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Yamakaze sinking as seen from the periscope of USS Nautilus, 25 Jun 1942, photo 2 of 2

Caption     Yamakaze sinking as seen from the periscope of USS Nautilus, 25 Jun 1942, photo 2 of 2 ww2dbase
Photographer    Unknown
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States National Archives
Identification Code   80-G-418331
More on...   
Nautilus   Main article  Photos  
Photos in Series See all photos in this series
Photos on Same Day 25 Jun 1942
Photos at Same Place Pacific Ocean
Added By C. Peter Chen

This photograph has been scaled down; full resolution photograph is available here (1,394 by 1,101 pixels).

Licensing  Public Domain. According to the US National Archives, as of 21 Jul 2010:
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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Mike Clark says:
7 Dec 2010 08:48:34 AM

I have the exact same picture of the jap destroyer being sunk. My Uncle was a crewmember of the nautilus during the battle of midway.That pic that I have is censored with all the details.
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
12 Sep 2014 06:48:55 AM

The US National Archives had captioned this as a Jun 1942 photograph from either USS Wahoo or USS Nautilus. Assuming the date of Jun 1942 is accurate, given that USS Wahoo had not yet gone on a war patrol (her first patrol would start in late Aug 1942), and that USS Nautilus had sunk destroyer Yamakaze on 25 Jun 1942, I deduced this photo might be from the Yamakaze sinking.
3. Craig R says:
1 Dec 2017 05:19:56 PM

I've seen this photo around over the years, and I've often wondered about whether there are Japanese sailors visible. I'll state right up front that because the photo is slightly blurred, I may be misreading details.

Having said that, there appear to my eye two vaguely human-shaped things on the destroyer's bridge and between the bridge and mast; if they ARE sailors, they seem to be clad in white.

I would assume that these things could be canvas railing covers or flags or some such, but I recall seeing this same photo (either in a book or online) with the objects edited out; perhaps 'cleaned up' to remove the human element of the ship sinking? (I cannot recall just where I'd seen that edited version; if I find out, I shall post an update.)

Anyway, am I just 'seeing things,' reading meaning into random details, or are there indeed a couple of sailors struggling to stay above water?

Either way, I would submit that this is one of the more dramatic WWII action photos taken.
4. Craig R says:
19 May 2018 07:38:55 AM

This photo and ANOTHER from the same sinking appear at the Naval History and Heritage Command online archive. Their first photo is the one above, but with a different reference number— NH111751 instead of 80-G-418331—and rotated so the horizon line is horizontal. It shows that the ‘horizon line’ is actually a long swell between Nautilus’ scope and the sinking Yamakaze, especially when viewed in reference to the second photo…

That second photo—reference number NH111752—shows that Yamakaze’s back has snapped just aft of the bridge superstructure and mast, with the bow section rolling to port & sinking stern-first and the rest of the ship--from the forward funnel aft--sinking relatively even-keeled, bow-first. The mast appears to be slightly askew, although that could be because of the forward section’s rolling. The forward funnel definitely appears to be off-center; both funnels in this class of destroyer should be parallel to each other. At least two crewmen—clad in white uniforms—can be seen on the stern portion standing beside the main deck rail, possibly with others around them; the photo is fairly blurry, and the other crewmen—if that’s what they are—are wearing darker uniforms.

I don’t know if direct links are allowed in these comments, but here are the pages with those two photos… replace “DOT”html at the end of each one with .html when entering them. https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-111000/NH-111751”DOT”html

This second photo also might help to clear up a mystery about the Yamakaze sinking noted in its Tabular Record of Movement over at combinedfleet.com. (http://www.combinedfleet.com/yamaka_t”DOT”htm Replace “DOT”htm with .htm) In the footnotes for the TRoM, contributor Tony Tully pointed out that the USS Nautilus log/report states that the destroyer sank by the BOW, “…yet the famous photograph taken with a rising sun recognition symbol on the forward turret… unambiguously shows her going down by the stern. It can only be concluded it was a typo. There seems no way the famous photo could have been misidentified...”

I suggest that very shortly after the TWO photographs were taken, Yamakaze’s bow sank quickly and the remaining stern section of the ship sank forward-end-first. The stern going down may have been seen in a last observation through Nautilus’ periscope, which later got recorded in the Nautilus’ report as the destroyer having sunk “by the bow.”
5. Craig R says:
23 May 2018 08:35:49 AM

Just want to thank WW2DB for posting my comments, and for adding that second Yamakaze photo I provided the link to... I had never seen it before a few days ago, and was excited to share the news! I'm glad you felt that it was worth adding to the database.
6. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
24 May 2018 07:14:40 AM

Craig, thank you for visiting WW2DB and your comment that led to the new photo addition. I admit the guilt that I don't always get time to directly respond to every comment, but know that I do read them regularly!

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