Elimination of Fossil fuels a Non-reality

Sounds great, but in reality what does it foretell? Last weekend I filled my combustion engine (4 cylinder) car with fuel (gasoline) for less that $20, mileage indicator informed me that my next fill up would be at 342 miles. So I set the cruise at 70 mph and drove 120 miles on the interstate, ate supper, drove around town took in the sites, got a milkshake and set the cruise drove back home (in the evening) at 70 mph spending about 7-8 hours all told, and still have a tank of almost a 1/2 tank of gasoline. Can you do that in a solar car, I doubt it.

Solar cars, clean and efficient? First lets understand that the solar (sun) power is not a direct power, meaning it has to be stored in a battery, just like every thing else (mobile phones, laptops etc..). What are the life expectances of electric car batteries? When would they need to be replaced, what is the cost of recharging, what is the duration between recharging? Questions that I never hear the politicians address. Why? Because it would destroy their pro-green stance.

While on my weekend journey I encountered a vast number of large semi-trailer trucks (18 wheelers), each of these were not on a pleasure trip as I was, but working to deliver consumer goods over vast distances, so that you and I can enjoy the marvels of the 21st century, the same principles of a solar car apply to them as well. Consider the cost involved and the effects of added time from shipping to delivery point, I doubt that they could transverse the country in a few days, adding in the fact of recharging downtime, and speed reduction (they weigh over 80,000 lbs. in freight). Their retention of a maximum speed of my 70 mph, could not be sustained, as batteries lose charge they reduce their power out put.

Batteries, not really a green idea, as they are an acid filled storage, prone to leakage which could cause a health hazard in it’s self. Just how large a battery would be needed to power those semi-trucks? To pull that the huge loads (80,000 lbs.) would I suppose have to be huge in its self. Instead of pulling in and pumping a tank of gasoline in about 2-3 minutes, how long would it take to charge one of those batteries, 30 minutes an hour? Downtime causing a price hike to compensate the price of transporting. Now, what about the replacement price of the battery? We all know they don’t last forever, and before they are totally useless they lose their ability to hold a prolonged charge (check your laptop see how much time of use it has lost). Replacement cost, I really don’t want to envision this price, the car price includes the battery price, but when it has grown old (6 months-one year), what is the replacement value, $10,000.00 / $20,000.00, who knows, no one wants to point this out. As for buying a used electric car, forget it, I now what I’d do, when it needed a battery replacement, I’d trade it in (pushing to dealership), let some other sucker buy it.

Many more questions on solar/electric power to be answered, but in 12 years the world ends AGAIN.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Eddy Toorall


Does the equinox sun really rise due east and set due west?

Does the equinox sun really rise due east and set due west?

The March 2019 equinox happens on March 20 at 21:58 Universal Time, which is 4:58 p.m. Central Daylight Time for us in the central U.S. Translate to your time zone. What’s more, the March 2019 full moon comes less than four hours later, to stage the closest coincidence of the March equinox with the full moon since March 20, 2000.

The March equinox heralds the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. On this day, the sun rises due east and sets due west.

It may seem counterintuitive. But it’s true no matter where you live on Earth (except the North and South Poles, where there is no east or west).

To understand the due-east and due-west rising and setting of an equinox sun, you have to think of the reality of Earth in space. First think of why the sun’s path across our sky shifts from season to season. It’s because our world is tilted on its axis with respect to its orbit around the sun.

The seasons result from the Earth’s rotational axis tilting 23.5 degrees out of perpendicular to the ecliptic – or Earth’s orbital plane.

Now think about what an equinox is. It’s an event that happens on the imaginary dome of Earth’s sky. It marks that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. And it also, of course, represents a point on Earth’s orbit.

The celestial equator is a great circle dividing the imaginary celestial sphere into its northern and southern hemispheres. The celestial equator wraps the sky directly above Earth’s equator. At the March equinox, the sun crosses the celestial equator to enter the sky’s Northern Hemisphere.

The celestial equator is a circle drawn around the sky, above Earth’s equator. The ecliptic is the sun’s apparent yearly path in front of the constellations of the zodiac. The ecliptic and celestial equator intersect at the spring and autumn equinox points.

All these components are imaginary, yet what happens at every equinox is very real – as real as the sun’s passage across the sky each day and as real as the change of the seasons.

No matter where you are on Earth (except for the North and South Poles), you have a due east and due west point on your horizon. That point marks the intersection of your horizon with the celestial equator, the imaginary great circle above the true equator of the Earth.

And that’s why the sun rises due east and sets due west, for all of us, at the equinox. The equinox sun is on the celestial equator. No matter where you are on Earth, the celestial equator intersects your horizon at due east and due west.

Where does the celestial equator intersect your horizon? No matter what your latitude is, it intersects your horizon at points due east and due west.

This fact makes the day of an equinox a good day for finding due east and due west from your yard or other favorite site for watching the sky. Just go outside around sunset or sunrise and notice the location of the sun on the horizon with respect to familiar landmarks.

If you do this, you’ll be able to use those landmarks to find those cardinal directions in the weeks and months ahead, long after Earth has moved on in its orbit around the sun, carrying the sunrise and sunset points northward.

Our ancestors may not have understood the equinoxes and solstices as events that occur in the course of Earth’s yearly orbit around the sun. But if they were observant – and some were very observant indeed – they surely marked the day of the equinox as being midway between the sun’s lowest path across the sky in winter and highest path across the sky in summer.

If they thought in terms of four directions, they might also have learned a fact of nature that occurs whenever there’s an equinox: each midway point between the sun’s lowest and highest path.

That is, the sun rises due east and sets due west on the day of the equinox, as seen from everywhere on the globe.

The day arc of the sun, every hour, during the equinox as seen on the celestial dome, from the pole. Image via Tau’olunga at Wikimedia Commons.

Bottom line: The 2019 March equinox comes on March 20 at 21:58 UTC (4:58 p.m. CDT; translate to your time zone). At the equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west.

