Crossing Paths
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0458

On the Ward's bridge, personnel sight the white lights of the antisubmarine net gate and logs "Gate open – white lights." Lieutenant Outerbridge, Ward's Commanding Officer, requires a status report to help Ward carry on with the submarine search. He.contacts Condor on a different circuit and exchanges the following information:

Ward: "What was the approximate distance and course of the sub you sighted?"
Condor: "The course was about what we were steering at the time, 020 magnetic, and about 1000 yards from the entrance."

Lieutenant Outerbridge realizes this sighting report is far to the east of the area first indicated and his ship is looking in the wrong place.

Ward: "Do you have any additional information on the sub?"
Condor: "No additional information."
Ward: "When was the last time approximately that you saw the submarine?"
Condor:"Approximate time 0350 and he was apparently heading for the entrance."
Ward: "Thank you. Contact us if you have anymore information."

Lieutenant Outerbridge begins to think it isn't a submarine, because Condor has not reported the sighting. The conversation with Condor is not logged. He orders Ward to the east to conduct the search in the restricted area outside the buoys. Lieutenant Outerbridge retires to his emergency cabin.

Note: Condor's message to Ward at 0458 gives the submarine's course when Condor first sighted it. The original submarine-sighting message to Ward at 0358 gave the submarine's course when it was last seen.

As Condor exchanges signals with Ward she begins to pass through the antisubmarine net to enter Pearl Harbor and head to her assigned berth. The conversation with Ward is not logged. The antisubmarine net (gate) is left open. The minesweeper USS Crossbill (AMC-9) is due through shortly and the net crew decides it isn't worth the trouble to close and open up the gate again.

As is clearly seen, over an hour is expended debating the contact of a mystery subsurface contact which is lost and then ignored. The entire radio exchange was overheard by a nearby Navy radio station who elected not to report the sightings to higher-ups as mistaken sightings were common. After the attack, this situation does reach the Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) and is reported in his After Action Report (dated FEB 15 1942) to the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).

The exchange between Condor and Ward shows the possibility of a subsurface contact attempting to penetrate the Pearl Harbor entrance even if the event is common. Even though the contact occurs after the approximate time I-16tou should have arrived at the Pearl Harbor entrance from its launch point while set on its first gear (4 knots), it still cannot be ignored. It is too coincidental. These points raise the I-16tou penetration attempt from possible to probable.

With I-16tou now in the channel:

• The channel is dimly lit by navigation buoys with lights on them.
• The surface traffic is low due to the hour of the day.
• The situation would have allowed the crew to deal with their lowering oxygen and rising carbon dioxide dilemma before settling into a firing position somewhere in Pearl Harbor.

The next information available are the inputs from the Ward's After Action Report at time 0637 (the late arrival time of either the I-18tou or I-20tou) when the Ward and Navy PBY-5 No# 14-P-1 engage and sink a midget submarine attempting to infiltrate Pearl Harbor behind Antares.

Because of hindsight of the attack from today's perspective, one can easily see the narrative report of the Condor/Ward actions blend in with two separate incidents (I-16tou penetration attempt with Condor and Ward's successful attack on a midget sub). To catch a subsurface sighting close to the gate entrance at 0350 and then another sighting at 0637 farther out into the anti-submarine restricted zone, obviously shows the presence of two subsurface contacts. The first contact would not have been able to turn around (due to the poor maneuvering capabilities of the midget submarines) and to back up would have caused I-16tou to broach its sail (which actually occurred to I-22tou in the Middle Loch). And of course, the anti-torpedo gate was left wide open giving I-16tou an easy entrance into the Pearl Harbor channel.

Aware or unaware of the current attack underway by the Ward, (due to the sounds of the depth charge detonations), the late-arriving I-22tou passes by Buoy #1 at approximately 0645 and begins to navigate her way up the channel into Pearl Harbor.

At approximately 0830, in the Middle Loch, in her nest, the Destroyer Minesweeper USS Zane (DMS-14) and Destroyer Minelayer USS Breese (DM-18), sight a strange submarine 200 yards astern of the Repair Ship USS Medusa (AR-1) moored at K-23. Zane loaded their gun 4 and prepared to fire but the gun would not bear as Zane was an inboard ship of the nest of five ships.


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