Talk:Air Gap (Battle of the Atlantic)

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Strategic blindness[edit]

I call it that because Harris (among others) seemed constitutionally incapable of realizing one thing: if U-boats stopped supplies getting through, his bombers would be expensive sculptures. Terraine comments on it in Right of the Line, which I don't have a copy of; I'm working on it... TREKphiler hit me ♠ 07:06, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I will remove it until you have a ref for this, and when you re-add it, with a ref, please phrase it so as not to be offensive, IE don't put "blindness". Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 11:18, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll happily change the wording, if you can come up with something that better describes what appears to be willful disregard for the strategic realities. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 13:35, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps it should just say Poor strategic planning by British senior commanders (especially Arthur Harris) Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 15:56, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
It goes way beyond "poor planning", tho. It's a resistance to allocate even a couple of squadrons of VLRs to Coastal Command at a time when the U-boat threat was dire, a time when even that few, perhaps 20 aircraft, based in NF, would've closed the "Black Hole", & (AFAICT) a total unwillingness to grasp the issue. Harris persistently resisted any diversion of aircraft for any purpose; this one I can only call stupid, as noted. Nor did Portal or Churchill show any more willingness, with less justification, so it's beyond Harris (but esp Harris). Look in Terraine, or in Van der Vat's Atlantic Campaign, or Milner's North Atlantic Run, if you've got better access to them than I do. I think Hastings' Bomber Command says something on this, too. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 16:14 & 16:16, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Then use the phrase that you have before. But only if you can find a source which supports such strong language. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 22:37, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the issue here is phrasing to remove the rather emotive terminology, and perhaps recognising that resource allocation decisions aren't particularly monochrome. The assets were scarce, that meant that tough decisions had to be taken about where to allocate them.
In practice the allocation of VLR assets was only useful when the ULTRA could be consistently decrypted and passed to the squadrons in question in a timely manner. Compare stooging about in a huge area of waterspace, trying to find targets who may or may not have been on the surface, on the off-chance of finding something, with using the same asset for a more directive task?
The specific point about Harris is fair, but it becomes an authors opinion and should be attributed as such. His hostility to anything else was a major issue around a number of tasks.
ALR (talk) 11:03, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
"only useful when the ULTRA could be consistently decrypted" Well, no. HF/DF could vector VLRs onto contacts quite nicely to drive off shadowers, & often did; in a quick glance at sources, I found 3-4 doc'd examples, & I'm sure more thorough reading will find more.
I am doubtful there's a specific quote "Harris was hostile", but my recollection of Terraine in toto was it was true; that concluding quote, "...the war was irrelevant to Bomber Command" sums it up, IMO. Would everybody be satisfied by cited examples of opposition as a pattern of behavior? I've got the H2S & 3cm citeable, & I can go to Harris' page & lift cites for others (I think).
Also, I just found this, so I suggest a merge to there. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 11:38, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
This particular part of WW2 is not my speciality, therefore i cannot assist in the actual reasons. I do have a problem with the praising of the disputed reason. I shall leave it to you guys to decide the reason/wording. I will give my thumbs up when it sounds good. This does seem very similar to this article, so i will support a merge of the two.Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 12:02, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
OK, although it's quite a leap to go from Harris to senior British commanders, he wasn't the only one.
As to the utility of DF, again the use of resources based on that isn't absolute, particularly when we're not clear on all the ways that ULTRA was obfuscated by Sinclair.
ALR (talk) 12:16, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Ultra has been given pride of place since Winterbotham's book, but more recent analysis has downgraded its importance; Milner, for 1, thinks its significance is overrated, regardless how it was or wasn't obfuscated as to source. It's not Harris' use that's at issue (nor his not being cleared for it), it's the importance of Ultra to detecting/sinking U-boats, & when shipborne HF/DF could find them (thanx Dönitz's lunatic overuse of radio), it didn't take Ultra to know there was a threat: it isn't necessary to know the signal says, "Convoy 20 ships bearing 220 speed 10 [signed] Endrass", just that it's a U-boat signalling....
I say Harris, because it was his resistance that had to be overcome; Portal & Churchill made slim effort, AFAICT, to overrule him, despite being nominally his superiors. And he had final say, despite them, on the important allocations of radar & VLRs, since BC had higher priority than CC. QED.
Have a peek at this, WIP. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 14:15, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
You've managed to get an awful lot of information there, which is great, but at the moment the narrative is a little confused and several issues seem to get mashed together. Unless the reader has a reasonable grasp of some of the principles of maritime aviation then it's probably a bit too opaque.
It might be useful to break out a section on context, why the transatlantic traffic was so important for the UK prior to the US entry and thereafter for sustaining the UK and supporting the expeditionary force. There may also be scope for breaking out different sections on the tactics; prosecuting contacts, preventing wolf-pack formation, working in concert with surface assets etc.
It's a good foundation though.
ALR (talk) 17:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I figured there was a problem. I was trying to get a chronological treatment, which maybe wasn't/isn't ideal. Do you have specifics in mind?
What would you say to dividing by issues? Section out radar, VLRs, & basing?
I'm leery of going into too much detail & repeating what's already in Battle of the Atlantic (or should be...). If we use this as a link out from there, or as a "main article on air cover" from there (or from ASW), I think we'd be better served than duplicating.
I'd agree there's room for tactical sections, but I lean to putting that under ASW. Link out to it, certainly.
On the change re "mitigation" of CVE/CVLs, I changed it back. I think the lead is for a quick overview, so I moved it to the conclusion. It should be mentioned (& I should've..., so thanks), just not in the lead, IMO.
As for more improvement, tho, whatsay we wait til after it gets moved/merged into mainspace? Give more people a shot at it. And we can comment directly....
"managed to get an awful lot" Thanks. Not bad for only 3h of research, huh? =] TREKphiler hit me ♠ 01:16 & 01:21, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Probably right about waiting until it's across. The reason for restructuring that sentence was because as it stands it reads as if the Liberators were available as a consequence of the decks, rather than being complementary capabilities.
Got to say I find reading the majority of mlitary history absolutely soul destroying, makes me want to tear my eyes out with a spoon most of the time, so useful that other people enjoy it.
ALR (talk) 08:51, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