A Chinese perspective on the spring equinox

Everything you need to know: Vernal or spring equinox 2019

Hamal: Ancient equinox star

Read more: Understanding celestial coordinates

Full supermoon at March 2019 equinox

Full supermoon at March 2019 equinox

The March 20-21, 2019, full moon ushers in the first full moon of spring for the Northern Hemisphere, and the first full moon of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere. This full moon is also a supermoon, particularly close to Earth. It comes less than four hours after the arrival of the March 20 equinox.

This is the closest coincidence of a full moon with the March equinox since March 2000 – 19 years ago. The full moon and March equinox won’t happen less than one day apart again for another 11 years, until March 2030.

March 2000 full Moon: March 20 at 4:44 UTC
March 2000 equinox: March 20 at 7:35 UTC

March 2030 full moon: March 19 at 17:56 UTC
March 2030 equinox: March 20 at 13:51 UTC

This month’s full moon also presents the third and final supermoon of 2019. Will it appear bigger in your sky? No, not unless you happen to catch the moon just after it has risen in the east, around sunset. Then its larger-than-usual size has less to do with the supermoon, but more from a psychological effect known as the moon illusion.

Supermoons don’t look bigger to the eye to most people, but they do look significantly brighter. If you’re in the suburbs or a rural area, notice the bright moonlight cast on the landscape at this full moon.

Also, supermoons have a stronger-than-usual effect on Earth’s oceans. Watch for higher-than-usual tides to follow the supermoon by a day or so, especially if a coastal storm is happening in your part of the world.

This March supermoon isn’t 2019’s closest supermoon, by the way. That happened last month.

The Virtual Telescope Project will show the March 20 supermoon live, as it rises above the skyline of Rome.

At U.S. time zones, the equinox arrives on March 20, at 5:58 p.m. EDT, 4:58 p.m. CDT, 3:58 p.m. MDT, 2:58 p.m. PDT, 1:58 p.m. AKDT and 11:58 a.m. HST.

At U.S. time zones, the full moon falls on March 20, at 9:43 p.m. EDT, 8:43 p.m. CDT, 7:43 p.m. MDT, 6:43 p.m. PDT, 5:43 p.m. AKDT and 3:43 p.m. HST.

In Universal Time, the equinox arrives on March 20, at 21:58 UTC, and the full moon comes on March 21, at 1:43 UTC. Here’s how to convert Universal Time to your local time.

At the equinox, the sun is at zenith (straight overhead) at the Earth’s equator. Because the Earth’s atmosphere refracts (bends) sunlight, a tiny bit more than half of the globe is covered over in daylight.

Generally, the first full moon of a Northern Hemisphere spring heralds the imminent coming of the Christian celebration of Easter. Since Easter Sunday – by proclamation – occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring, some of us might expect the upcoming Sunday on March 24 to be Easter Sunday. However, by ecclesiastical rules, the equinox is fixed on March 21, so that places this year’s Easter Sunday (for Western Christendom) on April 21, 2019.

By the Gregorian calendar, the last time that an ecclesiastical Easter and an astronomical Easter didn’t occur on the same date was 38 years ago, in 1981. The next time won’t be until 19 years from now, in 2038.

(Easter Sunday for Eastern or Orthodox Christendom actually falls on April 28, 2019. That’s because the Eastern Church bases Easter on the old style Julian calendar, instead of the revised Gregorian calendar used by Western Christianity and most of the world.)

For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, this March full moon counts as your Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon occurring closest to the autumnal equinox. On the average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later with each passing day. But for several days around the time of the Harvest Moon, the lag time between successive moonrises is reduced to a yearly minimum. For instance, at 40 degrees south latitude, the moon now rises some 30 to 35 minutes later (instead of the average 50 minutes later) each day for the next several days.

Like Earth, Saturn has equinoxes too! The ringed planet last had an equinox in 2009, and will have its next equinox in 2025. From Earth, Saturn’s rings disappear from view at a Saturn equinox, because these rings are then edge-on from our vantage point. But this near-equinox view of Saturn’s rings is readily visible from the Cassini spacecraft, because it’s 20 degrees above the ring plane. Image via NASA.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, where it’s the closest full moon to the spring equinox, the lag time between successive moonrises is at a yearly maximum. At 40 degrees north latitude, the moon now rises around 70 to 75 minutes later daily. In the Northern Hemisphere, we ‘ll have to wait for the September full moon to bring forth our procession of early evening moonrises.

Last but hardly least, this March 2019 full moon gives us the first of four full moons in one season (between the March equinox and June solstice). Most of the time, a season – the time period between an equinox and a solstice, or vice versa – only harbors three full moons. But since this March full moon comes very early in the season, that allows for a fourth full moon to take place before the season’s end.

March 2019 equinox: March 20 at 21:58 UTC

March 2019 full moon: March 21 at 1:43 UTC
April 2019 full moon: April 19 at 11:12 UTC
May 2019 full moon: May 18 at 21:11 UTC
June 2019 full moon: June 17 at 8:31 UTC

June 2019 solstice: June 21 at 15:54 UTC

Some people call the third of four full moons in one season a Blue Moon. So our next Blue Moon (by the seasonal definition of the term) will fall on May 18, 2019.

The next Blue Moon by the monthly definition – second of two full moons in one calendar month – will come on October 31, 2020.


Astronomical and Gregorian Easter Sunday
Phases of the moon: 1901 to 2000
Phases of the moon: 2001 to 2100
Solstices and equinoxes: 2001 to 2100
Equinox and solstice calculator

Bottom line: Enjoy the equinox full moon on March 20-21, 2019. It’s the third and final full supermoon of 2019, and the first of four full moons in the upcoming season (spring for the Northern Hemisphere, autumn for the Southern Hemisphere).

Holidays Around The World for March 19: San José Day Festival

San José Day Festival

March 19 and September 19

The San JosÉ Day Festival at Laguna Pueblo, about 45 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, used to take place only on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19. But today it is also celebrated on September 19, when freshly harvested crops can be sold and festivities enjoyed in the summer weather.

