Saturday 23 February 2013

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Above:  artist's depiction of a raging ocean (Jeremiah Morelli)

JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW

Hour One

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Athenia Torpedoed: The U-boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic by Francis M. Carroll; 1 of 4

Just hours after World War II was declared, Germany struck its first blow, firing without warning on the passenger liner Athenia. The British ship was loaded with Americans, Canadians, and Europeans attempting to cross the Atlantic before the outbreak of war. As the ship sank, 1,306 were rescued but 112 people were lost, including thirty Americans. This account of the disaster, based on new research, tells a dramatic story of tragedy and triumph, as historian Francis Carroll chronicles the survivors’ experiences and explains how the incident shaped policy in the U.S., UK, and Canada. For Britain, it was seen as a violation of international law and convoys were sent to protect shipping. In Canada, Athenia’s sinking rallied support to go to war. In the United States, it exposed Germany as a serious threat and changed public opinion enough to allow the country to sell munitions and supplies to Britain and France.

---Francis M. Carroll is professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba and the prize-winning author of ten books

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Athenia Torpedoed: The U-boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic by Francis M. Carroll; 2 of 4

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Athenia Torpedoed: The U-boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic by Francis M. Carroll; 3 of 4

“Carroll has delivered a detailed and well-crafted account of the opening blow of the war’s longest battle:  the Battle of the Atlantic.  Athenia Torpedoed is a fast-paced, appealing work that will delight the ardent student of U-boat operations as well as the aficionado of shipwreck and survivor literature.  Carroll’s extensive use of personal narratives and period accounts brings this tragic event to life and reminds the reader that the greatest of battles are in fact a collection of personal episodes.”

—Vincent P. O’Hara, author of The German Fleet at War, 1939-1945 and Struggle for the Middle Sea: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Athenia Torpedoed: The U-boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic by Francis M. Carroll; 4 of 4

Hour Two

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic by Ed Offley; 1 of 4

The WWII struggle against Nazi Germany was decided not on the battlefields of Europe, but along the trade routes of the North Atlantic. There, Allied merchant vessels carrying millions of tons of precious supplies from North America to Great Britain found themselves preyed upon by "wolf packs" of German U-boats. This deadly naval conflict is chronicled here in detail. Photos.

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic by Ed Offley; 2 of 4

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic by Ed Offley; 3 of 4

The United States experienced its most harrowing military disaster of World War II not in 1941 at Pearl Harbor but in the period from 1942 to 1943, in Atlantic coastal waters from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. Sinking merchant ships with impunity, German U-boats threatened the lifeline between the United States and Britain, very nearly denying the Allies their springboard onto the European Continent--a loss that would have effectively cost the Allies the war.In Turning the Tide, the author Ed Offley tells the gripping story of how, during a twelve-week period in the spring of 1943, a handful of battle-hardened American, British, and Canadian sailors turned the tide in the Atlantic. Using extensive archival research and interviews with key survivors, Offley places the reader at the heart of the most decisive maritime battle of World War II.  ---goodreads

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic by Ed Offley; 4 of 4

Hour Three

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  The Sea Was Always There by Joseph F. Callo; 1 of 2

The Sea Was Always There is one man's story about learning from the sea. It includes the joy, pain, victory, defeat, surprises, and humor involved in the process. The narrative spans areas of the globe extending from the east coast of the Indian Ocean, across the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic, and into the Mediterranean. The many personal episodes that make up The Sea Was Always There deal with real people, places, and events, and it is based on personal experiences drawn from four sources: two years at sea with the U.S. Navy, sailing in a wide variety of venues, travel to places with deep connections with the sea, and writing about two heroes from the Age of Sail.

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . The Sea Was Always There by Joseph F. Callo; 2 of 2

Good read for a Navy buff or anyone who enjoys sailing. Good read for students interested in expanding their perspective of Naval history and boating. Those who have sailed the Caribbean will want to check the spots Admiral Callo visited against their own list of favorite destinations.  I keep my Kindle in my briefcase so I can read a few pages of an absorbing book like this whenever a few minutes open up. This a great summer read.

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell; 1 of 2

As the Allies pressed forward both in Europe and the Pacific in the waning days of World War II, a little-known battle took place under the frozen seas off the coast of Norway between the HMS Venturer and U-864. It was a battle that would change the course of the war. This dramatic account documents that unsung moment in the annals of naval warfare. Photos.  --hamiltonbook.com

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:  Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell; 2 of 2

Hour Four

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Saving Big Ben: The USS Franklin and Father Joseph T. O'Callahan by John R. Satterfield; 1 of 2

The bombing, torching, and ultimate salvation of the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV 13) and her crew is one of the great survival sagas of World War II and was an inspiration to millions of Americans.Not as well known are the roots, life and times of Father Joseph T. O’Callahan, one of the heroes aboard “Big Ben” – an Essex-class carrier with 3,500 men and 100 aircraft – when she was smashed and set ablaze by two Japanese bombs 52 miles off the coast of Kobe, Japan on March 19, 1945.

