Search for HMAS Sydney II


Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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The team has an ROV that can go to 3,000 metres. They will get it into action.

I note that our ABC can't tell W from SE. Trust the media!
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Spent much of today on this story at work.

Some amazing comments from public figures - one of them was whipped up and *demanding* she not be raised and be treated as a war grave. Nothing like a grasp of the obvious.

Some profoundly moving stories coming out - a reminder not just of the loss of war, but the ongoing torment of wondering what exactly had happened.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Trust the media!<<

As Lightoller would say: "Not damned likely!"

>>but the ongoing torment of wondering what exactly had happened.<<

The Gods of funding willing, we may at last get some answers. At least with the location of the wreckage known, explorers/researchers can go down and do some serious forensics studies.

I don't think we'll ever have to worry about the ship being raised or molestation from casual divers or souvenier hunters. Like the Titanic, HMAS Sydney is in pieces and at 2,560 meters.
 

Dave Gittins

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Here's the latest from the team.

http://presspass.findingsydney.com/blogs/search_reports/archive/2008/03/18/18th-march-2008-report.aspx

There is something radically wrong with the navigation in Detmer's battle report. I can't pin it down, but the wrecks have been found much further north and west than in Detmers' account.

The ratbags are in full flight. Some old goose has urged the raising of Sydney, in order to reveal all mysteries.

I hope eggs are in good supply. I've got a bit of egg on my face, but I was only 50 miles out. Some self-appointed experts were wrong by more than 120 miles.
 

Dave Gittins

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Somebody today pointed out that Sydney was not Australia's worst maritime disaster.

That occurred when more than 1,000 Australian prisoners died on Montevideo Maru, when it was torpedoed by an American submarine. This was not the only incident in which many allied prisoners died in submarine attacks.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Some old goose has urged the raising of Sydney, in order to reveal all mysteries.<<

He's a late comer to that party. That MSNBC article I posted a link to mentioned the same thing. I'd love to have some of whatever these guys are smoking.

>>I can't pin it down, but the wrecks have been found much further north and west than in Detmers' account.<<

Fog of war maybe?

>>If Mearns is mistaken, we'll run out of eggs!<<

Not to worry! Plenty of rotten tomatos to be had.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australia. Memorial to HMAS Sydney lost in battle with German raider Kormoran
quote:

Premier Alan Carpenter today announced that the State Government would assist in a special commemoration service for HMAS Sydney.

Mr Carpenter said Geraldton MLA Shane Hill had been instrumental in recognising that an appropriate service be held to honour the 645 servicemen who lost their lives during HMAS Sydney’s battle with the German raider, the Kormoran, on November 19, 1941.
For the rest, go to http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=24032
 

Dave Gittins

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By way of claiming priority, I'm offering my solution to the great discrepancy between the position of the wrecks and the report prepared by Captain Detmers for his superiors.

The problem stems from the position from which Detmers says he first saw Sydney. He gives 26.34S, 111E. He says he fled from there into the setting sun, steering 250True. If this is followed through, as I did in an earlier post, we arrive at a position a good 50 miles from the wrecks. On the face of it, either David Mearns has pulled the biggest nautical clanger since Fred Fleet rang Titanic's bell, or the German account is wildly wrong.

Having some faith in both David Mearns and Captain Detmers, I propose a simple mistake by Detmers. After all, losing a ship and 80 men is not conducive to clear thinking.

If Detmers position is amended to 26S, 111.34E and his reported course until the battle commenced is worked out, his navigation suddenly looks much better. The start of the battle lies within a very few miles about east of the Kormoran wreck. We know Kormoran made some additional westing during the battle.

Given that when Detmers sighted Sydney he had been without a celestial fix since shortly before dawn, his navigation was bound to be slightly imperfect. Small differences between my calculated position and reality are therefore quite reasonable.

Behold the tortoise! He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Australian:

HMAS Sydney search ship delayed
quote:

EQUIPMENT testing has again delayed the departure of the team that will undertake the first visual survey of the wreck of HMAS Sydney.

The team which found HMAS Sydney off the Western Australian coast earlier this month had planned to leave Geraldton tonight for the visual survey, but it is now unclear when they will depart.
More at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23432803-5006789,00.html

Comment: These are the guys who are going out to get the visual survey done.​
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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From PerthNow:

HMAS crew knew fate in 90sec

quote:

THE crew of HMAS Sydney knew they were facing certain death just 90 seconds after engaging with German raider Kormoran in 1941, wreck investigator David Mearns says.

