Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Gunney, Aug 24, 2011.
I didn't know that. I read "In Harm's Way" about 8 years ago, but didn't remember it.
Bit of trivia, IIRC Oliver Naquin was the commander of the submarine Squalus during her famous sinking and the rescue of just over half the crew.
HIJMS Submarine I-58: Tabular Record of Movement.
Mcvay is tried for "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag during conditions of good visibility" and "culpable insufficiency in the performance of duty" for failure to order Abandon Ship in a timely manner. but At sunset, the INDIANAPOLIS is zigzagging at 17 knots in overcast weather. Captain McVay orders zigzagging ceased because of poor visibility.
That same day, INDIANAPOLIS arrives at nearby Guam. Since she is not equipped with sonar or hydrophones, McVay requests a destroyer escort. His request is denied. McVay's orders give him discretion as to whether or not to zigzag while under way. INDIANAPOLIS begins the trip from Guam to Leyte unescorted; the first major warship to do so during the war without equipment to detect enemy submarines.
so who gave him discretion as to whether or not to zigzag while under way ??? I thought it was policy. as charged in the court martial. I think this clears it up. he wanted the escort for safety
Lieutenant Waldron or Admiral King, take you pick...
Lt. Waldron issued the routing orders, and King set forth policy in HyperWar: War Instructions: United States Navy: 1944
specifically; Chapter 7 Section I: HyperWar: War Instructions US Navy, 1944 [Chapter 7]
The charge was not simply about a failure to zig-zag, but a failure to zig-zag during a period of "good" visibility9clear night, moon up, etc.)
Your post has nothing concerning McVay's attitude or reasoning for asking for an escort, so how does it "clear it up.", when it never addresses "it."?
Still, no ship captain would sail alone, when the possibility of having another ship sail with you exists.
This is a sidebar to this thread. My first question so forgive me if I ask in the wrong forum. I did not want to begin a new thread for this one question. My father was a gunner on the Wild Hunter. I read where the Wild Hunter shot at the submarine that the next day sunk the Inndianapolis. My dad told me a story of him shooting at a submarine. He also mentioned it was "really after the war was over".... which goes along with what happened. How can I find out the official details of the WH encounter?
Two USS Indianapolis survivors from my area will be attending the reunion this weekend in Indianapolis. As I mentioned in my previous post in this thread, I was honored to meet Mr. Riggens and Mr. McCall a few months before Mr. Riggens passed away.
The article says there are about 45 survivors still living and about 15 are expected at the reunion.
Survivors of Indianapolis head to reunion | News-Gazette.com
thanks for the post. I do hope some day they find the wreck
I just finished posting the damage report for Indianapolis that put her into Mare Island for her last repair and overhaul. A much overshadowed event in her history:
Researcher@Large - CA-35 USS Indianapolis Damage Report - Kamikaze hit, March 1945
thanks for posting
It seems the general idea is that someone had to be blamed and McVay was the unfortunate scapegoat...
But wouldn't the focus have been on the Japanese?
If a military ship is hit by Japanese torpedoes during a war against Japan, isn't it the Japanese that the public/Navy/Brophy Snr/whoever would blame? i.e. blame the people who deliberately fired torpedoes at the ship.
I'm interested to hear what you think about why an American scapegoat seemed necessary.
He was the captain, everything that happens is his responsibility...One of the pitfalls that go with the many perks of being captain.
No. The Navy knew what they did. However, questions were raised, for whatever reasons, as to the actions of Captain McVay and the focus was to see if McVay's decisions had any effect on what happened...ie. could the sinking have been prevented by zig-zagging.
Depends. Sometimes it is a matter of "CYA", such as Captain Turner & Lusitania, and sometimes it is a matter of "how can we prevent this from happening again?" such as after the Battle of Savo Island.
900 some men die, 600 or so of these deaths happen in the days after the sinking because of a "breakdown" of the "system." Rightly or wrongly, it will usually be the "small fish" that pays the highest price, and McVay was the "small fish."
Now, had most of the survivors been rescued promptly, thus the loss of life would not have been so high, there probably would not have been such a big deal made over the loss of the USS Indianapolis.
A similar thing happened to Rochefort, who led the decryption team for Coral sea and Midway. He ran afoul of the Redmond brothers, one who was in charge of naval communications in DC and repeatedly bumped heads with Rochefort over control of the decryption effort. King got tired of the squabble and sent Rochefort packing after Midway. Despite arguing that the Midway attack would be every where but Midway, the Redmonds then claimed credit for the success and got them selves medals and successfully squashed one for Rochefort until the 1970's
Yesterday I looked at Kaiten: Japan's Secret Manned Suicide Submarine and the First American Ship It Sank in WWii, by Michael Mair and Joy Waldron.
No mention of Indianapolis. As it would have been the largest ship killed by a kaiten it would have been the centerpiece of the book, I believe.
No one was saying that the Indianapolis was sunk by a Kaiten. IIRC, this was a countinuing bit about recent submarine sightings & attacks in the vicinity of the Indianapolis' path.
FYI, Hashimoto had two Kaitens manned, but chose not to fire them because of the ease of the shot, and that he figured that the Kaiten would not be able to find the target in the dark.
I think Takao is correct. Following is an excerpt about I-58 and the sinking of the Indianapolis.