The fiesta’s events reflect both traditional Laguna events and the Roman Catholic influence common to the pueblos. There are Catholic masses and processions honoring St. Joseph as well as traditional Laguna dancing. Attendees, including other native peoples, can also enjoy a carnival with rides, numerous food stands, and sporting events. One of the largest draws is the annual All-Indian Baseball Tournament in September; Laguna boasts five semi-pro baseball teams.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th St. N.W.
Albuquerque, NM 87104
866-855-7902 or 505-843-7270
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 383

This Day in History, March 19: René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, Murdered by His Own Men (1687)

René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, Murdered by His Own Men (1687)

René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (November 22, 1643 – March 19, 1687) was a 17th century French explorer and fur trader in North America. He explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico. He is best known for an early 1682 expedition in which he canoed the lower Mississippi River from the mouth of the Illinois River to the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the entire Mississippi River basin for France.

La Salle is often credited with being the first European to traverse the Ohio River, and sometimes the Mississippi as well. It has now been established that Joliet and Marquette preceded him on the Mississippi in their journey of 1673-74, and the existing historical evidence does not indicate that La Salle ever reached the Ohio/Allegheny Valley.

Sieur de La Salle

Sieur de La Salle is a French title roughly translating to “Lord of the manor”, from the old French sal(e) (modern salle), “hall”, a manor house. Sieur is a French title of nobility, similar to the English “Sir”, but under the French Signeurial system, the title is purchased rather than earned, and does not imply military duty. It refers to Robert Cavelier’s Signeurial purchase of Lachine from the Sulpician order at Ville Marie around 1667. The phrase La Salle has become iconic, and associated with the person as if it were his name, in expressions such as Robert La Salle, or simply “La Salle”.

Early life

Robert Cavelier was born on November 22, 1643, into a comfortably well-off family in Rouen, France, in the parish Saint-Herbland.[1] When he was younger, he enjoyed science and nature. As a man, he studied with the Jesuit religious order and became a member after taking initial vows in 1660.[a] At his request on March 27, 1667, after he was in Canada, he was released from the Society of Jesus after citing “moral weaknesses.”[3] Although he left the order, never took final vows in it, and later became hostile to it, historians sometimes described him incorrectly as a priest or a leader.[citation needed]


La Salle never married,[4] but has been linked to Madeleine de Roybon d’Allonne, an early settler of New France.[5] His older brother, Jean Cavelier, was a Sulpician priest. His parents were Jean Cavelier and Catherine Geest.[3]


Required to reject his father’s legacy when he joined the Jesuits, La Salle was nearly destitute when he traveled as a prospective colonist to North America. He sailed for New France in the spring of 1666.[6] His brother Jean, a Sulpician priest, had moved there the year before. He was granted a seigneurie on land at the western end of the Island of Montreal, which became known as Lachine.[7] [b] La Salle immediately began to issue land grants, set up a village and learn the languages of the native people, several tribes of Iroquois in this area.[8]


“Ohio” expedition


The Seneca told him of a great river, called the Ohio, which flowed into the sea, the “Vermilion Sea”.[d]. He began to plan for expeditions to find a western passage to China. He sought and received permission from Governor Daniel Courcelle and Intendant Jean Talon to embark on the enterprise. He sold his interests in Lachine to finance the venture.[10]


La Salle left Lachine by the St. Lawrence on July 6, 1669 with a flotilla of nine canoes and 24 men, plus their Seneca Indian guides: himself and 14 hired men in 4 canoes, the two Sulpicians Dollier de Casson and Abbé René de Bréhan de Galinée with 7 new recruits in three canoes, and two canoes of Indians. There they went up the St. Lawrence and across Lake Ontario. After 35 days, they arrived at what we call today, Irondequoit Bay on the southern shore of Lake Ontario at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek, a place now commemorated as “La Salle’s Landing”.

Indian villages

There they were greeted by a party of Indians, who escorted them starting the next day to a village some leagues distant, a journey of a few days. At the village, the Seneca vehemently attempted to dissuade the party from proceeding into the lands of their enemies, the Algonquins, telling of the dire fate awaiting them. The necessity of securing guides for the further part of the journey, and the obstinacy of the Seneca to provide them, delayed the expedition a month. A fortuitous capture by the Indians in the lands to the south of a Dutchman who spoke Iroquois well but French ill, and was to be burned at the stake for transgressions unknown, provided an opportunity to obtain a guide. The Dutchman’s freedom was purchased by the party in exchange for wampum.

While at the Indian village in Sept. 1669, La Salle was seized with a violent fever[e] and expressed the intention of returning to Ville Marie.

Niagara and Lake Erie

At this juncture, he parted from his company and the narrative of the Jesuits, who continued on to upper Lake Erie.The missionaries continued on to the upper lakes, to the land of the Potawatomies. Other accounts have it that some of La Salle’s men soon returned to New Holland or Ville Marie.

Further evidence

Beyond that, the factual record of La Salle’s first expedition ends, and what prevails is obscurity and fabrication. It is likely that he spent the winter in Ville Marie.[12] The next confirmed sighting of La Salle was by Nicolas Perrot on the Ottawa River near the Rapide des chats in early summer, 1670, hunting with a party of Iroquois. That would be 700 miles as the crow flies from the Falls of the Ohio, the point supposed by some that he reached on the Ohio River.[13]

La Salle’s own journal of the expedition was lost in 1756.[14] Two indirect historical accounts exist. The one, Récit d’un ami de l’abbé de Galliné, purported to be a recitation by La Salle himself to an unknown writer during his visit to Paris in 1678[15], and the other Mémoire sur le projet du sieur de la Salle pour la descouverte de la partie occidentale de l’Amérique septentrionale entre la Nouvelle-France, la Floride et le Mexique. A letter from Madeleine Cavelier, his now elderly niece, written in 1746, commenting on the journal of La Salle in her possession may also shed some light on the issue.

