PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 1944
Washington, D. C.
The examination met at 9: 30 a. m.
Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, and his counsel.
Ship's Clerk Charles O. Lee, U. S. Naval Reserve, reporter.
The examining officer decided to postpone the reading of the record of proceedings of the twenty-ninth day of the examination until such time as it shall be reported ready, and in the meantime to proceed with the examination.
The examining officer read and introduced in evidence a letter, dated 5 April 1944, to Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, from Commander Joseph J. Rochefort, U. S. Navy, who had previously testified, accompanying the return of the transcript of his testimony and attesting, under his former oath, that the testimony given by him on the seventeenth day of the examination was correct, appended hereto marked "Exhibit 33".
The examining officer read and introduced in evidence a letter, dated 5 April 1944, to Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, from Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, U. S. Navy, who had previously testified, accompanying the return of the transcript of his testimony and attesting, under his former oath, that the testimony given by him on the twentieth and twenty-first days of the examination was correct, appended hereto marked "Exhibit 34".
The examining officer read and introduced in evidence a letter, dated 6 April 1944, to Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, from Captain John L. McCrea, U. S. Navy, who had previously testified, accompanying the return of the transcript of his testimony and attesting, under his former oath, that the testimony given by him on the twenty-third day of the examination was correct, appended hereto marked "Exhibit 35".
The examining officer read and introduced a copy of a letter, dated 24 April 1944, from Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U. S. Navy, Retired, examining officer, to Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, U. S. Navy, Retired, informing him of the reconvening of the examination in Washington, D. C, appended hereto marked "Exhibit 36".
No witnesses not otherwise connected with the examination were present.
A witness called by the examining officer entered and was informed of the subject matter of the examination as set forth in the preface to the testimony of Rear Admiral W. W. Smith, Record Page 32.
The witness was duly sworn.
Examined by the examining officer:
1. Q. What is your name, rank, and present station?
A. William E. G. Taylor, Commander, A-V(T), U. S. N. R., attached to Commander, Fleet Air, Quonset, Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
2. Q. Were you born and brought up in a family of the armed Services?
A. Yes, sir. I was born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. My father is Colonel James G. Taylor, U. S. Army, Retired.
3. Q. What was your college education?
A. My college education consisted of two years of aeronautical engineering at New York University.
4. Q. State, briefly, the circumstances surrounding your first connection with the naval service.
A. During the second year of my college, I had a particular desire to get into the flying end of aviation rather than the technical end, and applied for flight training, was accepted, went through flight training in 1926 at Hampton Roads, Virginia; completed flight training and was commissioned an Ensign AF, U. S. N. R., in March, 1927.
5. Q. Did that course of training make you a full-fledged naval aviator?
A. Yes, sir, I was designated a naval aviator on the completion of the course.
6. Q. State, briefly, your duties and experiences in naval aviation subsequent to that acceptance.
A. On July 1, 1927, I was ordered to active duty as a pilot in the Fifth Fighting Squadron, later attached to the U. S. S. LEXINGTON, and I served one year's active duty with the Fleet. On the completion of the year's duty, at the end of the year, I was ordered to inactive duty, was then asked to transfer to the Marine Corps Reserve as an instructor, during the period when the Marine Corps Reserve was building up an aviation reserve.
7. Q. When was that?
A. I resigned my commission as an Ensign in July, 1928, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve the same month. I served as instructor at Pensacola as an officer in charge of the Marine Corps Reserve Aviation Unit at Squantum, Grosse Isle Field; served a period of duty at Quantico. Most of this period of active duty was as an aviation instructor. In 1934, I was ordered to inactive duty.
8. Q. During these years in the Navy and the Marine Corps, which I understand totaled about seven years, were you specialized in any particular type of aircraft?
A. Yes, I specialized in fighter aircraft.
9. Q. What was your rank when you were placed on inactive status in 1934?
A. Captain, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, sir.
10. Q. Do you know why you were transferred to the inactive list at that time?
A. No, sir, I do not. I was given to understand that the Marine Corps Reserve, which was limited in its funds for training, wanted to increase the number of officer instructors by ordering senior officers to inactive duty and taking on new Second Lieutenants.
