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WW2 Tankers North Alantic

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  #1  
Old 30th April 2007, 09:15
raybnz raybnz is offline  
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WW2 Tankers North Alantic

I watched part of a programme on the History channel here in NZ this evening. Have I missed something but during the programme the American announcer stated that if it was not for the the US tankers and escorts coming in to the war effort in 1942 Britain would have lost the war.

It took three years for the US to make up its mind and no doubt only did it when they could see the dollars they would make. There is little doubt with their help and bases etc the convoys were given more protection.

60 years after the end of the war and we are still getting propaganda from the US.
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  #2  
Old 30th April 2007, 11:02
jim brindley jim brindley is offline  
 
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hi raybnz i thnk the tanker ohio was amercan realvied malta .i think american crew left her and british took her down the medi. im sure some one on site will put me right if im wrong .old sinner jim.
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  #3  
Old 30th April 2007, 13:44
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barnsey barnsey is offline  
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raybnz ... where are you in this fine country ???

I am collecting and studying various books on the Battle of the Atlantic at present. I recommend two volumes by Chay Blair "The Hunters" and "The Hunted" These take you through from 1939 - 1942 and from 1943 - 1945. Basically those are the time the U-boats had an ascendancy and their demise. Another volume which analyses the pros and cons is "The Atlantic Campaign" by Dan van der Vat. If you have those 3 you can have a good perspective of the battle. You will also come to see some myths exposed.

The American tankers were certainly important but it is much more complicated. Churchill was making noises about how close things were but in fact it wasnt quite as bad as that. The Americans improved their whole transportation infrastructure ... pipelines, rail and road delivery of oil. This freed up the sea transport which they also needed in anycase as the "Happy Time" for the U-boats was causing them major problems on their coast let alone Britain ..... The U-boats luckily had lots of problems too and when you get into matters they didnt have a chance right from the start in anycase. Things went in phases ... the German magnetic and contact torpedos were unsatisfactory for the first two years, 50% failure rate. Whilst they had a good number of U-boats there were only about 30% available for patrol. The weather as we all know was terrible for both sides....... it goes on and on. The T2 tankers didnt start coming on stream in numbers until 1942. From then on things thats when everything started turning pear shaped for the U-boats. When you look at the Convoy details there were numerous convoys steaming across the Atlantic each month and only a relative few were hammered. Ships steaming alone were the ones which suffered. You really shouldnt read too much into those History programs they are not a balanced account at all. I may offend some people but the U-boats were out of date and ill equipped for the task, they suffered by interference from Hitler and high command so Doenitz had his aims diluted and frustrated thank goodness. The U-boats did not commit the atrocities so much talked about and feared. There were only 2 such incidents and for quite a large part the commanders gave water, food and aid to survivors. There were also some incidents where they were attacked when obviously carrying out help ... a U-boat was towing 3 lifeboats and had a hundred odd people on its deck with an improvised red cross on the conning tower when an American aircraft attacked.

Oh yes, now that the propaganda has been peeled away and good factual information from both sides has been published. Another volume I have was written by Gunter Hessler who was in Doenitz command centre and is from the German documents. Published before the release of the knowledge that the Allies had broken the Enigma machine coding it gives the German side of the battle. Coupled with Chay Blairs and van der Vats book you have a fascinating story which anyone half interested should read about. People need to know the unfettered truth and not History Channel manufactured for TV garrbage ... lest we forget the horrors such events brought about.

barnsey
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  #4  
Old 30th April 2007, 13:48
Split Split is offline  
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Yes, it gets to loyal Britishers when they hear the Americans talk about their war effort. However, like it or not, I'm afraid that it is true and they can be very proud of what they did. The British and their allies, brave as they were, were going to lose the war without the Americans on all fronts. The sheer weight of American production turned into a war machine was awesome. Over 500 hundred t-2s were constructed, along with Liberties, Victories and all sorts of other craft. Hitler was sinking more British tonnage than we could build. The Americans turned that around. This does not demean our efforts, but it faces facts. We could not have won without the Americans.