La Salle himself never claimed to have discovered the Ohio River.[16] In a letter to the intendent Talon in 1677, he claimed discovery of a river, the Baudrane, flowing southwesterly with its mouth on Lake Erie and emptying into the Saint Louis (i.e. the Mississippi), a hydrography which was non-existent. In those days, maps as well as descriptions were based part on observation and part on hearsay, of necessity. This confounded courses, mouths and confluences among the rivers. At various times, La Salle invented such rivers as the Chucagoa, Baudrane, Louisiane (Anglicized “Saint Louis”), and Ouabanchi-Aramoni. These included segments of those he’d actually traversed, which were earlier the Illinois and Kankakee, St. Joseph’s of Lake Michigan, probably the Ouabache (Wabash) and possibly the upper Allegheny and later, the Chicago and lower Mississippi. He also correctly described the Missouri, though it was hearsay – he’d never been on it.

Confounding fact with fiction started with publication in 1876 of Margry’s Découvertes et Etablissements des Français. Margry was a French archivist and partisan who had private access to the French archives. He came to be the agent of the American historian Francis Parkman. Margry’s work, a massive 9 volumes, encompassed an assemblage of documents some previously published, but many not. In it, he sometimes published a reproduction of the whole document, and sometimes only an extract, or summary, not distinguishing the one from the other. He also used in some cases one or another copies of original documents previously edited, extracted or altered by others, without specifying which transcriptions were original, and which were copies, or whether the copy was dated earlier or later. Reproductions were scattered in fragments across chapters, so that it was impossible to ascertain the integrity of the document from its fragments. Chapter headings were oblique and sensational, so as to obfuscate the content therein. English and American scholars were immediately skeptical of the work, since full and faithful publication of some of the original documents had previously existed. The situation was so fraught with doubt, that the United States Congress appropriated $10,000 in 1873, which Margry wanted as an advance, to have the original documents photostated, witnessed by uninvolved parties as to veracity.

Discovery of the Ohio and Mississippi

If La Salle is excused from discovering the two great rivers of the midwest, history does not leave a void. On May 8, 1541, south of present-day Memphis, Tennessee, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River, which the Spanish called the Rio Grande for its immense size.[17] He was the first European to document and cross the river, though not traverse it.[citation needed] It is uncontested that Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette were the first Europeans to traverse the upper Mississippi in 1673,[18] and that Father Louis Hennepin and Antonine Augalle visited the Falls of St. Anthony on the upper Mississippi in spring, 1680,[19] in advance of La Salle’s own excursion in early 1682.

Credit for discovery of the Ohio River is provisionally given to two obscure early English explorers, Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam from Virginia who visited Wood’s River (today called the New River), a tributary of the Ohio via the Kanawha, in what is today West Virginia in Sept. 1671.[20] Other scholars declaim that this short (one month) expedition did not penetrate to the Ohio to the west, but elect instead Virginia Englishmen James Needham and Gabriel Arthur who in 1673-74 circumnavigated the southeast finally traversing Shawnee villages along the Ohio.[21] The lower Ohio River first began appearing on French maps about 1674[22] in approximately its correct hydrography, and in its relation to the Mississippi, though diagrammed more northerly, approaching Lake Erie from the west and may have been confounded with the Maumee portage route.[23]A memoir by M. de Denonville in 1688, recites that the lower Ohio, at least from its confluence with the Wabash to the Mississippi, was a familiar trade route.[24] In 1692, Arnout Viele, a Dutchman from New York, traversed the length of the Ohio from the headwaters of the Allegheny in Pennsylvania to it’s mouth on the Mississippi, though the hydrography of the Allegheny remained opaque for at least several decades thereafter.[25]  Read More…

World War Two: Saipan (2-10); Smith Versus Smith

Relief of Major General Ralph C. Smith: By 24 June General Holland Smith had made up his mind that the “all-round poor performance” of the 27th Division could only be remedied by a drastic shake-up in its command structure. Accordingly, he decided to ask for the relief of General Ralph Smith.

He first visited Admiral Turner, who agreed with him, and together the two officers boarded the flagship Indianapolis to consult with Admiral Spruance. As a result of this discussion, Admiral Spruance authorized and directed that General Ralph Smith be relieved by General Jarman, the island commander. It was understood that Jarman would take over only until such time as another general officer could be dispatched from Hawaii to command the division. In Spruance’s words, “No other action appeared adequate to accomplish the purpose.”

The bill of particulars presented by General Holland Smith against General Ralph Smith broke down into two general charges: (1) that on two separate occasions the Army commander had issued orders to units not under his command and had contravened orders of the corps commander; and (2) that on the morning of 23 June the 27th Division had been late in launching its attack and had thereafter retarded the progress of the Marine divisions on the flanks.

On the first point, the corps commander charged that the “27th Infantry Division Field Order No. 454 contravened the NTLF Operation Order Number 9-44 by ordering the 105th Infantry to hold its present positions, although the 105th Infantry had been removed from the tactical control of the Division Commander,” and that the 27th Division “Field Order No. 46 again contravened the NTLF order by issuing tactical orders to the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry to continue operations to mop up enemy resistance in NAFUTAN POINT Area,” although that battalion “by NTLF Operation Order No. 10-44 had been removed from the tactical control of the 27th Infantry Division.”

On the second point, it was alleged that on the morning of 23 June, the “27th Infantry Division was from 77 minutes to two hours late in launching its attack, although the major elements of this division did not have to move more than about three miles to execute the order.” In a report to Admiral Turner written three days later, General Holland Smith revised this figure downward to “55 minutes to two hours” and added that the “lack of coordination in the attack” resulting from the 27th Division’s late arrival and “the slow advance of the Division against small arms and mortar fire uncovered the flanks of the 4th and 2nd Marine Divisions to such extent that it was necessary to slow down and eventually halt these units and thereby retard otherwise favorable offensive operations which were in progress.”

Inter-service Controversy

It is doubtful whether the relief of General Ralph Smith brought about any marked change one way or the other in the “aggressiveness” of the 27th Division about which General Holland Smith was so concerned. There is no doubt, however, that it precipitated an inter-service controversy of alarming proportions—a controversy that seriously jeopardized harmonious relations at all levels among the Army and the Navy and the Marine Corps in the Pacific.

