I-400 Japan’s Secret Aircraft-Carrying Strike Submarine Objective Panama Canal

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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Koji Takaki. Henry Kakaida. The I 'super submarine' was one of the most monstrous creations to emerge from the Second World War and in its time it was the largest submarine ever built. It was considered to have been one of Japan's most secret weapons - indeed the Allies remained unaware of its existence until it surrendered in late August At more than ft long, weighing 5, tons, carry The I 'super submarine' was one of the most monstrous creations to emerge from the Second World War and in its time it was the largest submarine ever built.

At more than ft long, weighing 5, tons, carrying a crew of and possessing a range of over 50, miles, the I carried three Seiran attack floatplanes in a hangar built on to its deck ahead of the massive conning tower.

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This book is the result of many years of meticulous research. The authors have traced and interviewed three of the original six pilots slated to fly the Seirans on their hazardous missions.

They have revealed - for the first time - the story their aircraft being painted in fake US markings for their final mission. The book contains hundreds of astonishing photographs, many previously unpublished, showing the I from both outside and inside as well as its hangars and aircraft. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1.

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Until the development of wolf-packs groups of submarines each submarine operated alone and depended heavily on the skill and determination of its commander. When war arrived, it was found that a high percentage were not up to the job. During alone Admiral Lockwood removed 30 percent of all submarine commanders. The removal rate fell to 7 percent per annum in the following two years. Unlike in the German Navy, US commanders were not trained in nighttime attack from which their enemies had yielded good results.

Furthermore the standard training manual recommended sound sonar attacks rather than sight attacks using periscopes. The latter was a far more reliable system. As a result, in the first eighteen months of the war, the US submarine fleet was anything but successful.

Henry Sakaida

But the main reasons for this was neither strategic nor due to poor leadership. It became quickly apparent that the Mark XIV torpedo did not work. Perhaps this was not surprising as Christie, after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, joined project G, which the Bureau of Ordnance had initiated to develop a magnetic exploder for torpedoes. The German Navy had developed magnetic mines in World War I and in the post-war period both Britain and Germany further developed magnetic devices.

By firing a torpedo to explode underneath the hull of an enemy ship, a powerful gas bubble would force itself upwards and rip apart the hull at a point that was weaker than the more heavily plated sides of an enemy warship. One of the reasons for this was the tiny production volume of the Mark XIV. Submarine captains were ordered to hold back on firing spreads numbers of torpedoes fired in a spread pattern on targets because of the shortage of stock — a problem that had been massively exacerbated by the monopoly that Newport Torpedo Station exercised on the production of torpedoes and the antiquated hand-built production techniques that they employed.

Small wonder that Newport did not live-test their products. After reports that the Mark XIV s were running too deep, Christie, in Brisbane, disputed the extent of the problem and blamed malfunctions on poor maintenance and operational mistakes. Submarines were ordered to persist with the Mark XIV.

Much to his annoyance in November , Christie, promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, was ordered to return to Newport as Inspector of Ordnance, to solve the problems of manufacture and reliability. It did not help that officials at the Newport Torpedo Station, in attempting to cover the tracks of their incompetence, consistently lied about the issues of depth setting and the non-working of both magnetic and contact exploders. Almost uniquely with regard to American weapons procurement, the Navy was its own supplier. On the grounds of security Newport Torpedo Station fiercely protected its monopoly position.

Even when Admiral Charles Lockwood managed to get experienced submarine officers appointed to Newport, they were ignored. It was a scandal that was largely covered up until after the war. President Roosevelt was never drawn into the internal conflict. He had unfortunate history with regard to Navy affairs in Newport. After a three-week trial in which thirteen sailors were found guilty of sodomy, Roosevelt came under attack for the methods used by the investigators and ultimately resigned his position.


He was subsequently reprimanded by a US Senate Committee. At this point fate intervened to change the course of the submarine war.

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In effect Christie had been demoted in the command reshuffle. Christie became a disaffected element in the management of submarine operations in the Pacific and soon clashed with Lockwood over use of the Mark VI magnetic exploder. In four offensive missions over the next nine months, he sank nineteen Japanese vessels aggregating 55, tons.

