Thursday, May 28, 2009

Circular Run Question

Got the following recently from Dr. John Christensen regarding the wreck and how it validates or disproves the circular run torpedo theory postulated by Richard O'Kane in his book "Wahoo".

If you've read the book you are familiar with O'Kane's assertion that Wahoo was transiting La Perouse on the surface and was first attacked by shore batteries before submerging and falling victim to a coordinated air and sea attack. In order to create a scenario that would require Morton to remain on the surface in daylight, O'Kane concluded some sort of damage must have prevented him from diving. He settled upon a casualty caused by a circular run torpedo.

Before I share my response to Dr. Christensen I'd like to hear from you. What do you interpret from the wreck photos? How credible do you think O'Kane's theory is (or was)?


In looking at the amazing photos and drawings of USS WAHOO provided by the Russian divers, it seems to me the damage could indeed be from a circular torpedo run, not necessarily an aerial bomb.

In Commander O'Kane's account of the circular torpedo run that sank USS TANG in "Clear the Bridge", he felt it would have hit TANG amidships (at the conning tower) had he not been able to accelerate. I believe the pictures of the USS WAHOO are also consistent with an amidships hit from a torpedo on a circular run.

This would be an important interpretation of these photos regarding the cause of WAHOO's sinking, especially since there is no corresponding record of an aerial hit from the Japanese, and in view of the experience and skill of USS WAHOO's skipper and crew in avoiding such a strike. See second page, divers drawings.

Thank you.
Dr John Christensen
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About Me

The first 'grown up' book Paul Crozier ever read was "War Fish" by George Grider. Since then he has spent most of his life researching the U.S. Submarine Force in WWII and USS Wahoo (SS-238) in particular.


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Admiral Chester Nimitz

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