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Sept. 8 1923, 7 out of 14 Destroyers Lost

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posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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Good afternoon ATS.
I live on California's central coast and wanted to share a part of our history that many of you might be aware of but surprisingly many do not. 25 brave sailors lost their lives in this tragedy.
As the Thread title says on September 8, 1923 7 Destroyers led by the USS Delphy wound up on the rocks in the largest single loss of Naval vessels in one incident until the attack on Pearl Harbor. I will direct you to a superior cite for information on this event which I reference almost exclusively for this thread.

Point Honda Reasearch

Please take a peak.





Between 2105 and 2115, on that day, seven destroyers out of a total of fourteen, steaming in column formation with the Eleventh Destroyer Squadron, Pacific Battle Fleet, on a 20-knot, high-speed, endurance test of their cruising turbines, were trapped in a web of sharp, volcanic spires along the rocky California coast and were stranded.


I found interesting that this terrible accident was caused by a combination of serious errors in navigation, limited communication technology and unlikely and unconsidered current and swell conditions resulting from an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

1) Limited Communication technology;


"The old spark transmitters of the day (1920 era) emitted a strong wideband of radio frequency interference which would have made it difficult if not impossible to carry on a ship to ship radiotelephone (voice) communication simultaneously. It is likely that radio procedures at that time required the bridge, where the radiotelephone probably was located, to call down to the radio-room requesting that the spark transmitter for Morse code (cw) not be used until the radiotelephone conversation was completed. I do not know this for a certainty but I do have extensive knowledge of seaborne radiocommunications as I was a Radio Officer aboard Army Transports."


This was part of the problem with navigation also.
The USS Delphy requested radio bearings twice with no response due to the above referenced description of the radio challenges. There were additional requests by the other vessels intercepted by Delphy thinking they were meant for them and dismissed the bearings as inaccurate.

The Delphy the relied on DR (Dead Reckoning) that was not supported by conditions on the water or the speed at which the column was traveling.


On November 7, 1923, Lieutenant Commander Hunter, skipper of the Delphy and self-proclaimed navigator on September 8, 1923, testified at his trial by General Courts-martial concerning the navigational situation.



16. Q. If you have any other statement to make to the court relative to navigational work of the Delphy, please make it now.?

A. I believe that the contributory factors to the loss of the Delphy were unusual and abnormal currents which could not be anticipated with the weather conditions as they were, and to the fact that a very thick fog extended not more than 500 yards from the coast line, when the visibility at the time of the change of course was a good two miles, which prevented us from seeing the danger and taking steps to avoid it.[x]

Lieutenant Commander Hunter taught navigation for two years at the Naval Academy prior to assuming command of the Delphy. On September 8, 1923, he navigated the Delphy by dead reckoning because he did not trust the radio compass signals sent to the Delphy from the station at Point Arguello. Several of the radio signals indicated that the Delphy was heading directly toward the station, although, the dead reckoning position showed the Delphy in safe waters.



This is where it gets interesting to me based on my personal experience after the Fukashima EQ. and tidal wave that hit Santa Barbara in 2011. I personally don't buy this and thought that it may just have been a large pacific ground swell but I am no expert. I say this because the tidal weave after Fukashima did not take 3 days to get here.


Whether the oceanic changes on this side are the direct result of the upheaval in Japan, or whether they are due to a secondary disturbance in the bed of the ocean a comparatively few miles off the California coast, is yet unknown. Whether the bed of the ocean here has changed is also a matter of conjecture, and will be until new soundings can be made throughout the area of disturbance.


All of the potential causes are moot now as the navy has put this to bed but the stories of heroism and selflessness are incredible. In the article their is an account from Ens. William D. Wright that is too long to quote yet is worth the read to get a flavor for the chaos that fateful night.

Finally some pics..





Thanks for your attention. Peace




posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 03:17 PM
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shameless bump before going into a meeting...

because I am not above doing it...



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by howmuch4another
 

Thanks for posting this. There is always something that can be learned from these tragedies, even after so many years. The sea can be very beautiful but also very cruel and wherever possible, nothing should be left to chance. Many have learned this the hard way, to their loss.

My father was in the Royal Navy for 8 years from 1945-53 and my maternal grandfather was lost in 1942 when his ship was torpedoed by a Kriegsmarine U Boat... So I have more than a passing interest in such matters.

Regarding the references to the Japan quake events: I agree with you. It is highly unlikely that the great Kwanto quake would have produced any serious effects in this case, as it occurred a week before, on Sept 1, 1923. (Reference: USGS Historic Earthquakes report) Not even the much more powerful quake of March 11 last year had significant effects on the oceans a week later.

