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Japan

Submersible Photographs WW2 Japanese Sub's Long-Lost Airplane Hangar 75

Zothecula writes: Until the 1960s, Japan's three I-400-class subs were the largest submarines ever built. They were so large, in fact, that they could each carry and launch three Aichi M6A Seiran amphibious aircraft. The idea was that the submarines could stealthily bring the planes to within striking distance of US coastal cities, where they could then take off and conduct bombing runs. Now, for the first time since it was scuttled at the end of World War II, one of the sunken subs' aircraft hangars has been photographed. The M6A on display at the Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center is worth seeing, if you get a chance.
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Submersible Photographs WW2 Japanese Sub's Long-Lost Airplane Hangar

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  • just an ad... (Score:4, Informative)

    by magarity ( 164372 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:20AM (#49586717)

    the link to gizmag pulls up a giant best buy ad whose (x) to close button doesn't work.

    • Re:just an ad... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:54AM (#49587089) Homepage Journal

      it must suck to be you. I on the other hand use Firefox with Adblock, and reading the article right now with no ads bothering me.

      • Their pop-up advertising their own damn newsletter, or something, still managed to get in my way after about 20 seconds. I then closed the tab as I don't like being accosted while browsing.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Clearly Gizmag and Best Buy are depending on technology to defeat an enemy of far superior numbers and resources. These measures, while innovative, are clearly destined to end in defeat.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:36AM (#49586901)

    The Japanese strategy of using their subs as highly ineffective aircraft carriers is one of the reasons they lost the war. While they were wasting their efforts on that, the American's were using their subs as commerce raiders, devastating the Japanese economy ... and the Japanese failed to stop that because they never developed effective anti-sub warfare. They should have consulted with their German allies, who could have told them a lot about the effective anti-sub tactics used against them in the Atlantic.

     

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This reminds me actually a lot of the Schwere Gustav, a huge huge gun the Germans made that needed two freakin' railway tracks side by side and fired 10,500lb shells. It was super powerful and got used, don't get me wrong.

      But it required 2,000 men just to work, not to mention laying track, vulnerable to aircraft if air supremacy isn't established, etc etc etc. I think it shot less than 200 rounds in its life.

      The germans had great engineering, but between this, the Bismarck, and the Tiger tanks (with engin

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @12:26PM (#49587389)

        The germans had great engineering, but between this, the Bismarck, and the Tiger tanks (with engines/transmissions that broke down frequently and couldn't handle the load), they had major failings too in the economy department of bang for your buck [reichsmark]. Leadership was mostly to blame.

        As the war dragged on, Hitler became increasingly convinced that technology would turn the tide for the Germans. The V-series rockets, the ME-262, the Tiger/King Tiger, all were intended to make up for the fact that they were increasingly sending young boys and old men onto the front lines. Numerous advisors and ranking members of teh military (at least claimed to have) attempted to persuade Hitler that these programs were a waste of resources but he was adamant in his support of them. I wonder if a lot of it was due to he increasingly deteriorated mental state as the combination of stress, drugs, and mental diseases (Parkinsons and possibly syphyllis if I am not mistaken ) took their toll.

        • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @12:49PM (#49587679) Journal

          The germans had great engineering, but between this, the Bismarck, and the Tiger tanks (with engines/transmissions that broke down frequently and couldn't handle the load), they had major failings too in the economy department of bang for your buck [reichsmark]. Leadership was mostly to blame.

          As the war dragged on, Hitler became increasingly convinced that technology would turn the tide for the Germans. The V-series rockets, the ME-262, the Tiger/King Tiger, all were intended to make up for the fact that they were increasingly sending young boys and old men onto the front lines. Numerous advisors and ranking members of teh military (at least claimed to have) attempted to persuade Hitler that these programs were a waste of resources but he was adamant in his support of them. I wonder if a lot of it was due to he increasingly deteriorated mental state as the combination of stress, drugs, and mental diseases (Parkinsons and possibly syphyllis if I am not mistaken ) took their toll.

          I think part of it was that winning by tech was their only option: any rational analysis said they were outgunned and outproduced, so tech was their Hail Mary. They simply had to believe in it. Conveniently, it aligned with their sense of superiority.