The first signs of strain appeared naturally enough on Saipan itself, where soldiers and marines still had to fight shoulder to shoulder for more than two weeks to secure the island. Army officers were quick to resent the slur on their service implied by the relief of General Ralph Smith, and by the end of the battle relationships between top Army officers and Holland Smith’s staff had reached the breaking point. Various Army officers who had contact of one sort or another with that staff reported that the Marine officers at headquarters made little effort to disguise their feeling that the 27th Division was an inferior organization. In the opinion of one of the Army officers, “the Commanding General and Staff of the NTLF held the units of the 27th Division in little esteem, actually a position bordering on scorn.”

The reaction on the part of the ranking Army officers present on Saipan was a determination never to serve under General Holland Smith again if they could help it. General Ralph Smith urged Lieutenant General Robert C. Richardson that “no Army combat troops should ever again be permitted to serve under the command of Marine Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith.”

General Kernan, who commanded the 27th Division Artillery, agreed. Major General George W. Griner, who took over command of the Army division on 26 June, quarreled so bitterly with the corps commander that he came away from Saipan with the “firm conviction that he [Holland Smith] is so prejudiced against the with Admiral Spruance, June 1944. Army that no Army Division serving under his command alongside of Marine Divisions can expect that their deeds will receive fair and honest evaluation.”

When, less than a week after the conclusion of organized hostilities on Saipan, the island was visited by General Richardson, the commanding general of all Army forces in the Pacific Ocean Areas, the dispute waxed even hotter. While on the island, Richardson reviewed the Army troops and presented decorations—all without the previous knowledge or consent of Holland Smith. The corps commander was quick to resent these actions, which he considered to be a breach of military etiquette and an unwarranted infringement on his own authority. On his part, General Richardson is reported to have said angrily to the Marine general, “I want you to know you can not push the Army around the way you have been doing.” At this juncture Admirals Spruance and Turner jumped into the fight and complained strongly to Admiral Nimitz of the irregularity of Richardson’s actions on Saipan, and especially his berating of Holland Smith.

General Richardson’s visit to Saipan was in fact incident to a more general inquiry into the relief of Ralph Smith, which Richardson had called at his headquarters back on Oahu. On 4 July, five days before the conclusion of the battle for Saipan, Richardson had appointed a board of inquiry to examine the facts involved.

The board was headed by Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, Jr., and consisted, in addition to the chairman, of four Army officers, Major General John R. Hodge, Brigadier General Henry B. Holmes, Jr., Brigadier General Roy E. Blount, and Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Selby. It convened first on 7 July and continued until the 26th, hearing the testimony of Army officers and examining those official reports from Army files that were available to it.

After examining all the available evidence—which was admitted to be limited because only personnel and records of the U.S. Army Forces, Central Pacific Area, could be examined—the “Buckner Board” arrived at four conclusions:

  1. that General Holland Smith had full authority to relieve General Ralph Smith;
  2. that the orders effecting the change of command were properly issued;
  3. that General Holland Smith “was not fully informed regarding conditions in the zone of the 27th Infantry Division,” when he asked for the relief of General Ralph Smith; and
  4. that the relief of General Ralph Smith “was not justified by the facts.”

In reaching these conclusions, the Buckner Board reasoned that the situation facing the 27th Division at the entrance to Death Valley was far more serious than General Holland Smith had imagined. “The bulk of the 27th Division,” the board reported, “was opposed by the enemy’s main defensive position on a difficult piece of terrain, naturally adapted to defense, artificially strengthened, well manned and heavily covered by fire,” General Holland Smith, it concluded, “was not aware of the strength of this position and expected the 27th Division to overrun it rapidly . . . .The delay incident to this situation was mistaken by Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith as an indication that the 27th Division was lacking in aggressiveness and that its commander was inefficient . . . .” Furthermore, the board argued, there was no evidence that General Ralph Smith attempted to “contravene” orders during the clean-up on Nafutan Point, These findings, coming as they did from an all-Army board of inquiry by no means ended the controversy. Holland Smith wrote to Admiral Nimitz to the effect that the Buckner Board’s conclusions were unwarranted, and added, “I was and am convinced that the 27th Division was not accomplishing even the combat results to be expected from an organization which had had adequate opportunity for training,” Admiral Turner, resenting the board’s implied criticism that he had been overzealous in “pressing Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith … to expedite the conquest of Saipan so as to free the fleet for another operation,” also demurred from the findings of the board. He at no time had brought pressure to bear on Holland Smith, he asserted, and he was confident that no part of the Marine general’s action against Ralph Smith “was based on either personal or service prejudice or jealousy.”

When the detailed report of the proceedings of the Buckner Board reached Washington, General Marshall’s chief advisers tended to take a “plague on both your houses” attitude. Major General Thomas T. Handy, Assistant Chief of Staff, advised Marshall that Holland Smith had some cause for complaining of the 27th Division’s lack of aggressiveness in the attack into Death Valley; that “Holland Smith’s fitness for this command is open to question” because of his deep-seated prejudice against the Army; and that “bad blood had developed between the Marines and the Army on Saipan” to such a degree that it endangered future operations in the theater. “In my opinion,” he concluded, “it would be desirable that both Smiths be ordered out of the Pacific Ocean Area. While I do not believe we should make definite recommendation to the Navy for the relief of Holland Smith, I think that positive action should be taken to get Ralph Smith out of the area. His presence undoubtedly tends to aggravate a bad situation between the Services.”

Lieutenant General Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff, was of much the same mind as General Handy. After examining the Buckner Board Report, he concluded that the staff work of Holland Smith’s V Amphibious Corps was below acceptable standards; that there was reasonably good tactical direction on the part of Ralph Smith; and that Ralph Smith failed to exact the performance expected from a well-trained division, as evidenced by poor leadership on the part of some regimental and battalion commanders, undue hesitancy to bypass snipers “with a tendency to alibi because of lack of reserves to mop up,” poor march discipline, and lack of reconnaissance.

