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BBC2: PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster - Thursday, January 2nd 2014 - 21:00

soleil

War Hero


"Jeremy Clarkson tells the dramatic story of the Arctic convoys of the Second World War, from Russia to the freezing Arctic Ocean.

Accompanied by moving first hand testimony from the men who served on these convoys, Clarkson reveals the incredible hazards faced by members of the Merchant and Royal Navy who delivered vital war supplies via the Arctic to the Soviet Union: temperatures of minus 50 degrees, huge icebergs, colossal waves, not to mention German U-boats and the Luftwaffe. It is no wonder that Churchill described the Arctic Convoys as 'the worst journey in the world.'

Between 1941 and 1945, more than 70 convoys delivered 4 million tonnes of material to the USSR, yet one convoy in partiuclar would come to symbolise the dangers faced by the men who served on them. Codenamed PQ17, this convoy of 35 merchant ships would be described by Churchill as one of the most melancholy naval episodes of the war.

Retracing the route of PQ17 from the Arctic to the Russian winter port of Archangel, Clarkson reveals how, on the night of July 4th 1942, this joint Anglo-American convoy became one of the biggest naval disasters of the 20th century. To make matters worse, the cause of the disaster lay not in the brutal conditions of the Arctic, or the military might of the Germans, but a misjudgement made in the corridors of the Admiralty in London."

BBC Two - PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster
 

dabber11

Midshipman
He does do a good documentary.

"Jeremy Clarkson tells the dramatic story of the Arctic convoys of the Second World War, from Russia to the freezing Arctic Ocean.

Accompanied by moving first hand testimony from the men who served on these convoys, Clarkson reveals the incredible hazards faced by members of the Merchant and Royal Navy who delivered vital war supplies via the Arctic to the Soviet Union: temperatures of minus 50 degrees, huge icebergs, colossal waves, not to mention German U-boats and the Luftwaffe. It is no wonder that Churchill described the Arctic Convoys as 'the worst journey in the world.'

Between 1941 and 1945, more than 70 convoys delivered 4 million tonnes of material to the USSR, yet one convoy in partiuclar would come to symbolise the dangers faced by the men who served on them. Codenamed PQ17, this convoy of 35 merchant ships would be described by Churchill as one of the most melancholy naval episodes of the war.

Retracing the route of PQ17 from the Arctic to the Russian winter port of Archangel, Clarkson reveals how, on the night of July 4th 1942, this joint Anglo-American convoy became one of the biggest naval disasters of the 20th century. To make matters worse, the cause of the disaster lay not in the brutal conditions of the Arctic, or the military might of the Germans, but a misjudgement made in the corridors of the Admiralty in London."

BBC Two - PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster[/QUOTE]
 

DruAde

Lantern Swinger
Ignor a;ready posted

EDIT....

Sorry just seen the post from earlier

ignor ta..........

Actually dont ignor , watch it . From the total twat (Pound) to the boys own hero, commanding officer of the The Ayrshire. For the life of me I cant remember his name, terrible . A lawyer with an inlshore sailing certificate who hid his trawler and three merchant ships in the ice by painting them white .Then got them to the port in Russia . Bloody amazing!
 
Last edited:

scouse

War Hero
Thought it so sad that 4 of the old boys that they had interviewed, had since died....RIP
 

Pvivax

Badgeman
This really was a very interesting programme. Jeremy Clarkson does do a very good documentary - he should do more of them. It's refreshing to see him do something serious rather than the buffoonery of Top Gear.It was entertaining and moving at the same time,the veterans of the convoys who participated in the programme epitomized, I think, the spirit that is lacking in some of today's young generation. A lump came to the throat near the end.

PS was the difference between scattering and dispersing ever nailed down?
 
Pound was a loon, but slightly in his defence he did have a brain tumour at the time which was impairing his judgment. Part of that impaired judgment may explain his refusal to resign beforehand when it was diagnosed. Seems to me there's at least some culpability for "dear old Winnie" in not *forcing* him to resign beforehand. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course....
 

jaggers

Lantern Swinger
Pound was a loon, but slightly in his defence he did have a brain tumour at the time which was impairing his judgment. Part of that impaired judgment may explain his refusal to resign beforehand when it was diagnosed. Seems to me there's at least some culpability for "dear old Winnie" in not *forcing* him to resign beforehand. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course....