<--Gotcha about complimentary factors. Better now? (Also, caught a contradiction: April or May...? I'm going with May.) TREKphiler hit me ♠ 15:06, 25 November 2008 (UTC)


It is proposed that Air Gap (Battle of the Atlantic) and Mid-Atlantic gap are merged. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 12:08, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Any ideas which article one to merge into? Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 12:10, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Suggest merge into MAG, 'cause it's the more common (& IMO more sensible) title. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 14:16, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
My inclination would be to merge to MAG, this title is clumsy and doesn't really fit into the principle of geographic capability gaps. MAG is more generally used, at least that's what the usage was when I did staff course a few years back.
ALR (talk) 15:06, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
This looks good. Can it be copied into MAG? Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 16:31, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't see why not, but I've heard tell there's some opposition to cut/pasting even from personal sandboxes. Why, I have no idea. Lemme see if I can track down an admin for an opinion before pasting. Also, let's wait & see if there's any opposed to merging. (Can't imagine there'd be, but...) With that in mind, I messaged MAG's creator to reply here with thoughts. And let me finish! ;D If anybody's got changes in mind, or better sourcing, go ahead & change mine pending the outcome. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 17:41, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Done. Except for some ce & still needing a source I don't have.... I've got a request in to somebody on WP who (I think) has Terraine, so hopefully soon. Comment (or correction!) invited. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 23:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Merge - I only created MAG as it was a red link somewhere - may look for Terraine (the Battle of the Atlantic lost out to Adm King grabbing B-24s for the Pacific and RAF Bomber & Transport (for cross-Atlantic VIP trips) Commands having higher priority than Coastal Command. And Bomber enthusiasts including Harris first having an inflated idea of the efficacy and accuracy of strategic bombing, and then being against selected units with better accuracy being established, so objecting to the pathfinders and to units that could use the higher accuracy radar bombing aids Hugo999 (talk) 08:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Hugo999 (talk) 08:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Do I understand correctly Harris also opposed Pathfinders' use of H2S, or just establishing Pathfinders, which would (in the event)? If you can source that, do add here, will you? Unless you want to wait til we get it moved? TREKphiler hit me ♠ 16:55, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Don't merge: Treks article is interesting, and notable, but it reads like a history of Coastal Command. If I was following a link just to find out what the Gap was, what's written at MAG already is sufficient. (Like Doldrums for example, or Long Forties)
Why not have both? A thumb-nail sketch/definition at MAG and a full treatment at AG(BotA)? That would cover it nicely. Xyl 54 (talk) 17:31, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I'd argue a merge is apt (& not only 'cause I wrote the proposed new version ;D Thanx for the praise, btw.). It was, in effect, a historical event, part of the Battle of the Atlantic, so it needs coverage, & it'd make it easier for the uninitiated to find the "full story" (or fuller, anyhow) in one place, rather than having to read (or decide between) two. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 00:48, 23 December 2008 (UTC)