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Rising Sun*
06-06-2014, 10:45 AM
Overall, on both Allied and Axis sides, I'd say it was the merchant marine and all naval and related supply, rather than fighting, vessels.

Not so great in Germany's largely land based war, but critical against Germany.

Huge in Britain's war.

Huge in Japan's war.

Very important in the Soviet war.

Huge in America's wars across the Atlantic and in the Pacific.

And all done by tens of thousands of unenlisted merchant sailors doing the same job they did before the war, for the same pay, and with little or no recognition then or now.

leccy
06-06-2014, 01:09 PM
The British merchant marine were only paid when they were signed to a ship - this meant that when the ship was lost the crews pay stopped even if alive until they got signed back on to another ship.

Contrast to the RN who would be paid regardless - a point of contention between Merchant Marine crews and RN

Rising Sun*
06-07-2014, 06:02 AM
The British merchant marine were only paid when they were signed to a ship - this meant that when the ship was lost the crews pay stopped even if alive until they got signed back on to another ship.

I have some vague recollection that there was an attempt to redress this mid-war, perhaps around 1943, either by some legislation or other binding requirement, or perhaps by government encouragement to ship owners to be less miserly.

I also have some even more vague recollection that there was a bit of a racket by some shipowners seeking to profit by insuring poor ships in the hope they would be sunk, but this recollection seems at odds with the likelihood that insurers wouldn't have been too keen to insure ships at high risk of sinking. Or maybe they just loaded the premiums accordingly?

I wonder if Allied merchant ships sunk by the enemy were covered by insurance, as usually there is a war exclusion in most insurance policies.

Separate aspect: Given the often poor conditions and pay of the British Merchant Navy, how much worse were those likely to be in the Japanese merchant ships, especially if the Japanese followed their usual policy of press-ganging and exploiting Koreans?

leccy
06-07-2014, 06:11 AM
I have some vague recollection that there was an attempt to redress this mid-war, perhaps around 1943, either by some legislation or other binding requirement, or perhaps by government encouragement to ship owners to be less miserly.


I also have a recollection that an attempt or actual change in the pay system came into force mid war - how much if this was due to the second "happy time" and the growing despondency and conflict with the merchant marine crews at the time though i do not know.

Especially when the dockworkers (at the time militant and socialist) were on strike several times over pay and conditions and got increased wages.

herman2
06-07-2014, 06:19 AM
If its vague then its not fact. I find it hard to believe that shipowners would want their ships to be sunk by sending out crabby ships hoping to get payback from the Insurance companies. Just like auto accidents..if you get too many your premiums go up and nobody wants to insure you. There is nothing vague about insurance. The more you claim it, the higher your rates. Thats a Fact

Rising Sun*
06-07-2014, 06:38 AM
I also have a recollection that an attempt or actual change in the pay system came into force mid war - how much if this was due to the second "happy time" and the growing despondency and conflict with the merchant marine crews at the time though i do not know.

Possibly a necessity as the merchant sailors couldn't be forced to sign on to a ship.

They were in the miserable position that they weren't paid from time of sinking to next sign up, and not paid on leave, so there was considerable financial pressure to sign on to another ship ASAP.

Against that, as sinkings increased the desire to sign on to another ship probably decreased, especially for sailors with families to support when their wage would stop when the ship went down.

Scots father of a mate of mine was British Merchant Navy and sunk twice during WWII. Nowadays they'd diagnose him with PTSD or similar, but back in the 1970s when he did a commendable and successful job of drinking himself to death he was just one of millions around the world who were just expected to 'get over it'.

Given a choice between being an unarmed sitting duck in any merchant navy and being armed with anything in any service in any war, I'd never join anything where I didn't have at least the potential to fight back,


Especially when the dockworkers (at the time militant and socialist) were on strike several times over pay and conditions and got increased wages.

Same here in the early years of the war as the dock unions, and some other unions critical to the war effort, were heavily communist and often strongly opposed to the European war. They changed their tune when Germany attacked the USSR, then rallied to the Soviet cause.

herman2
06-07-2014, 06:50 AM
Its so TRUE!...The Australian Union MAFIA pigs sabotaged the war effort. They had no sympathy for Australian POWS and in my opinion it is a disgrace to the soldiers. Read the Link attached and see how AUSTRALIAN Union Mafia ruled the Docks. I hope these Union parasites got 20 years in prison for what they did. They even murdered American Airmen by not supplying the radio signal..I can't believe it. Why would the Australian government do this? Was it a weak government? I just don't understand. In times of War, this should not have happened. The question is, COULD it happen today!What is going on Down Under! This would NEVER have happened if RS was running the ship back then.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/unions-exposed-as-war-saboteurs/story-fni0cwl5-1226751793596

Rising Sun*
06-07-2014, 07:09 AM
I also have a recollection that an attempt or actual change in the pay system came into force mid war - how much if this was due to the second "happy time" and the growing despondency and conflict with the merchant marine crews at the time though i do not know.

