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Thread: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

  1. #1
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    Default Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    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.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 06-06-2014 at 09:47 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    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
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    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?
    ..
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    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
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    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,

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    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.
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    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/new...-1226751793596
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    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.
    ..
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    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/new...-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/arc...5/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-l...-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/ima...d=tcm:13-22114
    http://workinglife.org.au/2013/11/22...-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?
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 06-07-2014 at 09:56 AM.
    ..
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    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    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?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    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...

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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    what is a remf?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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?
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    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.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Which service made the greatest contribution on all sides?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    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.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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