Commodore Harwood

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
jrp
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Commodore Harwood

Post by jrp » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:18 pm

Just been watching the River Plate film and wonder why Commodore Harwood is wearing rear admiral rank rings on jacket before the battle?

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wadinga
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Re: Commodore Harwood

Post by wadinga » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:47 pm

Hello jrp,

I see that was your first post- welcome aboard!

According to my copy of Britain’s Glorious Navy published early in the war, the Commodore First Class had the same cuff stripes as a Rear Admiral. A Commodore Second Class had only the single broad stripe. Post war, only the single broad stripe Commodore seems to have continued, and this rank was gradually being phased out.

Presumably Harwood had reached the First Class status and thus wore his extra stripe. Later in the War he had command of the fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean, but it seems he was not a success in this role.

Feel free to post often, Messrs Rico and Jurens run a fine ship.

All the best

Wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

Steve Crandell
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Re: Commodore Harwood

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:47 pm

It's funny how different navies treat the lowest ADM rank. For example, in the USN the permanent rank of commodore no longer exists, and neither does the insignia. When someone is promoted from Captain to the next rank, it is Rear Admiral (Lower Half). He wears the same shoulder boards as a Rear Admiral (Upper Half), but his collar insignia is one star instead of two.

In peacetime, the highest permanent USN rank is RADM. You can get promoted above that, but only due to a position you hold and when you vacate that position you revert back to RADM.

jrp
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Re: Commodore Harwood

Post by jrp » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:45 am

Thank you. Isn't the internet useful?

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wadinga
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Re: Commodore Harwood

Post by wadinga » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:15 am

Hello jrp,

Glad to be of service. As a Commodore First Class Harwood could fly a broad pennant (triangular swallow-tailed flag in 2:3 ratio) with the red St George's cross on a white background. This was a pennant version of the Admiral's flag. Second class commodores had the flag "defaced" with a single red ball. I was incorrect in that the Commodore still exists in the RN but more as an administrative title/role.

Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt was one of the more famous officers in the rank, leading mixed destroyer/cruiser forces out of Harwich in actions in the Southern North Sea during the First World War, and had a command largely independent of Grand Fleet or Battle Cruiser Fleet control. Amongst many other actions he commanded the innovative first seaborne launching of an airstrike against the Zeppelins based at Cuxhaven in 1914. Arguably this was the earliest progenitor of the Pearl Harbor Raid.

Despite accumulating various honours over several years of aggressive leadership, he was only actually promoted to Rear Admiral after the war in 1919. Commodore Dewey of the USN enjoyed a much more meteoric rise in rank, straight to six star "Admiral of the Navy" after his single victory over the Spanish at Manila in 1898.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

Steve Crandell
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Re: Commodore Harwood

Post by Steve Crandell » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:59 pm

Wow. New knowledge indeed! I was prepared to correct you because I'd never heard of a six star admiral, but sure enough! Dewey was the only one, as far as I can tell.

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