Monday, July 6, 2015
IJN Mutsu & USS Iowa
Came across this quite by accident.
Yet one more instance of a warship sunk while at anchor. In this case the vessel blown to bits, a total loss, an apparent spontaneous explosion the cause
The Japanese Nagato class battleship Mutsu. At the time of construction CONSIDERED TO BE THE MOST POWERFUL WARSHIP IN THE WORLD!
"Mutsu . . . was the second and last Nagato-class dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) at the end of World War I . . . in early June 1943 . . . one of her aft magazines detonated while she was at anchor, sinking the ship with the loss of 1,121 crew and visitors. The IJN conducted a perfunctory investigation into the cause of her loss and concluded that it was the work of a disgruntled crewmember"
"[the] hurried investigation concluded that a disgraced seaman gunner who had recently been found guilty of theft charges set off the explosion, partly meant as a statement of protest and partly as means for suicide, possibly not realizing that the explosion would take down the entire ship."
It being not so unique for a spontaneous detonation of warships occurring while at anchor, in port, home waters, NOT IN COMBAT!
Mutsu however APPARENTLY DELIBERATELY SABOTAGED BY A CREWMEMBER, AN ACT OF SUICIDE TAKING THE ENTIRE SHIP AND SHIP'S COMPLEMENT WITH HIM!!
The disgruntled, angry and very hate filled sailor one man perhaps even mentally deranged able to do tremendous damage with a bare minimum of effort. Almost incomprehensible!
This does remind me of the 1989 incident where the American battleship USS Iowa was nearly taken to the bottom.
An explosion in one of the gun turrets of unknown origins causing a great loss of life, the danger to the ship also very extreme. THERE WAS INDEED A DANGER THE ENTIRE SHIP COULD HAVE BEEN LOST!!
The thought at the time too was one sailor had deliberately caused the explosion, an act of suicide and an effort to take EVERYONE ELSE WITH HIM.
That U.S. Navy investigation into the incident concluding in a less that 100 % convincing manner:
"one of the gun turret crew members, Clayton Hartwig, who died in the explosion, had deliberately caused it . . . he [Hartwig] was suicidal and had caused the explosion with either an electronic or chemical detonator."
That conclusion [suicidal sailor] of course disputed and alternative theories as to what occurred do exist! However with Mutsu and Iowa both the preposterous almost seems quite possible, even probable, as strange as it may seem!!