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The Military Technology

Two Sunken Japanese Submarines Found Off Hawaii 239

Ponca City, We love you writes "The NY Times reports that two World War II Japanese submarines, including one meant to carry aircraft for attacks on American cities, have been found in deep water off Hawaii where they were sunk in 1946. Specifically designed for a stealth attack on the US East Coast — perhaps targeting Washington, DC and New York City — the 'samurai subs' were fast, far-ranging, and some carried folding-wing aircraft. Five Japanese submarines were captured by American forces at the end of the war and taken to Pearl Harbor for study, then towed to sea and torpedoed, probably to avoid having to share any of their technology with the Russian military. One of the Japanese craft, the I-201, was covered with a rubberized coating on the hull, an innovation intended to make it less apparent to sonar or radar; it was capable of speeds of about 20 knots while submerged, making it among the fastest diesel submarines ever made. The other, the I-14, much larger and slower, was designed to carry two small planes, Aichi M6A Seirans that could be brought onto the deck and launched by a catapult. The submarines were meant to threaten the United States directly, but none of the attacks occurred because the subs were developed too late in the war, and American intelligence was too good. 'It's very moving to see objects like this underwater,' says Hans Van Tilburg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 'because it's a very peaceful environment, but these subs were designed for aggression.'"
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Two Sunken Japanese Submarines Found Off Hawaii

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  • Tour a sub. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palegray.net ( 1195047 ) <philip.paradis@p ... net minus author> on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:09PM (#30089280) Homepage Journal
    Speaking as a guy who's spent time on modern boats, anyone who can get the opportunity to tour a submarine should do so without delay. It's awesome to see photos, but it's even better when you seen the insides at work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nelsonal ( 549144 )
      Yeah touring subs are pretty neat. I know of ones in Portland, Galveston, and Pearl Harbor? Any others?
      • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:5, Informative)

        by SBrach ( 1073190 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:24PM (#30089554)
        How about the Submarine Force Library & Museum in Connecticut? I toured the Nautilus several years ago and it is definitely worth the trip if you are in the North-East.

        Aboard NAUTILUS, experience first-hand the thrill of being a submariner as you walk the decks that made Naval history: the world's first nuclear powered vessel, first ship to go to the North Pole and first submarine to journey "20,000 Leagues under the sea." Explore the spaces where the crew of this amazing ship worked, ate, slept, and entertained themselves on their long voyages far beneath the ocean's waves.

        Link [ussnautilus.org]

        • Sweet, I'll go check it out. Ever since playing way, way too much silent service on my NES, I've had a fascination for subs.
        • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Landshark17 ( 807664 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @03:11PM (#30090274)
          Amen to that, thank you for posting it.

          My family drives from New Jersey to Massachussetts every year, and it's tradition to stop in Groton at the Nautilus for a long break. The museum is excellent and the tour of the sub gives you a feel for history that can never be matched by books or documentaries. I have a lot of fond memories of the place, from when I was very young being completely in awe of this boat that could go underwater, to growing up and understanding the history surrounding its creation, and truly appreciating the sign on one of the nearby houses in Groton that encouraged visitors to be mindful of the fact that, for all the marvelous engineering and history surrounding the ship, it was a ship made for war.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:01PM (#30091748)

          I am a sub service veteran, having served on missile subs in the late 60s/early 70s. When I wasn't out to sea on patrol I used to work on different subs that were in port. One of the boats I worked on was the Nautilus. A few years my wife, daughter, and I toured the Sub Museum and the Nautilus. I pointed out some of the gear that I had worked on, thinking it would impress my daughter. It did: She said "Oh my God, Dad! Your so old the stuff you worked on is in a museum!" It brought me back down to Earth right quick...

        • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) * on Friday November 13, 2009 @06:11PM (#30092512) Homepage Journal

          I spent a couple hours at the shrine to the Thresher and the Scorpion in Groton. Any loss at sea is - awe inspiring? But, the loss of a sub is somehow a little bit more than the loss of a surface ship. I got to tour one of the last diesel boats in San Diego, soon after I joined the Navy. A 3rd class petty officer spotted me wandering up and down the pier, examining every detail of the boats, and invited me aboard for a guided tour. Simply awesome.

