Australian Science in the Search for Kormoran and Sydney by Kim Kirsner and John Dunn [ Contact: email@example.com ] Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
1. Summary Used with the approval of the artist Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Summary This story is about Australian science, and the contribution that two Australian scientists made to the search for HSK Kormoran and HMAS Sydney II. Working in collaboration with the Finding Sydney Foundation ( FSF ) from 2001, Kim Kirsner and John Dunn identified the position of HSK Kormoran within 2.7 nautical miles. (Kirsner & Dunn, 2004). They also defined appropriate search boxes for both Kormoran and Sydney in 2005. The material was published in FSF submissions to the Commonwealth, the states, the RAN, and corporate and private donors during 2005, 2006 and early 2007. In this account Kirsner and Dunn outline the steps used to achieve these results. The procedure is objective, quantitative, and transparent, and it can therefore be applied to other search projects. The confidence distribution contours on the following page was the final step in a 13-year program to define the location of Kormoran .
26° South 26° 30’ South 111° East Position of Kormoran established in 2008
Kormoran was a German raider, heavily armed for close range combat with lightly armed merchant vessels but disguised as an allied merchant ship. Kormoran left Germany on December 23rd 1940, and sank eleven merchant ships prior to her engagement with Sydney . Kormoran was steaming north along the coast of Western Australia when she sighted Sydney , and turned west toward to avoid combat. HSK Kormoran
Sydney was armed and equipped for long range combat but with little or no advantage over Kormoran at the range at which the battle unfolded. Sydney was en route from Sunda Strait to Fremantle when contact was made with Kormoran . Sydney followed and gradually closed in on Kormoran until, at a range of less than one nautical mile, Kormoran opened fire and both vessels were destroyed. HMAS Sydney II
In 1991 Mike McCarthy of the West Australian Maritime Museum and Kim Kirsner of the University of Western Australia coordinated a workshop to determine the most likely area for Kormoran . The keynote speakers were oceanographers or search and rescue experts. Their analyses converged on the area supported by the Kormoran survivors, near 26° South 111° East Oceanographic approaches cannot be used to define a precise site (e.g., Pearce, 1991); uncertainty in the direction and velocity of current and wind is too great. Despite the fact that the oceanographic evidence provided no support for a wreck near the Abrolhos Islands, more than 200 nautical miles from the site of the wrecks, the Parliamentary Inquiry (2001) failed to reject map dowsing, oral history or navigation-based claims for a search near the Abrolhos, and the RAN subsequently implemented extensive searches off the Islands
111° East 26° South Steedman & McCormack (1991) Oceanographers Hughes (1991) Search and Rescue Position of Kormoran established in 2008 Penrose and Klaka (1991) Oceanographers The chart shows the search areas recommended by the professional Oceanographers and Search and Rescue experts at the1991 Oceanography Workshop.
The variety of evidence available for wreck-hunting is daunting. Shipwrecks typically produce some or all of the following sources of information:
First hand accounts by the Captain, the officers, and the crew,
Navigational charts and records
Lifeboats, Life-rafts, Life-belts, and Flotsam and Jetsam where hind-casting the position of the loss depends on an understanding of oceanography including the action of wind and current
Accounts from observers on other vessels or the shore
Second hand reviews by naval administrators and courts
Historical descriptions and analyses
Databases used for Anti-Submarine Warfare , a point highlighted for the first author by research staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts during a visit in 1993
Role of Cognitive Science Cognitive Science comes into play when memory and decision making issues influence interpretation. The contrast between the reports from the Kormoran crew and the alleged observers on the coast illustrates the point. The survivor’s accounts were elicited after an interval of 7-21 days; They were mostly working in their domains of expertise (e.g., navigation); the information they provided was critical to survival, and, significantly, the information was elicited by domain experts. By contrast, the oral history reports involved remote events (> 40 years); their relevance to the loss of Sydney was uncertain; the reports ranged along 200 nm of coastline; and the reports included everything from ‘acrid smoke’ to ‘sightings’ of the vessels to ‘reflections’ from the clouds. Cognitive Science is also relevant when a problem involves numerous sources of information, or ‘constraints’, and integration is required.
