The australian naval institute



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on the list supplied by you were serving in HMAS SYDNEY when thai ship was lost during action on November 20th, 1941 (sic) Able Seaman Cecil John Anderson and Able Seaman Herbert Herrert lost their lives when HMAS SYDNEY was sunk, bul Able Seaman Colin Frederick Stevens was a survivor which appears in the Epilogue One wonders iusi how such a remark­able sentence could be completed, even if it was a clerical error!

Montgomery does not claim to have found all the answers, and I think, he will be well pleased if his book rekindles interest in finding the truth behind this most curious modem of the seas . and there are indications lhal he has succeeded m doing |usl thai A book well wodh reading, despite Us laulis. and one which I believe does the Australian public a great service

To add a few thoughts ol my own. I believe thai Ihe present day Navy could assist in unravelling this myslery, because I suspect that the action may have taken place even closer lo the coast than the position proposed by Montgomery, perhaps within 15 miles of Dirk Hartog Island The wreckage of SYDNEY AND KORMOFtANcould be inside the lOOIalhomli, e Thearea is not very well charted and maybe a survey by HMAS MORESBY could be combined with a search by a couple ot MAD equipped Trackers If the wreckage could be found, a careful evaluation of location and damage would answer a lot of questions about Ihe action The big question is it there has been a cover-up. could the Navy be trusted to fully and honeslly report any findings'

F.A.H. KING

A SENSE OF HONOR by James Webb. Prentice Hall. SUS10.35.

Correction does much, but encouragement does more Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower The essence of Goethe s definition ol leadership shines brilliantly through James Webb s new novel. A Sense ot Honor, the story of men ensnaried by changing values at Ihe US Naval Academy

Webb. Ihe critically acclaimed author of Fields of Fire, is superbly qualified lo discuss the quality and type of education provided al Annapolis A 1968 graduate, he went on to become a highly decorated Marine olticer in Vietnam Webb recently led his position as minority counsel to the House Veterans Affairs

Page 50 — Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute

Committee to write tull lime He turned down overtures to head the Veterans Administration because he was unable to secure tree access to President Reagan to argue on behalf ot that troubled agency.

II is interesting that the book was banned by the Naval Academy alter Ihe original consignment was sold Banning a book lor any reason is questionable at best The cause lor such an action regarding A Sense ot Honor escapes Ihe perceptive reader

That Webb cares deeply tor the Naval Academy, the Marine Corps and his country is obvious on even/ page ot the book Those in charge at Annapolis could not have read Lucian K Truscoft IV s damning indictment of West Poinl and Ihe Army in Dress Gray or they would not have been so injudicious

Webb has methodically constructed a tight, swiftly paced novel, engrossing from first page to last Part ol the swift pacing stems from Ihe fact that the story lakes place over Ihe five days thai coincide with the height ol Ihe Tet Offensive of February 1968

The story centres on two midshipmen caught between the Navy s need for combat officers and brains lor the nuclear navy John Dean is a brilliant plebe who has not integrated into the system during his first year, tailing in military indoctrination as spectacularly, as he is excelling in academics

As Dean s development reaches its nadir. Bill Fogarty is nearing graduation A high-ranking officer in the Brigade ot Midshipmen and a representative to the Honor Committee. Fogarty is coping with the surprising depth of his emotions over Ihe death ol his best Inend in Vietnam Fogarty. considered crazy as hell' because he cares, assumes Ihe responsibilily of bunging Dean into line

And bring Dean into line he does — to the gratification ol the characters and reader But Fogarty s methods include hazing, a known violation of Academy rules Hazing worked well on him. he reasons Why nol Dean? The author s glossing over ol the potential dangers ol hazing is the great weakness of the book

Fogarty lectures, pushes and prods Dean to achieve goals beyond Ihe plebes preconceived limitations He sets an example of courage and tenacity as the pair runs an icy sea wall Dean learns rapidly and basks in the pride of his accomplish­ments and in the praise he receives from all sides But ihe success is tempered as the consequences ol Fogarty s violation ot the regulations collapse on all concerned

One morning, as Fogarty and Dean yog through the dark­ness. Fogarty observes that while the number ot lives given to our country has increased over its history, there has been a corresponding decrease in the recognition that each ol those lives was a precious gift With men like Fogarty. like Webb. leading Ihe services, perhaps tewer such gifts will need lo be made in the future

As America embarks on a massive rearmament program, we would do well to consider what is expected ot our officer corps. Fogarty s splendid final gesture cryslalizes Ihe problem Do we need a leader of men or a corporate executive? Pose this question to yourselt It you knew there was an enemy (orce ovei the horizon waiting to destroy you. which would you want to follow?