Split
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  #5  
Old 30th April 2007, 14:16
Split Split is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnsey View Post
raybnz ... where are you in this fine country ???

I Churchill was making noises about how close things were but in fact it wasnt quite as bad as that.
barnsey
I find this statement ludicrous, frankly. You have to be joking!

Split
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  #6  
Old 30th April 2007, 14:23
Ventry Ventry is offline  
 
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M.v. Darina

Is there anyone out there that sailed in this ship in 1942.
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  #7  
Old 30th April 2007, 15:04
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Brian Twyman Brian Twyman is offline  
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Although USA was not at war,they supported the British in many ways .. they were escorting convoys half way across the Atlantic and even had one destroyer sunk by a U-boat long before declaring war. Not to mention the loan of ships etc. Read it up.
Brian
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  #8  
Old 30th April 2007, 17:38
KenLin39 KenLin39 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Twyman View Post
Although USA was not at war,they supported the British in many ways .. they were escorting convoys half way across the Atlantic and even had one destroyer sunk by a U-boat long before declaring war. Not to mention the loan of ships etc. Read it up.
Brian
The Reuben James I believe.
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  #9  
Old 30th April 2007, 19:31
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Split View Post
Yes, it gets to loyal Britishers when they hear the Americans talk about their war effort. However, like it or not, I'm afraid that it is true and they can be very proud of what they did. The British and their allies, brave as they were, were going to lose the war without the Americans on all fronts. The sheer weight of American production turned into a war machine was awesome. Over 500 hundred t-2s were constructed, along with Liberties, Victories and all sorts of other craft. Hitler was sinking more British tonnage than we could build. The Americans turned that around. This does not demean our efforts, but it faces facts. We could not have won without the Americans.

Split
I very much agree with this view. I went to sea in late 1943 after spending a whole year trying to get accepted into a liner company as an apprentice. I still have the letters of refusal and many refer to the ship losses as being so severe that they have stopped taking on new applicants as apprentices.
It was a touch and go as to whether that Atlantic bridge would hold and it is recognised by historians that the critical convoy battles took place in the Spring of 1943 (refer Jurgen Rohwer's book, The Critical Convoy Battles, March 1943).
I befriended a German U.Boat P.O.W. in late 1945 and we still correspond. He has given me 5 huge volumes in German, of the entire history of DER U.BOOT KRIEG (The U.Boat war), and in the volume entitled DEUTSCHE U-BOOT-ERFOLGE (successes) no fewer than 73 pages are devoted to listing all the ships sunk by U.Boats alone! There is no doubt that had the Americans NOT given us enormous help, before they came into the war and after, the Battle of the Atlantic would have been lost.
The Liberty ship was the tool that turned the tide.
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  #10  
Old 30th April 2007, 21:55
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim brindley View Post
hi raybnz i thnk the tanker ohio was amercan realvied malta .i think american crew left her and british took her down the medi. im sure some one on site will put me right if im wrong .old sinner jim.
We didn't have any tankers that were fast enough for 15 knot Malta convoys and in two such convoys American T2's were chartered and manned with British crews and gunners. The OHIO as stated was in Pedestal Convoy of Aug.1942, and the KENTUCKY in the earlier HARPOON convoy. But American ships with American crews did, on at least one occasion, participate in a Malta convoy: two of these were the SANTA ELISA and the ALMERIA LYKES (both of these ships were lost in Pedestal Convoy).
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  #11  
Old 30th April 2007, 22:02
Split Split is offline  
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Pleased to meet you, even if it is by post! I didn't get to sea, fortunately for me, until 1948 but so many years have passed that younger people don't appreciate how close we were to going under. I went back to London from evacuation in 1942, and that was bad enough, too.