Sources of expertise for wreck-hunting Navigation records often provide the best source of information for wreck-hunting. Bob Ballard’s achievements (Ballard, 2008) are substantially based on the successful use of navigation information. David Mearns too has used his expertise in this domain to good effect. In the case of Kormoran however, critical information survived the battle and a week at sea in the heads of the crew - the domain experts - and memory and forgetting were critical. In other cases, oceanography, history or oral history might be important. Because most of the information in the archives compiled in 1941 depended on the recollection of the Kormoran survivors, Kirsner and Dunn’s expertise was appropriate. Henceforth we will refer to this material as the Kormoran Database . The in-water search depended on different skills, and we acknowledge Mearn’s expertise in this domain.
Science Science thrives on critical review. Most of the articles published by scientists are subjected to rigorous and occasionally brutal peer review. The system is not of course fool-proof; errors occur, and biases pose a constant hazard. Working together and independently, Kim Kirsner and John Dunn have published more than 150 refereed articles and chapters in the area of Cognitive Science. More importantly perhaps, we have attracted a combined total of approximately 15 grants from the Australian Research Council, another source of critical review. Kim Kirsner is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Science.
The 1941 interviews and interrogations constituted the primary source. Why? First, they were reported in November and December 1941, months or possibly years prior to the preparation of the diaries and coded dictionaries. Second, as survival was critical following disembarkation from Kormoran , it may be assumed that critical information was distributed among the five lifeboat crews, and not the ‘property’ of Detmers alone. This information constitutes ‘expert knowledge’ as distinct from ‘memory’ in the traditional sense (See Speelman & Kirsner, 2005). Third, unless the reports associated with Detmers’ coded dictionary involve different dot patterns with the same information – and there is no suggestion that this is the case - it may be assumed that their reliability reflects only the dot copying skills of Detmers or Detmers’ secretary
The Database included the following reports based on interrogations with survivors conducted between November 26th and December 10th 1941
Eighteen reports referred to 26° S 111° E. Ten further reports referred to either 26° S or 111° E.
Six reports referred to a distance from land, the values given being 60 nm (1), 120 nm (3) and 150 nm (2). 120 nm was selected because it was the most frequent.
Two reports stated that one lifeboat sailed 150 nm or 153 nm NE from the point of disembarkation from Kormoran to the coast
One report stated that the battle occurred 160 nm SW of NW Cape. NW Cape and Cape Cuvier provide an obvious point of confusion, and Cape Cuvier was probably the target for all five lifeboats.
Four reports referred to 130 nm SW of Shark Bay.
Fourteen reports referred to 26°34’, 26° 32’, 26° 31’ or 26° 30’ S 111° E.
Reports involving singletons and outliers were discarded. The geographical depictions in Section 5.3 Cognitive Science: Selection of Source Arguments include constraints derived from other sources
Concentration of reports involving 26° South 111° East [From Kirsner, Norman & Dunn, 2003]
The frequency distribution is consistent with the assumption that the Kormoran database consists of random errors around a single position [From Kirsner, Norman & Dunn, 2003, Finding Sydney Foundation , 2005]
5.2 Cognitive Science: Reliability of the Kormoran Database? George Kingsley Zipf Harvard University (1902 – 1950)
Zipf's Law Do the reports reflect one carefully rehearsed ‘story’, as many critics claimed, or do they reflect ignorance, as if no-one had any idea at all, or do they reflect expert knowledge, about location, accompanied by random error? Zipf's law states that given some corpus of natural language utterances (or memory reports), the frequency of any word is inversely proportional to its rank in the frequency table. The most frequent word will occur approximately twice as often as the second most frequent word, which occurs twice as often as the fourth most frequent word, etc. Similar relationships occur in many other rankings, including memory reports . In the memory case, it is assumed that the spread of the reports reflects random error. The rankings are consistent with the assumption that the database is a reliable form of evidence; it does not “prove” that it is reliable.
Log Rank Log Frequency One frequent report – like ‘26° S 111° E’ Many infrequent reports - like ‘120 nm SW of Fremantle’ Use of Zipf’s Law to assess reliability? Black triangles are reports from Kormoran survivors Red triangles are reports from The “War of the ghosts’, a memory study by Bartlett (1932) Grey circles are from a simulation based on Kormoran survivors’ reports
Comment The data conform to Zipf's law to the extent that the plot is linear in Log-Log coordinates. The function relating Log Frequency and Log Rank is approximately linear (see previous page), and the results are, therefore, consistent with the assumption that the survivors were telling the truth. The results do not “prove” that the survivors were telling the truth; science rarely works like that. Further support for the validity of the reports is present in the fact that Bunjes, an anti-Nazi, provided three different types of information that produced approximately the same solution. More evidence, if more evidence was required, came from the extra-ordinary number of survivors who pointed to 26° South 111° East. Many of the crew were ‘in a position to know’, and this knowledge was critical to survival for the crew in the lifeboats.
