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Sunk while moored alongside the Oct. 29, 1923
cruiser Yahagi in Kure Harbor.
jammed steering gear on 11-29. L-11 Explosion while fueling...
-, 1923 L-24.
Rammed and sunk by battleship Jan. 10, 1924
Resolution during maneuvers. R0-23 (no. 43).- Japan..
Sunk in collision with cruiser Taisuta Mar. 19, 1924
messages over a telephone floated
over 4 hours. RO-14 (no. 22). do
Torpedo shot backward due to faulty Apr. 8. 1924
control, 1 killed. Later the vessel
May 19, 1924 RO-28 (no. 62).. Japan..
Collision with battle cruiser Kongo June 14, 1924
during attacking maneuvers. RO-26 (no. 45).
Sunk when rudders went out of com- May 16, 1924
mission, taking vertical position
submerged. RO-15 (no. 24) - Japan..
Collision with steamer while cruising July 29, 1924
off Moji. S-34. United States... Grounded off entrance to San Fran- Aug. 18, 1924
cisco Harbor. Refloated. S-25.
Rammed by yard tug Wooley at Sept. 24, 1924
Portsmouth (N.H.) yard. R-1......
Grounded near Barkers Point Oahu, Oct. 28, 1924
Nov. 11, 1924
Collided during maneuvers while Nov. 22, 1924
during bad weather. Court of
handling was the cause.
Dec. 30, 1924
Jan. 13, 1925
Grounded at entrance to Ports- Jan. 29, 1925
mouth Harbor. N-1..
Collided with Coast Guard de- Mar. 24, 1925
stroyer Jouett due to jammed
rudder. Sebastiano Ver- Italy..
Sunk in collision with S.S. Capena- | Aug. 26, 1925 iero.
probably running submerged(near
Cape Passero, Sicily).
Rome off Block Island.
Collided while submerged with tar- Oct. 15, 1925
get vessel Ortolan during practice
of San Pedro. R0-52 (ex-26). - Japan..---- Sunk at dock, flooded thru torpedo Oct. 29, 1925
tube. Due to carelessness. M-1
Great Britain.. Sunk, in collision with S.S. l'idar... Nov. 12, 1925
Lost control in 35 fathoms. Regained Feb. 3, 1927
control at 80 meters. Cause leaky
Apr. 6, 1926
United States. Collided with causeway at M.I. Apr. 3, 1927 S-21. -do..
Grounded at Coco Solo.
Apr. 20, 1926
Aug. 9, 1926
mile at Provincetown.
July 10, 1929
June 9, 1931
Jan. 26, 1932
July 7, 1932
Apr. 25, 1933
27 43 22 16 62
341 * 22
3 Officers and crew.
Representative DELANEY. Pardon me, Mr. Counsel, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF MAJ. GEN. J. E. FECHET
Senator KEAN. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give in the matter on hearing will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.
General FECHET. I do.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. General Fechet, will you sit opposite the reporter, please; to facilitate his hearing. Give the reporter your name and your rank and station.
General FECHET. J. E. Fechet, major general, United States Army, retired.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. General, you are Chief of the Army Air Corps?
General FECHET. Yes, sir.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. This committee is charged by the Congress with making recommendations as to the future policies concerning airships; have you any recommendation that you can give this committee to help them in the performance of that task?
General FECHET. During my tour as Chief of the Army Air Corps, and my experience convinces me that the dirigible had little or no military value.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. For both Army and Navy, or just for the Army?
General FECHET. Colonel, I am not qualified to testify from the Navy standpoint; my entire service has been with the Army, and I would hesitate to express an opinion. From the Navy you have many naval experts available, and I am certainly far from being a naval expert. Under the policy, you understand, that the dirigible, the rigid dirigible, is a function of the Navy, and the Army activity is confined to semirigids and nonrigids. We had the benefit of the experience that the Navy had, and we were very easily convinced that it would fill no place in the tactical operations of the Army Air Service.
Senator KEAN. General, can I break in right there?
Senator KEAN. An army in the field does not need a scouting force that would extend over the enemy's lines more than 200 miles, does it, or 100 miles?
General FEChet. It depends, Senator, on the size of your field of operation; if it is a thousand miles deep, you have to get back there; if it is 100 miles deep, you have to get back there.
Senator KEAN. I mean to say from your line, the probability is that 100 miles of the enemy's territory would probably cover all that you want to know.
General FECHET. I do not think it is posible, Senator, to make a statement to that effect. It is not difficult to conceive a theater of operations where your theater of operations would be a great deal deeper than 100 miles.
Senator KEAN. Well, if you knew of any movement of troops within 100 miles of the front, you would have plenty of time to move your troops up to oppose them, would you not?
General FECHET. Yes, sir.
Senator KEAN. So that 100 miles deep would practically cover most all of what the generals of the Army wanted to know, therefore if your airplanes could go 100 miles into the enemy's territory and return, you would practically cover what scouting you wanted to know.
General FECHET. No, sir, I cannot agree with you, Senator.
General FECHET. I would have to repeat my statement, and that depends entirely on the theater of operations. "If the Army functions should take it to the coast, in conjunction with the Navy, it might be necessary for Army aircraft to go three or four hundred miles to sea. Of course, the Navy, if they were in position to do it, would relieve the Army from that work, but it might be necessary for the Army to send their aircraft that far to sea, either in support of the Navy or to do work with the Navy, that their other activities prevented them from doing. I do not believe you can fix a mileage limit on the aerial activities that an army would require.
Senator KEAN. Well, you would not think that they could send their airplanes under present conditions a few miles to sea, would you?