However, in a Court Martial, I guess the accused has to try anything by way of mitigation.

I suppose one lesson to take from this tragedy is to allow greater margins of safety under harsh conditions, especially if only DR is being used to navigate.

Best regards,

Mike



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by JustMike
 


thnks for checking it out. You are a family of "damp socks" for sure. I'm sure you hold a special place for your grandfather... what a terrifying experience.

The biggest take away from this event in my opinion is about the value of triangulation when navigating. Assuming ones position is just asking for trouble.

peace.



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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Nice post.

Amazing how far things have come in less than 100 years.



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 04:20 PM
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reply to post by Beavers
 


the thought that our technology prevented us from effective communication and navigation it is amazing we hadn't lost more vessels in that era.

thanks for participating



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 04:28 PM
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reply to post by howmuch4another
 



I'd definitely never heard of this tragedy before.
Thanks for sharing!



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 04:59 PM
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Very interesting and I never knew this! Also the year and the unfortunately casualty count...



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 05:25 PM
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reply to post by lambros56 reply to post by abeverage
 


I was not aware of this until I moved nearby and happened upon a memorial celebration over 15 years ago. I understand that there is still memorial but I don't know if it is annual.
edit on 8/21/2012 by howmuch4another because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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Thanks OP. A major incident in US Naval history, worst peacetime disaster. I read the book Tragedy at Honda about this event many years ago, 9 destroyers ran aground and 7 remain on those rocks. If you visit Jalama beach near that area the shop in there has a number of photos of those ships, perhaps some that you display in your post came from their collection. It is often pea-soup fog there.

On one particular visit I recall walking along the beach with a friend on a similarly foggy day. We could not see each other nor our own feet. Our voices were booming, talking as we were walking astride of each other, but otherwise had no visual point of reference. It was a wonder we did not get disoriented and lost ourselves during that stroll.

They had no clue they were on the mainland until hearing a passing train. Until then it was their guess they may have grounded on the channel islands. At least that is how the story was portrayed in the book I referenced. That is difficult to imagine as Anacapa is the closest island to shore and is about 11 miles out. The coast makes a large and abrupt swing inward south of Point Conception to enter the channel. They made that turn too early, troubled likely by unusual currents and tides, a late change of course would have put them on the islands. This incident put an end to the "follow the leader" tradition the navy used up until that time with group ship maneuvers.


edit on 21-8-2012 by Erongaricuaro because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 05:51 PM
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Thanks for posting OP.

I was unaware of this event and found the info you presented very interesting.



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 06:05 PM
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Originally posted by Erongaricuaro
Thanks OP. A major incident in US Naval history, worst peacetime disaster. I read the book Tragedy at Honda about this event many years ago, 9 destroyers ran aground and 7 remain on those rocks. If you visit Jalama beach near that area the shop in there has a number of photos of those ships, perhaps some that you display in your post came from their collection. It is often pea-soup fog there.

On one particular visit I recall walking along the beach with a friend on a similarly foggy day. We could not see each other nor our own feet. Our voices were booming, talking as we were walking astride of each other, but otherwise had no visual point of reference. It was a wonder we did not get disoriented and lost ourselves during that stroll.

They had no clue they were on the mainland until hearing a passing train. Until then it was their guess they may have grounded on the channel islands. At least that is how the story was portrayed in the book I referenced. That is difficult to imagine as Anacapa is the closest island to shore and is about 11 miles out. The coast makes a large and abrupt swing inward south of Point Conception to enter the channel. They made that turn too early, and a late change of course would have put them on the islands. This incident put an end to the "follow the leader" tradition the navy used up until that time with group ship maneuvers.


edit on 21-8-2012 by Erongaricuaro because: (no reason given)


I quoted your entire post. I surf Jalama beach regularly and I know of what you speak. I have walked to Point Conception at low tide only to be forced to climb to the railroad tracks up a cliff to get back to camp as the tide changed rapidly. Conditions change unmercifully in that area. That is why I don't buy the earthquake/tsunami explanation.
I think the very notion of follow the leader when the leader is guessing is a recipe for tragedy



posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 06:15 PM
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Thanks for posting this up, I'm a Navy vet and remember hearing about this and never got around to doing any research so I'll enjoy the links. I did some navigation on my last ship primarily tons of Maneuvering Boards aka "MO boards"
On the O'Kane we used all the new technology as a check against our plots and charts.



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