[NOTE CoS-23 Memo, Handy for CofS, 16 Aug 44, atchd to Buckner Board Rpt, This recommendation was acted upon favorably. Ralph Smith was relieved of his command of the 98th Infantry Division, which was on garrison duty in the Hawaiian Islands. He was later transferred to the European Theater of Operations. Holland Smith, while relieved of his command of V Amphibious Corps, was elevated to the command of the newly organized Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.]

On 22 November General Marshall expressed to Admiral King his deep concern over the fact that “relationships between the Marines and the Army forces on Saipan had deteriorated beyond mere healthy rivalry.” To avert future controversies of the same sort, General Marshall suggested that he and Admiral King send identical telegrams to Richardson and Nimitz adjuring them “to take suitable steps to promptly eradicate any tendency toward . . . disharmony among the components of our forces.” Marshall also suggested that both commanders should conduct an immediate investigation into the Saipan affair with an eye to preventing the recurrence of any such imbroglio in the future. To this Admiral King replied that in his mind the findings of the Buckner Board were unilateral and suspect, and that the record improperly included intemperate attacks on the personal character and professional competence of General Holland Smith. He could not concur in any further investigations in which General Richardson was to be a party because he felt that that officer had already done enough damage by his “investigational activities during his visit to Saipan” and by convening the Buckner Board. There the matter was dropped as far as official action was concerned. The American public, however, was not to be permitted any early respite from the heated journalistic dispute that followed Ralph Smith’s relief. First among the newspapers to air the matter was the Hearst press. Various affiliates of that syndicate pointed editorially to two lessons from the battle for Saipan. First, it was claimed that Marine Corps casualties were excessive, especially in contrast to those in MacArthur’s theater. Second, divided command was a mistake. The Hearst papers’ conclusion was that “the supreme command in the Pacific should, of course, be logically and efficiently entrusted to General Douglas MacArthur.”

Another powerful syndicate, the Henry Luce publications, took the other side. Time and Life magazines both carried articles favoring Holland Smith’s side of the controversy, the former concluding, “when field commanders hesitate to remove subordinates for fear of inter-service contention, battles and lives will be needlessly lost.” More than four years after the event, the issue was reopened publicly when General Holland Smith published part of his wartime memoirs in the Saturday Evening Post, He was answered by Captain Edmund G. Love, the official historian of the 27th Infantry Division, in a rebuttal that was printed in part in the Saturday Evening Post, and in full in the Infantry Journal. The capstone of this particular literary controversy was inserted when General Holland Smith published his memoirs in book form in 1949, and Captain Love in the same year came out with the official history of the 27th Division in World War II.


To resolve the controversy of Smith versus Smith conclusively and to the satisfaction of all is probably impossible. But a dispassionate re-examination of the salient facts of the case as presented in the foregoing chapters may serve at least to clarify the issue and to point to some satisfactory conclusions.

The first charge against Ralph Smith dealt with his alleged usurpation of authority and contravention of orders in handling the troops of the 27th Division that were left to finish the capture of Nafutan Point. In order to examine this charge it will be necessary first to recapitulate some of the events that took place on 21 and 22 June.

It will be remembered that on the morning of 21 June Holland Smith issued Operations Order Number 9-44, which directed that the bulk of the 27th Infantry Division be removed from the front lines on Nafutan peninsula and be assembled northwest of Aslito field in corps reserve. In Paragraph 3(d) of this operations order, one infantry battalion (undesignated) of the division was ordered to remain on Nafutan peninsula, where it would “mop up remaining enemy detachments, maintain anti-sniper patrols . . . and protect installations within its zone of action with particular attention to ASLITO Airfield.”

After an afternoon in which his troops made little progress on Nafutan, Ralph Smith called Holland Smith and persuaded him that at least two battalions would be needed to mop up the enemy in that area. Accordingly, the corps commander modified his initial order in a mail brief that arrived at 27th Division headquarters at 0830 on 22 June. This message read, “1 RCT will continue mission in Garrison Area [Nafutan] of cleaning up remaining resistance and patrolling area . . . ,” Like the initial order, this mail brief did not specifically designate the unit intended for the mission, although it was understood from previous conversations that the 105th infantry would be given the job.

At 2000, 21 June, after his conversation with General Holland Smith but before receiving the mail brief modifying Operations Order Number 9-44, General Ralph Smith issued his Field Order Number 45-A. This order, insofar as it applied to the 105th Infantry, read: RCT 105 will hold present front line facing NAFUTAN POINT, with two Battalions on the line and one Battalion in Regimental Reserve. It will relieve elements of RCT 165 now on the present front line by 0630 22 June. The Battalion in reserve will not be committed to action without authority from the Division Commander. Reorganization of the present front line to be effected not later than 1100 22 June and offensive operations against the enemy continued. Reserve Battalion will maintain anti-sniper patrols in vicinity of ASLITO AIRFIELD.

In asking for the relief of Ralph Smith, Holland Smith claimed that in issuing this field order, the 27th Division commander had committed two offenses simultaneously. He had usurped authority of his immediate superior by issuing formal orders to a unit no longer under his control, and he had contravened his superior’s orders by instructing that unit to “hold” rather than to fight offensively. Holland Smith argued that his corps Operation Order Number 9-44, as modified by the mail brief, placed the entire 27th Division in reserve status and removed the 105th Infantry from tactical control of the 27th Infantry Division. Hence, Ralph Smith had no right at all to issue orders to the 105th. Furthermore, Holland Smith claimed, his own order directed the 105th Infantry “to conduct offensive operations to mop up enemy units in the NAFUTAN POINT area.” Ralph Smith’s Field Order Number 45-A, on the other hand, instructed the 105th Infantry “to hold its present positions” rather than to conduct offensive operations. This, according to Holland Smith, was a clear contravention of orders.