5.3 Cognitive Science: Selection of Source Arguments Alan Puckett
Comment The following analysis of source selection is a summary. The detailed arguments will be published elsewhere. Mathematical integration of the sources described below produced Confidence Distribution Contours or a ‘heat map’, where probability follows ‘heat’, and the central position is 26° 04’ South 111° 02’ East, just 2.7 nautical miles from the position of the wreck of Kormoran (Kirsner & Dunn, 2004). Further collaboration involving the authors and FSF Director Bob King produced appropriate search boxes for Kormoran and Sydney, as depicted in Finding Sydney Foundation (2005). The FSF adopted Kirsner and Dunn’s predictions for the positions and search boxes of both wrecks, and used the arguments and search boxes in numerous presentations to the Commonwealth, the States, the RAN and corporate and private donors during 2005, 2006 and 2007. Confidence distribution contours
Constraint 1 R eports referring to 26° South 111° East. Reports that referred to 26° South or 111° East were included under this constraint
Constraint 2 Reports that one life-boat sailed ≈ 150 nm NE from Kormoran to the coast (2 reports)
Constraint 3 Reports that referred to 120 nm from land Six reports referred to 60 nm (1), 120 n (3) or 150 nm (2) as the distance from land. 120 nm provided the best fit with the other constraints
Constraint 4 Report that battle occurred “160 nm SW of NW Cape” - however assume that the referent was Cape Cuvier instead of NW Cape
Constraint 5 Reports that battle occurred “130 nm South-West of Shark Bay”
Constraint 6 26° 30’ S 111° E Reports from Detmers referred to 26°34’, 26° 32’S, 26° 31’ and 26° 30’ S and 111° E
Constraint 7 Report that QQ signal from Kormoran referred to ≈ 26° S 111° 15 E Longitude was included in the analysis, and alternative latitudes were tested to determine the best fit with the balance of the sources.
Constraint 8 Report by Detmers that Kormoran would (have been) off Shark Bay four hours after contact with Sydney
Constraint 9 Circle of Equal Distance for two life-rafts reported by Dunn and Kirsner (2001) The analysis was originally implemented to test the claims advanced by Warren Whittaker, Glenys McDonald, David McDonald and others - that the action took place off the Abrolhos Islands. The analysis was mathematical and involved no assumptions about wind or current. Given equal velocity for 84 and 107 hours for two life-rafts, the circle defined the range of positions from which they could have originated? The circle of Equal Distance passed within 2 nm of the wreck of Kormoran
Summary of Constraints Integration of these reports involved a mathematical decision model that gave equal weighting to all nine sources An alternative analysis involving weighting of the individual sources was not implemented.
Independent Review: Issues from Kirsner and Dunn (2004) that attracted comment from Mearns in debate among members of the Technical Search Committee in 2004/5
The contrast between the stability and precision of the interrogation and diary evidence attributed to Detmers. The diary evidence is clear about location but not time, whereas the reverse applies to the interrogation evidence.
The uncertainty associated with the latitude of the QQQQ signal, and its inclusion or exclusion from our active set of constraints
The reliability of the information provided by Meyer, Bunjes, Linke and other crew
The procedure used by us to determine “Error of Fit” for the Confidence Distribution Contours or Heat Map (See Email from Mearns to the author, December 7 th , 2004)
The contribution of oceanography to the solution. Mearns criticised the use of Oceanography by Kirsner and Dunn (1998), although he later relied on Oceanographic evidence to explain the focus of his in-water search plan
5.4 Cognitive Science: Integration of constraints based on Human Judgement (Kirsner & Dunn, 1998) Alan Puckett
Kirsner and Dunn (1998) Predicted Position given as, “ Kormoran sank a few miles to the north of “ 26 °15’ South 111° East. Error (1998) = Distance between Predicted and Observed ≤ 11 nm Kirsner & Dunn (1998) was submitted to the Ed Punchard-led HMAS Sydney Foundation Trust and the Parliamentary Inquiry in 1998. The Trust used our arguments as the starting point for a search plan. The search circle tabled at that time included the wreck of Kormoran . The paper published by Kirsner and Dunn (1998) formed part of our journey. However, the paper was not recommended to the FSF by the authors, or adopted or even re-distributed by the Foundation . FSF / Mearns (2008) Observed position of Kormoran given as 26° 06’ South 111° 04’ East
Context Between 1993 and 2005, the search agenda was dominated by map dowsing, navigation and oral history claims, and the searches implemented by the RAN , the RAAF and private companies concentrated on the Abrolhos Islands, 200 nm from the wrecks. Prior to 2005, three groups supported a search in the vicinity of the wrecks, near 26° South 111° East; the Ed Punchard-led HMAS Sydney Foundation Trust between 1996 and 2001; the Trust’s successor, the Ted-Graham led- Finding Sydney Foundation (2001-2008) , and Olson, Hore, Goldsmith and Vickridge (2001). The appeal of the Abrolhos Island case to the RAN appears to have been based on a desire to explain the loss of Sydney by treachery on the part of the Kormoran crew. We accept the argument advanced by Tom Frame (1991), that the answer to that question is probably ‘unknowable’.
