Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Gunney, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    a speed limit in a war zone just to save gas ??? something wrong here. that dog don't hunt. ships were being torpedoed in this area. and that's not considered enemy waters. im missing something here.

    i also think Mcvay wanted the escort because of the "speed limit" and like all CO's the fear of subs is always there. no matter what the waters are classified a sub can change that with the push of a firing switch. and that's what happened here.

    if the Japs had used the sub as it was intended, like the Nazi's a lot more Indy's would be on the bottom. so that was a saving grace.
     
  2. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    I found this

    From November 24, 1999, letter by Mochitsura Hashimoto,
    commander of submarine which sank the Indianapolis,
    to Senator John W. Warner, Chairman,
    Senate Armed Services Committee

    Mochitsura Hashimoto

    source

    final crew list
    USS Indianapolis CA-35
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    337
    the Indy was fresh from the builders yard. why didn't they add sonar when she was being repaired???

    Again I suggest that we can't look at one case in isolation - unless there was some way of knowing that this particular cruiser would "need" sonar ("need" in " " because as Takao noted it probably wouldn't have helped anyway). The only reason to add sonar to any one cruiser would be if the Navy had a general policy of equipping cruisers with sonar. Historically the one class which did carry sonar (and depth charges), the Atlanta class (our smallest WWII cruisers) had them removed.
     
  4. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    and the escort if provided???
     
  5. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    in 8 parts

    [video=youtube;yd-oYG7RuT4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd-oYG7RuT4[/video]
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    337
    and the escort if provided???

    Not sure what exactly the question is, presumably an anti-submarine escort would have sonar. Do any of the books or articles address whether there were escorts available in the Marianas when Indianapolis sailed? Or whether they had any assigned missions other than cruising to the Philippines with Indianapolis? People write "McVay requested an escort" as if whomever he made the request to could just have said "sure" and detailed a couple of destroyers. If there were say a DD or DE returning to the front lines, perhaps after repairs like Indianapolis, they probably would have sailed together. More likely, though, we're talking about a major warship swinging idly around the anchor until escort became available. Moreover, we're talking about every ship in a similar situation waiting until escort became available. The effect of that on the war effort isn't as easy to quantify as 800 men lost, but in view of the general ineffectiveness of Japanese subs at that point, the Navy took a calculated risk and let ships sail unescorted.
     
  7. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    all I know is he requested an escort and was denied. why??? not available?? and why would he request one ???
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    337
    Those are good questions, all we need now are some answers! Can't say I've delved into it in detail, but none of the articles or discussions I've read go any further than the bald statement "McVay asked for an escort but was denied". It shouldn't be that hard to determine whether escorts were available - if they were present in the Marianas, and if they had no other missions assigned that would preclude them accompanying Indianapolis a thousand miles to the Philippines. For one thing, if they were available, you'd think McVay's defense team would bring it up at the court-martial.

    Although McVay was tried for losing his ship, the impetus - and most of the embarrassment for the Navy - stemmed from the loss of most of the survivors after they went into the water. A destroyer or two might not have prevented I-58 from hitting her target, but they would have commenced rescue operations and sent for additional help immediately, likely saving most of the crew.

    Do we know how McVay phrased his request? Did he just ask as a matter of routine if escorts were available? It would be a logical question once he got his sailing orders. Did he express concern about sailing alone? Ask to delay departure until an escort could be provided? Or did he, like the Navy in general, consider it an acceptable risk?

    According to Commander Hashimoto, zigzagging would not have made a difference; but it was the one anti-submarine measure that McVay was capable of taking on his own, and he did not consider it necessary (I'll reiterate that in this he was doing no more than reflecting the general attitude of the Navy). If he truly considered that he was steaming into danger, unescorted, you'd think he would do whatever he could to lessen the risk.
     
  9. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    good point. now this makes more sense than anything ive heard so far.
     
  10. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,937
    Likes Received:
    941
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    While it doesn't address whether an escort was available, the fact remains that the area commander VADM Murray said that an escort "wasn't necessary". Assuming this statement is true, and regardless of whether an escort was available; Murray didn't see the need for an escort, and thus would not have assigned one to the Indianapolis.

    Just my opinion.
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    337
    Good, point, GP, again it comes down to general policy. My basic peeve with some of the stuff written about the Indianapolis is the implication that the Navy somehow singled out this particular ship to be set up for disaster - I suppose it makes for a more dramatic story and sells more books....

    Been meaning to ask you about your B-25. I assume it's a C or D; I've seen photos of them both with and without the waist guns and twin tail gun position - do you know anything about that? Was it a change partway through the production run? Did particular sub-models like say a B-25D-3 have these guns added?
     
  12. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,937
    Likes Received:
    941
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree with you on the first point. I definitely believe the navy didn't "plan" to lose the Indianapolis, but I think that blaming McVay is also wrong. It was an unfortunate incident, nothing more, nothing less.

    As for the B-25, I can't say that I remember. I pulled it off the internet because I liked the look of it. I believe it was a D model, and I do remember that this particular aircraft was based out of North Africa (around 1943?). I'll try to find out for you tonight.
     
  13. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Just to add a little more to this discussion concerning Capt. McVay. As an odd "coincidence", the man who pushed for the disgracing of McVay had only one "black mark" on his entire record in the USN. Admiral King had been a young officer under McVay's father in the China command, and had a reprimand placed in his file by the elder McVay. To quote the ludicrous Glenn Beck; "I'm just saying"?
     
