United States Asiatic Fleet

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United States Asiatic Fleet
US Navy Ensign.gif
Ensign of the U.S. Navy
Active1902–07, 1910–42
CountryUS Navy Ensign.gif United States
BranchAnimated Flag of the United States Navy.gif United States Navy
TypeFleet
RoleOperational Naval Force
Part ofUnited States Fleet (1922-45)‎
Fleet HQOlongapo Naval Station, Cavite, Philippines
Manila, Philippines (1939-42)
Commanders
FirstRear-Admiral Robley D. Evans
LastAdmiral Thomas C. Hart

The United States Asiatic Fleet also known as the U.S. Asiatic Fleet was a naval formation of the U.S. Navy formed in 1902 when its predecessor, the Asiatic Squadron, was upgraded to fleet status Command. In 1907 it was downgraded as a fleet force and merged with the former Pacific Squadron to create a new U.S. Pacific Fleet it ships and personnel then formed the 1st Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, while the ships and personnel of the Pacific Squadron became the Pacific Fleet's 2nd Squadron. In 1910 it's previous status as a fleet was restored and remained operational until 1942 before it was abolished.

History

The Asiatic Squadron was a squadron of United States Navy warships stationed in East Asia during the latter half of the 19th century. It was created in 1868 when the East India Squadron was disbanded. Vessels of the squadron were primarily involved in matters relating to American commerce with China and Japan, though it participated in several conflicts over 34 years of service until becoming the Asiatic Fleet in 1902.

In 1904, all armored cruisers were withdrawn from the Far East. Gunboats patrolled the Yangtze River in the Yangtze Patrol. After Rear Admiral Charles J. Train became commander-in-chief of the fleet in March 1905, it was involved in various ways with the closing weeks of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. After the Imperial Japanese Navy's decisive defeat of the Imperial Russian Navy in the Battle of Tsushima Strait in May 1905, units of the Asiatic Fleet escorted three fleeing Russian cruisers into Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands, where Train ensured that their crews were well taken care of during a lengthy stay until they were able to return to Russia.

In November 1905, Train was at the center of a diplomatic dispute while with a group of American officers on a pheasant-hunting expedition near Nanking, China, when he accidentally shot a Chinese woman with birdshot, inflicting minor injuries on her. A mob of hundreds of Chinese villagers formed around Train's party and attacked it, pushing Train into the mud, seizing the officers' guns, and taking Train's son, Navy Lieutenant Charles R. Train, hostage. When the Asiatic Fleet landed 40 United States Marines to rescue the officers, the villagers attacked them with pitchforks and the Marines fired two shots. Local Chinese officials refused to return the officers' guns, but Train and his companions were able to extricate themselves without further injury to anyone. The governor of Nanking later apologized for the mob's actions, returned the American officers' guns, and punished the ringleaders of the mob.

On 4 August 1906, Train died in Yantai (known to Westerners at the time as "Chefoo"), China, while still in command of the Asiatic Fleet. After a memorial ceremony, which Japanese Admiral Heihachiro Togo and other dignitaries attended at Yokohama, aboard Train's flagship, the battleship USS Ohio, the steamer Empress of China carried his body out of the harbor under escort en route to Washington, D.C. In early 1907, the U.S. Navy abolished both the Pacific Squadron and the United States Asiatic Fleet and established the new United States Pacific Fleet. The ships and personnel of the Asiatic Fleet became the First Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, while the ships and personnel of the Pacific Squadron became the Pacific Fleet's Second Squadron

On 28 January 1910, the United States Asiatic Fleet was reestablished. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Asiatic Fleet was based from China, and a classic image of the "China Sailor" developed, as a large number of U.S. Navy members would remain at postings in China for 10–12 years then retire and continue to live in the country. In December 1922 the U.S. Navy was restructured, with the U.S. Pacific Fleet and United States Atlantic Fleet combining to form a unified United States Fleet. However, the Asiatic Fleet remained a separate entity and was charged with defending the Philippines and Guam and with upholding the Open Door Policy in China.

