Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Lesson Learned For Captain Holly A. Graf


"But it is not alone with officers that a commander has to deal. Behind them, and the foundation of all, is the crew. To his men the commanding officer should be prophet, priest, and king. The crew should be impressed with the idea that the Captain can do no wrong. This is the most delicate of all the commanding officer's obligations. No rule can be set for meeting it. It must ever be a question of tact and perception of human nature on the spot, and to wit the occasion. If an officer fails in this he cannot make up for such failure by severity, austerity, or cruelty. Use force, and apply restraint and punishment as he may, he will always have a sullen crew and an unhappy ship. Force must be used sometimes in the interest of discipline. On such occasions the quality of the commander will be most sorely tried.

When a commander has by tact, patience, justice, and firmness, each exercised in its proper turn, produced such an impression upon those under his orders in a ship of war, he has only to await the appearance of his enemy's topsails on the horizon, and he may be sure of victory over an equal or somewhat superior force, or honourable defeat by one greatly superior. Or in rare cases, sometimes justifiable, he may challenge the devotion of his followers to sink with him alongside the more powerful foe, and all go down together with the unstricken flag of their country still waving defiantly over them. No such achievements are possible in an unhappy ship with a sullen crew."

From the Royal Navy Review 1913

5 comments:

COWPENS CPO said...

Not sure the Captain learned anything. The crew learned a lot through fear and intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering what happened to the 'Number Two in our countdown is...' Thread? The 'Graf Affair' has caused a great deal of interest 'Down Under'.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Somehow that link is visible only to me. I don't know what happened. I have received a few e-mails about it. When I am logged in on my site I see it. When I come in as a visitor, I can't get to it. There were 182 comments and they are still there.

Anonymous said...

You can get to the discussions via the cached file.

Anonymous said...

You can go to the "Number Two in our countdown..." regarding the Capt Holly Graf affair can be reached via this link:

http://navycaptain-therealnavy.blogspot.com/2010/01/number-two-in-our-countdown-is-captain.html