OK, I know its weird to have submarines on a bike builders blog, but these are too cool. I saw a documentary on NOVA last night about them. Heres the deal: At Pearl harbor, we were not just attacked by air, we were also attacked by “midget subs”, 5 of them to be exact. Japanese midget subs were launched from full sized subs (part of the their pacific fleet), where they rode piggyback until within range of its desired target. Then a 2 man crew boarded the mini sub and piloted it. They were not necessarily suicide vehicles, they carried 2 full sized torpedos in the bow, and had an electric motor that made about 80 HP. The idea was to fire the torpedos in shallow water where a full sized sub wouldnt fit, then quickly get away and dock back on the mother sub in safer, deeper water. Of the 5 midget subs that launched that day, only 2 made it into pearl harbor. The first one fired its torpedos but didnt hit any ships. One torpedo hit a dock and the other a random beach area (nice aim). It was depthcharged by us and subsequently grounded (3rd pic). The other fired both its torpedos at the Arizona. One blew up and obviously helped to sink her, along with the torpedos dropped from japanese aircraft. The other was a dud and just banged into the hull but didnt do anything. After it fired the torpedos it snuck away into the “West Loch”, an area of Pearl Harbor that was mostly uninhabited. There it was scuttled (marine term for sunk on purpose). It was only found recently. The remains of the 2 japanese sailors was still inside. Next post I’ll continue theres more!
January 5, 2011