In late July 1937, the Asiatic Fleet's commander-in-chief, Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, took his flagship, the heavy cruiser Augusta, to the Soviet Union's main naval base in the Pacific, Vladivostok, along with four of the fleet's destroyers. The visit, urged by the Soviet government, was an attempt to display solidarity between the Soviet Union and the United States in the face of increasingly aggressive Japanese behavior in China and along the border between the Soviet Union and the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria. The visit was unsuccessful in deterring further Japanese military operations in either area.[1]

On 25 July 1939 Admiral Thomas C. Hart was appointed the commander-in-chief of the fleet. It was based at Cavite Naval Base and Olongapo Naval Station on Luzon, with its headquarters at the Marsman Building in Manila. On 22 July 1941, the Mariveles Naval Base was completed and the Asiatic Fleet began to use it as well. Hart had permission to withdraw to the Indian Ocean, in the event of war with Japan, at his discretion.[2] Of the 40 surface vessels in the Asiatic Fleet on Pearl Harbor Day much of the fleet was destroyed by the Japanese by February 1942, 19 ships were sunk by 5 May 1942 Most of the surviving ships safely reached Australia, after which it was dissolved, and the remnants incorporated into the naval component of the South West Pacific Area command, which eventually became the 7th Fleet.

Fleet HQ

Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet

  1. Rear-Admiral Robley D. Evans, 29 October 1902 – 21 March 1904
  2. Rear-Admiral Philip H. Cooper, 21 March 1904 – 11 July 1904
  3. Rear-Admiral Yates Stirling, 11 July 1904 – 23 March 1905
  4. Rear-Admiral William M. Folger, 23 March 1905 – 30 March 1905
  5. Rear-Admiral Charles J. Train, 30 March 1905 – 4 August 1906
  6. Rear-Admiral Willard H. Brownson, 15 October 1906 – 31 March 1907
  7. Rear-Admiral William S. Cowles, 1 April 1907 – August 1908
  8. Rear-Admiral John Hubbard, 19 February 1910 – 16 May 1911
  9. Rear-Admiral Joseph B. Murdock, 16 May 1911 – 24 July 1912
  10. Rear-Admiral Reginald F. Nicholson, 24 July 1912 – 3 May 1914
  11. Rear-Admiral Walter C. Cowles, 3 May 1914 – 9 July 1915
  12. Admiral Albert G. Winterhalter, 9 July 1915 – 4 April 1917
  13. Rear-Admiral Austin M. Knight, 22 May 1917 – 7 December 1918
  14. Vice-Admiral William Ledyard Rodgers, 7 December 1918 – 1 September 1919
  15. Admiral Albert Gleaves, 1 September 1919 – 4 February 1921
  16. Admiral Joseph Strauss, 4 February 1921 – 28 August 1922
  17. Admiral Edwin A. Anderson Jr., 28 August 1922 – 11 October 1923
  18. Admiral Thomas Washington, 11 October 1923 – 14 October 1925
  19. Admiral Clarence S. Williams, 14 October 1925 – 9 September 1927
  20. Admiral Mark L. Bristol, 9 September 1927 – 9 September 1929
  21. Admiral Charles B. McVay Jr. 9 September 1929 – 1 September 1931
  22. Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor, 1 September 1931 – 18 August 1933
  23. Admiral Frank B. Upham, 18 August 1933 – 4 October 1935
  24. Admiral Orin G. Murfin, 4 October 1935 – 30 October 1936
  25. Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, 30 October 1936 – 25 July 1939
  26. Admiral Thomas C. Hart, 25 July 1939 – 14 February 1942

Components under this Command

Naval Forces (1904-11)

# Formation Period
1 1st Squadron 1907-1911.[3]
2 2nd Squadron 1907-1911.[4]
3 1st Division 1911.[5]
4 2nd Division 1911.[5]
5 3rd Division 1911.[5]
6 1st Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
7 2nd Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
8 3rd Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
9 4th Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
10 2nd Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
11 3rd Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
12 Battleship Squadron 1904-1907.[5]
13 Philippine Squadron 1907.[6]
14 Reserve Torpedo Flotilla 1907-1911.[5]
15 Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet 1911.[7]

Naval Forces (1913-1922)

# Formation Period
1 1st Division 1913.[8]
2 2nd Division 1913.[9]
3 3rd Division 1913.[10]
4 4th Division 1913.[11]
5 Asiatic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla 1914-1916.[5]
6 Asiatic Fleet Torpedo Force 1917.[5]
7 Cruisers, Asiatic Fleet 1913-1922.[12]
8 Destroyer Division 10 1919-1922.[5]
9 Fleet Auxiliaries, Asiatic Fleet 1913.[13]
10 Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet 1913.[14]
11 Submarines, Asiatic Fleet 1914-1916.[5]
12 Submarines Division 4, Cavite 1919-1922.[5]