11. Q. Following your placement upon inactive status, in what pursuit or occupation did you engage?
A. After I was ordered to inactive duty, the first occupation that I took up was as manager and flight instructor at the Aviation Country Club in  Hicksville, Long Island. I remained at this work for approximately two years and left to take a job as pilot with United Air Lines. I was with United Air Lines about nine months. I next became a pilot for an oil processing company in New York. I remained at this job until 1938 when I left the job and went to England.
12. Q. While in the employ of the United Air Lines, what were your actual duties?
A. I was employed as a co-pilot.
13. Q. On what run?
A. On the run between Chicago and New York, sir.
14. Q. What were the circumstances and reasons for your going to England in 1938 and what was the approximate date?
A. I sailed for England in mid-July for the purpose of attempting to get into the Royal Air Force if war were declared. As it appeared that war would not be declared by mid-August, I returned to the United States.
15. Q. How long did you remain in the United States?
A. I remained in the United States until August, 1939, when I again went to England to join the Royal Air Force. I was put in touch with Royal Air Force officers and British Naval Air Officers by the Naval Attache, London. The Royal Air Force was non-committal or would not commit themselves to accepting me until war was declared. The British Navy signified their willingness to accept me as a Sub-Lieutenant, R. N. V. R., even before war was declared. I sent my resignation as a Captain of the Marine Corps Reserve back to the United States via the American Naval Attache, London, on 1 September 1939. I was commissioned a Sub-Lieutenant in the R. N. V. R. about 4 September 1939.
16. Q. Upon accepting that commission, what became your employment in the British Navy?
A. I was first sent to the Fleet Air Fighter Training School at Donibristle, Scotland, following which I was sent to the Mediterranean in H. M. S. ARGUS for carrier qualifications. Upon completion of carrier qualifications, I was ordered to Scapa Flow to a Fleet Fighter Squadron whose function was the defense of the Fleet in Scapa Flow.
17 Q. About what date was that?
A That was about November or December, 1939. My squadron remained at Scapa Flow until the beginning of the Norwegian Campaign, which, I believe, was March, 1940, when we were attached to H. M. S. GLORIOUS and H. M. S. FURIOUS; we made four trips between Scapa Flow and the Norwegian Coast. We returned to Scapa Flow at the end of the Norwegian Campaign in June, 1940.
18. Q. During that period, while based ashore at Scapa Flow, or on those two British carriers, what actual active service did you have in the air?
A. My service consisted mainly of attempting to intercept occasional German reconnaissance aircraft while I was at Scapa Flow. We had three dusk and night raids on the Fleet in Scapa Flow. At sea, in H. M. S. FURIOUS and H. M. S. GLORIOUS, we formed the combat air patrol. Approximately four or five days of our entire time was spent intercepting bombers sent out from Norway to bomb the Fleet.
19. Q. Did you make full interceptions and engage in combats?
A. Yes, sir.
20. Q. Will you state it briefly?
A. During the night raids at Scapa Flow, most of the raids were over land by the time we were sent up to intercept. Due to darkness, we made very few interceptions. At sea, however, we had a great many interceptions with the bombers that came over. As there were twenty-four hours a day of daylight off the Norwegian Coast at this time, we had continual interceptions for approximately thirty-six hours. The bombers were sent out singly at intervals of approximately three to five minutes.
21. During those operations, was your unit, while in the air, commanded by agencies of the character which later become known to us as "fighter direction" agencies?
A. Yes, sir.
22. Will you describe, briefly, what you knew of the composition and effectiveness of those agencies as they were then operating?
A. Based ashore at Scapa, we were controlled by the Royal Air Force Fighter Command Operations Control. We were never given any information as to how the Fighter Operations received its enemy information, but from the size and general make-up of the radio towers, we more or less guessed that information was received by advance electronics. We knew that there was a network of radio or radar stations along the Coast of England which kept a continual watch for hostile aircraft and reported to a system of Royal Air Force Fighter Command Operations rooms. At sea, we were controlled by what was known as an "anti-aircraft cruiser." We had heard of anti-aircraft cruisers from a Fleet Air Arm Fighter Squadron in the Shetlands which had been controlled by H. M. S. CURLEW. H. M. S. CURLEW was in the task force during the Norwegian Campaign and it was H. M. S. CURLEW which controlled all fighters during operations off the Norwegian Coast. The interceptions were accurate except for height. However, the visibility was good enough so that the error in height made little difference in actually accomplishing interceptions.