TOM A FRIEOMANN

AUSTRALIA AT WAR 1939-1942 by John Robertson. Helnemann, 1981. 269pp. with maps arid Index, price $ . . Review copy supplied by the publishers.

Professor Robertson s book is the first major reassessment ot Australian strategy, diplomacy, policy, and, to some extent, society, m the 1939-45 War since Gavin Longs The Six Years War It is less detailed lhan Long s skilful condensation ol the official histories, but while covering a surprising amount ot narrative manages to say something sensible on most important issues in the study ot the nations wartime experience The questions ol Australia s relations with the United States and Britain, the adequacy ol the war effort, government policy ol the early war years, the competence ol Australia s commanders and the influence ot MacArthut. for example, are treated clearly and concisely within Ihe framework ol the course ol the war

A good example ol the contribution Professor Robertson has made to the study ol Australia s military history can be found in Chapter Six. Australians in the Royal Air Force. where he discusses Ihe disaster ot the Empire Air Training Scheme The bomber offensive, he argues, was Australia s most single costly campaign ol Ihe war a controversial strategy in whose planning Australia was completely ignored In a short but well argued chapter, he convincingly shows how Australia provided thousands ol airmen lo fight battles but no policy makers to help decide what battles would be fought. yet over 5000 young men died in the an war against Germany

Robertson s discussion ot such areas makes it clear that he has surpassed Long s work as a stimulus to future scholarly debate, partly, ol course because Long s years ot endeavour produced an excellent background for the discursive work which will (I hope) follow Robertson s lead Robertson s impact is also tell because he has obviously grounded his conclusions on long hours of research in Britain, Australia and the United States, and perhaps even longer hours over the relevant secondary sources The amount ot secondary material used is necessary in a synthetic work such as this, though I would have preferred as lull a list ol the archival sources as ot the secondary works quoted

Professor Robertson writes tor the informed general reader with clarity, though sometimes the clarity turns into banality, in describing Menzies he clumsily begins four consecutive sen­tences with he The book's strength, however, is Robertson's ability to effectively relate discussions of strategy and war policy to the conduct ot the war on the ground, at sea and in the air In the Chapter Unnecessary Battles?', for example, he turns without strain from the considerations ot LHQ and Curtin's cabinet to Ihe feelings of the families ol men killed in the campaigns ol 1945

Naval readers may be disappointed with Prolessor Robert­son s treatment ot the RAN s contribution to victory As he points out in the last chapter, the RAN lost ten ships. Irom corvettes to cruisers, and 2000 men while sinking tew enemy surface vessels only one ol which, the Kormoran, was not Italian However galling this appreciation may appear — and he balances it with an appreciation ol the Navy s work in convoy, patrol and support work — it demonstrates his concern tor honesty in analysis and with the experience ot the nation as a whole, but especially its strategic aspects This emphasis some­times results in the neglect ot some areas, such as in Chapter t2. Invasion Threat. whxrh covers the politics and strategy ol the apparently impending invasion but barely touches the social consequences of its perception This is partly the result of the dearth of detailed research on Australian society in 1942

The book itself is not well produced The review copy has what appears lo be a misplaced galley proof ot a pages ol explanatory notes printed on page 260. while the maps are — surprisingly — disappointing Ms Wendy Gorton, the carto­grapher who has produced excellent maps lor both volumes ol the otfrcial history ot Australia m the Korean War. has (alien below the superb standard she has set herself The lettering is tar loo small and is blurred by Ihe badly applied toning

Despite these technical detects, Prolessor Robertsons Australia al War 1939-1945 is a stimulating synthesis based on wide research and deep thought I hope it will stimulate a renewed interest in the Second World War in Australia and perhaps contribute, by its perceptive observations on the relationship with the United States, to an intelligent debate on Similar circumstances in Australia s strategic dilemmas in the 1980s

PETER STANLEY

A HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA. VOLUME 5. THE PEOPLE MAKE LAWS by C.M.H. Clark. Melbourne University Press. 1981

In the present resurgence ot interest in Australian,:! the publication ot a new and widely anticipated history ol Australia is entirely appropriate This is not to say that perfectly satisfactory histories ol this country do not exist already — clearly they do. but the publication of one written by an historian ot Manning Clark's stature is something to be anticipated with enthusiasm

Journal ot the Australian Naval Inslrtute — Page 51

Volume 5 of his 6 volume work covers the period 1888-1915 and is sub-tilled The People Make Laws The period is. ol course, one ot the most important in Australian history com mencing as it does with the events leading to Federation and concluding with the Pyrrhic demonstration ol Australia s maturity in the Gallipoli campaign

