Dear readers, for certain many of you were taught in childhood that doing several things at the same time, and especially after the sleeves, is not very good. This is even harmful, proved by fifth points, in case the head did not think about what the rest of the body does.
Today's story will be about the events of almost a hundred years ago, but here's the thing: there are things that do not have a statute of limitations and can serve as examples in 200 years.
All the sailors and knowledgeable have already realized that we are talking about the incident at Point Honda or, as it is called in America, Point Honda Disaster.
But let's look at this event from a slightly different point of view. So it will be more interesting.
First, a short excursion into history. It was in 1923. World War I ended long ago, countries have already begun to get used to peaceful life.
For the entire World War I fleet that fought ... no, fought, losses fleet made up 438 officers and 6 sailors. And three (!) Warships.
The old (w / and 420 tons) destroyer "Chauncey" was rammed by the British transport "Rose" and went to the bottom with a quarter of the crew, the destroyer "Jacob Jones" (w / and 1 tons) and the ship of the coast guard "Tampa" (w / and 000 tons) were torpedoed by German submarines.
For the year of participation in the war.
And on an absolutely peaceful day on September 9, 1923, the US Navy lost seven new warships at once. And the two ships that were damaged were saved.
In general, one person was more effective than all the German Navy of the First World War.
If you carefully analyze this incident, it turns out that a whole chain of events led to this nightmare. The most interesting thing is that if at least one link had been dropped out of this chain, such an incident would not have happened.
But everything played in such a way that the United States lost not just seven new ships, but seven of the latest destroyers, whose colleagues quite survived, reached the Second World War and took part there, although not in the first roles, but still served.
Guilty of the idea would have to admit the commander of the unit who staged such a show.
Meet Captain First Rank Edward Howe Watson.
Graduate of the United States Naval Academy in June 1895. He served on the cruiser Detroit during the Spanish-American War. After he commanded the supply ship "Celtic", served as a senior officer of the battleship "Utah", after the battleship - the commander of the gunboat "Wheeling".
Watson spent most of the First World War, commanding the Madavasca military transport, then the Alabama battleship, receiving the Naval Cross for "exclusively dedicated service."
Watson was a good sailor. By the age of 46, he became captain of the first rank - this is an indicator. He commanded a large ship (battleship "Alabama"), was a naval attache in Japan.
In general, a good list for a servant who would like to die an admiral. And Watson really wanted, apparently.
However, according to the standards and regulations of the American fleet, the admiral had to be able to command ship formations and have real experience. That is, to be not paper, but a real naval commander.
At the headquarters of the fleet, they decided that Watson was worthy of admiral's stripes and appointed him to command the 11th destroyer fleet. This was the first mistake.
The commander of a destroyer or destroyer formation is really not a simple officer. Based on the type of ship and methods of its use, I somehow allowed myself to call the destroyer "marine consumables." Indeed, the destroyer is a special ship. Fast, maneuverable, but completely unprotected. The armor is more than conditional. Weapon...
In general, this is a ship that must be used not like a battleship or a cruiser. Even against their own kind.
Hence, the commander of the destroyer should not be a simple officer. For him, speed and decisiveness in making decisions, a certain share of adventurism and the ability to take risks are very important. Very useful qualities for the battle, but, as the practice of thousands of examples has shown, in peacetime such qualities of a person can become a source of additional problems.
And so it happened. True, it is not known how Watson was endowed with these qualities, the story is silent about this. But in the list of ships on which Watson served, the destroyer is absent altogether. Military transport, battleship, gunboat - these are ships of a slightly different nature.
Nevertheless, in July 1922, Watson was appointed to command the formation of destroyers ... In general, they themselves are to blame.
In the summer of 1923, the fleet began large maneuvers. The entire US Pacific Fleet took part in them and around and around California it was somewhat lively. At the end of the maneuvers, the formations of the ships began to disperse in their places of deployment.
The 11th destroyer flotilla, lining up in a convoy of 14 ships, began moving in the direction of San Diego.
All the destroyers in the formation were of the same type, the Clemsons, laid down at the very end of the war, from 1918 to 1919. That is actually new. Each worth 1 million and 850 thousand dollars in 1920 prices. If you count in modern - about 27 million modern.
