First let me say That I read the book about the indianapolis tragedy a number of years ago, It has always inspired me. When I thought I had it rough I would think of what these incredible men endured, and it would bring my everyday problems into proper perspective. this interest has led me to try to understand more of what happened and why.
During the court marshal the Captain of the I 58 was questioned about the distance he detected the Indianapolis, and the range seemed quite distant for the overcast. The Navy lawyers seemed to use this as evidence that the weather was clear enough that the Indianapolis should have been using a zig-zagging course, whereas if the weather was as overcast as I believe it had been on that night it was ok for the ship to steer a straight course.
To my limited understanding, one of the reasons that destroyer escort was requested by the Capt. McVay was that they would have been equipped with Radar as well as underwater detection equipment. as the Indianapolis was not.
Perhaps it is just my ignorance of the technology of the time, but I understand that the I 58 was equipped with surface search radar, this would seem to me to be the reason the ship was detected despite the overcast. Would Japanese radar at the time detect a ship through weather of that nature? Did the US Navy not know that IJN subs were so equipped? and how if at all would this have impacted the captains decision of the course to use?
Ok I suppose that was more than one question, Can anyone help me better understand this aspect of the events?
Mainly what led me to ponder this is that I don't think that the ship could have been visually detected by a japanese sub, especially at any range. and Why was this not pursued by McVays attorney during the proceedings? Clearly the Sailors aboard indicated that there was a heavy overcast, and if not were they not questioned about it?
If The I 58 was radar equipped, and the US Navy did not know at the time of the sinking, wouldn't they have learned very soon after the wars end, and wouldn't that have exhonourated McVay, As well at giving the Navy a way out of the situation without the need of a scapegoat?
(sorry I seem to have posted my question in the wrong area, I don't know how to, or even if I am able to move it to somewhere more appropriate)