As the baffles appeared with the advent of recirculating oil, were first modified with the change of orientation of connecting rods, and disappeared (on OHV's) with the introduction of real oil control rings, the conclusion is obvious. Baffles were meant to limit the amount of oil reaching the cylinder walls. Supporting evidence would also be Flatheads not having a real oil control ring, and what passed for one was fitted only to the rear cylinder as the front naturally received less oil as it was further from the source of oil, i.e, the sump. I might add that this explanation was given me from a dealer who attended the service schools during the era that these changes were made and received it at those schools.
A further rationale might be made along the lines of marketing the "new" recirculating oil systems. The older constant loss systems were noted for the faint (or sometimes not so faint) blue cloud they left in their trail from their exhaust.
To bolster the claims that the new system was indeed an improvement, they were making whatever efforts necessary to minimize the "blue cloud" emitting from the new machines. True oil control rings were not in common use in 1936, having only been introduced by Hastings in the year 1935 specifically for the Ford V8. See " http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company- ... y-history/
" Thus the mechanations with baffles, rod orientation, etc.
Of course, this is only one man's opinion, "your results may vary"