5.5 Cognitive Science: Integration based on Mathematical Decision Model (Kirsner and Dunn, 2004) Alan Puckett
Confidence Distribution Contours or ‘Heat Map’ In 2004 a mathematical decision model was applied to the Source Arguments or Constraints summarised above. The heat map was the product of that process. Kirsner & Dunn (2004): Cognitive Reconstruction with mathematical decision model The closest term to integration in the world of navigation is triangulation . We used mathematical integration to construct the Confidence Distribution Contours shown in this and the following images
Figure from Kirsner and Dunn (2004) As submitted to Mearns and the Finding Sydney Foundation in December, 2004.
26° South 26° 30’ South Kirsner and Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran = 26° 04’ South 111° 02’ East 111° East
26° South 26° 30’ South Kirsner and Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran = 26° 04’ South 111° 02’ East FSF (2005) Search box for Kormoran recommended by Kirsner (2005), and adopted and published by the FSF ( FSF, 2005 ) 111° East
26° South 26° 30’ South Kirsner and Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran = 26° 04’ South 111° 02’ East FSF (2005) Search box for Kormoran recommended by Kirsner (2005), and adopted and published by the FSF ( FSF, 2005 ) FSF / Mearns (2008) Observed position of Kormoran = 26° 06’ South 111° 04’ East 111° East
26° South 26° 30’ South Kirsner and Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran = 26° 04’ South 111° 02’ East FSF (2005) Search box for Kormoran recommended by Kirsner (2005), and adopted and published by the FSF ( FSF, 2005 ) FSF / Mearns (2008) Observed position of Kormoran = 26° 06’ South 111° 04’ East 111° East Kirsner and Dunn (2004) Error = 2.7 nm
6. History of Search Definition (2001-2008) Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
6.1 History of Search Definition: Mearns (2004) Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Positions and search area recommended by Mearns during presentations to:
The West Australian Maritime Museum (November, 2004a)
Directors of the FSF (November, 2004b)
The blue circles are the positions recommended by Mearns (2004a, b)
The rectangle is the search box recommended by Mearns (2004a, 2004b)
The water depth in this area demanded equipment rated for 6000 metres
Mearns (2004a, 2004b)
Mearns (2004a, 2004b) Mearns / FSF (2008) Position of Kormoran established by the FSF during search on MV Geosounder
6.2 History of Search Definition: Meeting between Mearns and Kirsner (2004) Alan Puckett Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
111° East 26° South Mearns 3 Mearns 1 Discussion about search positions between David Mearns and Kim Kirsner, December, 2004) The meeting was convened by FSF Director Keith Rowe, and attended by Kathryn Hird as well as Mearns and Kirsner. FSF Director Rowe recorded and plotted the recommended positions. Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Mearns 2 Positions nominated by Kirsner and Dunn (2004) and Mearns (2004), together with the Observed position of Kormoran
111° East 26° South Mearns 3 Mearns 1 Discussion about search positions between David Mearns and Kim Kirsner, December, 2004) Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Mearns 2 Position established for Kormoran in 2008 Positions nominated by Kirsner and Dunn (2004) and Mearns (2004), together with the Observed position of Kormoran
6.3 History of Search Definition: Finding Sydney Foundation (2005) Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Finding Sydney Foundation (2005) Powerpoint display used in numerous presentations to the Common-wealth, the states, the RAN and private and corporate donors during 2005, 2006 and early 2007 (e.g., to Senator Ellison in May, 2005)
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Recommended Search Box for Kormoran
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Recommended Search Box for Kormoran Mearns (2004, FSF, 2005) Predicted positions of Kormoran Mearns (2004, FSF, 2005) Predicted positions of Kormoran Mearns (2004, FSF, 2005) Recommended Search Box Kormoran
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Recommended Search Box for Kormoran Mearns (2004, FSF, 2005) Predicted positions of Kormoran Mearns (2004, FSF, 2005) Predicted positions of Kormoran Mearns (2004, FSF, 2005) Recommended Search Box Kormoran FSF / Mearns (2008) Observed position of Kormoran
6.4 History of Search Definition: Finding Sydney Foundation (2007) Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Finding Sydney Foundation (2007) FSF (2007) Map prepared and used by FSF for submission to the Commonwealth [e.g., part of Funding Request submitted to Commonwealth, June, 2007]
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) and FSF (2005, 2007) Position recommended by Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Search Box attributed to Kirsner and Dunn by FSF