This is no history book for those searching for lists of facts figures and dates The details are all there, and in plenty, but the Manning Clark style is lo surround his facts with much personal opinion which seems, at limes, to verge on speculation Events are seen through the eyes ol Henry Lawson. Alfred Deakin and others whom Clark has used as narrators The resull is a history which almost reads as a diary The lechnique ot writing through the medium ot a narrator allows the author to rellect contempor­ary thoughts and feelings but whether those thoughts and feelings are the ob]ective or sub|ective results ot the consider able research that has obviously been carried out. is a moot point

The reader must be prepared Id do battle with the com­plexities of the author s English Not I or Manning Clark a simple word when a cliche, euphemism or enigmatic statement can be used instead Joseph Furphy, for example, was not gifted he was one ot those men singled out to inherit heaven s graces Arthur Streelon was not born but saw Ihe light ol day lor the first time Nellie Melba did not have determination , she had a mightty spirit encased within her clay

Some may say that, because the history is written as seen through the eyes of contemporary figures, the prolixities of con­struction are an acceptable, even necessary, reflection ol the style of the times Others may argue that, as a modern history, its core should be clearly evident lo modern readers I include lo the latter view and lound the style convoluted and obscure The work is not easy reading and extraction of the salient points is often difficult Depending on the literary predilections of the reader, the digestion ol this book of 400 plus pages could be more an exercise in stamina and determination than one of recreation and enlightenment

Pervading the early part ot the work is an almost vitriolic anli-Brilishness attnbuled to the wo king classes . and a con­trasting sycophancy attributed to the tourgeoisie This may well reflect contemporary feelings but the edge ol this anli-Bntish-ness is so keen and its expression so vituperative that one cannot help the feeling that the autnor has allowed his own views to colour ihe matter Similarly the bible lavished upon those who cleaved to Ihe old country — Ihe perceived sycophants — is almost too bitter to be easily accepted Thus we read that Ihe young Henry Lawson was maddened again by the spectacle of men in high places flopping down on all fours to lick the hand of royalty Doubtless Henry Lawson felt strongly about the matter but Ihe description is better suited to a political tract of the kind that depends (or its effect on emotion rather than reason

There is, of course, very much more to the book than the complexities of the author s style and philosophy The history is there and it is precise but not necessarily obvious In fairness to the author, it was probably never supposed to be obvious As his publishers said about an earlier volume ot this series. This is not a general Australian history and it is not a definitive or quanti­tative analysis It is a work of ad As a work ot ad. Ihe author must be allowed his individuality — which need not appeal to all

One of Ihe main themes of the bo-ok is Ihe emergence of an idealistic Labour movement which moved gradually lowards pragmatism and Ihe Right until it became racist and almost conservative Its high hopes ol a new stad for humanity in Australia Felix were dashed firstly by those who were overly impatient lor power and money and malty by the outbreak ot war

Volume 5 ot the history is a work ir itsett and a knowledge ol previous volumes, while desirable in preparing the reader for the Manning Clark style is not essential by any means

The author s style and apparenl political leanings did noi appeal to this reader because they call the objectivity ot the historical analysis into question Nonetheless the work can be recommended to the determined scholar ol Australian history if only because it is the view ol one ol Australia s most eminent historians The casual reader must accept thai the historical

core is well hidden in the strands ot Manning Clark s prolix English and Ihe unravelling ot those strands will take determin­ation and patience Once bared, the cote can be seen as a very personal opinion ot the events ol the past

Borrow the book trom your library betore rushing oul to buy a copy

AH. CRAIG

AUSTRALIA S NEXT WAR? By Ray Sunderland. Working Paper No.34. The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. Australian National University, June 1981. 24 pp. It,50 plus 50 cents postage.

This monograph is Ihe published version ol a paper presen­ted by Brigadier Sunderland at Ihe United Services Institution ot Ihe ACT on 8 May 1981 In publication, it has become a pithy and very readable, original contribution lo the strategic debate in Australia

General Beaulres classic work, Strategy tor Tomorrow, is acknowledged as the major source ol inspiration tor Ihe scenarios developed in Australia s Next War? but there is only luke warm support for the relevance of Beautre s tait accompli strategy The Israeli Six-Day War is a prime example ol the use Of this strategy which requires shod, intense operations fought until one or both opponents have exhausted their military resources It is not to be preferred as a stand alone strategy in Ihe Australian situation mainly because ol Ihe great distances involved in mounting the required operations

