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 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles    
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Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1070

RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/17/2017 5:47:16 PM
Suez was a political cluster... despite the actual military campaign going quite well.

Like everyone in 1948 or so the RN was thinking about how to handle the emerging Soviet threat, in particular their large submarine force. For the RN it was either offensive with carrier and amphibious attacks on base, transit and support targets, or defensive with escorts for convoys in the event of WW3. The RN chose convoy escorts and gave priority to those over the carrier and amphibious elements of their fleet for the following few years. After the Korea War thinking began to change, that the Cold War would be more likely consist of limited wars rather than WW3 and the RN began to change their priority to reflect this and began to put a higher priority on the carrier and amphibious fleet.

However when Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal and sparked off the Suez Crisis the RN only had a single carrier in commission and the amphibious fleet was run down and not concentrated. It took 3 months for the RN to get 3 Fleet carriers and 2 Commando carriers in commission, by which time the political crisis has altered and the world had turned against the Anglo-French-Israeli coalition and despite their military success they failed in their mission.

The moral of the story; aircraft carriers are cooler than anti-submarine frigates and countries should always try to get lots of them.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5287

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/17/2017 8:04:18 PM
The Suez Crisis in 1956 created quite a rift between the US and the UK.

As I recall, Nasser didn't close the canal to shipping. He claimed that he needed the tolls from the use of the canal to fund other projects like the Aswan Dam.

But if Nasser had restricted ship traffic to France and the UK, both economies would have been damaged.

I still don't understand why the new state of Israel decided that it wanted to be involved in the military action. Retribution perhaps?

I believe that the UK put the Israelis up to initiating hostilities. They would attack first and then the British and French would step in to protect the canal.

Israel took the first steps and advanced toward the canal. Then the UK and France ordered the Israelis and Egypt to back off and issued an ultimatum. Israel did. Egypt didn't and the UK and France took that situation as proof that they could start bombing.

The US was quite angry as the action by the UK and France was undertaken without informing their NATO allies. There were accusations that the Uk had lied to the US and to Canada and others about its plans.

So there was a potential rift between NATO allies and a crisis for the UN too.



Canada stepped forward as a broker in the dispute and encouraged the UK and France to seek peace.

Canada's foreign minister and future PM, Lester B. Pearson addressed the UN and suggested the creation of a peace keeping force to keep the warring sides apart.

The UN had observers in India and in Palestine but had not yet used a large and well equipped force dedicated to keeping the peace.

On Nov. 4, the UN voted for the creation of just such a force. The next day, Nov. 5, French and British paras landed in Egypt.


The US was pressuring the UK to seek a peaceful resolution. No-one including the US wanted another war.

And so UN peacekeepers were sent to Egypt, with the permission of the Egyptians, and that allowed the French and British to withdraw with no loss of face.

Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, Sweden, and Yugoslavia stepped up with troops and the US, Italy and Switzerland supported.

The commander was Canadian General Burns.

For his work in helping to resolve the Suez Crisis, Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace prize.


Cheers,

George


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3296

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 5:03:45 AM
 Eisenhower's reaction has a whiff of an angry general publicly rebuking unruly subordinates -- makes me wonder if he didn't psychologically slip back into Supreme Commander role for a while. But Eisenhower struck the wrong deal with the Soviets. Part of the solution should have been the removal of Nasser from power and the return of the Suez Canal to its rightful owners.

 A big problem with the Anglo-French intervention is that it allowed the Soviet Union to escape enduring blame for its own crushing of Hungary earlier that same year. And, of course, even though the U.S. strong-armed the U.K. and France into withdrawing (in an act of cooperation with the USSR), that example did not hinder the Soviets from doing the same thing in 1968 to Czechoslovakia.

 Long-term, the affair damaged the West. Other than colonial wars and some minor operations, no Western power other than the U.S. engaged in a large, independent military operation until the British liberated the Falklands in 1982. And why should they have? Eisenhower's intervention had made it clear that such action could become very fruitless.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5287

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 6:24:42 AM
BW is it not also true that the Soviets were supplying Nasser with military equipment? Perhaps that was of concern to Eisenhower and the US.

Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3296

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 6:44:29 AM
George,

 I would have to read up on the situation. As I recall, your statement is correct as it goes, but Nasser IIRC was also trying to play both blocs against each other to get the best deal. In the end, though, Egypt stayed with Soviet military equipment until the 1980s or so.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3296

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 6:49:57 AM
The moral of the story; aircraft carriers are cooler than anti-submarine frigates and countries should always try to get lots of them.

 The other moral is that those with a small inventory of nuclear weapons can only count upon the influence of those weapons in a fairly small variety of international situations. I suspect that rather than seeing a decline in the world inventory of such weapons, it may well grow if the EU decides it wants more military muscle -- the tie-in to Suez being that I'd guess the European powers still recall that lesson.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5287

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 7:24:43 AM
The Suez Crisis created a rift within the Commonwealth too. I do not know how the Australians and New Zealanders felt about the unilateral actions of the UK/France alliance but the Canadians were upset on two fronts.

One there was concern that the new look Commonwealth, an association of countries of equal status, had been ignored. In fact, the Canadians felt that the UK had been duplicitous with them. There was considerable anger there.

The second concern of course was the relationship between Canada and the US. There was no way that Canada could risk an icing over of that relationship. The US and Canada had become closer as a result of WW2 and Korea.

From what I know of Canadian foreign policy in those days, I suspect that Canada and the US had had talks about Suez. It would not be the first time that the Canadians had acted as a go between for the US, using its position as a middle power to act as honest broker.