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) and FSF (2005, 2007) Position recommended by Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Search Box attributed to Kirsner and Dunn by FSF Mearns (2007) New positions and Search Box for Kormoran attributed to Mearns by FSF (2007)
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) and FSF (2005, 2007) Position recommended by Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Search Box attributed to Kirsner and Dunn by FSF Mearns (2007) New positions and Search Box for Kormoran attributed to Mearns by FSF (2007) FSF / Mearns (2008) Observed position of Kormoran
Comment The positions and search boxes provided by Kirsner and Dunn in 2004 and 2005 were adopted and published via an FSF POWERPOINT used for presentations to the Commonwealth, the states, the RAN, and corporate and private donors during 2005, 2006 and early 2007 (see Finding Sydney Foundation, 2005 ). A paper and the Kormoran Database were provided to the Cole Commission of Inquiry in 2008, at the Commission’s request. If consideration is extended to the RAN, corporate search projects, the Cole Commission, and the funds provided to the FSF , expenditure on the search for Kormoran and Sydney was c. $15M. Australian universities receive hundreds of millions of dollars for research, and they encourage their staff to engage in outreach projects including the work of the Museums, and organizations such as the Finding Sydney Foundation . The Commonwealth and the Australian community are entitled to an accurate account of the performance of their institutions and their staff.
6.5 History of Search Definition : Finding Sydney Foundation (2009) Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Testimony to Cole Commission of Inquiry by Ted Graham ( Chairman, Finding Sydney Foundation, February 2nd, 2009 ) “ When I became seriously interested in trying to locate Sydney , I spent a lot of time with Kim and John and I was quite convinced that their work and the work of the oceanographers and similar people who helped them determine that northern position - I was quite convinced that that was where Sydney and Kormoran lay. In 1998 I signed a letter to the Parliamentary Inquiry, which was under the banner of the former trust, saying how long we thought it would take us to find Kormoran , and I have a feeling we mentioned three days. Ten years later, it took us 67 hours. So the estimate of three days, which was based on work that Dr Kirsner and John Dunn did, was remarkably accurate. That was the determination of position that the FSF took with it and kept with it all the way through. The actual search in 2008 was undertaken using David Mearns' search box, but that search box also included Kim's, and as we know, on the third or fourth line, we found Kormoran first. So that's the background to the research. We used that research from 2001 right through.” (page, 1599)
7. In-Water Search for Kormoran Alan Puckett Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
26° South 111 ° East Kirsner & Dunn (2004) / FSF (2005) Predicted position of Kormoran Recommended Search box for Kormoran (< 400 square nautical miles )
26° South 111 ° East Mearns (2008) In-water Search box for Kormoran (1600 - 1800 square nautical miles) Kirsner & Dunn (2004) / FSF (2005) Predicted position of Kormoran Recommended Search box for Kormoran
26° South 111 ° East FSF / Mearns (2008) Search Track 1
26° South 111 ° East FSF / Mearns (2008) Search Track 2
26° South 111 ° East FSF / Mearns (2008) Search Track 3
26° South 111 ° East FSF / Mearns (2008) Search Track 4
26° South 111 ° East FSF / Mearns (2008) Discovery of Kormoran
8. Cognitive Science: Search for Kormoran : Performance Review Alan Puckett Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
How ‘precise’ is 2.7 nautical miles The oceanographers and search and rescue solutions ranged from approximately 15 to approximately 40 nm from Kormoran . The final solution offered by the historians was approximately 11 nm from Kormoran , close enough to support discovery in an in-water search. The solutions published by Mearns (Mearns, 2004a) or attributed to Mearns ( FSF , 2005; 2007) prior to the in-water search ranged from 17 to 45 nm from Kormoran . The performance of the Cognitive Scientists reveals a traditional learning curve (See Speelman & Kirsner, 2005). Thus, Using a Search and Rescue model Kirsner (Kirsner, 1991, Kirsner, 1992 and Kirsner and Hughes (1993) identified positions approximately 20 nautical miles from Kormoran . Using cognitive reconstruction without a mathematical decision model, Kirsner and Dunn (1998a) identified a position approximately 10 nautical miles from Kormoran (“a few miles north of 26° 15’ South 111° East”). Using cognitive reconstruction with a mathematical decision model, Kirsner and Dunn (2004) identified a position approximately 3 nautical miles from Kormoran .
