World War II in the Pacific
Ref: Congressional Indiscretion “Sinks Ships” During WW2, Congressman Andrew May is credited with sinking ten U.S. submarines. Visiting Pearl Harbor, he was briefed that the Japanese had no idea how deep our submarines could go and set their depth charges too shallow. He reported this interesting fact in a press gathering on his return home which was duly printed. Of course, the Japanese picked up this fact and reset their depth charges. A loss of 800 men to other men's ego.
"That intelligence failure involved U.S. Congressman Andrew Jackson May, who as a member of the House Military Affairs Committee visited the Pacific theater, where he received many intelligence and operational briefings. On his return, May held a press conference and stated that American submarines had a high survivability because Japanese depth charges were fused to explode at too shallow a depth. Soon enemy depth charges were rearmed to explode at a more effective depth of 250 feet. Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, commander of the U.S. submarine fleet in the Pacific, later estimated that May's revelation cost the navy as many as ten submarines and 800 crewmen."
2. "Silent Victory" - Clay Blair. Vol.1 pg 397
"A serious breach of security may have helped the Japanese anti-submarine forces. In June 1943, Congressman Andrew Jackson May, a sixty-eight-year-old member of the House Military Affairs Committee returning from a war zone junket, gave a press interview during which he said, in effect, Don't worry about our submariners; the Japanese are setting their depth charges too shallow. Incredibly, the press associations sent this story over their wires, and many newspapers, including one in Honolulu, thoughtlessly published it.
"Lockwood and his staff were appalled--and furious--at this stupid revelation. Lockwood wrote Admiral Edwards in acid words, "I hear ... Congressman May ... said the Jap depth charges ... are not set deep enough. ... He would be pleased to know the Japs set'em deeper now." And after the war, Lockwood wrote, 'I consider that indiscretion cost us ten submarines and 800 officers and men.'"
[Blair was a submariner in WW2, Time, Life correspondent, Editor in Chief of The Saturday Evening Post.] [Hint: "Submariner" is pronounced: sub mare an er]Character Counts - bio of Congressman Andrew May.