December 18, 2016
William O’Neil had his 2016 lecture at Johns Hopkins University titled, UNDEFENDING PEARL HARBOR, published. He mentions that updates are available through AMAZON KINDLE, so, to that end, I hope this helps. O’Neil mentions that he is not a historian, but still it’s important that he get his facts right.
In a section titled, “Admiral Husband Kimmel”:
O’Neil said that, “Several studies had already suggested that [the northern sector] was the most likely area for a strike force [to approach]…”
O’Neil gives no source for his dictum, and does not mention that, neither the Martin-Bellinger report of March 31, 1941 nor the Farthing report of August 20, 1941 make that suggestion. Nor has any such pre-attack study ever emerged.
O’Neil said that, “Without really telling anyone outside of his staff, Kimmel developed an elaborate plan….”
Kimmel submitted his war plan, THE MARSHALLS RAIDING AND RECONNAISSANCE PLAN, to Admirals Stark and Turner—both approved it in writing in September 1941; and twice ordered him to be ready to execute it.
O’Neil said that, Stark’s saving comment to Kimmel about no minimum water depth could mean ship’s safety from attack was the “basic point,” without mentioning what Stark should have told Kimmel about the matter.
Here’s a summary of “this torpedo business.”
2/15/41: Kimmel was told by Stark that torpedoes were air-dropped in 84’ of water or more at Taranto.
2/17/41: The Office of Naval Intelligence received a report on the Taranto raid from its observer in the UK. The report included a map clearly showing torpedo drops in 22.5 and 48 feet of water—and target ships at anchor in as little as 39 feet of water. There is no evidence the report was sent to Admiral Kimmel. Nor did it surface in any of the subsequent Pearl Harbor inquiries.
6/13/41: Kimmel was told by Ingersoll that torpedoes were air-dropped in 66’ of water or more at Taranto.
6/21/41: The Navy Department was told torpedoes were air-dropped in 42’ of water at Dakar.
—Kimmel was not told, nor was the Naval Court of Inquiry (NCI) told. That’s why the NCI mistakenly styled Japanese shallow water air-dropped torpedoes as a secret weapon unknown to any other Navy in the world at that time. It was unknown to the NCI and to Admiral Kimmel, but not unknown to the Navy Department in Washington.
7/15/41: The Navy Department was told British torpedoes could be successfully air-dropped in 24’ of water.
—Kimmel was not told, nor was any Pearl Harbor investigation told.
The depth of water in Pearl Harbor was 42’ in the channel and 30’ outside the channel.
O’Neil said that, “If Kimmel had prepared as [Panama’s Lt. Gen. Frank] Andrews did he could have been a hero rather than a goat.”
Comparing Andrews in Panama who had no offensive responsibility under War Plan 46 with Kimmel in Hawaii who did is comparing apples and oranges. Kimmel was twice ordered to be ready to execute his war plan, which depended for success on his scarce reconnaissance aircraft.
In a section titled, “Command Responsibility”:
O’Neil said that, “…all [Pearl Harbor investigations] found that Kimmel . . . had erred.”
The only Pearl Harbor tribunal that accorded Kimmel the opportunity to defend himself, the Naval Court on Inquiry (NCI), virtually exonerated Kimmel finding no errors of judgment on his part. The fact that O’Neil does not mention the NCI at all is inexcusable. Ditto the Army Pearl Harbor Board (APHB). Furthermore, “Admiral Kimmel’s Story,” by Admiral Kimmel is not listed in O’Neil’s bibliography.
In a section titled, “Blame and Consequences”:
O’Neil said that, “…scarcely any overt official action was ever taken against [Kimmel].”
In 1948, the Navy Department omitted the name of Admiral Kimmel from the list of flag officers whose promotion was authorized under the “Officer Personnel Act of 1947”—that would be everyone else—without any reference to his, or anyone’s performance, constituting a belated special disciplinary action of a punitive kind taken without notice to the officer specifically singled out by such omission, Admiral Kimmel. That alone should be enough to compel the relief sought.
O’Neil said that, “There is no record that either [Kimmel, or Short] was pressured overtly [to retire].”
After Short asked Marshall what he should do, Marshall wrote that, Stark now proposed "to communicate this fact to Admiral Kimmel in the hope that Kimmel will likewise apply for retirement.”
Hours later, a recorded phone conversation took place between Washington and San Francisco:
Admiral Jacobs [chief of the department dealing with personnel matters]: Has Kimmel returned yet?
Admiral Greenslade [commandant in San Francisco]: Yes, he's here.
Jacobs: I've just been discussing the matter ... with Admiral Stark, and they want Kimmel kept in a leave status until further disposition is made of the report ... I was asked by Admiral Stark to inform you to tell Kimmel that General Short has applied for retirement.
Greenslade: In leave status-you want me to tell him that?
Within hours, Greenslade duly passed on what Kimmel was to recall as "an official communication from the Navy Department ... that General Short had submitted a request for retirement. That was the message."
Kimmel and Short were manipulated into retirement against their will.
O’Neil said that, “…efforts to posthumously win some sign of official vindication for [Kimmel & Short] seem quixotic at very best.”
The Washington High Command [WHC]—Marshall, Stark, Gerow, Turner, Miles & Wilkinson--provided false testimony and false evidence to falsely prove Kimmel & Short guilty of a crime. That alone should be enough to compel the relief sought.
The WHC told the Roberts Commission that Kimmel & Short had the same information in Hawaii as they had in Washington, DC. That misinformation was calculated to do, and did, Kimmel & Short irreparable prejudice. The WHC as officers and decent human beings, knowing full well what they had done, had an obligation to immediately rectify the prejudice to Kimmel & Short from such deplorable misinformation. They did not do so. That alone should be enough to compel the relief sought.
In a section titled, “Beyond responsibility and blame”:
O’Neil said that, “In practice General Marshall and Admiral Stark…tried to extract the important information from MAGIC , paraphrase it…and transmit it promptly.”
General Marshall and Admiral Stark both testified that they did not know that MAGIC was being denied to Kimmel and Short.
O’Neil said that, “Later analysis…showed a few subtle details missed by Washington in the MAGIC messages.”
Prior to the attack, MAGIC gave indications of the time, place, reason, and deceit plan to cover the attack.
Concerning Admiral Kimmel’s reconnaissance decision, the NCI found that:
“The omission of this reconnaissance was not due to oversight or neglect. It was the result of a military decision, reached after much deliberation and consultation with experienced officers and after weighing the information at hand and all the factors involved.” (Report Finding XIII, 10/19/44, 31PHA309.)
O’Neil does not mention the findings of the only tribunal that accorded Admiral Kimmel the opportunity to defend himself, the NCI, while favoring the findings of a discredited Commission, and a partisan Congressional investigation that did not.
Tom Kimmel (an Admiral Kimmel grandson)