[Distance between predicted and observed] Oceanographers, Marine Surveyors and Search and Rescue experts Distance (nm) between predicted and observed positions of Kormoran for solutions offered by Oceano-graphers, Marine Surveyors and Search and Rescue experts. The relevant publications are for Steedman & McCormack (1991), Hughes (1991), Penrose & Klaka (1991), Anderson (1997), Hughes (2001) and Griffin (2008)
[Distance between predicted and observed] Olson Distance (nm) between predicted and observed positions of Kormoran for solutions offered by the Historians. The relevant publications are from Olson (1995) and Olson, Hore, Goldsmith and Vickridge (2001)
[Distance between predicted and observed] [Distance between predicted and observed] Mearns Mearns (2004-2007) Positions published by Mearns (Mearns, 2004a, 2004b), or attributed to Mearns by the FSF (2005, 2007).
Distance (nm) between predicted and observed positions of Kormoran for solutions offered by Kirsner and his colleagues.
The contributions fall into three phases based on:
Search and Rescue models (1991-1993)
Cognitive Reconstruction without a mathematical decision model (1997-1998)
Cognitive Reconstruction with mathematical decision model (2004)
Kirsner and Kirsner and Dunn SH: Sam Hughes
Area for next map Phase 3 (2004) Based on Cognitive Science with Mathematical Decision Model - Position was the only one offered to or used by the Finding Sydney Foundation Position of Kormoran Phase 1 (1991-1993) Based on Search and Rescue model with collaboration and advice from Sam Hughes, a SAR expert Phase 2 (1997-1998) Based on Cognitive Reconstruction without Mathematical Decision Model
Skill Acquisition Kirsner and Dunn’s contribution to search definition reflects ‘skill acquisition’, as they moved down the ‘learning curve’, from novices in 1991 to experts in 2004. The phases are described below: Phase 1 (1991-1993): Work based on Search and Rescue model involving collaboration with Sam Hughes (Kirsner, 1991; Kirsner, 1992a; 1992b; Kirsner and Hughes, 1993) Phase 2 (1997-1998): Based on Cognitive Science without a Mathematical Decision Model (Kirsner, 1997a; Kirsner & Dunn, 1998a) Phase 3 (2004): Based on Cognitive Science with a Mathematical Decision Model (Kirsner & Dunn, 2004) Learning curves follow similar functions for laboratory as well as real world tasks such as probability of death in aerial combat, surgical skill, industrial production rates, and a host of other tasks. See Speelman and Kirsner (2005) for a review of Learning Curves
9. Areas of the search boxes Alan Puckett Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
The figure on the final slide in this section indicates the approximate sizes of the search boxes recommended or used in the search for Kormoran together with comparable areas associated with the searches for Titanic , Bismarck and Yorktown . The precision generally associated with Ballard’s navigational solutions is clear. The imprecision associated with the Search and Rescue and Oceanographic solutions is equally clear. The area recommended by Griffin in 2008 is depicted in the background of slide 10, as a dark green oval nearly 200 nm from North to South. The bases for the observed degrees of precision or imprecision in the hybrid approaches adopted by Kirsner and Dunn (2004) and Mearns (2008) are less clear.