Both Army and Marine Corps regulations concerning the composition of combat orders tend to support Holland Smith’s argument on the question of where control of the 105th Infantry lay on the night of 21 June. Furthermore, they account in part for his own conviction that tactical control over the 105th had been clearly removed from the 27th Division and had been placed under his own headquarters by his Field Order Number 9-44. These regulations state that Paragraph 3 of a field order “assigns definite missions to each of the several elements of the [issuing] command charged with execution of the tactical details for carrying out the decision of the commander or the assigned mission.” Since the “one Infantry Battalion, 27th Infantry Division (to be designated), was assigned a specific mission in Paragraph 3(d) of Holland Smith’s Field Order Number 9-44 and since the entire 105th Infantry was shortly thereafter substituted for this one battalion, it seemed clear to members of Holland Smith’s staff that the unit would execute its mop-up task as an immediate subordinate of Holland Smith’s headquarters. General Ralph Smith, on the other hand, was just as clear in his mind that the unit left on Nafutan was still under his own command. Speaking of his telephone conversation with General Holland Smith, he in his conversation about having the regiment [105th] operate under NTLF control,” He continued that, in his opinion, his Field Order Number 45-A was neither a usurpation nor a contravention of orders.

No written confirmation of the mission to be assigned to the 105th Infantry arrived until 0830, 22 June, much too late to have permitted issuing any instructions for that day’s operation. The 105th Infantry was to take over with two battalions a front line covered the previous day by four battalions. “It seemed elementary military common-sense to have these two battalions first take over the front from the units being relieved.” Hence, in the absence of any further orders from higher headquarters, at 2000 on the night of the 21st Ralph Smith had ordered the 105th to “hold present front line,” relieve elements of the 165th Infantry, and jump off not later than 1100 the following morning. “The 105th Infantry was thus directed to resume offensive operations as soon as the lines were adjusted, thus to carry out the plan recommended by me and approved by General Holland Smith.”

Two facts stand out in support of General Ralph Smith’s contention. In the first place, Corps Order Number 9-44 did not specifically and expressly detach the 105th Infantry from the 27th Division and attach it to corps. Secondly, neither Corps Order Number 9-44 nor the subsequent mail brief mentioned the regiment by name, nor is there any record that either was sent to the command post of that regiment. Presumably, had General Ralph Smith not issued his Field Order Number 45-A, the 105th Infantry would have been without orders for 22 June.

On the afternoon of 22 June, General Holland Smith decided that a single battalion would be sufficient to clean up Nafutan Point. His chief of staff, General Erskine, personally communicated this decision to General Ralph Smith. That evening, the 27th Division commander drew up his Field Order Number 46, which he issued at 2100. In part, the order read: “2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry (1 Platoon Light Tanks attached) [will] continue operations to mop-up remaining enemy detachments in NAFUTAN POINT area. On completion of this mission, [it will] revert to Corps control as Corps Reserve.”

Just one hour later, Holland Smith issued his Operations Order Number 10-44, which was not received at 27th Division headquarters until 2330. This order read in part: “2nd Battalion 105th Infantry (with one light tank platoon attached) [will] continue operations at daylight to mop up remaining enemy detachments in NAFUTAN POINT area. Upon completion this mission [it will] revert to Corps control as Corps reserve.”

In requesting the relief of Ralph Smith, Holland Smith alleged that the Army general’s Field Order Number 46 contravened Corps Order Number 10-44 “by issuing tactical orders to the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry, to continue operations to mop up enemy resistance in NAFUTAN POINT area. The 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry, by NT and LF Order No. 10-44, had been removed from the tactical control of the 27th Infantry Division.”

Actually, of course, the only difference between Ralph Smith’s Field Order Number 46 and Holland Smith’s Order Number 10-44 in respect to the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry, is that the latter included the words “at daylight” and the former omitted them. Otherwise, they are identical in all essential points. Later, Ralph Smith testified that in his conversations with General Holland Smith up to date no mention had been made of any question of control of the 105th Infantry nor had he been given any indication that that unit was no longer under direct control of the 27th Division. His belief that the 2nd Battalion, 105th, was still under his tactical control was reinforced by the wording of Corps Order Number 10-44 itself. The fact that the order stipulated that “upon completion this mission” the battalion was to “revert to Corps control as Corps reserve” would seem to indicate strongly that until its mission was completed, the unit was not under corps control but still under the division.

The fact is that the orders from Holland Smith’s headquarters were never clear as to where command authority over the troops on Nafutan Point did lie. Ralph Smith had to issue some orders, or none would have reached the front-line troops in time. There was no important difference between the commands that he issued and those that later came down from corps headquarters. There is no indication that any “contravention” of orders was intended or effected. At best, this charge appears to have been a rather flimsy legal peg upon which to hang a justification for Ralph Smith’s relief.

The second charge was more serious. It concerned the tardiness of the 27th Division in jumping off into Death Valley on the morning of 23 June, the alleged poor coordination of the division in the attack, and its slow advance against “small arms and mortar fire,” which slowed down the whole corps attack. Connected with this charge was Holland Smith’s opinion, as later expressed, that the Army division was guilty of “all-round poor performance.” Here was undoubtedly the core of Holland Smith’s complaint against the 27th Infantry Division and its commander, and it is on these allegations that the case between him and Ralph Smith must be decided. The details of the fighting at the entrance to Death Valley on 23 and 24 June have already been presented. Out of this complex of events, several conclusions emerge. On the one hand, it appears clear that Holland Smith and his staff underestimated both the formidability of the terrain and extent of enemy opposition that faced the 27th Division in Death Valley on the days in question.

The terrain facing the 27th Division was most difficult Two parallel ridges on the division flanks dominated its zone of action, and flanking fire from well-concealed enemy positions on the slopes interdicted the valley between the ridges. Before the division could accomplish its mission the enemy occupying these dominant terrain features had to be eliminated.

The conditions obtaining in the left part of the division zone precluded the possibility of maneuver, and an attack along the east slopes of Mount Tapotchau would have to be a frontal assault Because of extremely rugged terrain, flanking enemy fire from Purple Heart Ridge, and the difficulty of co-ordination with the Marines on the left, any such frontal attack would necessarily be costly.