These were the destroyers of the last series, the so-called smooth-deck, not having a forecastle. The Clemson displacement was 1250 tons, length 95 m, speed 35,5 knots. The armament consisted of 4 102 mm guns and 12 torpedo tubes. The crew in the state totaled 131 people.
Watson held his flag on Delphi destroyer.
Behind the flagship were three columns of destroyers, sub-sectional.
31st Division: Farragut, Fuller, Percival, Somers and Chauncey.
32nd Division: Kennedy, Paul Hamilton, Stoddart and Thompson.
33rd division: “S. P. Lee ”,“ Young ”,“ Woodbury ”and“ Nicholas ”.
The first link in the chain of events was the permission of Rear Admiral Sumner Kittel for the flotilla to move to San Diego with a 20-node move.
In general, in peacetime, for the sake of economy, fuel consumption was normalized. The budget, as they say, is not rubber. Because the destroyers were not allowed to exceed the speed of 15 knots at the transitions. However, from time to time it was necessary to “give a burn” in the literal sense of the word for the sake of checking all ship systems. Given that by the end of the year, after long maneuvers, no campaigns were foreseen, Kittel ALLOWED Watson to march to the base in San Diego at a speed of 20 knots.
Not ORDERED, but AUTHORIZED. There is a difference, obviously. But Watson took it not just like that, but as an order by which he would receive some bonuses and preferences. It is possible that both this and the almost 900-kilometer crossing in a short time would give something to the future admiral. Especially fast and trouble-free transition. Daily, instead of one and a half days.
The sea, as many eyewitnesses noted, was unusually calm. The destroyers were equipped with the latest radio equipment: direction finders. At that time - the most advanced equipment, an analogue of modern GPS, which really made it possible to safely navigate ships from point A to point B.
But there was a problem. And it consisted in the fact that neither the flotilla commander nor his navigator Hunter completely trusted this system. Moreover, Watson forbade subordinates to independently check the place on the direction finder, so as not to "load the channel." Then the system could only process one call per unit of time. You can call it the second part of a brewing nightmare. It is quite possible.
On the day the flotilla arrived, the weather was fine at first, but then it began to deteriorate. Fog fell on the sea, a thing not at all rare in the local latitudes in winter and autumn. And finally, the gyrocompass broke on the flagship. But real sea wolves said, “Well, okay!” and went along the magnetic compass.
And the weather continued to deteriorate. Visibility deteriorated, and Watson took a fairly logical move: he built ships from three columns into one wake. In order to avoid collisions with each other in the fog.
But Watson and Hunter did not take into account one more thing, which seems to have happened far away, on the other hand ... On the other side of the world, September 1, 1923, the Great Kanto earthquake of 7,9 magnitude occurred in Japan. It not only caused the deaths of several hundred thousand people, and almost wiped Tokyo and Yokohama from the face of the earth, but also caused 13-meter tsunamis. Waves gradually rolled across the entire Pacific Ocean to the American coast, weakening along the way, of course, but not completely. Sea currents under their influence changed their speed, which ultimately led to a navigational error. Three.
And four at once. At Delphi, in violation of all possible requirements, there was a civilian passenger - Eugene Douman, Watson's acquaintance from Japan, whom the captain kindly decided to throw up to San Diego.
Of course, many old acquaintances were united by many topics, so Watson did not greatly trouble himself appearing on the bridge, giving the reins to Hunter. And he, along with the guest, probably discussed certain prospects and all that. Over a glass. A glass.
At 14:15, the Point Arguello bearing station gave the squadron an azimuth of 167 degrees. According to the azimuth given to Delphi, the destroyers were south of Arguello lighthouse, while they were only approaching it from the north. Before it was possible to establish the true azimuth, a rather long radio exchange took place. Yes, Hunter had real complaints about the direction finding system, which in 1923 was generally normal. The imperfection of the equipment is quite an everyday matter.
In general, it would be nice to take, go to the lighthouse and accurately establish your place on the map. But Hunter did not do this. Apparently, he hoped to do without newfangled gizmos. And the column went on reckoning.