Thanks to the marvel of Google, this seems to explain it.


After the fall of France the concept of the control of manpower became an important issue, not just for the supply to the armed forces, but also industrially. As of the spring of 1941 a series of Essential Work Orders was the result. The one for the merchant service was formulated later in the year, coming into force in May 1942. Along with the relevant Registration for Employment Order these meant inherent changes to the employment of merchant mariners.

Under this Registration for Employment Order all (civilian) men between 18 and 60 who had served on merchant vessels any time from 1936 onwards were required to register. (It would appear from personal research that women working at sea were ‘encouraged’ to return to shore in 1942.) Employment became continuous, complete with paid leave entitlement. Mariners not on merchantmen were held in ‘the pool’, for redeployment where and when needed. In reality in time there were a number of these pools throughout the world and some for specific operations, such as Overlord - the Invasion of North West Europe. While the National Maritime Board (formed in 1920 as negotiating machinery for the industry) formulated the detail in relation to the pool, most of the day to day administrative work was carried out by the (owners’) Shipping Federation. http://www.barnettmaritime.co.uk/crs.htm

I'd like to find out more about how the, not disinterested, Shipping Federation operated in this area, which might explain why my vague recollection is that the intended improvements in merchant sailors' conditions weren't always achieved.

Rising Sun*
06-07-2014, 08:41 AM
Its so TRUE!...The Australian Union MAFIA pigs sabotaged the war effort. They had no sympathy for Australian POWS and in my opinion it is a disgrace to the soldiers. Read the Link attached and see how AUSTRALIAN Union Mafia ruled the Docks. I hope these Union parasites got 20 years in prison for what they did. They even murdered American Airmen by not supplying the radio signal..I can't believe it. Why would the Australian government do this? Was it a weak government? I just don't understand. In times of War, this should not have happened. The question is, COULD it happen today!What is going on Down Under! This would NEVER have happened if RS was running the ship back then.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/unions-exposed-as-war-saboteurs/story-fni0cwl5-1226751793596


Colebatch's opinion isn't 'true'. It's his far right interpretation, apparently pursuing nearly a century of hostility to dock unions following his father's ill fated assault on one. http://archive.hrnicholls.com.au/archives/vol15/vol15-11.php

I haven't bothered reading his lengthy and turgid justification of his father's ancient actions, but I'm guessing there is no mention of how the dock workers refusing to load the Mindaroo in 1917 because they thought, apparently correctly, that its cargo was going to Germany for the profit of capitalists led to the 1919 assault on dock workers by his father.

Here is a challenge to Colebatch's views. http://overland.org.au/2014/01/the-looming-war-on-trade-unions/

In 1938 Australian dock workers refused to load a ship carrying scrap metal to Japan, believing it was intended for munitions in Japan's war against China and potentially for the expected war by Japan against Australia. They were subjected to great pressure by our national conservative government of the type represented by Colebatch's union-busting father and his hostility to unions. The national minister who brought that pressure to bear against a union sharing America's and Britain's opposition to Japan's war in China became our Prime Minister in the early years of the war but, fortunately, not during our war against Japan.

http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/image.aspx?id=tcm:13-22114
http://workinglife.org.au/2013/11/22/the-wharfies-who-stopped-pig-iron-bob/

So who was more patriotic, moral and principled? The relatively wealthy future Prime Minister who wanted to send materiel to Japan to support its war in China and looming war against Australia so the exporters could profit, or the lowly paid dock workers who refused to load that materiel and went on strike and lost wages in support of their principles?

Rising Sun*
06-07-2014, 09:07 AM
I hope these Union parasites got 20 years in prison for what they did. They even murdered American Airmen by not supplying the radio signal..I can't believe it.

Ever wondered why it's often the case that REMFs have plenty of tents, equipment, food etc in safe bases way behind the front line while the grunts are short of food and other supplies in the mud and jungle etc up the front when supplies loaded by dock workers in Australia or America or wherever have been landed in country but not made it to the front line troops?