I'd go with that, Pound had a brain tumour which affected his judgement and was worn out from years of constant pressure with his immense wartime responsibilities. Someone should have made him step aside. Not necessarily Churchill who can't be expected to micromanage naval appointments but whoever was above him in the chain of command or perhaps his medical officers. The old boys network again? Or just the human angle, hard to tell a man you'd known for decades and fought German battleships with at Jutland that he was now past it?
That said his remark "We've decided to scatter the convoy and that is how it must stay" is an attitude often encountered in both history (Tom Phillips springs to mind) and in my personal experience by people who don't have any of Pound's excuses. By contrast Gradwell seems to personify very best in naval tradition. How incredibly spiteful for him to be denied a DSO! The scene where the old sweat talks about them successfully escaping in the lifeboat only to add matter of factly 'and then we began to die' from hypothermia was heartrending.
I always had the impression that the Russians didn't honour the Arctic convoys, that they aways played down the Allies support for them and liked to think they did it all by themselves. Wonder how the battle of Moscow would have gone for them without 75% of their tanks? That said it's disgusting that it took nearly 70 years for an Arctic campaign medal to be awarded when most of those entitled to one would be dead (and Bomber Command the same).
 
I'd go with that, Pound had a brain tumour which affected his judgement and was worn out from years of constant pressure with his immense wartime responsibilities. Someone should have made him step aside. Not necessarily Churchill who can't be expected to micromanage naval appointments but whoever was above him in the chain of command or perhaps his medical officers. The old boys network again? Or just the human angle, hard to tell a man you'd known for decades and fought German battleships with at Jutland that he was now past it?
That said his remark "We've decided to scatter the convoy and that is how it must stay" is an attitude often encountered in both history (Tom Phillips springs to mind) and in my personal experience by people who don't have any of Pound's excuses. By contrast Gradwell seems to personify very best in naval tradition. How incredibly spiteful for him to be denied a DSO! The scene where the old sweat talks about them successfully escaping in the lifeboat only to add matter of factly 'and then we began to die' from hypothermia was heartrending.
I always had the impression that the Russians didn't honour the Arctic convoys, that they aways played down the Allies support for them and liked to think they did it all by themselves. Wonder how the battle of Moscow would have gone for them without 75% of their tanks? That said it's disgusting that it took nearly 70 years for an Arctic campaign medal to be awarded when most of those entitled to one would be dead (and Bomber Command the same).

My bold - which was actually Churchill, in his double hatted role as Minister of Defence. When he appointed himself to that role in 1940, he turfed the three service ministers out of the Cabinet and made them his subordinates so that only he at Cabinet level was responsible for the actions of the fighting services. AV Alexander served under him as First Lord of the Admiralty, but was a Labourite who'd spent most of the 1920s leading the charge within the Admiralty for disarmament. Perhaps as a result, he was not classified up to Most Secret, nor allowed in the War Room; Churchill pretty much continued to run the show for the Navy in particular (including overruling Pound to insist on the deployment of Force Z, among other highlights....).

So for the First Sea Lord in particular, I would absolutely expect Churchill to be micromanaging naval appointments (see also his replacement of Auchinleck with Alexander for an example from the brown jobs).
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Hindsight is obviously easily applied but the damage the Admiral did with regard the unnecessary loss of life, loss of shipping and the stinging loss of reputation is irrepairable. If the Admiral wasn't responsible, then who was? The Doctor who diagnosed the condition, perhaps?
 
Oh there's little doubt that Pound was responsible, and rightly so - but it's questionable how far he can be blamed given how much doubt there can be about his mental faculties at the time. It's a nice distinction, but you can make the case for PQ17 being manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsiblity rather than murder for example (not that it was either of course, but the point's valid).
 

jaggers

Lantern Swinger
My bold - which was actually Churchill, in his double hatted role as Minister of Defence. When he appointed himself to that role in 1940, he turfed the three service ministers out of the Cabinet and made them his subordinates so that only he at Cabinet level was responsible for the actions of the fighting services. AV Alexander served under him as First Lord of the Admiralty, but was a Labourite who'd spent most of the 1920s leading the charge within the Admiralty for disarmament. Perhaps as a result, he was not classified up to Most Secret, nor allowed in the War Room; Churchill pretty much continued to run the show for the Navy in particular (including overruling Pound to insist on the deployment of Force Z, among other highlights....).

So for the First Sea Lord in particular, I would absolutely expect Churchill to be micromanaging naval appointments (see also his replacement of Auchinleck with Alexander for an example from the brown jobs).

I stand corrected, it seems that he was referred to as 'Winston's Anchor' so you're right, if they were that close then Churchill does bear greater responsibilty, Pound only leaving after suffering not one but two strokes.
 

Pvivax

Badgeman
Ah cheers Soleil

I loved the quote" The american ship did what could be called a handbreak turn to bring its guns to bare".

Westminster looked impressive when doing the manouver thought Clarkson was going to fly overboard.


Almost as funny as the time US Airforce took him up in an F-15 and he barfed into a bag.
 
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