The areas shown in the figure and text are square nautical miles (≈) Analysis of Search Boxes
10. Review of German Sources Kapitän zur See Theodor Detmers Kriegsmarine (1902 – 1976)
Theodor Detmers, Captain of Kormoran The Kormoran Record included 15 reports attributed to Detmers. These reports involved six positions comprising 26° S 111° E (2 reports, correct position), 26° 31’ S 111° E (1), 26° 32’ S 111° E (6), 26° S 34’ S 111° E (4), 26° S 110° E (1) and 25° S 111° E (1). Ten of the reports referred to the position as the “Action” or “Engagement” position; two referred to the pre-action sighting, and three were ambiguous. Eight of the reports were recorded between one and two weeks after the battle, and involved interviews or interrogations with Kormoran survivors. The date of origin of the coded dictionary is unclear. The extent to which the language and interrogation conditions contributed to the spread of the positions is unclear. Olson, Hore, Goldsmith and Vickridge (2001) extracted the correct reading from this complex and demanding data set. Their work and their solution anticipated Mearn’s apparent adoption of the same solution by seven years.
Henry Meyer, Navigator of Kormoran The Kormoran Record included seven reports attributed to Meyer. These reports involved four ‘positions’. The positions comprised 27° S 111° E (4 reports), 26° 30’ S 111° E (1), 26° S 111° E (1) and 150 nm South East of the landing position for Meyer’s lifeboat. The sequence is systematic, and fascinating. The reports involving 27° S 111° E appear to have been provided prior to November 30 th , 1941. This position is nearly 60 nm from the wreck. The report involving 26° 30’ S 111° E was provided on December 1st, 1941, possibly after Meyer had been reunited with Detmers. This position is nearly 30 nm from the wreck. The report involving ’distance sailed’ provided an accurate solution, near 26° S 111° E. The final report, specifying 26° S 111° E, was discovered on the back of a family photograph donated to the West Australian Maritime Museum by Meyer’s son in 2000. It is possible that Meyer provided misleading information during the Search and Rescue operation.
The crew The procedure adopted by Kirsner and Dunn (2004) assumed that reliable knowledge about the location of the battle was distributed among the crew because that information was critical to their survival in the lifeboats in the week following the engagement. Kirsner and Dunn used the reports provided by the Captain, the Navigator, one of the prize Captains, and numerous signal personal. While virtually every reporter and the majority of the reports included an ‘error’ of some sort; treated as a set they pointed to the precise position of the wreck of Kormoran . Most of the relevant reports emanated from domain experts working in their domain of expertise; that is, the crew.
11. The Search for Sydney Captain Joseph Burnett RAN (1899 – 1941)
In 1991, McCarthy proposed that the search for Kormoran should precede the search for Sydney because more information was available about the location of Kormoran . In 1997 Rear Admiral Holthouse (ret), an engineer with combat experience, cast doubt on the Abrolhos Island claim for Sydney , arguing that the absence of survivors and signals left little room for a 20-40 hour voyage after the engagement. Sydney was on fire after the battle. The Kormoran survivor’s reports provided estimates of the movement of Sydney following the battle, and enabled Kirsner (1997) to plot changes in the rate of separation between the vessels from 1800 hours to the last reported sighting some four hours later. A figure depicting the rate of separation is shown on the following page (Kirsner, Norman and Dunn, 2003). The following image shows the product of this analysis. The 1997 analysis provided a prediction for the position of the wreck of Sydney relative to Kormoran . The search area for Sydney was specified in FSF (2005)
Each circle shows one report from a survivor indicating the time and the estimated distance of Sydney . The general direction offered with these reports was South-East. [from Kirsner (1997) and Kirsner, Norman and Dunn, 2003]
Finding Sydney Foundation (2005) Finding Sydney Foundation (2005) Map prepared and used by FSF for presentations to the Commonwealth, the states, the RAN, and the private and corporate donors
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Recommended search quadrant for Sydney given predicted position of Kormoran .
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Recommended search quadrant for Sydney given Predicted position of Kormoran . Mearns / FSF (2008) Observed position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Adjusted search quadrant for Sydney given Observed position of Kormoran.
Kirsner & Dunn (2004) Predicted position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Recommended search quadrant for Sydney given Predicted position of Kormoran . FSF (2008) Observed position of Kormoran FSF (2005) Adjusted search quadrant for Sydney given Observed position of Kormoran . FSF/Mearns (2008) Observed position of Sydney
Australian Science Between 1991 and 2004 Kirsner and Dunn systematically revised and refined their approach to search definition, and reduced their error – the distance between the predicted and observed positions for Kormoran - from approximately 20 nautical miles in 1991 to less than 3 nautical miles in 2004. In 2004 we used seven reports from the Kormoran survivors, one QQ signal from Kormoran , and one life-raft drift analysis together with a mathematical decision model to predict the location of Kormoran . The successful application of transparent and systematic scientific procedures demonstrates that Cognitive Science has a significant role to play in wreck-hunting. The interested reader is referred to Kirsner and Dunn (2004) for a more detailed account of the analyses used to predict the location of Kormoran .
