Speaking of planes that were on the ground during the attack, the National Museum Of Naval Aviation over at P"cola has an SBD on display that was lightly damaged in the attack. One of three or four on display. ( I heard that they posses as many as 16 total) It was repaired and took part in the battle of Midway when it was shot down. Made a forced landing on an island. Sent stateside, repaired again and assigned as trainer. Ditched in Lake Michigan while training on one of those "carriers". Recovered and restored and part of the museums's Carrier deck display. Maybe my imagination, but I can detect a new car smell standing next to it.
Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood
I just read the Dec/2016 issue of Sea Classics mag. There is an extensive article about the 5 midget subs. Without definite USN documents, the researchers who found a PH sub sunk offshore had a mystery to unfold!
In 1944, there was a massive explosion in the West Loch area of PH that sank many LSTs and LVTs that were being loaded. It was so massive that it was held secret for over 15 years.
Having seen many photos of a midget sub sunk offshore, they wondered why it was sunk in the middle of so many tanks and assault vehicles. It was in three pieces and they could see the cables that had been used to lift the wreck off a barge to be dumped into the water. Was it simply a 'war prize' that was brought back to PH and the later dumped in the sea?
During the attack, there were some indications of sub activity inside the harbor and in the West Loch area. Could the sub have been scuttled in an area where a few years later there was a disaster in the same area? Was the sub then 'found' in the wreckage of the LSTs and all those tanks? In cleaning up the wreckage in 1944, was the sub found and then just hauled out to sea to be dumped with all the tanks and assault vehicles that were found all around the sub's remains on the ocean floor?
What happened to the 2-man crew if they had scuttled their sub? Did they swim ashore and then blend in with the Japanese population in Hawaii at the time?
That Sea Classics mag is a PH 'special' edition and well worth picking up if you are interested!
Here's more of the West Loch disaster and a note about the midget sub.........
Last edited by Gary737; 12-21-2016 at 04:26 AM.
Interesting...I hadn't heard of the event. Thanks!
Originally Posted by Gary737
The article in Sea Classics goes into great detail about the Researchers that were involved, photos of the sub on the bottom offshore, etc. Their assumption 'fits' but there was no documentation of it all by the USN. You gotta figure that they were digging out of a disaster, trying to keep it a secret, they come across what may be a sub, it's years after the attack and like all the tanks and vehicles, it's quietly disposed of.
They mention one of the subs (I-22) that was captured. They show a photo of it about to be used as land fill to expand the land in the harbor and that it may now be laying under a parking lot!
I havent seen the article but on this particular midget sub, but just reading the above sounds lime not much mystery. The Ward reported sighting and firing on a sub 645 am Dec 7 just before the air attacks. A few years back a midget sub was found a few miles off entrance to Pearl Harbor, WITH A SHELL HOLE THROUGH THE CONNING TOWER, JUST LIKE WARD CREWMAN REPORTED. IF this is that sub, not much mystery, and the photo I saw showed torpedos still on the sub. Evidence? of supposed cable marks doeent change the Ward report and action. THe tanks and trucks may have been dumped after the war.
If this is another sub,then maybe there is more to the story.Wikipedia says 3 pieces of a midget sub was found 3 miles off Pearl and dumped at sea after the explosiion in 1944, with the landging craft. It does seem strange that they would not want to preserve such a sub if intact for display, but maybe too busy during the war or too strong anti Japanese sentiment to preserve such an aritifact.
Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 12-21-2016 at 12:06 PM.
The West Loch (PH) sub was found to not have torpedos in the tubes and the center section had evidence of an 'outward' explosion from inside the sub....... such as from a scuttling charge. That would lead to a conclusion that the torpedoes were fired and the sub scuttled in the West Loch area......
An interesting and long article about all the subs if you can get a copy of the magazine.....
The historical record is strong that there were multiple midget submarines present during the Pearl Harbor attack. Japanese records show five were towed to Pearl, Japanese wartime propaganda identified the ten crewmen involved, and there's been physical evidence of at least two. The Ward got one of them, and the second was found in the West Loch.
Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood
The remaining mysteries focus on where are the other three subs, and what successes did the five achieve? Gary's post said the one in the West Loch didn't have torpedoes left...which begs the question as to where those torpedoes ended up! One would expect that a sailor who accepts a suicide mission wouldn't fling his only two torps at the first fishing boat encountered.
*Was* the Oklahoma hit by a submarine torpedo? Reports at the time included the impression that one of the torpedoes had a larger explosion, and the torps carried by the midgets had almost twice the explosive as those carried by the aircraft. The picture I posted a few pages back shows what could be a torpedo trail starting with a small conning tower...but, of course, it could be a piece of debris coincident to where a Kate dropped a fish.
Irrespective of the politics involved, those were brave sailors in those boats; men who had known the dates of their deaths for weeks. With the perspective of 75 years, it would be nice to know if they had been able to look the ferryman in the eye.
Then again...no human remains in the West Loch sub, and scuttled close enough for the crew to swim ashore. SOME amount of fifth-column activity ashore, though not at the levels panicked government officials believed. Did the West Loch crew have civilian clothes, the ability speak English, and a couple of addresses memorized? Did they blend into the local Japanese population, not revealing themselves after the end of the war to protect their benefactors from treason charges?
Or were they caught by a patrol and summarily executed and buried by outraged American servicemen? Did they have a rubber raft, and did they paddle out to sea that night to try to meet up with their mother sub?
ONe sub ran aground on a reef off Bellows Point, one crewmember, Lt Sakamaki swam to shore, survived and was captured. The other was not found.
If crew wanted to scutttle a sub, probably just open a valve, dont need an explosive charge.
Seems improbable that two crew would have been able to swim to shore, elude all the soldiers who were all over after the attack began, and survive to hide for years. It is possible but unlikely that they spoke English or were able to blend in with civilians for years.
Two of the midget subs were brought to the the deck of a normal sub, not towed, and released the night of Dec 6 with the lights of Honolulu seen on the horizon.
There are movies and books, etc about Allied POWs in Japanese camps. I have never seen one of a Japanese POW, wonder how this captured crew was held by Americans and if he survived the war.
Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 12-22-2016 at 01:06 PM.
You need to read the article that I mentioned above. Many of your questions are answered there.....
Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood
If any of you are ever in the Twin Cities, the deck gun from the USS Ward that fired the first shot is on display on the grounds of the capitol in St Paul. Definitely worth taking a look and a true piece of history!