23. Q. Did you then consider that the fighters of your unit were being effectively directed while they were in the air?
A. Yes. sir, very effectively.
24. Q. Were the results accomplished against the enemy aircraft considerable?
A. We were able to keep all of the German bombers from closing in our Fleet. No ship was bombed or even did we have a near miss during that period. However our aircraft were not fast enough to chase German bombers. The German bombers turned away and jettisoned their bombs before we intercepted them.
95. Q. Did you know whether or not the anti-aircraft cruiser from which you were commanded in the air, obtained its enemy information through some form of electronics?
A. I did not know what method the anti-aircraft cruiser was using, but the general assumption was, amongst my contemporaries, that the same type of equipment that was used ashore was being used aboard ship. We could see a special antenna on the foremast which we assumed had something to do with her detecting system.
26. Q. How many fighter aircraft were in your squadron and about how many did the GLORIOUS and FURIOUS carry when off the Norwegian Coast?
A. There were twelve aircraft in my squadron; there were also six aircraft of one other squadron attached. The ARK ROYAL had one twelve-plane fighter squadron, which was actually a dive bomber squadron.
27. Q. What did you think, at the time, of the ability of those aircraft carriers as regards handling planes?
A. By comparison with American carriers, the British carriers carried very few aircraft and operated them more as single aircraft than as a large striking force. The British Navy had just taken the Fleet Air Arm over from the Royal Air Force three months before war was declared. The Fleet Air Arm was in pretty desperate condition, both as regards pilots, numbers of aircraft, and types of aircraft, but with what they had, it was my opinion that they did an excellent job.
28. Q. Did it occur to you at the time that the results obtained under those conditions were considerably promoted by the method of command and control of the aircraft while in the air?
A. Yes, sir, it was my opinion that without the type of fighter direction and control that we had, we would never have been able, with the few number of aircraft we had, to intercept more than approximately one-tenth of the number of bombers which came over.
29. Q. As result of those experiences, did you make any reports, official or otherwise, to U. S. naval representatives in Britain?
A. Yes, sir. I became very much interested in the method of control; did everything within my power to get as much information on how control was accomplished, and made periodic reports to the Naval Air Attache, London.
30. Q. Subsequent to the service which you have just described, what constituted your next activities?
A. At the end of the Norwegian Campaign, at the suggestion of my Squadron Commander, I went to Admiralty, while on leave, and offered to return to the United States in an attempt to get faster fighter aircraft which could be used by the Fleet Air Arm. As a result, I was sent back to the United States. By the time I reached the United States, France had fallen and I located a canceled French contract for the first F4F Grumman fighters. I spent approximately six weeks having these fighters converted for British shipboard use and arranging for shipment back to England. I then returned to England and worked for the month on getting the aircraft reassembled and shipped out to fighter squadrons. During this month, the Royal Air Force was forming an Eagle Squadron made up of American volunteers and had asked the British Navy for my services as squadron commander. At
the end of the month, the Air Ministry and Admiralty reached an agreement and I was transferred to the Royal Air Force. This transfer was effected on 2 October 1940. I was sent to a Royal Air Force Fighter Operational Training unit for three weeks, at the end of which time I was ordered, at my own request, to 242 Fighter Squadron, stationed at the Royal Air Force Station at Duxford. I asked to be sent to 242 Squadron before taking over 71 Eagle Squadron because I wanted to get some operational experience in an active air force squadron before forming my own.
31. Q. Give a brief summary of your operational experience while attached to R. A. F. Fighter Squadron No. 242.
A. During the four month period I was attached to 242 Squadron, I participated in four or five actual interceptions against hostile aircraft, flying wing on the Squadron Commander. Although we saw numerous hostile aircraft during these operations, we were never ordered to attack. The actual attacks were to be made by other squadrons which were also in the air. The greater part of my time in the 242 Squadron was spent learning current tactical information and learning the organization of R. A. F. squadrons.
