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Subject: ROKN Patrol Corvette sucken by DPRK torpedo boat
YelliChink    3/26/2010 12:10:07 PM
Just happened 2150 Korean local time. Chinese reports say that it was DPRK torpedo boat. The ROKN corvette sunk is probably a 1200t PCC. I can't read Korean so I am not sure which one exactly. At this moment, 59 out of 104 crew have been saved so far. Best wishes to the still missing ones and condolence to families of lost sailors.
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Hamilcar       3/27/2010 3:47:18 PM
Until I see the hull, I cannot tell the exact, size, nature, or location of the explosion, YC.
What I can tell, from the eyewitness accounts so far is that the Cheonan was not raised out of the water by any reported water hammer. I still don't know what exactly that means, but I suspect  think it could NOT be a bottom mine now. That shallow (less than 20 meters) the ship should have been flipped up by the pressure pulse and her keel snapped that way.  
That is the only thing that I might rule out at this point along with the gun-house explosion nonsense which would have lit the aft end of.the ship up like a flashbulb. (It was at night, so you would have to see it.). 
That leaves me right back where I started. I need more detail.
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YelliChink       3/27/2010 5:05:47 PM

Until I see the hull, I cannot tell the exact, size, nature, or location of the explosion, YC.

The eyewitness reports so far, mostly from individual sailors currently on leave or calling from the base, point out that the ship broken up in two after the explosion. The stern part fell into the sea and sank immediately and the rest of the ship remained floating for three hours until it fliped and sank. Most sailors missing were believed to be at stern at the time of explosion. The breaking point is right at the engine room and about the position right behind the exhaust.
Another eyewitness accounted that he woke up by the explosion in the engine room, on to find that the stern part of the ship 0.2m from him was gone. If it's the internal explosion, then that guy would have been killed immediately.
I doubt that salvage the wreckage can tell you much about what caused it. Given no accounts on smoke and fire, rather than explosion and breakage, and the scale of structural failure, it is very likely that an underwater explosion by about 100 to 300kg of TNT at the stern within 20m under or near the propeller shaft caused it.
These do fit into the destruction pattern of 17.7" unguided torpedo, which DPRK happen to have a handful of.
And we can rule out the possibility of rogue wave.
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Hamilcar       3/27/2010 5:49:08 PM
I agree that those new data points rule out contact mine and limpet mine now. A stern hit by a contact mine on a forward moving ship that far aft? Ridiculous. Limpet mine, same. If a survivor was that close to the break then I would talk to him and ask him if he felt anything like chest compression like a dozen fists pounded on his ribs at the same time, or if it felt as if something sucked the air out of him. If he felt none, then a nearby detonation is improbable       
Impact fused torpedo now remains possible along with several (actually many) unknowns.
I need pictures of the hull to determine the tear mechanism. Where it starts shows where the explosion first began work on the structure and from which direction the overpressure acted. The metal will bend in the direction of force. Thus, in simple English, if the hull plates show tear marks that bend inward toward the interior of the ship, then its a cause for demanded explanations from the DPRK and the PRCs.

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DarthAmerica       3/27/2010 6:45:48 PM
Do not forget the possibility of Friendly Fire either. We already know their "reported" IFF procedures were flawed...

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Hamilcar    More News    3/27/2010 10:23:09 PM

During an emergency session of the National Assembly?s defense committee, Lee Gi-sik, chief of the Defense Ministry?s intelligence operations, said that captain Choi reported the situation to the chief of naval operations with his mobile phone right before the ship sank.

?All electricity was cut off at the time so the captain reported the situation with his cell phone,? Lee said.

?There was a big detonation and the engine stopped and the electricity was cut off. I went up to the deck and couldn?t see the stern of the ship there. All happened within two minutes,? the captain was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Hak-song of the ruling Grand National Party who chairs the committee.