However, the excitement intensified, not only did the currents drift in unusual directions, but also the propellers of the destroyers were often above the waves, spinning idle. This also had an effect on the calculations, increasing the discrepancy between the true and estimated location of the squadron.
As the ship moves, a calculation error accumulates: the greater the distance traveled from the starting point, the less accurate the result of calculating the current location. This occurs for various reasons, both objective (lateral drift of the ship by the current or the wind, a decrease or increase in true speed due to the same factors), and subjective (all kinds of errors of the navigator).
Therefore, as you move, you need regular location updates. When sailing along the coast, the easiest way is available: observing coastal landmarks with known coordinates, for example, lighthouses. The purpose of clarifying the ship's location could also serve as a measurement of depth. But this is so ... for those who are not entirely sure of their calculations or too cautious. Sea wolves act differently.
At 20:00, when the flotilla had been on the campaign for 13 hours, the flagship handed over its estimated coordinates to the commanders of the ships, but did not require them to indicate their place, although he was obliged to do so.
Of course, on some ships, navigators noticed discrepancies between their own plotting of the course and the flagship data, but no one got to correct the coordinates. The initiative was punishable in the armies and navy at all times, and the American was no exception. Well, everyone was silent. Suddenly Watson will become Admiral?
And following this course, an hour later, at 21:00, Watson ordered the Delphi to turn east towards the Santa Barbara Strait. The wake column followed the flagship.
Five minutes later, Delphi crashed into Point Honda rock at a speed of 20 knots and plowed the bottom on the starboard side. A fire broke out in the engine room, three people died from injuries sustained in a collision.
Following the Delphi, Somers and Farragut hit the rocks. They were much more fortunate, the Somers managed to stop altogether, and the Farragut bounced off a cliff and ran aground, with which he was able to independently get off. There were no casualties on these destroyers.
"FROM. P. Lee, who was walking in the wake of the Delphi, managed to turn away by some miracle and did not crash into the flagship, but found his rock. He could not escape from the cliff. There were no victims either.
At the stern so cute packs of deep bombs look ...
The destroyer "Young". Many eyewitnesses had the opinion that either there was no one on the bridge, or everyone was numb, because the ship did not make the slightest attempt to leave the rocks. As a result, the hull was torn, water gushed inside, the "Young" fell on the starboard side. Killed 20 crew members.
The Woodbury turned right and calmly sat on a nearby rock. "Nicholas" also turned right, ran into a rock and broke in half. There were many wounded on both ships, but no one was killed.
But the show didn’t end there. The Farragut, falling down from the stones, so energetically handed back that it ran into the Fuller coming from behind. And surprisingly, “Farragut” crushed a new bucket, escaping with a slight startle, but “Fuller”, trying to avoid a collision, also expectedly hit a rock and flooded the engine room.
The Chauncey managed to stop, but then set off and went ahead in order to help the ships in trouble. And, of course, also sat on the stones.
Percival, Kennedy, Paul Hamilton, Stoddart, Thompson escaped the rocks.
A rescue operation was launched, and all the crews of the ships involved in the accident ended up on the shore.
All fourteen captains and eleven other officers fell under the tribunal. The court found three guilty: Watson, the flag navigator Hunter and the commander of Nicholas Resh. For company.
The most interesting thing is the sentences. No one was shot, imprisoned, expelled from service. They just didn’t even fire anyone. The penalty was the delay in awarding the next rank. Watson, however, was taken far away from the ships, and he ended up serving as assistant commandant of the 14th Naval District, which was located in Hawaii. And in 1929 he retired.
In fact, a surprisingly mild sentence to gouges who wrecked 7 ships worth $ 10 million in old money.
There is a version that relatives helped here. The fact is that the mother of captain Watson, Germine Carey Gratz, had a sister, Helen Gratz, who married Godfrey Lewis Rockefeller ... Yes, the son of William Rockefeller Jr., the younger brother of "the same" John Davison Rockefeller ...
Although it is possible that Watson’s family ties had absolutely nothing to do with it. The court, a democratic and humane American court, took into account fog, storm, imperfect communication systems ...
It remains only to say that the remains of seven new ships after the evacuation of all the equipment that survived and could be taken out were sold to the scrap metal merchant for $ 1. That is approximately 035 current dollars.