  14. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    would that be Vice Admiral George Murray, Commander, Marianas ??? wonder if he was advised of the of the Underhill sinking???

    some really good details here:

    globalsecurity.org
     
  15. namvet

    namvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    45
    yes that's what i found out. its been mentioned here. King was trying to smuggle a prostitute on board and Mcvay senior caught him.
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,332
    Likes Received:
    1,484
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Yes, a "speed limit", and it was hardly what one would consider a "war zone", unless you also consider the US east coast, in the closing months of the European war, to be a "war zone". 15-16 knots is a very economical speed, it gets you, within a reasonable amount of time, where you are going, and it is economical when compared to faster speeds. For instance, the Indy would burn about 1,408 gallons of fuel oil an hour steaming at 15.7 knots, she'll burn about 2,605 gallons per hour making 20.5 knots, 4,823 gallons per hour at 25.5 knots, and 12,922 gallons per hour at 30.8 knots. Now, if the Indy makes the 3 day run at 15.7 knots, she will burn about 101,376 gallons of fuel oil, and if she make the 2 day run by traveling at 25.5 knots, she will burn about 231,504 gallons of fuel oil. You can sift trough this document HyperWar: War Service Fuel Consumption of US Naval Surface Vessels (FTP 218) to see the different burn rates of the various classes of combat vessels of the USN. As you can see, warships burn much more fuel the faster they go. So, without any restrictions limiting their speed, they have the capability to really use up the fuel stores the US is trying to gather for the anticipated invasion of Japan, or simply fuel stores in general.

    Yes, you are missing something, and that is the fact that "ships" were not being torpedoed in the area.

    You make it sound as if ships were being torpedoed every day along the route from Guam to Leyte. IIRC, the attack on the USS Underhill & convoy was the first in the area for sometime, but I could be mistaken.

    More than likely, asking for any escort was considered SOP for a ship's captain. If one was available, great! if not, so be it. After all, the several books on the Indianapolis, don't seem to have Captain McVay too concerned about the lack of escort.

    While a sub can change that with the push of a firing button, it is much more likely that the sub won't, because there isn't a submarine in the area. It is all a matter of probability, and the odds were well in favor that there would be no submarine along the USS Indianapolis's path.

    Then, the escort will be there to provide rescue for the survivors.

    Look at all the major vessels lost to submarines throughout World War II, the vast majority were escorted, yet, they did not deter the submarine from attacking and sinking it's target.

    Again, various answers are given in different books. It seems to be understood that Lieutenant Waldron understood Captain Mcvay's request, and placed a call to see if any were available, and Waldron received an answer that an escort was not needed from Guam to Leyte. Here, the story seems to split apart as to the reasoning behind the answer Waldron got, varying from an escort was not needed, an escort was not available due to the need of escorts for shipping traveling to Okinawa(the front line) and not away from it, further, destroyers were also needed for life-guard duty for the B-29 raids. For whatever the reason, Lt. Waldron was told no escort was needed, and no escort was provided for the USS Indianapolis.
     
    brndirt1 likes this.
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,332
    Likes Received:
    1,484
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Lieutenant Joseph Waldron, understood McVay's request, and telephoned either Vice Admiral Murray's office or Captain Oliver Naquin's office(sources vary) and asked if an escort was "available", Waldron was told an escort was "not necessary." Some books have Lt. Waldron repeating if an escort was available, only to recieve the same responce. Of course, this conversation is usually given in more wordy prose.


    Nowhere have I seen that Vice Admiral Murray was directly involved in this conversation, only those under his command, and that list varies according to author.


    Yes, you are correct, much of what has been argued about was mostly general policy. This policy had worked well for some time, but when that "one in a million" chance happens, everything is broken down and examined five times over. Of course, paying no never mind that everything had been fine up until it all fell apart. Nor, that it is impossible to predict many of the little incidents that transpired to bring about the USS Indianapolis disaster.


    Blaming McVay was wrong, and had the USN chosen to handle the matter differently, it could have been resolved in a much better fashion.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    337
    Underhill is often mentioned in these discussions, but she was sunk on July 24 at about 19 20 N, 126 42 E. She was escorting a convoy from Okinawa to Leyte but was about 550 nautical miles north of Leyte, about the latitude of Cape Engano, and about 650 miles from where Indianapolis was sunk - 12 02 N, 134 48 E. The responsible submarine probably could travel 650 miles in five days, but it could just as easily be anywhere in about half a million square miles....

    Perhaps more relevant would be the attack by I-58 herself, using kaitens, on the cargo ship Wild Hunter and destroyer Lowry the day before, July 28, about 300 miles north of Palau, not far from where she encountered Indianapolis the next day.
     
  19. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,937
    Likes Received:
    941
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    "Lieutenant Waldron, after comunicating with the Office of Vice Admiral George Murray, Commander, Marianas, was told: "You know very well that an escort is not necessary." Indianapolis would travel by herself.

    Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1988/WCR.htmIts very vague wording, but while it may not have involved Murray himself, it would have involved a relatively senior officer to have rejected both McVay's and Lt Waldron's requests in a harsh (and rather un-military) tone like that.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,332
    Likes Received:
    1,484
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Both "In Harm's Way" and "Fatal Voyage" have the call going to the office of Captain Oliver Naquin, although Vice Admiral Murray was Naquin's superior officer. IIRC, Waldron said in his testimony that the call went to Naquin's office.
     

Share This Page