Why display flags in this manner anytime? M.E. does not have an answer to that question, nor a clue to what such an awkward, display contraption actually cost taxpayers.
More importantly, of course, is what it cost the USS Cheyenne (SSN-773)
in unnecessary storage space and added safety considerations for whomever had to haul the clumsy contraption to the bridge and mount it in such a congested area.
What we do know, however, is a bit of history that makes a case why this flag arrangement shown is probably an ill-conceived idea.
British J-class submarines had three screws, which enabled a speed of 19.5 knots (surfaced) against German vessels of WW1. One boat, HMS J6, was sunk by another British warship. Why? Check the dopey flag arrangement on the Cheyenne and read on:
Note that the above sub is not even fully surfaced. What's the point of showing colors? We know some of you are thinking this photo was not taken in a combat situation (TRUE, this time); others think modern technology would eliminates the kinds of human errors (poor judgement is not uncommon during the chaos of war) that sunk J6 in actual war (FALSE).
At least one U.S. sub
was likely sunk (all hands lost) by its own navy: [USS] Rowell's commanding officer knew he was in a safety lane, but, having failed to get word [USS] Seawolf [(SS-197)] was behind schedule, believed there was no U.S. submarine nearby and chose to attack. Rowell [(DE-403)] established sonar contact on the submarine, which then sent a series of dashes and dots which Rowell stated bore no resemblance to the existing recognition signals. Believing this an attempt to jam her sonar, Rowell attacked with Hedgehog. The second attack was followed by underwater explosions, and debris rose to the surface.
Post-war examination of Japanese records shows no attack listed that could account for the loss of Seawolf
. While it is possible Seawolf
was lost to an operational casualty or as a result of an unrecorded enemy attack, it is more likely she was sunk by friendly fire. 62 officers and men as well as 17 Army passengers were lost. She was the thirty-fourth U.S. submarine lost in the Pacific War, the second (after Dorado
) to friendly fire.
Labels: USS Cheyenne (SSN-773) HMS J HMS Cymric Q Ship USS Dorado