          Uncle Sam wouldn't allow me to serve aboard boats, for the same reason he wouldn't let me around his aircraft. Poor color vision kept me out of anything interesting. *sigh*

          In '74 and '75, there was a captured WW2 U-boat at the Great Lakes training center as well. That was god-awful small and cramped, even compared to the boat I toured in San Diego.

          Never did tour the Nautilus. I can't even remember why I missed it - it was certainly on my list of "things to do". It probably had something to do with chasing women.....

      • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:5, Informative)

        by chaim79 ( 898507 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:29PM (#30089628) Homepage

        U505 at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It's Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] page, and it's Museum [msichicago.org] page.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Scutter ( 18425 )

          The U505 is impressive but the tour is far too short. You really don't get a good opportunity to experience the sub and examine all its workings. The tour guides rush you from room to room, tell a little story in each, and then hustle you out. I would have preferred to go at my own pace, but I understand the need to keep the line moving since it's such a confined space.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by chrisj_0 ( 825246 )
            The new U-505 exhibit it outstanding! The tour maybe short but try to go on a weekday, I've been there several times and on the weekend the tour gets sold out very quickly (within a few hours) The rest of the exhibit is worth a lot of time too. All kinds of neat stuff. original torpedo cut away model. enigma machines on loan from the NSA. I spent 2:30 hours even before the tour started just looking around and reading all the information that's there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        U-boat in Chicago.
        Growler Submarine in New York City
        Submarine Force Museum in Groton CT has the USS Nautilus

        There are others.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dtmos ( 447842 )

        You can't go inside it, but the HA.19 [wikipedia.org], one of the Japanese midget submarines that participated (ineffectually) in the attack on Pearl Harbor, is on display at the National Museum of the Pacific War [wikipedia.org], in Fredericksburg, Texas.

      • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:32PM (#30089676)
        The USS Torsk (SS-423) [usstorsk.org] is on display in Baltimore MD at the Inner Harbor.
      • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:36PM (#30089736)
        You can organize a tour group and get a tour of Bangor in Washington State. I went as a Boy Scout and it was an amazing trip. We toured a huge active-service nuclear missile sub and I believe our troop exhausted that particular sub's supply of soft-serve ice cream within about 20 minutes. :-) It was amazing to walk around and touch the big vertical missile tubes, too. Ever since then I've been fascinated with submarines.

        And, looking at my gut, I'm guessing the soft-serve experience did something to me as well.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:53PM (#30090004)

          OK... I can't help it... Going AC...

          You were in a long black tube in Bangor. The most memorable things were getting to feel a big vertical shaft and getting cream in your mouth? And now that memory has created a life-long fascination? I'm having trouble not reading between the lines here.

          Sorry for regressing to 12-years-old there. I'll try to grow up a little now. Truthfully, I'd love to let my boys tour a sub. Next time we're in Portland I'll see if I can line it up.

          • You haven't lived until you've seen the look on a guy's face when he realizes his utilities have been compressed with lockwire into a ball approximately three inches in diameter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by srollyson ( 1184197 )
        The USS Cod [wikipedia.org] is docked next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I went there this summer and was amazed by how small the living quarters were. Apparently the best bunks were above the torpedo tubes in the bow of the submarine because they're furthest away from the diesel engine. Bunks elsewhere were stacked three high about a foot apart and only wide enough for your shoulders. Cramped!
        • One more reason to flee to the Cleve!

        • Re:Tour a sub. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Skraut ( 545247 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:11PM (#30091128) Journal
          Last time I toured the Cod they said it was the only sub that was a museum that had been unaltered for tourists. It's not handicapped accessible, tight areas around the ladders, you trip over the bulkheads etc. Get a good feeling for what it was like for the sailors.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jimmyswimmy ( 749153 )
          <quote>Apparently the best bunks were above the torpedo tubes in the bow of the submarine because they're furthest away from the diesel engine. Bunks elsewhere were stacked three high about a foot apart and only wide enough for your shoulders. Cramped!</quote>

          That's pretty much still the case on modern nuke boats. The bunks in the torpedo room are roomier and more open. Some guys get "coffin sickness" from their racks (they wake up screaming at night) so they are allowed to sleep in the torped
      • Yeah touring subs are pretty neat. I know of ones in Portland, Galveston, and Pearl Harbor? Any others?