          • Looking at some of their unfinished projects, it's surprising how close they may have came to that Hail Mary.

            Imagine if they had fully developed the Horten Ho 229, or went through with building the Landkreuzer P. 1000 "Ratte" or even the Landkreuzer P. 1500 "Monster".

            Seriously. Look up the "Monster". Fucking crazy.

            • Yep. Very cool. And it would have ended up like the Yamato.

            • You look at things like the Heinkel 162 and think "yeah, if they had 10,000 of those, they could really have made a difference" -- and they did have a lot of really amazing tech.
              But the thing is, so did the Allies. The Vampire and the Shooting Star would have been comparable to any of the German jet fighters, and were actively being developed and tested.
              I'm no expert, but it looks to me like the only way you can say "oh, man, German tech COULD have won the war" is if everything they tried worked and nothin

        • "As the war dragged on, Hitler became increasingly convinced that technology would turn the tide for the Germans."

          As if they had any other chance to start with. Germany did have neither the men nor the economy to win a total war so, really, their only hope was technology.

          Don't take me wrong: the best strategy (and the good thing to do) was not going into war but if war was to be had -and it coudn't be avoided, given Nazi's ethos -or lack of it thereof, Nazi's general approach was the right one back in the

      • The Bismarck was not a bad ida, it just had the bad luck to take a hit in the rudder and thus become a sitting duck. Had she escaped to become a commerce raider in the Atlantic she would have sunk a lot of tonnage and tie up a lot of ships in an effort to sink her.
        • Consider that Bismarck's sister ship, the Tirpitz, kept a large chunk of the Royal Navy tied down simply by the threat that it might sail out from its base in a fjord in Norway. It was considered to be a serious threat, and treated as such, by the British. Bismarck would have been the same had it not been sunk after multiple engagements (first with the Battlecruiser Hood, and then with the torpedo bombers from Ark Royal).
      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        200 rounds is impressive as most large artillery pieces must be re-machined or re-bored at around such a usage level.
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @12:02PM (#49587173)
      If you do any significant amount of reading regard the Japanese in WW2, you notice that there was often an over reliance on trickery, subterfuge, and a focus on the means rather than the end goal. Part of it was desperation borne out of being completely outmatched technologically, but part of it was also a deeply entrenched belief that the fighting spirit of the Japanese soldier would allow him to overcome any hardship, any adversary. Examples such as Guadalcanal, where they landed the 900-man Ichiki Detachment with orders to destroy the 10,000-strong Marine landing force; the countless instances of forsaking strong, pre-prepared defensive positions for banzai charges that killed hundreds or thousands of Japanese at the cost of a handful of Americans; to untrained high school boys with just enough flight training to be able to take off and fly level piloting aircraft with nothing more than an airspeed indicator and a compass trying to sink aircraft carriers. Necessity really is the mother of inventions, but when it is combined with desperation it can spawn some of the craziest ideas, which more often as not result in disaster.
      • by paiute ( 550198 )

        a deeply entrenched belief that the fighting spirit of the Japanese soldier would allow him to overcome any hardship, any adversary.

        Similar to the belief in the South ca. 1861 that the Confederate forces would win because they were gentlemen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        "To the Japanese, machines of war--from the heavy machine guns to the tank--are only incidentals in warfare. We Americans realize that the infantry must perform the tasks of actually taking over the ground and holding it, but we use every available machine of war to prevent unnecessary losses. In contrast, the Japanese do not conceive of substituting the shock action of war machines for the shock action of infantry, and they merely strengthen the shock action of troops by the assistance of the machines. The

        • Good post. I looked up "Japanese Warfare as Seen by U.S. Observers" and am sitting back with some popcorn for a good read. It reminds me of back when I had access to that sort of stuff. Fascinating reading.

        • Interesting tidbits. On one hand...

          The Japanese bayonet assaults have been reported as a terrifying attack--but all our units on Guadalcanal loved them. The Jap practice of singing his Banzai song for about 5 minutes prior to his assault has simply been a signal for our troops to load a fresh belt of ammunition in the machine guns, put new clips in rifles and BAR's, and to call for the Tommy gunners to get in position.

          On the other hand...

