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The Admirals by Walter R. Borneman

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  • The Admirals by Walter R. Borneman


    Excellent reading covering Halsey, Leahy, Nimitz and King from childhood on. Probably the best book I have read on these four 5 Star Admirals.
    Too Much To Do Too Little Time

  • #2
    Originally posted by FTCS View Post

    Excellent reading covering Halsey, Leahy, Nimitz and King from childhood on. Probably the best book I have read on these four 5 Star Admirals.
    I quite agree. This was an enjoyable read.


    • #3
      I was enjoying reading Borneman's book and greatly anticipating an analysis of the events in the Atlantic immediately after declaration of war and..... I found four paragraphs of excuses, no facts as to how many german U-boats sunk how many tons of shipping near US shores, what information had been given to the US about the U-boats, how many destroyers were available to combat them or . What a disappointment, so much a disappointment I am going to claim fair use and quote Borneman's entire description of events in this critical time here for all to peruse:

      "Meanwhile, King and the U.S. Navy had certainly not forgotten about the North Atlantic. King knew firsthand, both from his World War I days and more recently from the tensions of 1941, that German U-boats sinking Allied merchantmen were as much or more of a threat to the war effort than a clash of giant battleships. The number of Allied ships lost to U-boats reached an all-time high in July 1942, and during the first six months of the year American merchant losses alone to enemy action exceeded the total losses during World War I. The Germans indeed remembered how close they had come to winning the war at sea, and they were determined to do so this time. Churchill called the Battle of the Atlantic “the dominating factor” of the war. “Never for one moment could we forget,” he wrote in retrospect, “that everything happening elsewhere, at sea, or in the air, depended ultimately on its outcome.”39
      King readily agreed with Churchill about the desperateness of the situation, particularly along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Flaming ships sinking within sight of East Coast cities were not only a major blow to the flow of war supplies, but such events also had the dismal secondary effect of torpedoing American morale. King and the navy in general came under criticism for not organizing convoys for all shipping.
      Even Roosevelt lectured King by memo, saying, “Frankly, I think it has taken unconscionable time to get things going.” King politely agreed but pointed out that while their mutual goal was “to get every ship under escort,” that result would require upwards of one thousand seagoing escort vessels, essentially destroyer escorts, or corvettes. It was simply going to take time for American industry to produce those ships, and in the meantime—still doing the best with what he had—King concentrated convoys in the most dangerous areas, including the dreaded Murmansk and Archangel runs to support Russia. These Arctic convoys were principally Great Britain’s responsibility, but British ship commitments and heavy losses there worked to pull U.S. resources from the North Atlantic and stretch King’s forces that much thinner.
      And they were made thinner still when King begrudgingly agreed to spare enough ships to protect the troop convoys that were soon assembled in Virginia and sent across the Atlantic for the much-debated invasion of North Africa. Torch was, in fact, a series of landings from French Morocco, on the Atlantic coast, eastward into the Mediterranean to Oran and Algiers in French-controlled Algeria. “This African adventure,” as Leahy termed it privately, “had long been under consideration by President Roosevelt” and went off surprisingly well."

      That's it. What a disappointment. A 1200 page e-book, with maybe six pages describing Leahy's travails in Vichy France, and barely a page on Ernest King's performance in the Atlantic at the onset of the war. And Borneman had the gall to assert "lack of ships" excuse because of Operation Torch? An Operation that took place in early November, 1942, eleven months after the US declared war on Germany? The book did a great job in the Pacific front and seemed pretty fair, but the analysis of performance in the early Atlantic campaign is a huge disappointment. Maybe I missed something, but from what I can see right now, Borneman should be ashamed.

      For the mods, the fair use doctrine is well described on Wikipedia and includes "criticism":
      I think that the above excerpt can be quoted because it emphasizes my point that this is the total extent of the discussion of the early Atlantic campaign off the shores of the US in a 1200 page book on four admirals of the US Navy in WW2. Shocking.
      Last edited by Blair Maynard; 05 Apr 14, 01:10.
      O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy. And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs, sloths, carp, anchovies, orangutans, breakfast cereals, fruit bats


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