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Reactive       3/28/2010 12:54:55 AM
I think Yelli does raise something that I've been puzzling over..
Rules of engagement: Is it standard practise for navies to fire sustained barrages at unidentified radar returns? I'm pretty mystified as to just how it is possible for a ship to engage in purposeful bombardment of a radar return that could be a trawler, merchant. What year is it? Are moden naval radar systems likely to make this mistake for more than a few seconds?
Ok so the captain decides to fire on the first radar return you detect (and that your radar can not discriminate between birds and steel hulls) what is the absolute maximum duration that you would respect our presumably retarded mental-midget captain to be unaware of his mistake?? Birds don't like gunfire, it ought not to take 15 minutes to discover such an error.
No Radar ID, No visual ID, no positive ID, just fire at any return, likely? No.
So that does strike me as very strange indeed, it was a sustained bombardment (from all accounts), it wasn't birds they were shooting at...
Korea Herald
A survivor from the sunken naval patrol ship Cheonan on Saturday raised the possibility of the 1,200-ton vessel sinking due to an attack from an outside force. 

?There is no possibility whatsoever that the ship sank due to an internal explosion or a collision with a reef. I guarantee that,? a navy lieutenant was quoted as saying by participants in a briefing session organized by the Navy?s Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province -- the home port of the ill-fated ship.

?Another cause could be an attack from an outside force and that is not exact as of yet. The military is currently conducting an investigation and I am not in a position to comment on that,? he added.


 Ahh but I'm being selective here, hoping for a conspiracy? No, not really, the two events that are both unusual could and may well be completely unrelated, I do find it a strange coincidence though, one event we know to be at the very least "highly suspicious -(bombardment)) the second event (the sinking) also currently remains unexplained. Again, this is a selective quote, but interesting nonetheless.
Hamil, Re: Contact mines being an impossibility, remember that a lot of these in WW2 were tethered together or attached to netting(or for example, a single mine to a singlue floating buoy) in order to effectively enlarge the area of sea covered, the ship hits the tether like a fish in a net, the mine/s are dragged alongside and eventually make contact at the rear of the ship, clever way of maximising coverage of an otherwise fairly impotent mine design.
It could (if a mine) be an ex WW2 influence/mag mine on the seabed, the sea there is shallow enough for this to cripple a hull, how likely this is? Not very.. For several reasons, most notably the fact that these are unlikely to still be servicable... It doesn't match the description of the blast etc.
One thing we should not forget re: "the birds" incident is that at some point close to this incident, a South Korean vessel opened up a sustained battery with the intention of sinking something, whether or not they merely pissed off a few seagulls remains to be seen.
It is absolutely possible to forensically examine the hull rupture pattern, it is very easy (even visually) to determine whether the source was internal or external, if it is the latter it is easy to determine the distance of detonation from the hull, and the mass of explosive used, it's also possible to find out exactly which compounds were used, and within those, which country of manufacture (based on known variations of mixtures used). So one way or t'other the truth will be known soon enough. 
It could be two unrelated coincidences, could be a munition detonating, could be contact with an old mine, could (at the extreme end of the possibility spectrum) be a torpedo from a NK/Chinese Ship/Sub that may have found itself under bombardment, good news is that once they see the hull we'll all know for sure. Nothing can be ruled out, and it's impossible to make any sort of educated guess with the evidence we currently have.
In any case may those who went down with their ship rest in peace, that's something that I'm sure we can all agree on.
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smitty237    Another possibility   3/28/2010 1:09:12 AM
I have no idea what happened for sure here, and none of the rest of us do either.  All of the scenarios DA mentioned are quite plausible, and it won't be until after there is a thorough investigation will we know for certain what happened.  Even then, barring irrefutable proof I'm sure there will still be doubters, especially among the family of the dead and the conspiracy nuts. 
Consider this:  The ROKN ship was sunk during some sort of hostile engagement, but for some reason everybody on both sides wants to cover this one up.  I can think of plenty of reasons why.  Maybe the ROKN was either somewhere it shouldn't have been or was doing something it shouldn't have been doing and the ROK wants to keep it classified.  Maybe one or both captains screwed up both sides have decided to call it a wash and let this one go.  I would certainly think that if the NORKs sunk and enemy ship they would be crowing about it, but I would dare say that of all parties involved the NORKs would have the least to gain from any sort of an escalation from this incident.
Truth is, nobody wants a war in Korea.  A war is definitely an existential crisis for the North.  They can't win and they know it.  If the baloon goes up in Korean it will almost definitely mean the destruction of the Communist regime in North Korea.  The South Koreans don't want a war because they know that once the North falls they will face an enormous financial and social catastrophe trying to integrate the North into mainstream society.  This says nothing of the thousands of Korean lives that would be lost in another Korean War.  Seoul would most likely be destroyed once again, and millions of Koreans would be left homeless.  This of course assumes the North doesn't deploy a nuclear weapon.  The loss of scores of sailors is a tragedy, but I doubt they are willing to lose tens of thousands of lives to avenge them. 
Then there is the United States.  A war in Korea would be a disaster for the United States in general, and specifically Barack Obama.  We could lose as many troops in a few weeks of fighting in Korea than we did in several years of heavy fighting in Iraq.  If the NORKs used a nuclear weapon, even a crude one, Obama would be placed in a terrible quandry.  There would be enormous pressure to retaliate in kind, and if Obama refused to deploy our own nukes against North Korea he would be reviled by a huge portion of the populace.  However, if he did deploy tactical nukes against the North there would be a tremendous outcry by both the international community and by those here in the Left.  Once the war was over we would be expected to help in the reconstruction of the North, which is something we really can't afford right now. 
Trust me, there are a lot of good reasons to bury this story, even if that ship really was sunk by the North. 
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gf0012-aust       3/28/2010 1:21:15 AM