Split
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  #12  
Old 30th April 2007, 22:21
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenLin39 View Post
The Reuben James I believe.
Correct! The U.S.S. REUBEN JAMES was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 115 crew by the U.552, and the U.S.S.Kearney (two of 5 American destroyers escorting British convoys prior to Germany's declaration of war on America), was torpedoed and damaged but not sunk.
President Roosevelt took enormous political risks, in a still very isolationist America, offering assistance which clearly breached the laws of neutrality.
Repairing our warships in Brooklyn Navy Yard for another such example; an exercise which went far beyond the obligation to make a ship seaworthy enough to proceed to sea.
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  #13  
Old 30th April 2007, 23:42
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barnsey barnsey is offline  
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I very much agree with your point Split, the fact the Allies could not have won the war without the American industrial might. In no way do I wish to demean anyones efforts then or now however that is not what I was trying to say.

You have to read the facts as they have come to light today and not what you think you know from such programs on the History channel. I was guilty of doing just that. It is only during this year that I have gathered some decent books and begun to find out just what went on. I have a good friend who was on HMS "Loch Fada" in Walkers EG2. Another good friend who's dad was also in Walkers group commanding HMS Wren .. because of these people I have taken time to get some REAL facts ...and people must do that .. the information is now available and with those details you can understand the vast arena that was The Battle of the Atlantic.

A point for example ... during September 1939 to December 1941, the first phase of the Battle of the Atlantic the British sailed about 900 Atlantic convoys, U-boats achieved major successes ( 6 or more ships confirmed sunk ) on only 19 of these convoys. In total the 19 convoys lost 187 ships. The 900 convoys of the period comprised a total of 12,057 ships. So, 98% of all the ships in these convoys reached the British Isles.

Quote from Chay Blair .... "Contrary to the general perception at the close of 1941, (which I too held until I took time to read and digest) German U-boats were no where close to isolating and strangling Great Britain. Nonetheless the myth of U-boat prowess and invincibility had taken firm root in the publics mind. Rightly, Churchill had declared "The Battle of the Atlantic" to sharply focus the attention of British ASW authorities on the U-boat problem. This battle cry achieved its purpose more rapidly than is generally credited."

Now do you begin to see there is a hell of a lot more to the Battle of the Atlantic than we .. the younger ones ever realised. I am now 65 by the way.

If we are to pay due respect to those people who fought the war at sea then we must have all the facts to hand otherwise exaggerations will be found out and ridiculed by those to come, and God knows people want to put the boot in enough these days.

Love 'em or hate them the Americans were really needed and their Industrial might that Churchill and Roosevelt desperately eventually got on the Allies side turned the war.

Barnsey
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  #14  
Old 1st May 2007, 02:13
Bernard McIver Bernard McIver is offline  
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Barnsey, Your statement of losses Sept.1939-Dec.1941 is flawed to say the least. You have taken the "major losses" from 19 convoys and represented these as being the total for 900 convoys. The true losses are very different as the following from "Lloyd's War Losses" for the same period clearly show:
BRITISH: 1677
ALLIED: 586
NEUTRAL: 384
TOTAL: 2647 TONNAGE: 7,714,074

TOTAL LOSSES 1939-1945: 5411 TONNAGE: 21,314,648
Seems a different story,
Bernard
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  #15  
Old 1st May 2007, 04:17
Jim MacIntyre Jim MacIntyre is offline  
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mv 'Darina'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventry View Post
Is there anyone out there that sailed in this ship in 1942.

Hello Ventry
I'm curious as to why you raise this question.. Some time ago I had a brief e-mail exchange with a lady named Darina Rowe. She was looking for anyone who had sailed on a Shell tanker 'Darina'. Her father had been on the ship and as she put it - 'yes she was named after the ship'.
If I recall she had originally posed the question in the British Merchant Navy web site and I suggested she also check through shipsnostalgia and helderline. I do not recall if there were any replies.
The correspondence has fallen off my e-mail records but her e-mail is still in my address book.
Jim Macintyre
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  #16  
Old 1st May 2007, 06:46
zelo1954 zelo1954 is offline
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Just thought I'd post numbers of vessels built in USA/Canada during WW2.