        You can tour a Soviet sub in San Diego.

      • by CuriHP ( 741480 )

        Until recently there was a Russian sub on display in Providence, RI. Unfortunately it was swamped in a storm and it looks like it's being sold for scrap.

        http://www.saratogamuseum.org/juliett/index.html [saratogamuseum.org]

      • by LanMan04 ( 790429 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @03:15PM (#30090384)

        USS Silversides (SS-236) [wikipedia.org] Active in WWII from April of 1941 to July 1945, and saw quite a bit of action.

        Can be seen at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum [discountasp.net].

        In Muskegon, MI. They have several "overnight" programs for Cub Scouts and Indian Guides and such so you can spend the night sleeping in the bunks, as well as eat in the galley, watch Das Boot, etc. Very very very cool for kids and adults both.

      • The USS Torsk [usstorsk.org], a Tench class sub, is docked permanently in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD
        It's part of the Baltimore Maritme Museum [historicships.org] which includes some other wonderful ships to tour also
      • by himself ( 66589 )

        I went through U-505 in Chicago at the Museum of Science & Industry when I was a wee lad, and it was among the highlights of a very good visit.

      • by himself ( 66589 )

        Battleship Cove in Fall River, Mass., has the USS Lionfish: http://battleshipcove.org/ss298-history.htm [battleshipcove.org]

        Also, they have the battleship USS Massachusetts, two PT boats, an East German (Russian) missile corvette, and a bunch of other stuff.

      • SS-481 USS Requin [wikipedia.org] at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JWSmythe ( 446288 )

        USS Drum (SS-228)
        Gato-class submarine

        Battleship Memorial Park
        2703 Battleship Parkway
        Mobile, Alabama, 36602

        Google Maps satellite view [google.com]

        This park also has a lot of other nice things to look at, such as the USS Alabama (BB-60), and A-12 (similar to the SR-71) #06938.

        A good part of the Drum and Alabama are open for you to explore.

        I was there to see the A-12, but spent h

      • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

        The USS Torsk [wikipedia.org] is open for tours in Baltimore. For more, check out the Historic Naval Ships Association's list of submarines. [hnsa.org]

      • Someone else already mentioned the Nautilus, but it's a great piece of history. My family enjoyed it greatly.
      • [Sigh] Though that page repeats the (completely false) urban legend that Blueback was used in The Hunt for Red October...
        There's also the Submarine Museums [navy.mil] page from the USN, which links not only to submarines on display, but to other museums with submarine exhibits.

    • ...anyone who can get the opportunity to tour a submarine should do so without delay. It's awesome to see photos, but it's even better when you seen the insides at work.

      That is a difficult task after the USS Greeneville Incident. [wikipedia.org]

    • Don't forget to check out the Blackwater Holding Compartments.

      Just uh.. be aware that it may not mean what you think it means.

    • http://www.queenmary.com/index.php?page=scorpioninformation [queenmary.com]

      You can go through the entire sub from front to end.
      I have done this a couple times and take relatives down to it when they come in town, than you can go right next to the Queen Mary all here in Long Beach, CA.

      Lots of ducking your head and pipes everywhere, a plumber would get a hard on walking through it all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by EsJay ( 879629 )
      USS Cobia, Manitowoc WI [wisconsinmaritime.org]
      They built 28 WWII subs up there and floated them down the Mississippi.
    • You insensitive clod. Just thinking about being under the Arctic ice in a metal tube makes me think that perhaps there is a case for encouraging global warming after all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:14PM (#30089380)

    It's very moving to see objects like this underwater

    Compared to those damn flying submarines...

  • Disappointed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:20PM (#30089500) Homepage

    When I first read this headline, I thought they had located the missing midget submarine used to attack Pearl Harbor. (See this [wikipedia.org]) This is not the case. That ship still remains lost.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:31PM (#30089662) Homepage Journal

    Earth's only hope for survival will be to resurrect these two subs as spaceships to kick some Gamilon ass.

