Midget Submarine Deployment 1941

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Map Code: Ax00302

Prior to Japan’s devastating aerial onslaught on 7 December 1941, an attack group of five Imperial Japanese Navy I Type submarines was positioned around the coast near Pearl Harbor, each carrying Type A midget submarines. It was planned that under the cover of darkness, the midget submarines would enter the harbour and, when the air attack began, would surface and fire their torpedoes at any fleeing ships. The strategy failed and there has been much debate over what happened to some of the midget submarines on 7 December 1941. Only one definitely made it into the harbour and was sunk by USS Mongahan. A second was grounded ashore; a third was spotted and destroyed by USS Ward. The final two missing midget submarines were discovered and identified after the war – in 1960 and 2009 – and historians have questioned whether one of these might have penetrated the harbour the night of the historic attack.

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