        O’Callahan was a symbol of the city of Boston after it was transformed by wave after wave of arriving Irish Catholics. Saving Big Ben is partly a biography of O’Callahan, partly a character-driven narrative of an aircraft carrier battling to stay afloat, and incidentally a look at the early 20th century immigrant culture that produced “Father Joe.”

       O’Callahan looked and talked like his Irish forebears. He was a teaching priest, a math and physics professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. Five-ten, “a gentle man,” author John R. Satterfield writes, he believed in the discipline of the Jesuit order which never before in American history had allowed one of its own to be inducted into the U.S. armed forces.

Though he was the antithesis of the warrior, O’Callahan felt an obligation to serve. He entered the Navy as a lieutenant junior grade and chaplain in August 1940, more than a year before the Pearl Harbor attack brought the United States into the war – the first Jesuit chaplain in U.S. history. He pulled ship and shore duty including service aboard the carrier USS Ranger (CV 4) during the North Africa invasion in November 1942. Satterfield’s strong, well-documented narrative follows O’Callahan through the war until we see Father Joe reporting aboard the Franklin on March 2, 1945, just 17 days before she was bombed.

The invasion of Okinawa was less than a month away, an invasion of Japan’s home islands was expected to follow, and the U.S. Navy was operating close to Japanese shores. At 7:08 a.m. on March 19, a dive-bomber emerged from low clouds and dropped two 551-pound (250-kilogram) semi-armor piercing bombs that ripped through Franklin‘s Douglas fir flight deck, exploded underneath, destroyed airplanes, and ignited ordnance and fuel.

“In seconds, the entire volume of the hangar deck resembled the core of a blast furnace,” Satterfield writes. “No human being or anything that humans had fabricated could withstand the unleashed, immeasurable power.” An image from motion picture film, apparently never before published as a still, shows fire engulfing the ship with raw flames rising more than 200 feet above the flight deck. Casualties included more than 800 killed and about 500 wounded.

“The conflagration was . . ." [see below]   ---defensemedianetwork.com

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Saving Big Ben: The USS Franklin and Father Joseph T. O'Callahan by John R. Satterfield; 2 of 2

. . . the most severe [suffered] by any U.S. warship during World War II.” read the official war damage report, quoted by Satterfield.

The Saga of the Franklin, the inspiring motion picture about how the Franklin was saved – seen in theaters by this reviewer as a child – touched the hearts of many but ignored controversies that arose after “Big Ben” traversed the Pacific, went through the Panama Canal, and steamed painfully but proudly into New York harbor.

      One of the controversies is the conduct of CV 13s divisive skipper, Capt. Leslie E. Gehres, who was unliked even in better times and who wanted to court-martial some sailors for abandoning ship. The temperature was bitter cold in the wintry North Pacific. Many sailors escaped fire by scrambling out on catwalks attired in underwear or lightly dressed.  Junior officers went to their staterooms, got uniforms and threw them over the enlisted men so they wouldn’t freeze. Some of the sailors were then forced overboard by the heat. Watching from a distance, Gehres wrongly believed officers were milling about, panicking, and in some cases scrambling overboard.

A strong section of the book covers the dispute over an award for O’Callahan, who repeatedly and selflessly exposed himself to great risk while helping others. Debate raged within the Navy as to whether a man of the cloth could receive the nation’s highest award for valor. Gehres was among those who fought hard for O’Callahan to receive not the Navy Cross that was initially recommended but the Medal of Honor that was ultimately bestowed to O’Callahan and one other crewmember.

In the citation that makes note of O’Callahan’s “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” his actions are described vividly:

“O’Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets, and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts, despite searing, suffocating smoke which . . . "  ---defensemedianetwork.com

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (P.S.) by Simon Winchester; 1 of 2

Atlantic is a biography of a tremendous space that has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists, and warriors, and continues to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to foresters—all have a relationship with this great body of gray and heaving sea.

Winchester chronicles that relationship, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. More than a mere history, Atlantic is an unforgettable journey of unprecedented scope by one of the most gifted writers in the English language.

Saturday 23 February 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (P.S.) by Simon Winchester; 2 of 2

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Music

Hour 1: The Pacific

Hour 2: Uncharted

Hour 3: Battleship, Valkyrie

Hour 4: Valkyrie, Battleship.