Consider this:  The ROKN ship was sunk during some sort of hostile engagement, but for some reason everybody on both sides wants to cover this one up.

cover ups have been done before.  eg look at the numbers of US aircraft shot down post korean war up until 1989.  Both sides didn't want to fire up the events, both sides "managed"  every incident.  and we're looking at over 140 US service people killed.

ditto for the sovs 
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SantaClaws       3/28/2010 1:58:01 AM
Here's a view of the hull. Pause at 5 seconds.
The ship has clearly been cut in half. The only weapon I know that will do that kind of damage is a torpedo that detonates beneath the keel of the ship.

That is what a torpedo does and snaps a ship in half. I'm not an demolitions expert by any means by I think it's obvious a mine or magazine explosion wouldn't sever a ship so cleanly or in a manner like that.
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Hamilcar       3/28/2010 2:08:59 AM
Hamil, Re: Contact mines being an impossibility, remember that a lot of these in WW2 were tethered together or attached to netting(or for example, a single mine to a single floating buoy) in order to effectively enlarge the area of sea covered, the ship hits the tether like a fish in a net, the mine/s are dragged alongside and eventually make contact at the rear of the ship, clever way of maximizing coverage of an otherwise fairly impotent mine design.
If you  hit a chain trap or net barrage trap, you would know it. Wouldn't be able to do anything about it, but we would have some physical description of the collision impact from the witnesses and its fouling effect before the charge went off.
We know about armed clashes between US and Soviet forces. Most of those were aerial and were easily covered up at the time. There are a couple of naval clashes that you never hear about, because the ones who conducted those operations did so ILLEGALLY with extreme prejudice. Rumors aside that is, they happened with loss of life, and no I don't mean submarine sinkings (Thresher conspiracy for example). That is just fantasy. What I have in mind is more akin to IVY BELLS type operations where the loss of personnel could be explained away, but not the loss of a vessel.  
This is different. The ROKN could lose 39 sailors to DPRK shore artillery in a series of ship to shore incidents a few years ago and news manage that. Our pusillanimous incompetents during the Johnson lame duckery allowed the USS Pueblo to fall into DPRK hands by not attending to proper security of that ship. That helped to give us Nixon in the general backlash. This is more like that incident (debacle) politically in that it will not be Seoul or Washington quietly stage managed or covered up. A ROKN ship blew up noisily. If something chicane is afoot, then somebody will have to explain what happened so deep inside ROK waters to somebody and in public. The US news blackout here is MOST curious. The RoKs, however, are talking a lot and a lot of what they say is not fitting the intended or expected plot-line of an accident. In other words, something is rotten about this and I smell the stench half a planet away. I just won't commit to wild speculations and dismissals either way. I want evidence before I state conclusions.
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