          It would be impossible to overstress the tenacity with which the Japan

          • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

            On the other hand...

            It would be impossible to overstress the tenacity with which the Japanese clung to their prepared positions (in the Buna area). Ordinary grenades, gun, and mortar fire were completely ineffective. There were many instances where dugouts were grenaded inside, covered with gasoline and burned, and then sealed with dirt and sand, only to yield--two or three days later—Japanese, who came out fighting. One souvenir hunter, entering a dugout that had been sealed for 4 days, was chased out by a Japanese officer armed with a sword.

            There were also numerous cases (I believe they were first encountered starting around Tarawa) where Japanese soldiers would kill themselves almost at the first sight of an American, blowing themselves up with grenades with a loaded rifle sitting next to them, not even trying to engage them. And don't forget, especially in the early days of the war, the officers usually got the soldiers drunk before banzai attacks too.

    • In fact submarine aircraft carriers is a good idea, but the technology to make a pratical one is not ready yet (they shoud be a lot bigger to carry many aircrafts and have a way to fast launch / fast recovery to minimize time in the surface)
      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        In fact submarine aircraft carriers is a good idea

        Why? Subs can lauch anti-ship missiles out of their torpedo tubes. They have vertical launchers for cruise missiles for land bombardment. A German firm is even developing sub-launched anti-air missiles similar to Sidewinders in capabilities. Aircraft carriers these days are more defensive weapons designed to protect fleets than they are offensive weapons, while subs are excellent offensive weapons.

        • Range and stealth when you need to to launch an aircraft rather than a cruise missile, with the advantage of his enemy staying with little way to know where the aircraft came from.
          • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

            Range and stealth when you need to to launch an aircraft rather than a cruise missile, with the advantage of his enemy staying with little way to know where the aircraft came from.

            Uh, cruise missiles have greater ranges than aircraft and, except for stealth aircraft, have lower radar signatures. Also, a sub would have to surface to launch aircraft but can launch missiles while submerged.

            • Well, aircraft are more flexible than cruise missiles. As I said before, is a good idea if you need aircraft to the mission. If you can simply use a cruise missile on your attack then you do not need a aircraft carrier or submarine aircraft carrier.
              • As I said before, is a good idea if you need aircraft to the mission.

                I could see it used more likely as a drone carrier, if one was to sink the bucks and bodies into the research.

                • Also, fwiw, I think certain special ops forces do have in/extraction methods involving air/sea/undersea.

              • Well, aircraft are more flexible than cruise missiles.

                Are they flexible enough to be worth neutering the sub? What kind of speed, range, noise, and depth limitations do you suppose you'll get from including a hangar and a runway?

                If I had to guess, the trade-offs are disastrous---as evidenced by the fact that the US has zero in service.

                Every square inch of hull adds 400+ lb of pressure at typical test depths. That is the physical constraint that every "feature" must be weighed against. Things that take up a lot of space get very expensive very quickly.

                • What the problem is with the attitude of you? Did I offend your mother given the level of aggression that I see in the way you write? Look, read again what I wrote. I even said that no one has yet built one for not having idea how to do, but that does not mean that therefore the idea "is completely impossible and anyone who says otherwise is a fool". Geez! Only because you do not know how to do, so nobody can do? I also do not know how to make one, but I do not arrogantly assume that therefore no one can.
      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        It's a terrible idea. Funds would be better allocated (and HAVE been allocated) to researching mid-air refuelling techniques and increasing the range of existing aircraft. Placing your striking power in a vulnerable and relatively defenseless position (underwater, where no planes can be launched) is not a good idea. At least on the surface carriers can be escorted by the rest of their strike group and they have a chance at launching sorties and sinking the enemy first. An underwater carrier would be a big f
        • well, I think you do not really get the idea. The purpose of a submarine like this is be able to deliver their aircraft close to the enemy without being seen, launch the attack (which will appear to have come out of nowhere, with little or no warning) and then leave again without being seen. A conventional aircraft carrier would have to navigate to the enemy being visible all the time before he could launch their aircraft, same for a aircraft using mid-air refueling.

