Pearl Harbor Day – NOVA Announces Finding Missing Mini-submarine in ’41 attack

December 7, 2009

USS Oklahoma on fire(ChattahBox) — On the anniversary of the 1941 attack that led the United States into World War II, new evidence reveals the Japanese also attacked Pearl Harbor from under water, as well as the air.

The “NOVA” television series announced today that a routine test dive in the waters near Pearl Harbor has uncovered the find that could rewrite the history of the Japanese attack on the U.S on December 7, 1941, which claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Americans and drew the nation into World War II. A team of researchers on an underwater expedition led by the signature PBS science series recently discovered three sections of mysterious steel wreckage deemed by experts to be the unaccounted-for fifth and final Japanese midget submarine used against the U.S. in a top-secret mission to attack the American fleet from below on that day. The compelling new evidence suggests that the sub fired its torpedoes at U.S. ships in Battleship Row before it sank, most likely at the battleships West Virginia and Oklahoma, capsizing the latter. Five Japanese “mother” submarines approached within a few miles of Pearl Harbor before the Dec. 7 battle, each carrying a Type-A, two-man, midget submarine, about 80 feet long and 6 feet wide, NOVA said.

The sophisticated midget subs were twice as fast as many U.S. subs of the times, with 600-horsepower electric motors that could propel them underwater at speeds of 19 knots (22 mph). They were capable of carrying two Type 97 Long Lance Torpedoes.

All but one of the five midget submarines were found over the years, “either destroyed, scuttled or run aground,” NOVA said. “They missed the targets, failed to fire or were recovered with torpedoes intact. But historians have long puzzled over the fate of the missing sub.”

But the last sunken, two-man, Japanese midget sub was found more than 1,000 feet below the surface during a dive three miles south of Pearl Harbor in nearby West Loch.

The loch was also the site of a 1944 disaster in which six tank landing ships preparing for the secret invasion of Saipan were destroyed in an ammunition explosion that killed 200 sailors and wounded hundreds more. When the Navy scooped up the remains of the so-called LSTs and dumped them outside the harbor to protect the secrecy of the invasion, it apparently also dumped the mini-sub’s remains, which were mingled with the damaged U.S. ships.. Two deep-sea research submersibles operated by HURL (Hawaii Underwater Research Laboratory) operators, located the missing sub nestled among the wrecks of several U.S. amphibious assault vehicles. Parks Stephenson, a marine forensic historian and former U.S. Navy officer and submariner, led the expedition for NOVA to investigate the find. “This important discovery sheds light on a World War II mystery that has eluded historians for nearly seven decades,” said Stephenson.

Historians have long puzzled over the fate of the missing sub and whether it penetrated Pearl Harbor to fire on U.S. battleships.

“Pearl Harbor was always seen as an aerial attack,” said Parks Stephenson, lead investigator of an underwater expedition for the PBS science series, which explored the wreckage of a midget submarine discovered by University of Hawaii researchers.

Eyewitness accounts, a congressional report by Adm. Chester Nimitz, former Pacific Fleet commander, and other clues indicate the midget sub fired two torpedoes and claimed success in a radio call to the Japanese high command 12 hours after the attack, he said.

Stunning, first-ever underwater footage of the missing Japanese midget submarine will be presented in the new NOVA television documentary, Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor, premiering Tuesday, January 5, 2010, at 8 pm ET/PT on PBS.

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2 Responses to “Pearl Harbor Day – NOVA Announces Finding Missing Mini-submarine in ’41 attack”

  1. About Pearl Harbor Day | Worldwide News on December 7th, 2009 10:55 am

    […] Pearl Harbor Day – NOVA Announces Finding Missing Mini-submarine …(ChattahBox) — On the anniversary of the 1941 attack that led the United States into World War II, new evidence reveals the Japanese also attacked Pearl Harbor.Read more […]

  2. Joseph L. Nagle on February 6th, 2010 11:58 am

    I ordered a book about the midgets at Pearl Harbor from Nova, and have not received it as yet. J. Nagle

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