Metallurgy which is also confronted with problems of great national economic importance, the elaboration of new technological processes for the iron and steel and nonferrous-metals industries, new types of alloys, refractory materials, and similar problems. In addition to its laboratories, the Institute will be provided with premises and equipment permitting it to carry out experiments on a semi-industrial scale.
In connection with the great importance attached to questions of acoustics, an acoustical laboratory is being equipped in Moscow fitted up for varied research, in particular, on architectural acoustics.
Exchange of students and scientists.—The Soviet Committee on Higher Schools (Vse- soiuznyi Komitet po Delam Vysshei Shkoly) has set up a foreign department headed by Prof. Nikolai Chemodanov. Its function was outlined by the professor in an interview with newspapermen. He said: “The new department will maintain contact between Soviet higher schools and educational and scientific institutions abroad. With this end in view, it is proposed to organize the exchange of scientific literature and textbooks. Soviet scientists going abroad will lecture and take part in international scientific congresses. The foreign department will direct the studies of foreigners who will be admitted to higher schools of the U.S.S.R. by special decision of the Soviet Government. In their turn, Soviet students and scientists will visit various countries to study the experience and work of higher-educational
institutions abroad, and to improve their own knowledge.”
OTHER COUNTRIES Argentina
In the golden room of the Palacio San Martin, the treaty between our country and Italy for the return of the latter’s ships was signed. These ships were used during the war by the Argentine State Merchant Marine. As will be remembered, these ships were in Argentine ports at the outset of the war in Europe, and the Argentine government arranged for their purchase, leaving Italy the option of reacquiring them later. On the termination of the conflict, the Italian embassy indicated the desire of its government to regain possession of the ships. Italy will have to pay the sum of 133,847,857 liras, with a gold content of 0.04677 grams fine. The text of the agreement was signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Religion and of the Navy of our country, and the counselor of the Italian Embassy, Signor Giovanni Fornari. 4 he ships being returned are: Rio Primero (ex Cervino); Rio Teuco (ex Voluntas); Rio Segundo (ex Dante)-, Rio Atuel (ex Maristella); Rio Diamante (ex Ines Corrado)-, Rio Gualeguay (ex Vittorio Venetto); and Rio Chico (ex Pelorum).— Bolelin del Centro Naval, March-April, 1946.
On April 8, the inaugural ceremony of the recently reorganized Escuela Nacional de Nautica took place at la Darsena Norte (North Dock). This school is under the direction of the Navy Department. Attending were the President of the nation and the Titular of the portfolio (Navy), and other high functionaries of the Navy and special guests. The Vicar General of the Navy, Monsignor Ricardo Dillon, blessed the flag of the Escuela Nacional de Nautica, donated by the students. In this connection, the director of the school, Commander Edelmiro Cabello, delivered a brief address.—Boletin del Centro Naval, March- April, 1946.
H.M.S. Nile, the shore establishment at Ras- el-Tin Point, which was British naval headquarters here from the outbreak of war in 1939, is closing down before being handed over to the Egyptian authorities at the end of July. The fortress, which faces the Royal Palace of Ras-el- Tin and overlooks the harbor, was bombed many times during the war, fortunately with few fatal results.—London Times, July 4.
Irish Shipping Limited, the only shipping company that flies the Irish flag on deep-sea merchant
ships, expects to expand its fleet of twelve vessels by building two to be delivered in 1947 and by purchasing two C-lA’s from the United States under the surplus ships sales plan. This was part of the company’s plans unfolded recently by John J. O’Neill, general superintendent of the freight shipping company, as he prepared to return to Eire. Captain O’Neill, a shipmaster for many years, was here as Irish Ship Owners’ delegate to the recently concluded maritime conference of the International Labor Organization which was held in Seattle. Captain O’Neill said his company started with two ships in 1940 when British shipping, which usually supplied all of Eire’s export and import demands, fell to almost nothing because of the war. The £200,000 capital of the company was raised with government encouragement, he said.
The fleet expanded slowly during the war, as the company limited its service to trade between Canada and Eire. Since November the company’s ships, distinguishable because they always have Irish as part of their names, have been coming into New York as part of a new Irish-flag service between Dublin and Cork and North Atlantic ports in the United States. The company has also established a trade route between Dublin and Cork and Oslo and Baltic ports. Immediate plans call for two sailings a month between Eire and the United States. States Marine Corporation is the company’s general agent in the United States, and has just been appointed the Irish Shipping Limited agents in Canada. John Gammie, vicepresident of States Marine, is in charge of the Irish trade.
Ships from Eire carry woolens, skins and hides, Irish oatmeal, salt mackerel, and Irish whisky as their principal cargoes. Eastbound, Captain O’Neill said, they carry “a little bit of everything,” particularly textiles and machinery.— Maritime Activity Reports, July 18.
The Ministry of Marine announces the loss during naval maneuvers ofi the Balearic Islands of the Spanish submarine C-4, which was rammed by the destroyer Lepanto and sank with 46 officers and crew.—London Times, June 29.
The considerable task of moving equipment for an entire shipyard from the United States to Sweden has been undertaken by two ships of the Swedish flag Thorden Line—the Kristina Thor- den and Selma Thorden.
Lhe two vessels are carrying enough equipment from the Walsh-Kaiser yards at Providence, R. I., the New England Shipbuilding Co., South Port-
land, Me., and other yards in this area to establish what may be the largest single shipyard in Sweden, located in Uddevalla, it is reported here. The equipment was purchased, after long negotiations, through the War Assets Administration. It is estimated that six voyages will be required to move the equipment purchased for the Uddevalla yard, making this one of the largest industrial shipments ever made for commercial account.
