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The Military

Two Sunken Japanese Submarines Found Off Hawaii 239

Ponca City, We love you writes "The NY Times reports that two World War II Japanese submarines, including one meant to carry aircraft for attacks on American cities, have been found in deep water off Hawaii where they were sunk in 1946. Specifically designed for a stealth attack on the US East Coast — perhaps targeting Washington, DC and New York City — the 'samurai subs' were fast, far-ranging, and some carried folding-wing aircraft. Five Japanese submarines were captured by American forces at the end of the war and taken to Pearl Harbor for study, then towed to sea and torpedoed, probably to avoid having to share any of their technology with the Russian military. One of the Japanese craft, the I-201, was covered with a rubberized coating on the hull, an innovation intended to make it less apparent to sonar or radar; it was capable of speeds of about 20 knots while submerged, making it among the fastest diesel submarines ever made. The other, the I-14, much larger and slower, was designed to carry two small planes, Aichi M6A Seirans that could be brought onto the deck and launched by a catapult. The submarines were meant to threaten the United States directly, but none of the attacks occurred because the subs were developed too late in the war, and American intelligence was too good. 'It's very moving to see objects like this underwater,' says Hans Van Tilburg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 'because it's a very peaceful environment, but these subs were designed for aggression.'"

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