Brigadier Sunderland suggests that Beaulres other strategy, the strategy ol persuasion provides the more plausible scenario tor Australia s next war The campaign could be pro­longed with the adversary utilising progressively a lull range ot political, economic, psychological and military weapons lo weaken Australian position and enhance its own: the key requiremenl being lo produce disproportionate response Irom Australia As the campaign entered Ihe ultimate military phase. the enemy would launch attacks over a wide geographic area against unprotected or lightly protected targets with no clear pattern ot events At this stage, but only at this stage, it may be possible for the enemy to shift into Ihe tail accompli strategy

Australian best counler-slrategy, according to Brigadier Sunderland, would lie in a strategy ot assedion Put most simply, this means that Australia should be able to demonstrate the wilt and capability to assert ourselves, be it in the economic, diplo­matic ot military fields

Rightly in the opinion of this reviewer, ihe brigadier has detected a recent shifl in Australia s strategic philosophy away trom a fascination with the Australian land mass Concurrently there has been a swing in defence policy away trom ihe core force concept These changes are demonstraled by the creation of NORFORCE and the Operational Deployment Force and by the increased level of operations in the Indian Ocean

A strategy of assedion extends well beyond our shores and in peacetime, is directed lowards co-operation wifh our allies and contributions lowards regional stability Deterrence including the demonstration ot our ability to deploy and maintain forces in both the maritime approaches and the more remote areas ot Australia, is central to the military pad ol this strategy

Brigadier Sunderland strongly pushes Ihe point that to be effective out strategy must go well beyond out shores Need­less to say, it is pleasing to see an Army strategist clearly retecting the insular policy ot continental delence and the related, single-minded fascination with lodgement and counter-lodgement operations

Australia s Next Wart may be obtained by writing lo the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre Research School ol Pacific Studies. The Australian National university. PO Box 4, Canberra. ACT 2600

W.SG-B

Page 52 — Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

BLUE WATER RATIONALE THE NAVAL DEFENCE OF NEW ZEALAND 1914-1942 by I.C. McGlbbon Historical Publica­tions Branch. Department of Internal Affairs. New Zealand. 1981. Price: 45 Dollars (New Zealand).

The study ol naval policy and the Far Eastern question between 1919 and 1939 is a pursuit which has occupied a great deal ol the lime andenergy ol historians in America, Britain and Australia Blue Water Rationale comes as the first substantial New Zealand contribution to the matter and it is a work notable both (or thorough research and shrewd |udgement ol the mayor issues

One ol the accusations made in the wake ol the Singapore debacle was lhat. despite every indication ot the dangers ol the strategic situation, the political and defence authorities ot Australia and New Zealand supinely and uncritically accepted the unsound and over confident British judgement Revisionist historians have frequently chastised the Dominion Govern­ments tor their unthinking dependence upon the United Kingdom

Dependent upon the British the New Zealand Government may have been, but unthinking its politicians certainly were not On the contrary. Ian McGibbons work reveals that the New Zealanders possessed a generally clear and unsentimental view ol the situation The New Zealand problem was rather that the country was loo small to do anything practical by itself Even with the British behaviour, the closest possible co-operation with the United Kingdom seemed the only acceptable course ol action and the New Zealand Government insisted that the British Empire present as united a front to the world as possible At every Imperial Conference, the New Zealanders urged the British to greater action in the Far East and pointed out the dangers ot half-measures when dealing with Japan but they would not voice their fears outside the conference rooms It is essential to realise, as Blue Water Rationale emphasises, that the isolationist policies ol the United States and its differing strategic requirements made it. at best, an unreliable replace­ment tor the United Kingdom Even in the worst situation the British were morally and legally bound to lend Ihe Dominions support: America was not

Ian McGlbbon s work details the many other problems ol the inter-war period, including the repeated New Zealand proposals lor expansion ot the NZ Division of Ihe Royal Navy; proposals which were generally damped by an Admiralty still hankering for an Imperial Navy Another failure was the inability of Australia and New Zealand to institute any effective degree ot defence co-operation between Ihe wars Apathy, rivalry and political differences combined to prevent greater unity

Blue Water Rationale avoids taking a stand on the much vexed issue ol airpower versus seapower, but concentrates instead on attempting to appreciate the technological uncertain­ty which permeated any attempts to plan the defence of New Zealand

In its precision and shrewdness. Ian McGlbbon s book is very much in the style of Naval Policy Between the Wars Indeed. Blue Water Rationale can be considered as an adjunct and complement to Captain Roskills two volumes The book is in Ihe best tradition ot official history, avoiding sensation, but neverthe­less thorough and unabashed in its judgements Blue Water Rationale is available from the New Zealand Government Printer, cl- Private Bag. G.P.O. Wellington 1. New Zealand

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