I’ve been thinking about the way the APOD developments will affect the USN Command structure/Command appointments in the early part of the war. I want to set out my views on how these are likely to differ from OTL, and open a discussion on how these differences are likely to butterfly out as APOD develops.
The four USN Officers I’m discussing are:
- Admiral Kimmel ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Kimmel )
- Admiral Stark (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Rainsford_Stark )
- Admiral Nimitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_W._Nimitz )
- Admiral King (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_J._King )
Before discussing the OTL and APOD careers of individuals, it’s important to understand something of the roles that they occupy and how these roles interact – friction from the interaction was a driver for one of the OTL changes which I’m arguing won’t necessarily occur in APOD, so it’s as well to understand things up front.
There were three separate positions that need to be considered:
- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO)
- Fleet Commander
- Commander in Chief United States Fleet
Additionally the position of Chief of the Bureau of Navigation will be discussed – I was surprised to find it wasn’t simply a US version of the RN’s Hydrographic Office, as the name implies.
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_of_Naval_Operations )
This was the professional head of the Navy, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. CNO reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy and is responsible for the overall efficiency of the Navy. Part of his role includes the allocation of ships, resources, manpower etc to the Fleet Commands.
Unlike his RN counterpart the First Sea Lord, the CNO is a purely administrative position with no operational command. CNO has no right to give operational orders to a Fleet Commander – he can advise, or warn, or drop heavy hints – but at the end of the day the Fleet Commander (who is answerable to the Secretary of the Navy and not to the CNO) can go his own way.
There were three Fleet Commands, with the Commander holding the title Commander in Chief <name> Fleet. The three fleets were the Atlantic Fleet, the Pacific Fleet and the Asiatic Fleet.
The CinC Fleet was directly responsible to the Secretary of the Navy, and held direct Operational Command of his fleet.
Technically Fleet Commanders were equal in Authority, and answered to the Secretary of the Navy. CinC Pacific Fleet for example couldn’t instruct CinC Asiatic Fleet to take a course of action (he could ask, or recommend – but couldn’t order). This could however prove embarrassing in wartime, so the position of Commander in Chief United States Fleet (CINCUS) was created.
CINCUS isn’t a rank as such, it’s an additional position given to the Commander of one of the Active Fleets (Atlantic, Pacific or Asiatic). In effect it’s a brevet rank, allowing the holder authority over the other Fleet(s). This overrode seniority – in OTL Admiral Hart (CinC Asiatic Fleet) was senior to Admiral Kimmel (CinC Pacific Fleet) and to Admiral King (CinC Atlantic Fleet), however pre war it was Kimmel who was appointed CINCUS, so when war broke out, it was Kimmel who had the authority. When Kimmel was replaced, the position of CINCUS was awarded to King (of which more later), making Admiral Hart his subordinate, despite Hart’s greater seniority.
Chief of the Bureau of Navigation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/w...%28United_States_Navy%29 )
because one of the individuals being discussed holds this position at the start
of the war. As the name implies the original role (which it still fulfilled at
the outbreak of war) concerned charts, navigation equipment etc, however in the
1880’s the Bureau had acquired responsibilities for Naval Personnel management,
and by 1941 this was the main focus of its activities. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/w...%28United_States_Navy%29 )
Historically the Bureau of Navigation changed its name to Bureau of Naval Personnel on 13th May 1942 ( http://www.npc.navy.mil/AboutUs/GeneralInfo/ ), with the Navigational aspects of its role transferring to CNO’s area. While I’ve no hard evidence to support this, my theory is that it was wartime pressures that bought about this reorganisation.
For APOD then, the same timetable applies – the BoN splits in a similar fashion in May 1942.
- Admiral Stark was CNO
- Admiral King was CinC Atlantic Fleet
- Admiral Kimmel was CinC Pacific Fleet and CINCUS
- Admiral Hart was CinC Asiatic Fleet
- Admiral Nimitz was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.
<End note - appologies - this looked/was laid out much better when I drafted it, but bloody Yuku screwed around with the formatting when I tried copying it over - Aaaaaaagh!)