General FECHET. One thousand miles?
General FECHET. No, sir; we have no planes suitable to go 1,000 miles to sea and accomplish any missions and return.
Senator KEAN. Therefore they would be, if you were talking about the sea, they would be impracticable for you to go any such distance as that?
General FECHET. From a shore base, yes, sir.
Senator KEAN. Therefore, if your army was stationed at Newport News, and the enemy's fleet happened to come off Maine, why, there would be no way for you to find that out, would there?
General FECHET. Do you mean, I presume you mean an expedition approaching from Europe over such a route? Senator KEAN. Yes. General FECHET. Certainly we would know about it. Senator KEAN. How would you know about it? General FECHET. We would have our aircraft up in the northeast.
Senator KEAN. Would you keep your aircraft, how could you keep your aircraft at sea?
General FECHET. We would not keep them at sea, we would keep them on land; all of the reconnaissance would be made from land, not from the sea, for the Army, besides we would have very definite information on that from the Navy.
Senator KEAN. Then you would depend on the Navy for the information?
General Fechet. Yes, sir, they are part of the national defense forces of the United States; we would certainly depend on them.
Senator KEAN. You would depend on the Navy for scouting at sea?
General FECHET. If they could do the sea scouting, certainly they would be depended on, Senator, it would be foolish to put the Army and the Navy on one job.
Senator KEAN. This would not be an Army job at sea at all?
Senator KEAN. That is all I have.
TESTIMONY OF ADMIRAL WILLIAM V. PRATT Senator KEAN. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give in the matter on hearing will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Admiral PRATT. I do.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Admiral, will you please state your name, rank, and station.
Admiral PRATT. William V. Pratt; admiral, United States Navy; Chief of Naval Operations.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Admiral, at the time of the crash of the Akron, did the policy, the temporary policy, of the Navy Department contemplate laying up that ship?
Admiral PRATT. No; not until we got the Macon into commission.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Was it the intention of the Department to lay up the Akron after the Macon should have been commissioned?
Admiral PRATT. Yes; we intended to do that.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Was the ship a sound ship, from the structural standpoint?
Admiral Pratt. I cannot answer that question as well as the technical men can, but so far as I was aware, she was structurally all right.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. If there existed structural defects, they were unknown to you?
Admiral PRATT. They were.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. The reason that the Department had determined to lay up the Akron, then, was solely for reasons of economy?
Admiral PRATT. Yes, sir.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Admiral, this committee is charged by Congress with the duty of making recommendations for future policy of the Government as to airships. Would you be kind enough to give this committee the benefit of your observations that might help them to fulfill their duty?
Admiral Pratt. In the matter of lighter-than-air operations, I was always in very close touch with Admiral Moffett, in fact, we had discussed many many times, the virtue, or lack of virtue, in lighterthan-air operations. I have always felt that there was a value in lighter-than-air, in the realm of obtaining information, technically called scouting. I have always felt, too, there was a field of operations in the Pacific for lighter-than-air which we had not begun to even investigate or to develop: As I see it one of the main purposes of lighter-than-air scouting is to obtain what we call negative information. The value of the lighter-than-air ship in direct contact with the enemy is a problem which has not yet been solved, but there are very large areas of water where you have operations and where you desire to find out whether there are any forces there or not, and it is extremely valuable for you to know that enemy forces are not in that particular neighborhood. That will apply particularly to the service of supply and the transport of troops, where you wish to have your line of communication that will not be interfered with by the enemy, and in that regard we felt that lighter-than-air could accomplish, at least expense and with less effort, and more efficiently, the knowledge which we desired.
Then there were certain other auxiliary operations, such as the transport of passengers, rather light supplies, but very valuable, which are carried by a lighter-than-air ship better than anything else, so I have always been favorably inclined toward lighter-than-air, and' I felt this way about it: I know that lighter-than-air has gone through a pretty tough record and many lives have been lost, but we went through very much the same experiences in developing the uses of rapid fire out of our turret guns. I have been in the fleet when practically every accident that has ever happened took place. I remember the Georgia accident, the accident on the Massachusetts, the Iowa, the Missouri, the Kearsarge, the Mississippi blew a turret up; that was in my vision. We worked out there better turret crews. That is the Navy's job. That is what we are paid for. That is what we take chances for. That is why we are ready to give our lives, if necessary, in the development of new arms; and for that reason, while it is sad that we shall have those things, I have always felt within reasonable limits that that should not deter us from going ahead with the job that you have got to do. If we had stopped in the development of gunnery because we wiped out a few turret crews, we never would be where we are today. Now, so far as carrying on the future development of lighter-than-air, I think it is a great deal of a question of the expediency of the moment, but that it should stop entirely I cannot believe it should.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Admiral, for the record, would you supply or have supplied to this committee, a succinct record of those turret disasters to which you referred?
Admiral PRATT. Oh, yes; we could dig it out of the files.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. I wish you would be good enough to do that, sir. Senator Kean. I think it would be very interesting.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. I have no further questions to ask the admiral.
Senator KEAN. Admiral, that is a very interesting statement of yours. As testified before the committee, one of the uses of those lighter-than-air craft in scouting is that they are said to have a radius of 10,000 miles; they are able to carry 5 airplanes or 4 airplanes; they could cover a distance on each side of 300 miles; they can go at a speed of 65 miles an hour. Is there any other arm of the Government which can do that, that can cover any such distance—an airplane cannot do it?
Admiral PRATT. No.
Admiral PRATT. Of course, we have cruisers and battleships that have a 10,000-mile radius; they carry 4 to 8 planes.