Nickdfresh
06-07-2014, 01:38 PM
I wish I could add more to the discussion. But I believe I read or saw a long time ago that an American male was statistically more likely to die in the Merchant Marine service than he was if put in the Army infantry...

Rising Sun*
06-08-2014, 08:41 AM
I wish I could add more to the discussion. But I believe I read or saw a long time ago that an American male was statistically more likely to die in the Merchant Marine service than he was if put in the Army infantry...

Thanks again to the marvel of Google, looks like you are 100% correct.

American merchant marine deaths were about one third higher than next highest, being USMC, according to US Merchant Marine website.

Tables are a bit out of alignment on pasting. Click on link for aligned tables.



U.S. Merchant Marine Casualties during World War II

Mariners suffered the highest rate of casualties of any service in World War II, but unfortunately, the U.S. Merchant Marine had no official historians and researchers, thus casualty statistics vary. Revised 08/26/06

Mariners died "direct result of enemy action or as POW on American flag ships" according to U.S. Coast Guard, 1950 (excluded Army Transport and U.S. owned foreign flag ships) 5,662
Mariners died compiled by Captain Arthur Moore ("Careless Word" 1998 edition) 6,847
Mariners died compiled by www.USMM.org 8,421^

^Additional 1,100 died of wounds later according to testimony before Congress.


Comparison of Merchant Marine casualty rate to other services

How many U.S. Merchant Marine and U.S. Army Transport Service casualties were there in World War II? We may never know the exact count, because the U.S. government never kept accurate records as it did for other services. The best previous accounting has been by Captain Arthur R. Moore, an independent researcher, in his great work, A Careless Word -- a Needless Sinking: A History of the Staggering Losses Suffered by the U.S. Merchant Marine, both in Ships and Personnel, during World War II, American Merchant Marine Museum, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., 1983 to 1998. Captain Moore's book lists approx. 990 ships. www.usmm.org list includes 1,600 ships.
Service Number serving War Dead Percent Ratio
Merchant Marine 243,000* 9,521** 3.90% 1 in 26
Marines 669,108 19,733 2.94% 1 in 34
Army 11,268,000 234,874 2.08% 1 in 48
Navy 4,183,466 36,958 0.88% 1 in 114
Coast Guard 242,093 574 0.24% 1 in 421
Total 16,576,667 295,790 1.78% 1 in 56

*Number varies by source and ranges from 215,000 to 285,000. War Shipping Administration Press Release 2514, January 1, 1946, lists 243,000
**Total killed at sea, POW killed, plus died from wounds ashore http://www.usmm.org/casualty.html

herman2
06-09-2014, 06:53 AM
what is a remf?

Ever wondered why it's often the case that REMFs have plenty of tents, equipment, food etc in safe bases way behind the front line while the grunts are short of food and other supplies in the mud and jungle etc up the front when supplies loaded by dock workers in Australia or America or wherever have been landed in country but not made it to the front line troops?

leccy
06-09-2014, 09:15 AM
REMF

Rear Echelon Mother F................ I am sure you will get the gist of it

Rear area troops who typically will not fight.

Sometimes called PONTIES - Persons of No Tactical Importance

They were generic banter names for Clerks, cooks, stores, transport etc.

Rising Sun*
06-09-2014, 09:28 AM
REMF

Rear Echelon Mother F................ I am sure you will get the gist of it

Rear area troops who typically will not fight.

Sometimes called PONTIES - Persons of No Tactical Importance

They were generic banter names for Clerks, cooks, stores, transport etc.

Also, down here, Pogues.

In fairness to some of those commonly lumped in with REMFs / Pogues, there were some who often came under fire in WWII and who could even be called upon to defend themselves in performing critical services in support of the arms, notably transport drivers bringing materiel and ordnance to the front.

IIRC the American M1 carbine in WWII was developed for, or at least commonly issued to, such troops and others not expected to be highly proficient with long arms (notably officers) as a short barrel rapid fire personal defence weapon better suited to trucks etc than the standard longer barrel infantry weapon.

Rising Sun*
06-09-2014, 09:42 AM
P.S.

Also in fairness to REMFs, once you're in a service you generally don't get to choose your corps or where you want to go.

Given that logisitics are the heart of success in war, sound supply by REMFs to the front line troops is critical and without many REMFs for each grunt there would have been no success by front line troops.