32. Q. State, briefly, the result of your observations of the R. A. F. Fighter Command during the most important periods of the so-called "Battle of Britain".
A. At the beginning of the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force Fighter Squadrons were well dispersed. Their fighter direction control system was well organized. Squadrons were tactically made up of only sections sent up to intercept sporadic raids. At the beginning of the Battle of Britain, large numbers of aircraft came over in an attempt to wipe out the fighter defense of the Royal Air Force and the early squadron organization was not capable of coping with large raids. However, within a remarkably short time Fighter Command managed to reorganize, tactically, their fighter force into squadrons and wings capable of intercepting large raids and inflicting considerable damage on the enemy bombers and fighters. It was generally accepted that the major reason for the success of the Royal Air Force fighters over the German raids was due to the magnificent fighter direction control. My own participation in these raids was only towards the end or in an occasional raid of not over forty or fifty German bombers escorted by fighters that came over to bomb the London docks or to bomb ships of convoys in the Channel. In every case, we were directed by the controller at our home station who was able to give us accurate information and direct us to the incoming raids. He was able to give us approximately the number of aircraft we could expect to run into and would put us in an advantageous position for an attack. At the end of attacks, when pilots were lost in bad weather or-in good weather, the controller was always able to bring the lost aircraft home to its base or to another base. The question of navigation in fighters never came up. The entire navigation of aircraft, both going up, making interceptions, and returning, was done by controllers in an underground operations room. I became extremely interested in the entire controlling system, spent a great deal of time in various sector operation rooms, group operations rooms, and fighter command operations rooms, trying to learn as much about the British method of interception as possible. I made frequent reports of what I had learned to the American Naval Attache, London.
33. Q. During that period, Autumn of 1940, did you become cognizant of any officers of our own Army who were having similar opportunities for learning the British system?
A. Yes, sir, both the American Army and the American Navy had a large number of observers who were studying the Royal Air Force system
34. Q. Would you say, from such observation, that both the War Department and Navy Department became somewhat fully informed concerning the R. A. F. Fighter Command apparatus and operation in handling their interceptor fighter aircraft.
A. My impression at the time, and later, after I returned to the United States, was that all of the information was made available to the American Army and American Navy observers but it did not appear that these observers brought back the full importance of method of the Royal Air Force intercepting system.
35. Q. At about what date would you estimate that Army and Navy officers directly detailed for the observation of that system became sufficiently cognizant of it to make adequate reports on the same?
A. I know that a special Army Air Corps group of observers were at Fighter Command in October or November, 1940, specially studying the Royal Air Force fighter direction system.
36. Q. Did you think that they had full opportunities for observation and were given all the so-called "secrets"?
A. I believe that the Army mission was given all of the information necessary to understand and duplicate the British system.
37. Q. Upon what do you base that belief?
A. I base the belief on the fact that the Army observers were actually in the operations rooms at Fighter Commands, at groups, and the various sectors. They were permitted to talk to fighter squadrons who were employing the fighter direction system. I do not know that they were permitted to see the actual radar sets, but I was told, however, that special Army tactical officers had been permitted to see the actual radar stations along the coast.
38. Q. Did you, yourself, become acquainted with the British radar apparatus and with its technical operation?
A. I was given a very good basic understanding of the function and limitations of the radar equipment, but I had never actually seen a British radar system until after I had resigned from the Royal Air Force.
39. Q. In addition to the representatives of the United States Army Air Corps, were similar bodies of naval aviators also given opportunities to learn the British fighter direction system?
A. I did not hear of any naval observers studying either the Royal Air Force or British Navy Fighter Direction System until late Spring of 1941.
40. Q. Did you, during 1940, make any reports, formal or otherwise, which may have reached the Navy Department and particularly describing the British radar apparatus and its operation?
