98 - Final Harbor Question 4

1

The Mako had two different skippers. First Hinman, then Mealey, then Hinman again. These two skippers had very different styles. What did you think of them?

Comments

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    I liked how the author played with the tropes. The trope is that Hinman was the friendly commander who inspired his men, while Mealey was the rigid disciplinarian who would be ineffective in combat. Mealey remained the disciplinarian, but he was an effective commander. That's a character I don't think I've seen before in these kinds of stories.

  • 1

    @NeilNjae said:
    I liked how the author played with the tropes. The trope is that Hinman was the friendly commander who inspired his men, while Mealey was the rigid disciplinarian who would be ineffective in combat. Mealey remained the disciplinarian, but he was an effective commander. That's a character I don't think I've seen before in these kinds of stories.

    Yes. I was ready for Mealey to bring down the spirit of the crew because of that trope, and no such thing happened. I ended up liking Mealey in the end to my surprise!

  • 0

    I kept wondering if Mealey's reputation was undeserved, as he didn't really do much within the pages of the book to live up to it. About the only thing was the crewman who was dismissed when (one would have thought) that disciplinary action was all that was needed. But I don't recall that crewman being someone we cared much about, so his gloomy destiny didn't really affect me.

    In many ways Mealey comes over as the more effective captain, which (as has been said) was an interesting way to subvert the trope. One wonders if the Mako would have been lost at the end of the book if Mealey had remained in charge, or whether he would have found some alternative option.

    In passing, I have no idea if in either the Royal or US navies it was common for captains to change so often, but I was surprised during reading that we had not just one but two changes.

  • 1
    edited April 6

    @RichardAbbott said:
    I kept wondering if Mealey's reputation was undeserved, as he didn't really do much within the pages of the book to live up to it. About the only thing was the crewman who was dismissed when (one would have thought) that disciplinary action was all that was needed. But I don't recall that crewman being someone we cared much about, so his gloomy destiny didn't really affect me.

    In many ways Mealey comes over as the more effective captain, which (as has been said) was an interesting way to subvert the trope. One wonders if the Mako would have been lost at the end of the book if Mealey had remained in charge, or whether he would have found some alternative option.

    In passing, I have no idea if in either the Royal or US navies it was common for captains to change so often, but I was surprised during reading that we had not just one but two changes.

    The US - not just its Navy - had a very strong rotational concept in place. Large parts of a submarine's crew and officers were transferred, especially after promotion. It was very rare for a captain to stay in command of the same boat more than two or three patrols, even just one patrol was not uncommon, and the officers and crew under him were never the same twice. This spread knowledge and experience through the fleet, and preserved successfully innovative practices. Many times, the experienced people were rotated into instructor roles. The Germans and Japanese preferred to have their front line aces on the front line, and consequently their good practices died with them, and their instruction as a whole suffered badly. The UK was somewhat less rigorous in rotation than the US, but more rigorous than the Axis.

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    They were both likable characters. I would like to have seen their flaws become a bit more problematic for realism's sake. Specifically Hinman's practical jokes and Mealey's rigidity. (I thought "Mealy" -- as in mealy-mouthed? -- was an intentional choice and a kind of setup to make us initially think of him as weak, which he wasn't.)

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