Fort/Park/Ocean: 1941/6; 1942/142; 1943/153; 1944/93; 1945/36.
T2: 1941/1; 1942/22; 1943/128; 1944/186; 1945/147.
Liberty: 1942/543; 1943/1943; 1944/738; 1945/143.
Victory: 1944/211; 1945/321.

This gives the following combined yearly totals:
1941/7
1942/707
1943/2224
1944/1228
1945/647
TOTAL/4813

This is HUGE, and it takes no account of smaller types.

It is true that the cargo vessels were in the main based on the design of JL Thompson's DORINGTON COURT of 1939. The Oceans, then forts and Parks were very similar. The Libertys had a similar hull I believe but did away with the split superstructure.

Cheers, Geoff
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  #17  
Old 1st May 2007, 06:58
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barnsey barnsey is offline  
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Bernard ......My statement stands as it is SPECIFICALLY about the Principle North Atlantic cargo convoys inbound to the British Isles 1939 - 1941. Those from Halifax 7,202 (144 lost), Sydney NS 1920 ( 102 lost), and Freetown 2935 (45 lost). A total of 12,057 ships and a total of 291 ships lost in 900 convoys. Out of those convoys 19 lost 6 or more ships which came to a total of 187 which equalled 871,078 GRT. The number of ships arriving in those convoys is derived from British Monthly Anti-submarine reports Sept 1939 to December 1941. The losses which include escorts are from Rohwer "Axis Submarine Successes".

They DO NOT include the considerable independant sailings and losses which your Lloyds quotation would have included.

I was being specific to try to illustrate the enormity of the shipping involved, the success of the convoy system and the fact that at the end of 1941 despite the propaganda which had caused a fear to spread in this the first phase of the war, the facts were different.

I really reccommend you beg borrow or steal the two Volumes by Clay Blair ... "The Hunters" 1939 - 1942 and "The Hunters" 1943 -1945. They are an extremely detailed account of the U-boat war and give a clear account of the swings and roundabouts of both sides of the battle.

When quoting statistics people can make figures say whatever they want to as we full well know as the accountants steadily, and rather quickly dismantled the British Merchant Navy in the 70's a feat the U-boats were never going to do in WW II.

Barnsey
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Old 1st May 2007, 08:33
Split Split is offline  
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In a letter to President Roosevelt Churchill writes on Dec 8th, 1940.

"In the five weeks ending November3 losses reached a total of 4,290,300 tons. Our estimate of annual tonnagewhich ought to be imported to maintain our effort at full strength is 43 million tons. The tonnage entering in September was only at the rate of 37 million tons and in October of 38 million tons."
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Old 1st May 2007, 09:15
Split Split is offline  
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I can't see the point in all these figures because what attracted my attention to this thread was the allegation that the British could have won the war on our own. No matter where these cargoes came from, according to Churchill, 80% of all tonnage sunk was in the Battle of the Atlantic. Of this, 55% was British, so my question, now is, could we have sustained these losses on our own, invaded Normandy and all the rest?

Not only that. The American t2, with which I am familiar, was far in advance of any other tanker in its own right. The accommodation brought a new concept to living conditions, with a shower in every officer's cabin, fridges in the smokerooms, icewater machines. Cargo handling with fixed speed centrifugal pumps and, in general, for the surviving ships, an age that took them decades into the postwar years.

The Americans respected their seamen and took care of them however they could while British sailors were off pay as soon as they were torpedoed.

Split
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Old 1st May 2007, 10:53
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Split ..... you ask ..."could we have sustained these losses on our own, invaded Normandy and all the rest?" ...... the same question might well be asked of the German side because by 1942 they too were up against the wall, it would have staggered on as WW1 did.

However without question with the Americans in the war there was no doubt as to the outcome.