JR*
06-09-2014, 12:00 PM
Also to be fair - without the REMF lads, what would the rest of you have done for chocolate, whisky, nylon stockings, etc. ? I recall that character in "Kelly's Heroes" ... Just kidding, JR.

leccy
06-09-2014, 02:08 PM
All part of the banter in the UK -

Depending on who you were with us RE's were variously called - Squeaks, fieldies, bears, oggies, field mice, crap hats, thieving bar stewards, gyppos

The Armoured Engineers - Armoured Farmers

Amphibious Engineers - Water Babies

Para RE - Cherry Beret, Captain Birdseye

Commando RE - Dettol badge, Cabbage Heads

Nickdfresh
06-09-2014, 07:02 PM
Also to be fair - without the REMF lads, what would the rest of you have done for chocolate, whisky, nylon stockings, etc. ? I recall that character in "Kelly's Heroes" ... Just kidding, JR.

Actually not far from the truth if Stephen Ambrose is to be believed. He recounted a couple incidents in "CItizen Soldiers" where an entire supply train disappeared from Army records. And a U.S. Army colonel of Sicilian decent that disappeared when he heard CID was onto his large blackmarket operation. He ended up killing his pilot and stealing a plane and was never seen again by the authorities...

383man
06-11-2014, 09:05 PM
I have some Merchant shipping building info from one of my books.

Japan built 4,152,361 gross tons
UK built 6,378,899 gross tons
US built 33,993,230 gross tons.

Definetly the unsung hero's. Ron

Rising Sun*
06-12-2014, 05:42 AM
I have some Merchant shipping building info from one of my books.

Japan built 4,152,361 gross tons
UK built 6,378,899 gross tons
US built 33,993,230 gross tons.

Definetly the unsung hero's. Ron

Thanks for those figures.

Japan's problem was that it was losing ships faster than it could build them, while the US was building them faster than it, and the other Allies it supplied, could lose them.

Do you have figures for sinkings?

Rising Sun*
06-12-2014, 05:49 AM
Also to be fair - without the REMF lads, what would the rest of you have done for chocolate, whisky, nylon stockings, etc. ? I recall that character in "Kelly's Heroes" ... Just kidding, JR.

Milo Minderbinder in Catch 22 was the ultimate black marketeer, selling to the Germans as well as his own side.

Actually, not that different to Henry Ford and GM before the Japanese inconsiderately brought America into the war and forced them to confine their military supplies to America and its Allies, which turned out to be much more profitable.

royal744
09-11-2014, 07:58 PM
Overall, on both Allied and Axis sides, I'd say it was the merchant marine and all naval and related supply, rather than fighting, vessels.

Not so great in Germany's largely land based war, but critical against Germany.

Huge in Britain's war.

Huge in Japan's war.

Very important in the Soviet war.

Huge in America's wars across the Atlantic and in the Pacific.

And all done by tens of thousands of unenlisted merchant sailors doing the same job they did before the war, for the same pay, and with little or no recognition then or now.

Actually, weren't ALL the US supply ships in the Pacific US Navy ships and their personnel enlisted officers and seamen?

JR*
09-12-2014, 07:25 AM
"Milo Minderbinder in Catch 22 was the ultimate black marketeer, selling to the Germans as well as his own side."

I had forgotten about Milo - how could I ? He was the one who did a deal with his German counterparts that involved the Luftwaffe bombing his own airfield, as I recall. There was also "Sgt. Guppy" from the movie, "Battle of the Bulge", who was still tending his perfume and silk stockings business (nobody mentioned condoms) as Robert Shaw and his panzers approached.

Actually, my answer to the original question in this thread would not be a "service" at all - it would be the long-suffering Homefront, particularly long-suffering in Europe, the Soviet Union and the Far East. As to the contribution of the US Homefront, they may not have been occupied, bombed (much) or massacred, but their huge contribution speaks for itself. And the same may be said for far-away Australia and New Zealand, that contributed in proportion. Not all of the Homefront, of course, contributed to its national war effort; also, there were paradoxical cases, as when the production of a civilian population was harnessed by the enemy. Nonetheless, if the Home Fires had not stayed Burning, none of the services, on any side, could have fired a bullet.

Hope this is not cheating ... JR.

Rising Sun*
09-13-2014, 05:50 AM
And the same may be said for far-away Australia ... that contributed in proportion.

Maybe not.

Churchill complained at one stage (?mid war?) about Australia profiting from the, mainly, primary production goods sold to the UK. Although that might merely reflect his perhaps underlying Edwardian imperial attitude that the dominions should provide for the Empire at no cost to Britain.