In the right part of the division zone the terrain was less rugged, and, more important, there was a possibility of a flanking maneuver east of Purple Heart Ridge. This was clearly the more promising area for the main attack by the Army division. Yet even as late as the evening of 24 June after two days of heavy and generally fruitless fighting on the part of the 27th Division, corps headquarters still ordered the main effort to continue on the left.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that the 106th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Division was late in jumping off in the attack on the morning of 23 June—even though not so late as Holland Smith charged. On the 23rd and again on the 24th, the Army troops attacking Death Valley were slow and faltering in their advance.

According to the testimony of General Jarman, who took over the division from Ralph Smith, the unit leaders of the 106th Infantry were hesitant and apparently confused. Although the Army troops in Death Valley sustained fairly heavy casualties, the two Marine divisions on the flanks suffered greater ones. Yet the marines made considerable advances while the 165th Infantry registered only small gains —the 106th Infantry almost none at all. No matter what the extenuating circumstances were and there were several—the conclusion seems inescapable that Holland Smith had good reason to be disappointed with the performance of the 27th Infantry Division on the two days in question.

Whether the action he took to remedy the situation was a wise one, however, remains doubtful. Certainly the relief of Ralph Smith appears to have done nothing to speed the capture of Death Valley. Six more days of bitter fighting remained before that object was to be achieved.

SOURCE: Campaign in the Marianas; BY: Philip A. Crowl (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Saipan (2-10); Smith Versus Smith

World War Two: Saipan (2-9) Fight for Center

Inspiration for the Day for March 19: The Tortoise And The Hare



The Tortoise And The Hare


Like the tortoise and the hare, we all arrive at the same destination, together, eventually.

The classic tale of the tortoise and the hare reminds us that different people take life at different speeds and that one way is not necessarily superior to another. In fact, in the story it is the slower animal that ends up arriving at the destination first. In the same way, some of us seem to move very quickly through the issues and obstacles we all face in our lives. Others need long periods of time to process their feelings and move into new states of awareness. For those of us who perceive ourselves as moving quickly, it can be painful and exasperating to deal with someone else’s slower pace. Yet, just like the tortoise and the hare, we all arrive at the same destination together, eventually.

People who take their time with things are probably in the minority in most of the world today. We live in a time when speed and productivity are valued above almost anything else. Therefore, people who flow at a slower pace are out of sync with the world and are often pestered and prodded to go faster and do more. This can be not only frustrating but also counterproductive because the stress of being pushed to move faster than one is able to move actually slows progress. On the other hand, if a person’s style is honored and supported, they will find their way in their own time and, just like the tortoise, they might just beat the speedier, more easily distracted person to the finish line.

It’s important to remember that we are not actually in a race to get somewhere ahead of someone else, and it is difficult to judge by appearances whether one person has made more progress than another. Whether you count yourself among the fast movers or as one of the slower folks, we can all benefit from respecting the pace that those around us choose for themselves. This way, we can keep our eyes on our own journey, knowing that we will all end up together in the end.

Daily OM

Get A Jump On Tomorrow, Your Horoscopes for Wednesday, March 20

Moon Alert

Caution: Avoid shopping or important decisions from 11 AM to 10 PM EDT today (8 AM to 7 PM PDT). After that, the Moon moves from Virgo into Libra. The Full Moon in Libra peaks at 9:43 PM EDT (6:43 PM PDT).

Aries (March 21-April 19)

If you can use your wealth or possessions to help someone else – this is the perfect time to do this because your rewards will come back to you multiplied. The old axiom that what goes around, comes around is always in play – but sometimes (like today) it’s magnified!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You have powerful energy within you right now. (You can feel it.) This means you have a chance to wield more influence in your daily life and environment, especially to use this power to make improvements in your world. Keep at this!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Be wary of hidden energy that might be negative, for example, someone who does not have your best interests at heart. This kind of negative energy might be empowered now, which makes it easier for you to spot and avoid it.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Now is the time to define long-range goals. Think about what you want to change about yourself and your world, and what you have to do to start to make those changes a reality. You will be able to maintain a sustained effort for a long time. Bonus!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Your ambition is aroused! You have big ideas and you intend to achieve them. The best ideas to work on will be ideas that benefit others as well as yourself because then your success will really be remarkable. Capisce?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Use your influence through the media, publishing or higher education to make the world a better place today. For example, can you help someone less fortunate in another country or another culture? If you can, you will be rewarded and gratified.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

You have the power today to make beneficial changes and improvements to how a joint sum of money is handled. Or perhaps you can influence how a partner’s wealth can benefit someone else? Look for ways to do this today.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Today is a Full Moon plus it’s an excellent day to explore how you can improve your closest relationships, especially with partners and close friends. Whatever improvements you introduce should not just improve your own situation, they should improve the lives of others as well.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This is the perfect day to introduce reforms to where you work; however, make sure these reforms benefit others as well as yourself. Having said that, it’s also a good day to think about how you can improve your own health.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Can you do something to improve the welfare of children in your life? This is the perfect day to look for ways to do this. These children might be your own kids, they might be children in your community, or children who are suffering in another land. (On my website, a mosquito net sent to Africa costs only $10.)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

You have lots of energy today to make improvements to your home. Look around you to see what can you do that would make the biggest impact to benefit everyone. Likewise, what can you do to improve family relationships?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

We are gregarious creatures. We need to communicate with others. Generally our communications are relatively trivial but comforting. Today you can make your communications count in a way that benefits others – perhaps through teaching, telling others something or writing.

If Your Birthday Is Today

Director-producer-writer-actor writer Spike Lee (1957) shares your birthday today. You have a wonderful imagination. You are also brave, outgoing and sensitive. Congratulations because you are in your year of harvest. All kinds of major achievements will come to fruition now as you reap the benefits of the last decade. Expect to enjoy power and leadership in all your relationships. You deserve this time of success. Make the most of it!