          The only problem with the idea is that
          • The purpose of a submarine like this is be able to deliver their aircraft close to the enemy without being seen, launch the attack (which will appear to have come out of nowhere, with little or no warning) and then leave again without being seen

            This is exactly what is done today - Just with submarine-launched cruise missiles. Cruise missiles also have the advantage over human-piloted bombers of not needing to be recovered once the mission is complete.

            • Cruise missiles work great for blowing stuff up, but there are a great many operations that call for extraction of soldiers or intelligence. Submarine-based aircraft could do this very well.

              Some security strategists have proposed the florida-man-piloted-gyrocopter was allowed to land safely on the capitol lawn in order to give the North Koreans a false sense of confidence in their secret submarine-based gyrocopter assault project currently under development near PoonYang.
            • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
              Yeah but when your 12 (or however many) missiles are gone, reloading is a bit of a PITA and takes quite a while, unlike a carrier... Plus there's only so much mass of explosive you can put on the tip of a missile compared to a bomb carried by a plane.
          • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
            Yeah something as large as an aircraft carrier will be completely stealthy. Just put it underwater. /facepalm
            • Looks like you are yet another troll... Say to me where is a attack nuclear submarine on patrol on this moment, smartass. Is a bit more difficult than you think to find one, why do you think a submarine aircraft carrier will be much easier to find than an conventional aircraft carrier?
              • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
                Comparing an attack SSN with something the size of an aircraft carrier. Well done. How fast do you think this thing would be and what kind of spike would it give on say, a magnetic anomaly detector? You can't make a small city "stealthy" and quiet underwater. Even SSN's and SSBN's can be tracked. Imagine your carrier. Also, troll does not mean "someone who disagrees".
    • by drnb ( 2434720 )

      The Japanese strategy of using their subs as highly ineffective aircraft carriers is one of the reasons they lost the war.

      Ineffective depends on the mission. One mission contemplated for these subs was to deliver plague infected fleas to coastal cities. The technology and techniques were ready to go. Testing had been done on rural Chinese villages.

    • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @12:31PM (#49587441)

      The Japanese strategy of using their subs as highly ineffective aircraft carriers is one of the reasons they lost the war. While they were wasting their efforts on that, the American's were using their subs as commerce raiders, devastating the Japanese economy ... and the Japanese failed to stop that because they never developed effective anti-sub warfare. They should have consulted with their German allies, who could have told them a lot about the effective anti-sub tactics used against them in the Atlantic.

      True, but one tactic that the Germans didn't realize was we were reading their codes and thus able to better intercept U-Boots and wolf packs. I'm not sure if Japan had developed sonar to the point it could detect submerged submarines; although radar could detect them while surfaced, which was their normal mode of operation, but then that also warns the submarine you are there before you detect them. Finally, the Allies pretty much controlled the seas in the Atlantic and thus could conduct ASW without much concern that they would get into surface battles; Japan did not have that luxury and was trying to fight naval battles that took ships that could be used for ASW away from that role. Not disagreeing with you but the two theaters were different enough that many of the things that work din one might not in the other.

      • The problem wasn't that they were using subs as aircraft carriers. It was that their naval doctrine was entirely focused on the Mahan-ian notion of a Decisive Battle, to the exclusion of everything else. Their submarine force, aircraft carrying or not, was seen as an adjunct to the surface fleet, and was used almost exclusively to target surface ships, a tactic that worked poorly with WW2 technology. While today an attack submarine is a regular part of a Carrier Battle Group, this wasn't the case in WW2 bec
        • True, we didn't have problems getting the raw resources. It was getting the cooked resources half way around the world that, if the Japanese had a different sub strategy, could have caused havoc with the prosecution of the war.

      • True, but one tactic that the Germans didn't realize was we were reading their codes and thus able to better intercept U-Boots and wolf packs.

        There's more (a lot more) to the story than just the soundbite "the Allies could read the German codes", but that's a different topic.

        I'm not sure if Japan had developed sonar to the point it could detect submerged submarines; although radar could detect them while surfaced

        The Japanese had decent enough sonars and useful radars - what they never really built

        • (Though on reflection, we're probably saying much the same thing, just from different points of view.)

          It's industrial capacity that was the real "secret weapon" that the Allies had in WWII - in both theatres.