    "Leader Dessslok, it's as if we're fighting a ghost ship! How can an old Earth submarine defeat all of Gamilon?"

    Hurry Starforce, there are only 57 days before all life on Earth becomes extinct!

    • No, I think you mean to use the Douglas DC-8. And they aren't taking them away from Earth but bringing them here, to be stacked up next to volcanoes, and blown up with nuclear bombs. Afterwards, their ghosts will attack humans. We'll have to develop meters that can detect these ghosts, and charge enormous sums to eliminate them.

      Wait, that sounds familiar, somehow.

  • by gnunick ( 701343 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:36PM (#30089746) Homepage
    Although they may be talking specifically about this class of submarine and sub-launched aircraft, the Japanese did attack the US mainland, both with sub-mounted artillery, and sub-launched aircraft.

    And yes the aircraft were recoverable by the sub crew: they were seaplanes, and would be picked up by a crane aboard the sub.

    You can read a summary of US-mainland attacks here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacks_on_United_States_territory_in_North_America_during_World_War_II#Japanese_assaults [wikipedia.org]

  • Thank God (Score:5, Funny)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:44PM (#30089868)
    Thank God those whales and dolphins bombed Hiroshima or we might have had to face more of these things.
  • by gyrogeerloose ( 849181 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @02:49PM (#30089940) Journal
    The Freudian implications of a large, phallically-shaped object coated in rubber cannot be ignored.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      That's not what your girlfriend said.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StikyPad ( 445176 )

      The only real insight was Freud's obsession with the phallus, and his lack of consideration for basic physics.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Freudian implications of a large, phallically-shaped object coated in rubber cannot be ignored.

      Especially when it contains lots of seamen.

    • the world capital of porn production and general weirdness of all varieties

      so its not surprising

  • Great book about salvaging the S-51, in 1926.
  • FTA:

    "Specifically designed for a stealth attack on the U.S. East Coast--perhaps targeting Washington, D.C., and New York City--the "samurai subs" were fast, far-ranging, ..."

    I have doubts about this - with the Panama canal under Allied control, getting to the east coast USA from Japan would have been VERY far-ranging.

  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @04:26PM (#30091328) Journal
    I'd never heard before about a Japanese one. The german u-boat U480 that was apparently recently re-located [nationalgeographic.com] used a rubberized coating intended to absorb sonar [worldnavalships.com] to make it less easy to detect. Other sources I've read claim it was covered in some sort of polyurethane that, as it cured, developed engineered-size air pockets that were tuned to absorb sonar pulses. I'm assuming they transferred the technology to Japan, because I've read some about the subject and there's a lot of literature on the German program but I'd never heard about the Japanese one before. One of the things I found interesting about it was that the USA and USSR sub designers apparently didn't try to develop this sort of technology for another 30 years after WWII, preferring to concentrate on making the subs quieter.
  • Airplane Carriers... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:59PM (#30093414)

    The submarine type mentioned, the one designed to carry folding aircraft and a catapult for launching, was actually used in the only aerial attack on the contiguous United States by the Japanese during WWII (both Alaska and Hawaii were attacked by aircraft) if one does not count the numerous attack balloons sent aloft by the Japanese.

    One of these submarines surfaced off the coast of Oregon and launched one of it's folding aircraft. The plane then flew over forested tracts of land and dropped (by hand!) small incendiary bombs in an effort to start large-scale forest fires. One of these bombs landed on property NW of Langlois, Oregon, property that my Aunt and Uncle owned at the time. Fortunately, the Japanese had not taken into account just how damp the woods along that coast are during the summer months and they simply blew up a few trees. It is not unheard of for it to be raining there in June/July. The desired fires never happened.

    It is unknown what became of the plane, but it is assumed it landed near the submarine (I believe they were float-equipped, but incapable of a water launch and thus needed the catapult), was folded up and stowed below deck again.

    Though I do not recall the title, there is a book on the subject.

    There was also an unverified report of a submarine off the coast of San Diego. An alarm was sounded but the sighting was later questioned.


Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser