Forum: Rumors
Topic: Rumors - Part 3
started by: Ken Hackler

Posted by Ken Hackler on Jul. 06 2001,9:26
[I copied this from "That Photo Again" in the Tennessee - Wee Vee section, since it applies here as much as there]

Hi guys!  

The WW2 magazine article is out, and I received my copies the other day. The problem is that WW2 made a dozen or so editorial changes that (1) made something incorrect in the article, or (2) removed it entirely.

Some examples are that the editors changed "United States Naval Institute Proceedings" to "U.S. Navy Proceedings." They also changed the text to say that USS Curtiss and Monaghan ordered USS Case to drop a depth charge on Midget B that evening, which is also wrong. Case did drop the depth charge, but Curtiss and Monaghan had nothing to do with her orders to do it. Finally, they altered the original at one point to say "...Breese reported sighting two submarine conning towers about 8:30 a.m., not long after the final wave of Japanese planes had attacked the harbor."  Of course that is totally wrong.

It's funny what editors will do to you without you even knowing it.  They left most of the article alone though, so I am not going to yelp too loud!

I'll get the deleted stuff together and put it on here if anyone is interested in this photo. It's more interesting for what can be seen in the photo than the fairy tales created by people like Burl Burlingame and the "Autometric Team." I've put a few posts in the midget submarine section already concerning this photo and their imaginary submarine, along with a close-up of the photo showing what it really is.

It's somewhat humorous but Burl Burlingame cites the Autometric fantasy in one of the websites promoting his book. He says that "government investigators" (i.e., the Autometric people) confirmed one of his radical theories, that there was a second midget submarine and it was photographed (i.e., the famous photo).  His book is so filled with errors that he has to resort to creative fiction like that to promote it. Here are links to his site, if you'd like to read what he himself wrote (in the third person) about his books.

Of course the Autometric people were not "government investigators" nor did they find a second midget sub in the harbor. They found a  hair or fiber on an old photo and decided to get some PR out of it by calling it a submarine.

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Unfortunately, the current rumor is that the Naval Institute has lowered their standards to the point where they are going to reprint his book. If that is true you can expect a new round of rumor concerning the submarines!

I didn't bother responding to Autometric's latest fantasy (Proceedings magazine, Dec 2000) because some things are just not worth the ink.

For example, they make a big deal about "new information" from Japan, then all they write about are the well-known release times and locations. These guys are such poor scholars they use the names from the 1967 hoax article in "Our Navy" magazine even though the actual names of the midget submarine crewmen have been known since 1942.

Also, they make a big fuss over the mysterious "electric light barrier" based on an interview Dan Martinez conducted with an unnamed veteran. The problem is that Martinez didn't check the guy's story, and neither did Autometric. It's nothing but a war story, changed over the years.

If anyone had bothered to look it up (Hewitt Inquiry, Exhibits 74 and 75) they'd have known that the electric indicator lights were installed on December 27, 1941, as a result of the Pearl Harbor attack, not before.

There was nothing in place prior to that, and there is no real mystery about this except why these people are allowed to write history. Of course, looking in the archives at other 14ND documents would help them tremendously, but none of them have ever allowed research to get in the way of a story!

Remember, your tax dollars are going to the Boeing-Autometric people for defense-related photographic interpretation. I suppose they deserve it being the "experts" they are, but one does have to wonder if this photo and series of articles are examples of their work.

By the way, I have e-mailed Dan Martinez asking for the name of the man he interviewed, but I suspect my e-mail was lost in the shuffle someplace. I'd be willing to bet Dan receives a load of e-mail each day. If anyone sees him at Pearl you might ask him for the name of the unnamed sailor, mostly because I hate leaving loose ends dangling like that.

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 9:30 am on July 7, 2001)

Posted by Curtis Croulet on Nov. 24 2001,11:35
The Autometric boys are nothing if not persistent.  "The first selected for the timeline was an image showing the effects of the first aerial torpedo strike against Battleship Row.  It also shows the presence of a midget submarine." ("Death of the Arizona," by Rodgaard, Hsu, Lucas and Biache, Naval History, Dec 2001, p.25)
Posted by Ken Hackler on Nov. 24 2001,11:55
Yes, they certainly are persistent.  Too bad they cannot study history before trying to write it.

Their insistence that a second midget submarine - they claim the I-16 midget - made it into Pearl is based on faulty research and logic.

For example, they claim that a mysterious "electric light barrier" indicated that a submarine entered the channel in the early morning hours of December 7, based on an interview that Daniel Martinez conducted with a man who claimed to have been on watch that night.  

The problem is that the indicator net lights were not installed until Christmas, as a result of the attack, and not before.  The unknown sailor's story is a war story, and nothing more.

What did happen on the night of 6-7 December 1941 at about the time they mention is that a tug towing a barge entered the channel.  The "lights" they refer to are not sensors of any sort, but rather simply net status lights showing that the net was open or closed.  If the net was closed a red light was shown. A green light meant the channel was open to outbound traffic, and a white light meant the channel was open to inbound traffic.