I've never been able to track down a primary source, but I've seen in a couple of books (no, can't recall which) that Australia was probably unique in ending the war with a Lend Lease or similar credit from its efforts in supplying US forces on the mainland and in the Pacific.

If we compare rationing in Britain and Australia during and after the war, Britain got it a lot harder for a lot longer.

Nickdfresh
09-13-2014, 06:14 PM
...
I had forgotten about Milo - how could I ? He was the one who did a deal with his German counterparts that involved the Luftwaffe bombing his own airfield, as I recall. There was also "Sgt. Guppy" from the movie, "Battle of the Bulge", who was still tending his perfume and silk stockings business (nobody mentioned condoms) as Robert Shaw and his panzers approached.

...

Or Pattons with Iron Crosses painted on them... :mrgreen:

imi
09-15-2014, 03:32 PM
The Australian Union MAFIA pigs sabotaged the war effort. They had no sympathy for Australian POWS and in my opinion it is a disgrace to the soldiers. Read the Link attached and see how AUSTRALIAN Union Mafia ruled the Docks.

On the Waterfront Austrailan style :D
My opinion is if a country will get over the mafia, they could do it, and the mob is over

Laconia
09-18-2014, 01:33 PM
I don't think you can really single any one out. Every man had his job and it was a combined effort. I was an Avionics Tech in the U.S. Air Force and without the Radio/Nav system the aircraft couldn't perform the mission. I used to visit my buddy in the supply section and they had a big banner in the shop that said: "Without supply, they don't fly".

imi
09-20-2014, 08:28 AM
I don't think you can really single any one out. Every man had his job and it was a combined effort. I was an Avionics Tech in the U.S. Air Force and without the Radio/Nav system the aircraft couldn't perform the mission. I used to visit my buddy in the supply section and they had a big banner in the shop that said: "Without supply, they don't fly".

Yes you're right but I think about get over the mafiosos who control the sabotage and not the workers
The polyp is a dead animal without tentacles :army:
For example, I wonder sometimes, the USA have one of the best armed corps in the world, and the best Secret Service also and the crime is rise in the USA in the past and today also
How does it happen this is for me, it's beyond reason

Rising Sun*
09-20-2014, 08:48 AM
Yes you're right but I think about get over the mafiosos who control the sabotage and not the workers

Which, in WWII in the USA, would be the US government which did deals with the Mafia to ensure smooth work on the US docks.

Kregs
09-22-2014, 05:42 PM
Overall, on both Allied and Axis sides, I'd say it was the merchant marine and all naval and related supply, rather than fighting, vessels.

How are you measuring "the greatest contribution"? By the victories of each service of the armed forces, or the abilities of each service to get the "work" done in the most efficient, fastest way possible? Your question is so difficult for me to answer because it seems as if you are asking for the very meaning of success, which means different things to different people.



Not so great in Germany's largely land based war, but critical against Germany.

Early in the war, as far as I can gather from other sources, the Wehrmacht's contributions paled in comparison to the resurgent, (and inefficiently led), Luftwaffe. In the later stages of the war, the contributions of the Luftwaffe's fighter aircraft didn't fare so very when compared to the Beau or the Hawker Hurricane (and all other subsequent "Hurricane" fighter cousins and sisters), perhaps, most famously the Submarine Spitfire.




Huge in Britain's war.



I think the Royal Navy/ Merchant Marine made Germany's life very difficult, but some might say differently.

Laconia
09-25-2014, 05:23 PM
Yes you're right but I think about get over the mafiosos who control the sabotage and not the workers
The polyp is a dead animal without tentacles :army:
For example, I wonder sometimes, the USA have one of the best armed corps in the world, and the best Secret Service also and the crime is rise in the USA in the past and today also
How does it happen this is for me, it's beyond reason

Sorry, but I do not agree that our Secret Service is the best. We have had several trespassers at the White House of late and that particular agency has some serious problems. As for crime in the USA, as bad as things are, it would be much worse if the average citizen was not able to own firearms.

imi
09-27-2014, 07:15 AM
Sorry, but I do not agree that our Secret Service is the best. We have had several trespassers at the White House of late and that particular agency has some serious problems. As for crime in the USA, as bad as things are, it would be much worse if the average citizen was not able to own firearms.

Sad to hear that but USA is one of the superpowers in this world, you must have one of the best agency :)
I think organized crime is unravel easily with the secret service and executed by secret agents and the armed forces