Precedent Independent review and precedent are the most important principles in scientific discovery. The position identified for Kormoran by Kirsner and Dunn in 2004 was correct, to within “spitting distance”, as FSF Director Keith Rowe put it in an email to the authors in 2008. The arguments and recommendations were provided on a pro bono basis to the FSF and Mearns in 2004. They were reviewed by Mearns in that year, and by the FSF and Mearns in 2005. Mearns provided extensive criticism of Kirsner and Dunn’s (2004) analysis, however the solution was adopted and used by the FSF in presentations and submissions to the Commonwealth, the states, the RAN and corporate and private donors in 2005, 2006 and early 2007. In 2008, as the MV Geosounder departed Geraldton, Mearns produced a search box that included Kormoran .
The Finding Sydney Foundation FSF publications demonstrate that the Foundation had adopted an appropriate location for Kormoran as early as 2001, the year in which the Foundation was established. By 2004, the FSF search definition team (Kim Kirsner, John Dunn, and Bob King) had provided the Foundation with a precise target for Kormoran just 2.7 nm from the wreck of that vessel . In 2005 they added a search box and search quadrant that included Kormoran and Sydney respectively (see FSF , 2005) The search box recommended by the FSF team for Kormoran in 2004 was approximately 400 square nautical miles. Kormoran is more or less dead centre in that search box. The search box adopted by Mearns in 2008 was approximately 1800 square nautical miles. The search quadrant recommended by the FSF team for the search for Sydney in 2005 was 570 square nautical miles. Sydney was in that quadrant.
The Royal Australian Navy (1941) It is evident that the Search and Rescue operations co-ordinated by the RAN in 1941 focused on the right general area The major search boxes involving RAAF Hudson aircraft were centred on the approximate location of the wreck of Kormoran (See Olson, 2000 for maps of the RAAF search areas). It is also clear that the interviews and interrogations conducted by the RAN after the disaster elicited generally reliable information about the location of the battle, and about the distance between the ships at the outset and the end of the engagement. The Kormoran database includes many errors, but no more than could be expected given the delay – seven to 21 days after the battle – and the language and recording conditions that the RAN personnel were operating under. The search definition and knowledge elicitation or ‘interrogation’ teams activated by the RAN in 1941 deserve recognition for a job well done.
13. Authorship Alan Puckett Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Kim Kirsner received bachelors and doctoral degrees from the University of London. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto, Kim joined the University of Western Australia. Kim was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Science in 1997. Kim has published numerous books, book chapters, refereed articles and conference proceedings on memory, aphasia, bilingualism, implicit memory, language production, skill acquisition, cognitive reconstruction and command and control.
John Dunn received his BSc (Hons) and doctoral degrees from the University of Western Australia. John has taught at the universities of Queensland, Western Australia and Adelaide, where he is currently Professor and Deputy Head of the School. John has published numerous books, book chapters, and refereed articles and conference proceedings in visual attention, cognitive psychology, memory including work on methodological issues in neuropsychology, decision-making in complex environments, and mathematical models.
14. Acknowledgements Alan Puckett Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
Significant credit for the successful search for HMAS Sydney must go to Mike McCarthy, Curator at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. Mike served the entire HMAS Sydney community with commitment, courtesy, and humour for more than 20 years.
The Technical Search Committee of the Finding Sydney Foundation
The Technical Search Committee - responsible for search recommendations from 2004 to the departure of the MV Geosounder from Geraldton in 2008 – provided professional review and analysis under difficult conditions.
The recommendations of the Technical Search Committee attracted fierce opposition from the Map Dowsers, the Oral Historians, and the Navigators.
Bob King deserves recognition for his exceptional contribution to the Technical Search Committee as Project Manager for the Finding Sydney Foundation.
The authors wish to acknowledge financial and administrative support from the following:
The Australian Research Council
The Australian War Memorial
The Western Australian Maritime Museum
The University of Western Australia
The School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia
15. References / Bibliography Alan Puckett [Work in progress] Alan Puckett Alan Puckett
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