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Monday, December 07, 2009

Pearl Harbor mystery solved: Japanese mini-sub discovered

It was sixty-eight years ago today that Pearl Harbor in Hawaii came under attack from the military forces of the Empire of Japan, propelling the United States into World War II. And we've known for awhile now that among those forces were a fleet of "mini submarines": five midget submersibles that were to enter the harbor and attempt to sink American battleships. However four of them ran aground or were destroyed before the attack and wound up playing no part in it at all.

But what of the fifth Japanese mini-sub?

There's been evidence for decades - particularly an intercepted radio transmission from the day after the ambush reporting on the success of the mini-sub - but no hard proof of the role it might have played. Historians have debated it for years.

But today history has one less mystery. The scuttled remains of the fifth Japanese mini-sub have been found three miles south of Pearl Harbor, its 800-pound torpedoes emptied and likely fired at the battleships West Virginia and Oklahoma and perhaps causing enough damage for the latter to capsize in in one of the most iconic destructive acts of the raid.

Amazing, isn't it? That even today, there are still things we don't know about World War II that every so often finally come to light.

Even as we remember those who fought and served and even perished in this most terrible of conflicts, let us pray that there may never again be such an occasion for enigma.


Lee Shelton said...

Speaking of Pearl Harbor, I found this video rather interesting: http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/746.html.

Anonymous said...

Something is not right here. Are we to believe that shortly after an explosion that killed more than 200 servicemen and sank several landing craft that were about to leave for an invasion, that an enemy submarine was discovered amongst the wreckage and nobody paid any attention to it?

Photos of this fifth sub have been released, and it has clearly been disassembled into its three component parts - as opposed to being randomly torn apart during a salvage operation. So, the sub was not simply hauled away with other rubbish without ever being identified, which is the theory being put forward.

Why has the Japanese photograph purportedly showing this sub firing its torpedoes at "Battleship Row" only "recently" been declassified? All of the other Japanese photos taken during the attack were released a long time ago.

This looks like a cover-up by the Navy. Keep in mind Pearl Harbor was a Navy base that was protected from air attack by the Army (Air Corps). Those fighters on Hickam Field and on surrounding air bases were all Army Air Corps fighters. The Navy was responsible for defending the base from attack by sea. Looks to me like the Navy wanted to say it did its part and prevented all of the mini subs from causing any damage while the Army failed to protect the base from air attack. It now looks like the Navy failed to stop one of the five mini subs and didn't want anyone to know.