Mr Mearns' initial assessment of the locations and measurements of the wrecks and debris trails _ obtained with high-resolution sonar scanning and acoustic shadows _ means he can unravel the mystery behind Sydney's disappearance.
For the rest: http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,23415503-2761,00.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>THE crew of HMAS Sydney knew they were facing certain death just 90 seconds after engaging with German raider Kormoran in 1941, wreck investigator David Mearns says.<<

Reading the minds of people who are long dead and unable to speak for themselves is a hell of a leap. Especially since there were no survivors available to interview.
 

Michael Byrne

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Oct 11, 2006
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David Mearns' comments are interesting.

Okay - time for some good old speculation before we see any pictures and learn more :)

I was about to revive a small debate Dave Gittins and I had on the other HMAS Sydney thread some time ago about the ultimate reason for her sinking, in light of new information so far gleaned from the scans of the wreck presumed to be Sydney. I tended towards a 'capsized and sank' theory, whilst Dave leaned towards 'magazine explosion' as the terminal event.

Considering the wreck seems to have a section of bow missing, until Mearns' comments in this article I was about to bow to Dave G.'s view - a magazine explosion forward had perhaps ripped the bow off causing a rapid sinking.

But Mearn's view seems to be that catastrophic structural damage was done by the torpedo hit forwards very early on in the battle. Then LATER as Sydney made her way away from the scene the bow then failed completely and she then sank.

Not sure where I stand on this view - Mearns says "From what we can tell, the bow (of Sydney) appears to be broken away about 25m after the stem, which would fit".
Now 25m from the stem is well forward of the turrets and magazine area, so if 'only' 25m of the bow is missing (and the 25m figure is reasonably accurate) - that's considerably less than would be expected had the magazines exploded and cut the ship in two.

However, on the other side of the coin, had Sydney been seriously structurally damaged near the bow by the early torpedo hit to the extent that structural failure of the bow was imminent, the 'hard over to port' manoeuvre she did a short time later in the battle would have caused large stresses in the bow area as she turned, and I've have expected the bow to fail at that point, not later as she slowly made her way away from the scene on a set course to the SE.

So... (new speculative theory)...
Olson's book in it's speculation about the sinking remarked that the forward 4" magazine was more likely to have exploded than the main 6" since the later was likely to have already been flooded (either by the torpedo hit, or intentionally due to the fire forwards). Perhaps a smaller 4" magazine explosion blew off an already weakened bow at the point further forwards where the torpedo hit ?....



One other intriguing question about the debris trail identified as the scene of the battle:
There's a VERY large piece of debris there which Mearns measures at approximately 33m x 19m x 13.3m (approx 110ft x 60ft x 44ft) which he concludes must come from the Sydney. But what on earth could be of THAT size and be 'blown' off a ship such as the Sydney except perhaps a major portion of hull (in which case you'd expect an immediate sinking there and then) ? I'm not sure there's even a single piece of superstructure that size ??...


Hopefully the ROV pictures will clarify things - very interesting!
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I'm keeping quiet until the photos come through.

The one thing I'll say is that if the wrecks are positioned as claimed, there is something badly wrong with Detmer's account.

He could not atart from 26.34S, 111W and reach the wreck site by steering 250 True. He could reach it from 111.34W, 26S.
 

Michael Byrne

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Yes I agree that Detmers' positioning is suspect but this looks to me like a simple transposition error from the navigator. I can't see Detmers wanting to misrepresent the position in a 'secret' report intended for his masters in Germany, and even so - what would be his motive be for misrepresenting?

The large piece of debris at the battle site bothers me though.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I'm going to hold off on any speculation myself. The accounts appear to point to a magazine explosion and that's still not outside the realm of possibility. When torpedos hit, they don't just blow holes in the side, they start fires. If some of those fires reached the magazine, the results would be as predictably spectacular as it would be non-survivable.

The forensics will tell.
 

Michael Byrne

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Oct 11, 2006
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Any news? It's gone awfully quiet.

Weather problems, technical problems - or perhaps just taking longer than anticipated with the ROV?