There was a cost politically at home. The actions of Lester Pearson to resolve the crisis peacefully through the UN were not received well by the Canadian anglophiles, of whom there were many.

They accused the government of betraying the mother country. It was as though they were still 15 years in the past and if the UK needed to go to war, then it must have a valid reason.

The government had moved on in its foreign policy and was more closely aligned with the US although, and I miss this, displayed a greater degree of independence of thought in those days.

Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5940
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 7:50:05 AM
In 1956/57 the HMS Newfoundland (59) was in the Red Sea and Mediterranean, participating in the Suez war.

On 1 Nov 1956, the cruiser encountered the Egyptian frigate Domiat during a patrol the Red Sea south of Suez and sank her by gunfire from a distance of 1500 yards, but the Egyptians bravely returned fire until their vessel capsized, hitting the cruiser with two 4in shells and wounding two men.

69 survivors from the frigate were picked up by the cruiser.

Source Uboatnet

The way I originally heard this story was that Domiat found Newfoundland steaming with her guns trained fore and aft and Domiat shot first wounding two ratings. Once the 6"gun light cruiser woke up- it sunk Domiat.





Regards

Jim.
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2752

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 10:12:06 AM
Thanks,

I posted on another thread that a discussion on the
Suez War was a good idea. I believe much has been forgotten about this conflict?

Thanks
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1303

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/18/2017 9:18:53 PM
Lemme get this straight.
Quote:
Part of the solution should have been the removal of Nasser from power and the return of the Suez Canal to its rightful owners.


It's certainly part of one solution, but is it part of the only solution? And – forgive me for an ignorant question – who were the rightful owners?

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3296

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/19/2017 1:36:16 AM
Brian,

 We both know the Egyptians alone would have never built that canal in any foreseeable stretch of time. It was a massive engineering project that was made possible by Europeans.

 But that rather misses the point. By allowing Nasser to remain in power and keep the canal, his actions were rewarded. That is a loss for all, because although there may be other areas of the developing world where such engineering feats could be accomplished, it is very likely they won't ever be built because no Western enterprise will invest so much wealth only to have it arbitrarily seized. Wait on the locals? Be ready to wait a very long time, as in probably never.

 This is not to say the canal should not have transferred to Egyptian control at some point, and with an orderly procedure. What happened was 180º different. It was nothing more than Arab street theater writ large and self-promotion for Nasser.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1070

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/19/2017 4:01:25 AM

In 1955 the Israelis conducted a commando raid in response to a cross border attack from people in Gaza so Nasser decided to buy some arms, jet fighters in particular. They approached Britain first, but were rebuffed because of Nassers opposition to the Baghdad Pact, the British were also dangling the finance for the Aswan Dam as leverage. He went to the US and was also rebuffed, but I don't recall why, I think the Dam finance was involved there too. Finally he went to the Soviets who agreed to supply Mig15s through Czechoslovakia and had something to do with the Dam finance, in the end he nationalised the Canal to pay for the Dam. A lot of support came from the outrage and the belief that the Egyptians would never be able to keep the Canal silt free and operating, but while the Anglo-French operation was organised during the following the Egyptians proved that everything was going to work OK and the outrage died down.

It was the French who colluded with the Israelis, they supplied the jet fighters and AMX13s etc and the Dimona nuclear reactor. When the British approached the French they French told the British they had plans with Israel or that Israel had plans, this was incorporated into the overall plan. The plan went through various changes from a majority British plan to almost even with the French, I've read that if the French had command it would have been much faster and possibly more successful as a result.

Apparently the EAF was told not to engage the opposing air forces, so copped a hiding on the ground.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5287

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/19/2017 12:55:45 PM
Rightful ownership is a touchy subject.

In the case of Egypt, I think that they nationalized the canal but paid off the company that owned it, in 1962.

Would that it had happened in reverse but I do support sovereignty claims.

What of the Panama Canal? Why did the Panamanians have to come to an agreement with the US to gain control of a waterway through their country. They now own it but must guarantee "neutrality" of the waterway, whatever that means. It's a quid pro quo that is probably distasteful to Panama.

Countries that choose to assert sovereignty do so at their peril especially if they are a smaller nation standing in the way of the wishes of a powerful nation.

Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3296

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/19/2017 3:00:01 PM
 Except this was far more than a simple case of "asserting sovereignty". There were huge sums invested and at stake. When "asserting sovereignty" becomes an excuse for arbitrarily seizing persons or property ... then it is an invitation to conflict. Nasser probably kidded himself that Britain and France wouldn't dare to react; his mindset may have been something like the chants of 1941 heard in Damascus:


"No more Monsieur!
No more Mister!
Allah's in heaven
and Hitler's on earth!"


 Meaning, the Arabs believed western Europe weak and the region ripe for Arab power plays. Took a few more years, but that notion took root and paid off for them.

 Another sour apple for the USA was the Eisenhower believed that after his intervention, Nasser would act like an obedient ally. Nasser chose to give Ike the finger and go with the Soviets. This was a case in international relations in which the man from Kansas was too gullible.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5287

Re: RN strategy decisions and Suez 1956.
Posted on: 6/19/2017 4:14:53 PM
Hello BW,

Eisenhower must have been conflicted. He opposed colonialism. During WW2, the US had been concerned that the European imperialist nations would use the opportunity to re-establish their colonies.

Just blue skying here but perhaps Ike understood Nasser's desire to nationalize the canal and rid his country of foreign influence.

He may have misread Nasser and as you have said, Nasser turned his back and curried favour with the USSR.

cheers,

George


 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles    
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