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Topic: Rumors - Part 9, Autometric yet again< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,11:57  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Last night (December 7, 2003), the Discovery Channel aired a two-hour special on the myths of Pearl Harbor.

One of the myths they purported to dispel was that a second midget never entered Pearl Harbor.  They trotted out the same "experts" from Autometric, along with Burl Burlingame and Dan Martinez, and attempted to prove that a second midget entered Pearl and fired at Battleship Row that morning.

They used the same old photo and the same old arguments, and they made the same old mistakes.

For example, John Rodgaard pointed to their incorrect interpretation of the torpedo wakes visible in the photo and said that there were more wakes than drop points (i.e., splashes).  What Rodgaard failed to point out (again) is that there was another drop point behind (left in the photo) the two near their alleged submarine. He failed to point this out because it would seriously damage their contention that a midget submarine was in the photo firing torpedoes.

He also (yet again) failed to point out the obvious small boat in the photo some 30-50 yards from their alleged submarine, and why no one saw a submarine on the surface right in front of them at such a close range.  He also failed to explain how a submarine could surface in the middle of Pearl Harbor in the area where thousands of men were watching torpedo planes drop torpedoes, and NO ONE saw the submarine.  Again, pointing those things out would irreparably damage their theory.

Finally, I would ask Rodgaard and Company to explain why the submarine fired at the West Virginia, turned to port and fired at the Oklahoma, then turned back to starboard AWAY from their escape route, so that in the photo the alleged submarine is pointing back at the West Virginia.

It's absurd.  The problem is that the experts jumped all over a very flawed theory some years back, and now they cannot back away from it without considerable embarrassment.

I have a real problem with this though.  Being on television, now it is "fact" in the eyes of many.  These people have not only created a myth by their original series of very poorly researched and horribly flawed magazine articles, they are now perpetuating the myth to preserve their reputations.

I have said it many times before, but those who would attempt to write history should be far more careful.

MMC(SW) Ken Hackler
USN, Retired

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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Mike Wenger Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,12:49 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ken,

Regarding the facts (or, at least, as I interpret them)... I, too, think that a second midget in the harbor is very unlikely.  John Divirgilio, Jon Parshall and I made every effort to communicate that very notion to the people at the Discovery Channel.  The response, though courteous, was similar to that I received as an extra in the movie "Gettysburg".  "This is not a reenactment.  It is a movie.  And it is OUR movie."  After all, this was done principally by TV people, not historians.

However, I was heartened to see that the DC people did include some pieces of contrary opinion and evidence.  So perhaps there will be redemption of a sort coming from that.  The DC people were indeed most courteous, gracious, and appreciative of our views.  But in the end, they simply did not share them.

You are also correct regarding people who go out on a limb.  Those who stake their reputation on a certain version of the "truth" often leave themselves no graceful route of retreat.  How many times have we seen that?  The best solution is to admit culpability and move on (Lord knows I've had to do that often enough... remember Makino?), but the larger proportion of the Bell curve will prefer to dig in their heels.  Just human nature.

I have to say that the wargaming sequence with which I was involved was VERY interesting, and a NEAT idea.  

Best regards,
Mike W.

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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,1:10 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mike,

I don't know how many times over the years I was wrong about something when I was in the Navy and had to eat crow later.  Engineering is not a forgiving field when every day's decision is torn apart in the evening meetings with peers.

But I was heartened to see (as you pointed out) that they did put the U of Michigan interpretation of the rooster tails on the program even though it did not coincide with the theory put forth by Rodgaard and Company.  I would point out that the rooster tails have the least to do with their theory and in providing that information on air they did the least amount of damage to their theory while still providing the appearance of fairness and balance.

I would like them to have provided a much more fair and balanced approach though, which they would have done were they interested in the truth and not simply their theory.

For example -

I would love to see someone make a midget submarine conning tower and place it in the exact spot in Pearl Harbor as the object in the photograph, and do it at the same time of morning so the sun angle and shadows are similar.  

Then I would like them to place a 50-60 foot utility boat about 40 yards away.

Finally, I would like them to have observers on BB Row and the Navy Yard to see what those people would have seen in 1941.  Having a a helicopter in the area where the original plane took the photos would also allow a much more accurate recreation of the 1941 photo than they managed last night.

I have a very bad feeling though that all the publicity these guys get is doing nothing but perpetuating their myth at the expense of accuracy.  History suffers when one side is always on television without the other side of the story being told.  Most people in this country will watch television and simply assume it is fact.

By the way, I haven't talked to you in a while but I liked the war game portion of the show.  I agree with the admiral when he pointed out that the torpedo planes would likely have taken much greater losses in their attacks. I did notice that they allowed Dan Martinez to have the last word.

I am disturbed that the National Park Service Historian is allowed to use television to promote his views in such a fashion. I don't care that he has a TV show or has the views, but every single show he is on uses his official title.  That to me is a conflict that needs to be addressed.

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Mike Wenger Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,1:30 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ken,

Well, the Torpedo Bombing Unit did take 50% casualties for their efforts!  In addition, the CarDiv5 boys were rearmed with torpedoes (fortuitous, as the 1st wave indeed failed to sink anything!;).  It took torpedo attacks by 90+ aircraft to sink three ships and cripple a fourth.

Nonetheless, the R.Adm [Kimmel] was QUITE frosted by the results (much to our amusement and the delight of the producer).

I am hoping to submit a joint "Detailed Action Report" of the game session.  Had thought I would post it on J-Aircraft.com, but with the permission of the board here, I would likely post it on PHAMB as well.

Mike W.

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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,1:42 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mike,

I'd love to see the entire after action report since they only addressed it briefly on the show.  I would like to know how it all played out and what the parameters were to achieve the results they gave.

Out of curiosity, what was the amount of surprise allowed in hours?

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,2:10 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ken,

You know, I can't remember exactly.  So much for my appearance before the Hackler Inquiry!  I think it was 0530, but I've got some notes on this that I can check, Senator.

MW

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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,2:13 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mike,

That's ok not to remember :)  I was just thinking that if it was less than 4 or 5 hours, the battleships would probably have had a difficult time getting up steam to be out by 0755, or if clear of the harbor, then they would not be far from Oahu and certainly within sight of the island when the planes arrived.

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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Jim Adams Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2003,10:24 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"...I agree with the admiral when he pointed out that the torpedo planes would likely have taken much greater losses in their attacks. I did notice that they allowed Dan Martinez to have the last word.

I am disturbed that the National Park Service Historian is allowed to use television to promote his views in such a fashion. I don't care that he has a TV show or has the views, but every single show he is on uses his official title.  That to me is a conflict that needs to be addressed. "

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But gee Ken , doesn't Dan Martinez know more about Naval Tactics then a USN Admiral?



Jim Adams
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2003,9:46 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Welcome Jim.
Long have admired your additions to Pearl Harbor's history. Tis sad that you, too, are among "the long gray line" of ex-NPS rangers that served at the Memorial...I know several who were there who cited the continued battle action.
Cheers,
David
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Joan Mecteau Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2003,5:38 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I too saw the special last night. It was the first time I heard of this theory and I have studied that photo many times. Though I  watched with skepticisim (one thing I learned to do from this board) I knew I could count on all of you to set it straight.
 I do have one question. Even if it were a sub, how would it ever have gotten out of the harbor?

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