What makes that all the more infuriating is that the Navy completely ignored critical facts during its court-martial of Captain McVay. Facts that were not present or not fully articulated in to WaPo article.
1. The USS Indianapolis
was extremely unlikely to have survived either the bow or
amidships hits due to the following reasons:
A. The torpedoes used where Type 96 "Long Lance" which packed 1,214 pounds of explosives and struck at anywhere from 40-45 knots beneath the armor belt. Combine this with the oxygen-kerosene fuel load of the torpedo and the damage from a secondary explosion was always going to be catastrophic.
B. There were rough swells the night of the sinking which could, and did, drive seawater in to the hull breaches at a faster rate than would have occurred on calmer seas.
C. The ship was vastly overloaded and top heavy, making any listing exponentially more likely to turn in to a full capsize. This was known but as a flagship, deemed "inconsequential".
2. "Zigzagging" was an outmoded concept of torpedo avoidance and was left over from WW1 strategy. As early as late 1941, the US Navy knew that zigzagging convoys and escorts was only moderately effective against torpedoes such as the German TII G7 which had reliability problems on par with the US' Mark 14 torpedoes. Later in the war, zigzagging just meant you were making it much easier for a spread to strike aft and stern. Once acoustic homing warheads become prevalent (such as the German TIV G7es Falke and the US' Mark 24), it was an utterly useless strategy. Moreover, neither of the two Portland class heavy cruisers carried sonar or effective ASW countermeasures and the Type 96 torpedoes were not turbine driven so there was no wake to be spotted.Ergo, there wasn't a chance in Hell that a hard to port or hard to starboard command could have been issued in a reasonable amount of time to avoid being struck or sank.
In short, Captain McVay was utterly railroaded by the Board of Inquiry. A fact Nimitz (a giant dick himself) recognized when he remitted McVay's court-martial and promoted him to the rank of Rear-Admiral.
"Lock the doors. Kill the light. No one's coming...home tonight. It's getting colder."
If you would like help or further details on a technical discussion we're having, email me at bnhelp (at sign) keepusiel.net .