Naval Forces (1923-42)

Include:[15][16][17]

# Formation Period
1 Aircraft, Asiatic Fleet 1941-42.
2 Auxiliaries, Asiatic Fleet 1923-40.
3 Destroyer Squadron, Asiatic Fleet 1923-38
4 Destroyers, Asiatic Fleet 1939-42.
5 Service Train, Asiatic Fleet 1941-42.
6 South China Patrol 1923-40.
7 Submarine Divisions, Cavite 1923-38.
8 Submarines, Asiatic Fleet 1939-42.
9 Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet 1923.
10 Train, Asiatic Fleet 1939-40.
11 Yangtze Patrol 1923-40.

Components Supporting this Command

The U.S. Shore Establishment is one of the three basic components of the U.S. Naval Establishment and included all of the activities of the Department of the Navy on shore. During World War II these were widely distributed throughout the United States and overseas. The mission of the Shore Establishment is to create, maintain, and support the Operating Forces. With the exception of certain facilities on land assigned to the Operating Forces that included the United States Atlantic Fleet, the responsibility for the creation and to a great extent the management control of the shore activities rested during World War II with the various Bureaus of the Navy Department, coordinated by the Chief of Naval Operations, and administered as the highest level by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

The principle of regional administration of the Navy's Shore Establishment goes back to the American Revolution. It received more explicit recognition during the Civil War when the Commandants of Navy Yards had to organize defense forces to pursue Confederate raiders appearing off the coast, and received further confirmation during the Spanish-American War in 1898. On 7 May 1905 the Naval District system was finally established, and consisted then of thirteen districts. Changes were made from time to time in the number of districts and in their boundaries. Overseas districts were added to fit into the pattern of national defense. Naval Districts would normally encompass a Naval Station these in turn would included Marine Barracks, Naval Hospital's Navy Yard's, Navy Operating Base's and so on.

Below are the Naval Districts that provided bases for and supported the United States Asiatic Fleet.

Shore Establishments (1907-20)

Inc:[18][19][20] [21]

# Name Active
1. Naval Hospital, Canacao 1907-20
2. Naval Station, Cavite 1907-20
3. Naval Station, Olongapo 1907-20
4. Naval Hospital, Yokohama 1907-20

Naval Districts (1920-42)

Inc:[22][23][24] [25]

# Name Active
1. Sixteenth Naval District 1920–42

References

  1. Russell, Richard A. (1997). Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, ISBN:0945274351, p. 3.
  2. Leutze, James (1981). A Different Kind of Victory: A Biography of Admiral Thomas C. Hart. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. pp. 146–147. ISBN 0-87021-056-4.
  3. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "US Navy Asiatic & Pacific Fleets, January 1, 1907". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  4. US Navy Asiatic & Pacific Fleets, January 1, 1907
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 Watson, Dr Graham (7 November 2016). "THE UNITED STATES NAVY: ITS RISE TO GLOBAL PARITY 1900-1922". naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  6. US Navy Asiatic & Pacific Fleets, January 1, 1907
  7. US Navy Asiatic & Pacific Fleets, January 1, 1907
  8. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  9. US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913
  10. US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913
  11. US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913
  12. US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913
  13. US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913
  14. US Navy Asiatic Fleet, January 1, 1913
  15. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "US Fleet - Asiatic Fleet, July 1, 1923". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  16. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "US Fleet - Asiatic Fleet, October 1, 1939". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  17. Niehorster, Dr Leo (30 November 2005). "United States Navy, 7.12.1941". niehorster.org. Netherlands: L. Niehorster. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  18. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "Shore Stations, January 1, 1907". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  19. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "Navy Districts, July 1, 1923". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  20. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "Navy Districts, October 1, 1939". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  21. Niehorster, Dr Leo (30 November 2005). "16th Naval District, Asian Fleet Operational Control, 8 / 7 December 1941". niehorster.org. Netherlands: L. Niehorster. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  22. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "Shore Stations, January 1, 1907". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  23. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "Navy Districts, July 1, 1923". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  24. Svonavec, Stephen (2001–2020). "Navy Districts, October 1, 1939". www.fleetorganization.com. S. Svonavec. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  25. Niehorster, Dr Leo (30 November 2005). "16th Naval District, Asian Fleet Operational Control, 8 / 7 December 1941". niehorster.org. Netherlands: L. Niehorster. Retrieved 15 June 2021.