The Kristina Thor den, first of the two ships to arrive, docked at Providence, R. I., recently, took on one of the eleven big whirly cranes from the Walsh-Kaiser yard, and other equipment arriving by rail from points in Boston, South Portland, and Connecticut. Some of the equipment loaded was so heavy that another of Walsh-Kaiser’s big whirly cranes had to be set up on the municipal dock to handle it.
The second Thorden ship, the Selma Thor den, is due to arrive by the middle of this month.
Gustaf Thorden, managing owner of several Swedish enterprises employing ships, purchased the Uddevalla properties last year, and visited this country to inspect surplus shipyard equipment. It is understood that the new yard at Uddevalla will handle ships up to 16,000 tons.— Maritime Activity Reports, July 11.
U. S. Abandons “Five Freedoms”
Chicago Daily Tribune, July 26.—The government today pulled out of the 1944 “five freedoms of the air” agreement—a pact born of a United States plea that all nations exchange commercial aviation rights on common terms. The move was described as one step in a new approach to the same goal through extension of the network of two nation agreements. In State Department language the agreement was “denounced.” The decision apparently was timed to give a last minute assist to the administration’s request for ratification of a treaty for the establishment of a world air body, the international civil aviation organization, taken up by the Senate this afternoon.
The “freedoms” pact was accepted by the United States in February, 1945, as an executive agreement requiring only Presidential action. Some senators, particularly Senators Brewster [R., Me.] and McCarran [D., Nev.], insisted that it was a treaty and should have been submitted to the Senate for ratification. In abandoning the “five freedoms” agreement, the State Department merely acknowledged what had been evident at the world air conference in Montreal last May— that the various nations are not ready for a world-wide air exchange, but that such an agreement might be achieved later on the basis of experience with pacts between two countries. It was explained that only 15 countries had accepted the “five freedoms” agreement, so-called because of the number of basic rights it involved. Of those 15, only Sweden and Holland are active in international aviation.
Meanwhile the United States has negotiated air agreements directly with 18 countries on routes flown by American lines and all agreements contain the “five freedoms” principles. Garrison Norton, director of the State Department’s office of transport and communications policy, said this country still hopes that some form of multilateral agreement on commercial rights can be obtained. “We hope to affirm the five freedoms bilaterally to the extent that a year from now all that needs be done is to bring them together into a single agreement,” he said.
The U. S.-British agreement, providing safeguards for national interests in the route patterns agreed upon, has become the standard in American negotiations.
Today’s action does not affect United States’ adherence to the “two freedoms” agreement through which about 30 countries exchange the right to fly across each other’s territory without stopping, or to make noncommercial stops, such as refueling or repairing aircraft.
The other “freedoms” are the right to carry traffic from the homeland to a second country, to pick up homeland traffic in other countries, and to pick up in a second country traffic destined for a third country. This last is the point which has caused most of the debate.
Navy Accept sNew Amphibious Mariner
Navy Department Press Release, June 25. —The Navy Bureau of Aeronautics today announced it has accepted delivery of a new amphibious Mariner, designated PBM-5A, which is undergoing additional flight tests at the Naval Air Test Station, Patuxent, Maryland. The new plane, a variation of the Navy seaplane of the same name which was extensively used in convoy coverage and antisubmarine warfare during the war, was developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company, of Baltimore, Maryland, under Navy contract. As a companion to the amphibious Catalina, PBY-5A, it is considered particularly suitable for air-sea rescue work. With a gross weight of 60,300 pounds, the new Mariner will have a capacity of approximately 22,000 pounds of useful load, including fuel. In view of its adaptability to air-sea rescue work, the Coast Guard has indicated interest in the new amphibian.
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MERCHANT MARINE “Normandie” to Be Sold for Scrap
New York Herald Tribune, July 18.-—The former French passenger liner Normandie, which was taken over by the United States for use as a transport but subsequently burned in one of New York’s most spectacular fires, is to be broken up for scrap, it was disclosed today by the United States Maritime Commission. The commission has prepared a letter requesting President Truman to authorize the scrapping of the ship, as required by Public Law 101 under which the 82,423-ton ship was seized. When President Truman signs the authorization, bids for scrapping the ship will be invited. The ship
is now tied up at Bush Terminal, Brooklyn.
The United States has agreed to pay France $13,500,000 for the ship. It was reported that France is negotiating to use this money as part payment for a number of Liberty ships it is seeking to purchase from the United States. The War Shipping Administration has estimated it would cost $50,000,000 to restore the liner to commercial service.
The Normandie burned and capsized at her Hudson River pier February 9, 1942, and was salvaged after 20 months’ work, subsequently going to the Navy October 26, 1943, as the troopship U.S.S. Lafayette.
The decision to scrap the Normandie was made after John R. Steelman, reconversion director, announced an acute shortage of scrap metal for steel mills and promulgated a 10-point program of emergency actions to speed the flow of scrap metals. The critical steel situation was emphasized at a White House meeting, where the Civilian Production Administration reported that steel mills had less than a 2-week supply.
Under the emergency program, not only surplus ships, but guns, tanks, ammunition, and other items no longer needed will be broken up and made available to steel mills. The Navy and Maritime Commission are to make several hundred surplus ships immediately available for scrap.