          True. You made a lot of good points. That's the problem with /.; things that have many books written explaining them are boiled down to a few sentences

          • That's the problem with /.; things that have many books written explaining them are boiled down to a few sentences.

            True. But a deeper problem is that there's a conceit on Slashdot that, by virtue of being nerds and geeks, they're experts on every topic under the sun. There are a lot of topics (and ASW is one of them) that come up on Slashdot that the average slashdotter has no grasp of beyond soundbites (at best), and they're blithely unaware of how shallow (and often incorrect) their understanding is.

          • That's the problem with /.; things that have many books written explaining them are boiled down to a few sentences

            True enough. But who has the time to re-write a book on /. when they're supposed to be at work?

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Anti sub warfare or not it would not have mattered. Japan's problem is that it was an island and thus 100% dependent on maritime trade. If allied subs proved ineffective then more aircraft would have been assigned to bomb the ships, or more raiding surface groups would go after shipping. Lack of effective ASW did not make Japan any more vulnerable since this vulnerability was a strategic, geographic one. The US on the other hand had no such vulnerability. Of course it had to keep its front line bases suppli
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think you're overplaying that; the Allies tried all sorts of crazy tricks too, including building an unsinkable aircraft carrier out of ice (see the Habukkuk Project). All the things you mention are the reasons the Japanese would lose tactically, on the battlefield

      The main reason the Japanese lost the war was because they over extended their reach and their supply lines, and picked a a fight with an industrial power that dwarfed them. The US's ability to churn out guns and bullets and planes and ships a

  • We sank the only submersible aircraft carriers around just to keep the Russians from having a look? I guess no Jack Ryan was there to have a better idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That headline has gotta be one of the hardest to parse ever. Probably would have been easier if the words had been put in alphabetical order.

  • . . . for scale.

  • Almost as cool as the USS Akron, ZRS-4. One of two flying aircraft carriers.
  • The US and UK looked at aircraft carrier submarines in the between WWI and WWII and eventually gave up on the idea because of the technical and operational problems.

    - Seaplanes have some pretty sharp inherent performance limits. (Speed, range, and payload.) Miniaturizing the aircraft to fit on a reasonable submarine just made things worse.

    - Getting around these limits by enlarging the submarine was no picnic... they were much harder to maneuver than more conventionally sized submarines, and were far more

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      The US and UK looked at aircraft carrier submarines in the between WWI and WWII and eventually gave up on the idea because of the technical and operational problems.

      If, by 'looked at', you mean 'built'. Can't vouch for America, but Britain's M2 was operational for a few years before it sank in the mid-20s.

      • by rossdee ( 243626 )

        "Britain's M2 was operational for a few years before it sank in the mid-20s."

        And there was the French boat Surcouf, which had a seaplane hanger and 2 8 inch guns. I think it was rammed by accident and sunk in WWII

        Of course in both of those cases the seaplane was just for recon, not a strike weapon.

      • Even without her loss, M2 was one-of-a-kind and there were no plans to repeat her. Nobody else, save the Japanese and the French, even completed one (and Surcouf was, like M2, a one-of-a-kind).

        The carrier submarine (and it's close sibling the cruiser submarine) were simply impractical with the technology of the time. While the modern SSN closely approaches the cruiser submarine in concept, no carrier submarine has ever progressed past the drawing boards since WWII. (In a large part because cruise missle

  • Reminds me that the Japanese Navy and the Japanese Army functioned as wholly separate forces who were jealous of each other's influence and successes. To the point that the Japanese Army had their own submarine fleet rather than ask the Navy for assistance.
  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Thursday April 30, 2015 @02:08PM (#49588379)

    I always thought the most practical combination of aircraft and submarine was the FA 330 [wikipedia.org], a rotary-wing kite used by Nazi submariners to get their lookout higher to see farther. It was tethered and unpowered, but it was quick to set up, simple to use, and provided a great benefit to the sub in the last few days before radar.

  • WHICH Air and Space museum? The one in San Diego? Wright-Patterson AFB? Any of the other hundred scattered about?

    Why would I have to click on the link just to figure out wtf you're talking about?

  • Russian nuclear subs are larger than this submarine

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