A. Yes, sir, I made a full report of all of the operations that I had been engaged in and of all the information that I had picked up in England to several groups of officers in the Bureau of Aeronautics. I particularly sought out the officer who was, at that time, in charge of radar development in the Bureau of Aeronautics to give him what in-
formation I had on the British Fighter Direction System. I was told that the U. S. Navy had radar either in our ships or being developed for shipboard use. I could arouse no interest in the use of this radar for fighter direction.
41. Q. At about what date did you complete the assembling and training of your own squadron and where did it then become stationed?
A. 71 Eagle Squadron completed its training and became operational in January, 1941, at Kirton Lindsey, Lincolnshire, on the East Coast of England, and we were immediately ordered to Martelsham Heath where our main function was the defense of convoys going to and from the Thames and Humber Rivers.
42. Q. What kind of planes did you have?
A. We were originally equipped with Hurricane fighters and, later, were re-equipped with Spitfires.
43. Q. Give a brief resume of your experiences while in command of the Eagle Squadron, operating under the R. A. F.?
A. From the time that we became operational, in January of 1941 until July of 1941, our squadron stood a regular fighter watches on the Southeast Coast of England. Our combat work was mainly the protection of convoys off the Coast and making interceptions on any hostile aircraft which came over. During this period, there was very little German activity except at night. During the moonlight periods, we sent up four planes of our squadron to join the night fighter defense. Having no radar, our night work was ineffective. Up until this time, the only type of radar that was functioning in England  was the seaward-looking radar. All overland direction of fighters was done by radio direction finding on the fighters. All of the hostile aircraft positions were reported by visual observers. Radar interceptions overland were, therefore, almost impossible except with the aid of searchlights or airborne radar. This was approximately the period during which the R.A.F. was building up an improved system, for interception of enemy planes overland and at night.
44. Q. What were the circumstances of the termination of your services in the Royal Air Force?
A. In July, 1941, I was called to Group Headquarters and told that because of my age, I was going to be made a Wing Commander and put in command of a fighter operational training unit. I was disappointed in losing my squadron and asked to be allowed to go back either to the British Navy or to return to the American Navy. The American Naval Attache had been, for the past year, asking me to return to the American Navy for the purpose of working on fighter direction. I was allowed to go to London to talk to the American Naval Attache, who sent a dispatch to the Navy Department, Washington, advising them that my services were available. In approximately two weeks' time, my commission and orders to duty to the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington were received in London. I was commissioned Lieutenant Commander, A-V(S), U. S. N. R., in London in the month of July, 1941. However, as there was no immediate transportation back to the United States and as the Naval Attache wanted me to collect more information on radar equipment, I was given a special assignment to visit several radar stations. I was given every opportunity to thoroughly inspect the most modern
radar stations in the South of England and all of my questions were answered willingly. In August, in about 15 August 1941, I was returned to the United States by Clipper and reported to the Chief of Bureau of Aeronautics.
45. Q. Upon your arrival in the Navy Department, did it occur to you that you were being looked upon as an expert in the utilization of radar for purposes of command and direction of airborne aircraft?
A. Only by a very few officers. The vast majority of officers in the Bureau of Aeronautics seemed to consider fighter direction of very little importance.
46. Q. Did those who seemed to realize its importance appear to look upon you as expert in that specialty?
A. Yes, sir.
47. Q. From your experiences, soon after you returned to Washington, did you find anyone else whom you considered, at the time, as equally expert as yourself?
A. There were several officers in this country who had been in England studying both the Royal Air Force and the British Navy method of fighter direction who were, at that time, setting up fighter direction schools at Norfolk and at San Diego. However, it was apparent that their brief period of observing in England did not give them nearly the full picture of what fighter direction involved.
48. Q. Then you found no one who had the breadth of experience in that line which you had enjoyed?
A. No, sir.
49. Q. Please state, briefly, the duties which you came to perform upon your return to the United States.
A. I was sent out on temporary duty in the YORKTOWN, RANGER, and WASP in September, 1941, to lecture to the fighter squadrons on combat tactics and fighter direction to pass on to the ships' officers what information I had on  the use of search radar for fighter direction purposes, and to learn what I could of what each ship contemplated as a fighter direction organization. I completed this duty in approximately one month's time and returned to Washington.