According to the logs of the net vessel YNG-17, the nets were fully opened from 0217 to 0225 to allow the tug Hercules to enter with her tow (white light shown for inbound traffic).  

According to the Autometric theory, the I-16 midget used not more than 10 knots from her release point and time to make it to the nets, which were open for that 8 minutes.  They base their calculations on 4-5 knots, which is in line with the documented Japanese plan.  However, at 5 knots the I-16 midget would have arrived at the nets around 0235, after they were closed again following the tug's entry.

My questions for the Autometric Team would be:

How did the I-16 midget know she had to be there at that time?  In other words, why would she have used more speed to arrive in time for the open nets instead of the planned 4-5 knots for the transit?  

She was released first, and only 7 miles from the entrance buoys, so what reason would her skipper have had to believe he needed to hurry?  No submarine skipper in his right mind would use more speed to hurry someplace when he didn't have to. That would deplete his battery too quickly.  

If anything, he had ample time to make the transit at 4-5 knots (as far as he was concerned), although he would not have arrived when the nets were opened for the tug.

So much for their theory.

Also, since the nets are NOT shown on the charts used by the Japanese midget submarines, they would not have known where or when to dive to get under the nets in the event they were closed.  The Autometric people make the claim in their December 2000 Proceedings article that the Japanese knew about the nets, by stating, "At this point it is irrelevant whether the nets were open, because each midget crew planned on them being closed. They anticipated that each boat would need to dive below the nets (intellignece had told them how far down the nets went and how deep the channel was at this point)."  And yet the nets are not shown on the charts used by the midget submarines, and the Japanese spy at the consulate had documented previously that he did not know if there were nets or not.

Another major blow to their theory.

Something that the Autometric people don't seem to have thought of is that the nets were open at 0458 for Crossbill and Condor to enter, and not closed again until well into the air attack.  Why do the Autometric people insist that the I-16 midget entered between 0200-0230 when she could easily have entered when the nets were open, arriving at a time which makes a lot more sense given the situation.  

One midget made it into Pearl when the nets were opened for Crossbill and Condor, why not a second?  The answer is that a second midget never made it into Pearl at all, since all five are accounted for.  

Yes, I said all five, but more on that later.

Their logic is as flawed as their scholarship.  They claim to be experts, yet they do not do basic research.

I look forward to meeting them in Hawaii for the 60th Anniversary events.  I have a number of questions that I wish to have them answer.

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 11:30 am on Nov. 26, 2001)

Posted by Tracy White on Dec. 07 2001,6:08
I hope to hear your report soon!
Posted by Ken Hackler on Dec. 15 2001,12:42

I hope to have the completed manuscript ready this Spring, although that depends as much on my work schedule as anything.

In a nutshell, there is documentation that shows what happened to Midget E and why.  It has been available since the end of the war, although it seems to have been overlooked for some reason.

This is from official sources, not someone else's book or magazine article.  Cross your fingers that the editors think enough of this book to accept it!

Posted by Tony D on Dec. 17 2001,8:44

If you want to do a short essay on the subject, I'm always looking for new entries for our Technical Board section over at  You could do it as an addendum to our essay on the mini-submarine theory or as a free-standing topic.  I believe that you've seen the mini-sub essay already, but here is a link to it in case you haven't:

Please note that I added a link back to the Pearl Harbor Attacked Website down at the bottom of the essay.

Posted by Tracy White on Jan. 17 2002,5:04
Another tidbit that may be useful for you.
The February 2002 "Naval History" contains a comment by a Tom Taylor citing a mistake. While he says the photo shows a midget sub, he states that the time they quote is incorrect.

"The Analysis team used the Park Service's calculated time of the photograph at 0803, plus or minus 30 seconds, as the anchor for their timeline. I belive this to be a mistake.

All the references I have encountered are in agreement on one issue: the California (BB-44) received her torpedo hits at time frame 0805. One of the tracks leads straight into the california....the water spout from the battleship's torpedo explosion is not present in the picture...this would place the photo at time 0805 and closer to 0806 as the results of the torpedo hit are nearly complete."
Posted by Ken Hackler on Jan. 23 2002,8:12

Remember the source when citing Naval History magazine, or even Proceedings , since they are both published by the same organization, and both have a great deal invested in the "second sub in the harbor" theory.  Neither can back away from that fairy tale now after devoting so many pages to it in the past 2 years.

I haven't yet read the article you mention but I will get a copy this week.  Thanks!
Posted by David Aiken on Jan. 23 2002,10:15
Aloha All,
Of interest to the time line, in THE WAY IT WAS: PEARL HARBOR; THE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS by Goldstein, et al [ie: Mike Wenger] photo 6-45 is a clock recovered from the aft portion of USS Arizona. The time given is 0806. This means that either the first bomb hit stopped the clock or the second hit. As the clock was in the aft section, I suspect the initial bomb hit.