His maverick methods became legend. In time we would collect for the Wahoo and Commander Dudley Walker Morton and his men, with heavy interest. And in time we did. Against all acceptable conduct, Rear-Admiral Christie promptly ordered Dealey to take him out for the experience of going on a live patrol. It was a highly irregular request and, given his position of command, peculiarly irresponsible. Having missed out on two known targets, a cruiser and a cargo ship laden with nickel, Dealey returned to base after this week-long addition to his fifth patrol.

However Dealey, who Christie had already tried to persuade to step aside, was adamant that he needed to train new crewmen. He set out on a new patrol, his sixth, and, while in partnership with Captain Chester Nimitz Jr. The episode led to a further estrangement of Christie and Lockwood. Christie spent the remainder of the war as commander of Puget Sound Navy Yard. As for Commander Dealey, who with 16 kills of an aggregate weight of 54, tons to his name, making him the fifth most successful US Pacific War submarine ace, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry.

Dealey and his indomitable command. Dealey was not the only submariner to become an inspiring hero in the early phases of the submarine war. Meanwhile Lockwood spent the early months of wrestling with the problems of the Mark IV torpedo. The magnetic exploder was not the only fault. A design flaw caused US torpedoes to run too deep. Even the contact exploders malfunctioned; it was found that torpedoes fired at ships at the perfect square-on degree angle did not explode.

Japan’s Panama Canal Buster

Indeed ships arrived in port with Mark XIV torpedoes buried in their flanks. Submarine commanders found that more difficult glancing shots worked better. Frequently the Mark XIV also failed to run true and commanders often failed to hit targets at close range. Some torpedoes ran a full circle. It was not until the autumn of that Lockwood, largely by the efforts of his maintenance engineers in the Pacific , managed to adjust the Mark XIV mechanisms enough to make it a workable weapon.

Lockwood himself, realizing the importance of the torpedo issue, oversaw many of the torpedo trials himself. Lockwood dismissed ineffective submarine commanders, redirected strategy toward the sinking of Japanese merchantmen and tankers and the interdiction of supply to Japan.

An experienced submarine commander, he never forgot that conditions of life on a submarine were appalling. In World War II submarines the accumulated stench of human sweat and diesel oil penetrated every artifact. Apart from the appalling food, submarines were infested by insects. We had some rats too. One time when oxygen in the submarine became so thin, we found many rats who could not run because of lack of oxygen. We easily caught many rats. When under attack, the fact that a submarine in World War II was little more than a submerged coffin, must have constantly gnawed at the minds of its submariner combatants.

In the first three months of US submarines sank 57 Japanese merchantmen. By the last quarter of the year the tally had risen to , accounting for 65 percent of Japanese merchant ships sunk in that period. In the following quarter, January to March US submarines sank merchant ships with an aggregate weight of , tons. The ft by New submarines delivered increased from 39 in to 50 the following year and 80 in In June , Lockwood sent nine submarines into the Sea of Japan via the Straits of Tsushima supposedly to test the effectiveness of a new FM sonar in locating minefields.

It was later questioned whether the operation was justified. However Lockwood may simply have wanted to kill merchant ships and to get across the message to Japanese leaders that nowhere was safe from the US Navy.

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Operation Barney would later feature as a movie, Hellcats of the Navy [] starring future President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Davis her screen name. It was the only movie they made together. A record monthly submarine tally of 68 ships was achieved in October , a month in which Japan merchant vessels were lost. By the first quarter of US submarine kills on merchantmen, 60 in total, had fallen back to the levels of the first quarter of Noticeably in this quarter US submarine tallies represented less than 30 percent of Japanese vessels sunk; as the US surface fleet began to surround Japan, it increasingly began to interdict Japanese coastal traffic as well as merchant ships making the short crossing of the Sea of Japan from Korea.

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The mining of the key straits guarding the Inland Sea and the Kanmon Straits between Kyushu and Honshu , further added to the misery of Japanese marine traffic. In aggregate, in the course of the Pacific War , US submarines sank 4.