29 July 1945:
Philippine Sea, 250 miles N of Palau. At sunset, the INDIANAPOLIS is zigzagging at 17 knots in overcast weather. Captain McVay orders zigzagging ceased because of poor visibility. At 2305, following a radar check, I-58 surfaces. She is heading south when her navigation officer Lt Tanaka spots a ship approaching from the east, 90-degrees off the port beam at 11,000 yards. LtCdr Hashimoto identifies the target as an IDAHO-class battleship. The target is making 12 knots and not zigzagging. Hashimoto dives and prepares to attack with conventional torpedoes. He also alerts FPO1C Shiraki Ichiro to man No. 6 kaiten, with No. 5 (FPO1C Nakai Akira, both bow kaiten) as reserve, but he doubts the pilots can find the target in the dark with their short (2.9m) Type 97 periscopes. When the distance is down to 4,400 yards, INDIANAPOLIS commences a slow turn to port. Hashimoto realizes that she will pass by so close that his torpedoes will not have time to arm. He orders right rudder and begins a long circle to increase the range. At 2326 (JST), at 1,650 yards, the angle on INDIANAPOLIS' bow is 60 degrees starboard. Hashimoto fires six Type 95 torpedoes in spread with 2-second intervals, set to the depth of 4 meters. At 2335, Hashimoto observes three equally spaced hits on the starboard side. The first is slightly forward of the No. 1 turret, the second is abreast of the same turret, followed by an explosion and flame. The third is near the bridge, abreast the No. 2 turret. Hashimoto sees that his target is stopped, is listing to starboard and down by the bow. He decides another attack is necessary and dives to 100 feet to open the range, reloading his two forward torpedo tubes. 
30 July 1945:
At 0027, INDIANAPOLIS capsizes and sinks by the bow at 12-02N, 134-48E. Thirty minutes after his last observation, Hashimoto raises his periscope, but his target is gone. After surfacing a new check reveals no further traces of his victim. I-58 departs the area at full speed, heading north while recharging its batteries.
*bump* for an update-
"New light has been shed on the possible location of a US vessel that sank in the final days of World War II.
The USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was on a top secret mission delivering parts of an atomic bomb in July 1945, when it was hit by a Japanese torpedo in the Pacific Ocean. Several attempts have been made to locate the vessel in the past without any success.
Now, Dr. Richard Hulver from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) has revealed that he has come across a story of a World War II sailor who claimed to have passed the USS Indianapolis less than a day before it was attacked.
The majority of the 1,197 men on board the USS Indianapolis survived the attack, but most stranded sailors were then eaten by sharks as dehydration and exhaustion set in.
This matched up with an account from the Indianapolis captain, Charles McVay III, claiming that his ship crossed paths with another about 11 hours before it sank.
Hulver then checked national records, which confirmed the sailor was a passenger on tank landing ship USS LST-779.
A further check confirmed that the stories were linked, and this could now lead to a new search for the Indianapolis' remains.
The vessel had completed its job of delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the Pacific Island of Tinian, and was heading west for the Philippines when it was hit by two Japanese torpedoes.
Historian Richard Hulver has uncovered further information on the ship's whereabouts, which could lead to another search for its remains. A number of explorations have been conducted in the past, with no success.
At the time of the attack, the vessel had completed its job of delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the Pacific Island of Tinian, and was heading west for the Philippines.
Most of the 1,197 crew on board survived the initial attack, but as nobody was sent out to find the ship, sharks, drowning, and dehydration all eventually got to the sailors.
Despite crew sending SOS signals before the ship sank, the messages were ignored. Neither was any notice taken when it didn't arrive at its destination.
As sailors reached their fourth day floating helplessly in the Pacific Ocean, with many survivors believed to be 'delirious', a navy plane overhead spotted some of the men.
By then, there were only 316 left.
'It's obviously gratifying to find a part of the story that hasn't been told - to discover a new part of an important episode in U.S. naval history,' Hulver told the US Navy website Navy.mil, 'but more importantly, the Navy has an obligation to honor the sacrifice of those who serve.
'NHHC does this by expanding the body of knowledge about our Navy's history.'
'The LST-779 data sheds new light on where Indianapolis was attacked and sunk,' Hulver added. 'This brings us closer to discovering the final resting place of the ship and many of her crew.
'It has been humbling and an honor to learn more about the crew of Indianapolis and do my small part to ensure that their story lives on.
'I'm honored to [be] a part of that effort.'
Loel Dean Cox, a seaman who was 19 at the time, was on duty on the bridge when the ship was attacked.
Cox spoke to the BBC world Service, recalling how the situation unfolded.
'Whoom. Up in the air I went. ' He said, 'There was water, debris, fire, everything just coming up and we were 81ft (25m) from the water line.
'It was a tremendous explosion. Then, about the time I got to my knees, another one hit. Whoom.'
As a second torpedo struck the vessel, it was torn in half, and a call was made to abandon ship. Cox explained how he was able to climb to the top side and jump into the water as the entire carrier began to roll.
'I turned and looked back. The ship was headed straight down. You could see the men jumping from the stern, and you could see the four propellers still turning."
I reckon sharks ate the ship...they ate everything else...The picture often published of Indianapolis survivors being picked up, is actually survivors from a different sinking. Wouldn't Japanese naval records give a decent idea of where the action took place?
Ironically, the ship's bell was removed as a weight saving measure before she left Mare Island.
Nothing ironic about it. Wartime modifications, especially in the areas of anti-aircraft, and electronics added a good deal of top weight. Great efforts were taken to reduce weight wherever possible.
I mean ironic in the sense that such a symbolic artifact was removed immediately prior to her final voyage.