We should connect to this time the strike photo of the first hit on the aft of USS Arizona [shown in that same source as photo 6-41]. Note the final torpedo hit on USS Oklahoma in that photo 6-41...and the oil coming from the second-to-final torpedo hit on USS Nevada.

With all of the above in our mind, the torpedo attack sequence shown in "Torpedoing Pearl Harbor" by yours truely [Military History magazine, Dec 2001] becomes very important to the time line. How many aircraft came thru the gauntlet of fire of SE Loch to launch torpedoes from 0757 [Murata's torpedo] to 0806 [the final hit on USS Oklahoma, per the clock on USS Arizona]?

If we divide the time by the number of planes, we can almost determine when each torpedo hit came.... almost...

Posted by Tracy White on Jan. 23 2002,4:55
Agreed Ken...
I should have been a touch more clear. That comment was in a comments/corrections section. Indeed, right after the quoted comment was another one by one of the members working on the autometric team, I believe, with more "information."

Interesting idea David; has there ever been any documentation about the pause between when the torpedo bombers stopped and the high altitude bombs hit? I would suspect that might shorten your window down by a minute or 30 seconds.
Posted by David Aiken on Jan. 23 2002,8:16
Quote (Tracy White @ Jan. 23 2002,4:55)
Interesting idea David; has there ever been any documentation about the pause between when the torpedo bombers stopped and the high altitude bombs hit? I would suspect that might shorten your window down by a minute or 30 seconds.

Hi Tracy,
Note that the high-level strike photo on aft part of USS Arizona was by the second Kaga unit to drop bombs [first was on WVA/TN] ...AND two Akagi units had already dropped 10 bombs [on WVA/TN] ...when the final torpedo hit USS Oklahoma...

So there was no the contrary...they overlapped!
Posted by Tony D on Feb. 26 2002,2:10
Quote (David Aiken @ Jan. 23 2002,10:15)
. . . photo 6-45 is a clock recovered from the aft portion of USS Arizona. The time given is 0806. This means that either the first bomb hit stopped the clock or the second hit. As the clock was in the aft section, I suspect the initial bomb hit.

Curiosity set of questions:

I've always been bothered by the "stopped clock" method of dating significant events down to the minute.  How accurate were the ship clocks of the 1940s - or the 1910s, when the Arizona was built - at keeping time?  Were they synchronized with a master clock?  If so, how often?  If they were synchronized on a regular basis, was the master clock ship wide?  Fleet wide?

Likewise, I think that we've all heard stories about someone who pinpoints the time he hit the water by the fact that his wristwatch stopped.  OK, how accurate was the average sailor's wristwatch of the 1940s?  How often did the average sailor check his timepiece against a master to check its accuracy?

The only reason that I am bringing this up is because, unless there was some regimented synchronization of ship's clocks with a fleet-wide master, then is it reasonable to assume that you can really pin an event down to the minute based upon the time that a clock stopped?
Posted by David Aiken on Feb. 26 2002,4:56
Aloha Tony,
Excellent point! The best clocks were advertising "Coca-Cola" as they had a second hand! The rest didn't!

Yes, the USS Az clock is only a guide at best. Some reports say the second Arizona hit [explosion of ship] was at 0810,  some earlier...some later...

Of interest, the Japanese had similar "times" are a problem...sequence is more to my likeing.

Once we get the sequence understood, we get a better "feel" for the "times" in that it took a certain unit so much time to go from point A to point takes just so much time for a certain group of high-level bomber units [with known distances between aircraft and between units] to cross above a ship...thus we get a better understanding of how much time was involved... IF the Kaga high-level bomb group dropped its bomb pattern across USS Arizona, just as the final torpedo hit came to USS Oklahoma...and the number of torpedo planes that came thru Southeast Loch is known...can we get a feel for how much time was accomplished for that aspect and how would that change the 0755 "first bomb" hit at Hangar Six...and would that change the time given for the radio message of the code "To-ra"?

THEN we must relate that in terms that the general reader would understand...and THEY demand select "times"...

Posted by Tony D on Feb. 27 2002,9:17

Thank you for the explanation.  Sequences I understand and consider that they can be used to accurately chart a series of events.  A "stopped clock" doesn't and, IMHO, cannot.

My grandmother used to set her watch by the noon bells at St. Anthony's in DC and would argue ferociously with anyone who used a different standard, such as the clocks at the Naval Observatory.  I always remember that anecdote whenever I read of someone trying set the exact time of an event based upon a stopped watch or clock.
Posted by Ken Hackler on May 27 2002,10:03
Hey guys,

About the only thing you can say about time based on the photo is that it was after 0800, since the flag on the Nevada's fantail is already up.

Beyond that, getting within a few minutes is probably as good as it gets given the variation in times given by different ships. I've found the same event listed in different ship's logs five minutes apart, again, because not all clocks were exact.

Good luck on figuring this one out without a psychic to help!
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