50. Q. Did that brief assignment with the carriers in our Atlantic Fleet acquaint you with the capabilities of the radar installations which you found on board those ships?
A. Yes, sir. There was radar only aboard the YORKTOWN at that time.
51. Q. At the time, what was your judgment as to the performance of that radar as compared with those which you had recently seen in Britain?
A. It was my impression that the radar equipment aboard the YORKTOWN was superior to any radar equipment used in the British Navy and at least as good as the Royal Air Force shore-based search radar.
52. Q. What did you find as to the comparative ability of the radar operators?
A. The radar operators were largely under training, but the main radar enlisted man and the main radar officer aboard ship were both very well trained and versed in the operation of the equipment.
53. Q. Next, following that detail, what became your duties?
A. I was given temporary duty orders to report to Commander Aircraft, Battle Force, for temporary duty. My duties were to be the same as they had been on the East Coast carriers. I joined the U. S. S. LEXINGTON at San Diego and lectured the fighter squadrons and spoke to the ship's officers en route to Pearl Harbor in early October, 1941. On my arrival at Pearl Harbor, I found the ENTERPRISE was at sea. I, therefore, reported to the Air Officer on CinCPac's Staff. When the ENTERPRISE returned in early October, approximately three days later, I reported to Admiral Halsey. Admiral Halsey instructed me to report to Admiral Kimmel for such use as he wanted to make of me. Admiral Kimmel questioned me while I was at Pearl Harbor. He also instructed me to lecture to the fighter squadrons of the Army Air Force. Admiral Kimmel's Staff made arrangements for my lectures at Wheeler Field. I made a series of four lectures to all of the fighter squadrons at Wheeler Field.
54. Q. Upon completing those lectures, what became your duties?
A. On completion of the lectures to the Army Fighter Squadrons, I lectured to the pilots and ship's officers of the U. S. S. SARATOGA and I then reported to the U. S. S. ENTERPRISE. I went to sea in the U. S. S. ENTERPRISE, lectured to the squadrons attached to her, also had an opportunity to observe their method of fighter direction. The ENTERPRISE's fighter direction had gone much further than any other ship. The ENTERPRISE's fighter direction was considerably behind the British methods. This was so because the fighter system had been improvised by the Staff Communications Officer with little information to work on.
55. Q. Then you found the ENTERPRISE considerably advanced over the other carriers in the utilization of radar?
A. Yes, sir.
56. Q. As regards the radar equipment and its actual operation will you state the conditions which you found on the various carriers of the Pacific Fleet?
A. The ENTERPRISE had had their radar aboard a considerable time and had been able to calibrate the radar equipment and train to a certain extent one or two fighter director officers. The SARATOGA had no radar. The LEXINGTON, on which I came out from San Diego, had just had her radar installed and was just learning to use it. In all ships equipped with radar, the radar installation had been very recent and all hands were going through a training period in the operation and utilization of the equipment for fighter direction.
57. Q. Was it the same variety of equipment which you found in the carriers in the Atlantic and which you have stated was very good for its kind?
A. Yes, sir.
58. Q. Following that period at sea in the ENTERPRISE, what was your next duty?
A. While I was at sea in the ENTERPRISE, a dispatch was received from the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, stating that my services were requested by the Commanding General, Hawaiian Air Force, for technical purposes. Upon our return to Pearl Harbor, I was instructed to report to the Acting Commanding Officer, Interceptor Command, to assist in an advisory capacity in setting up the Army Information Center at Fort Shafter.
59. Q. Did you have reason to believe that either the Navy or the Army, or both, in the Hawaiian Area, were looking upon you as expert in that specialty?
A. Yes, sir. A very few officers in both the Army and Navy seemed to feel that I was an expert on fighter direction and the utilization of radar.
60. Q. Was that because the installations and the use of it was so new that very few officers knew anything about it?
A. Yes, sir. That was true generally in both the Army and Navy.
The witness was duly warned and withdrew.
The examination then, at 12:10 p. m., was adjourned until 11 a. m., tomorrow.