The T2's were without doubt magnificent ... I missed out on sailing on one of the T2's in BP and I am not overly sure that wasn't a bad thing as I believe the Nav. Apps. cabin was over the steam pipes which went through the centre castle so I am told ... "Up the Gulf" was not pleasant, as if it ever was.

As for the Liberties, C2's and C3's the whole shipbuilding effort of the Americans was magnificent. Donitz dismissed the figures as propaganda .... foolish man. While we are about it lets not forget the whole industrial might of the States and their attitude to building things in mass and precision ... amazing.

Barnsey
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  #21  
Old 1st May 2007, 11:21
Split Split is offline  
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Would the war have lingered on? Don't forget the Germans were ahead on rocketry and the "bomb". If the Americans hadn't come in (and it was Pearl Harbour that did that) they, probably, would not have experimented with nuclear weapons and the Germans would have been, then, in a position to beat anyone.

Life is full of "ifs", though, isn't it? That's another story.

The apprentices' cabin, in Caltex, was next to the Chief Officer. I don't remember steam pipe problems. The Americans hadn't got around to fitting a/c in those days --- everywhere was hot in the Gulf!

Split
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Old 1st May 2007, 12:18
Split Split is offline  
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The Liberties had another difference over the Forts in that they were welded.
This was a concept that was to make some them break up in the Arctic convoys. Does anyone know anything about that?

Split
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  #23  
Old 1st May 2007, 12:44
Split Split is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnsey View Post

When quoting statistics people can make figures say whatever they want to as we full well know as the accountants steadily, and rather quickly dismantled the British Merchant Navy in the 70's a feat the U-boats were never going to do in WW II.

Barnsey
I don't want to beat our American friends' drum too much- they are quite capable of doing that for themselves, but, although the British Merchant Navy existed, in 1948, when I was apprenticed with them, Counties Ship Management was reported to have 135 WWII American and Canadian built freighters under bareboat charter. Ask those who worked for other well known British shipping companies and they will, probably, tell a similar story.

Even P&O had Victory ships, I saw them regularly in Colombo. Their destinctive silhouettes were seen with monotonous regularity all over the world. Where would we have been without this tonnage in the postwar years?

I sailed as third and second mate on a German built, requisitioned "Empire" ship. What a heap of old junk that was!

Split
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  #24  
Old 1st May 2007, 13:22
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Wink Of WW II, tankers, facts, figures and good exchange

Split ..... the cracking up of the Liberties .... and the T2's ..... was again not as big a problem as myth would have it .... I have the details elswhere .... sure some broke ... they do today as well don't they?

On Worcester, sitting on the Thames at Greenhithe from 1955 - 1959 the whole world went by on their way to and from London Docks ....we saw them all ..... by the heck I wish we had had the digital cameras we have today. Still we have Lawrence Dunns pics thank goodness and ... memory. you are quite right ... life is full of ifs.

Went on the Universe Daphne on her maiden voyage loading in Mina in 1961 and to my eye she was little advanced on the T2, steel cabins, tubular steel chairs, ss sinks ... but by crikey she carried over 100,000 tons of oil. Which reminds me being American I wonder if they were short tons or long tons ...? and another puzzle .... harping back to our WWII ... why did they always quote tonnages in GRT .... we all know GRT is "fictitional" look at the ruddy container ship and other freaks of today ... GRT applied to them means nothing.

Barnsey
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  #25  
Old 1st May 2007, 13:55
Split Split is offline  
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Yes, I agree, the American ships were not pretty with their furnishings but it was more useful. Why were the rest of the world's ships not like that? The Canadian Forts I sailed in had nicely polished wooden furnishings but, if you wanted to use the sink provided, you had to fill it with a bucket and put a bucket underneath to catch it afterwards. T2s had shower, sink and toilet.

I must confess that I would have to check the textbook to learn of what registered tonnage consisted! We. always, used dwt, didn't we?
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