80 Years Ago Today: The Japanese Secret Weapons Used at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor
The HA-19 mini submarine utilized on the tried attack of Pearl Harbor after being pulled to the beach by the U.S. Navy. (Photo: U.S. Navy Archive)

Secret Mini-Subs, Shallow Water Torpedoes and “Stealth” Aircraft Carriers Helped the Japanese Achieve Surprise in “Secret Operation Z”.

In lots of methods, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was the best military operation. The assaulting Japanese job force attained nearly total tactical surprise, incredibly averted detection throughout a 3,000+ mile sortie, effectively used specifically established trump cards versus U.S. forces and handled to leave with small losses.

For their efforts and effort, the Japanese 1st Air Fleet ruined or harmed 19 U.S. Navy ships, consisting of 8 battleships at Pearl Harbor. Price quotes recommend that 75% of the U.S. airplane on the ground at Hickam Field near Pearl Harbor were damaged in the attack. The attack likewise took 2,403 survives on the American side. This death toll on American soil would not be approached once again till the 9/11 fear attacks in 2001 that declared the lives of 2,996 individuals, primarily Americans.

This impressive military blow was dealt to the U.S. by a little island country that had, just 7 years previously, still been ruled under an ancient feudal hierarchy that started in the year 1185 and ended with the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

How did the Japanese handle such an effective force majeure versus the Americans?

” Let your strategies be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”– Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

The brief response is that the Japanese were well prepared, taken pleasure in optimum tactical situations (if not beneficial location) and were extremely fortunate at Pearl Harbor. A corollary of Japan’s bold effort at Pearl Harbor was a considerable step of misfortune for the Americans. It might have been so much even worse. Had even among the U.S. Navy’s 7 attack aircraft carrier been at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the result for the Americans might have lengthened the war in the Pacific and more threatened the mainland United States.

The Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor started on Nov. 26, 1941, when Admiral Chuichi Nagumo lead the Japanese First Air Fleet, the biggest warship strike force in history at the time, towards Hawaii as a contingency versus the failure of settlements with the U.S. to prevent war in the Pacific. It is notable that the Japanese First Air Fleet was, at the start, a contingency force, not currently entrusted with the certainty of a functional strike versus Pearl Harbor. The First Air Fleet was Japan’s “fallback” to assert supremacy versus the Americans in the Pacific.

History reveals that assaulting Pearl Harbor was a pricey choice for Japan. A shocking 2,600,000 -3,100,000 Japanese would pass away in WWII in between late 1941 and Japan’s capitulation on September 2,1945 Japan stays the only nation in history to have actually gone through a functional tactical nuclear strike, 2 in truth, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The very first stage of the Pearl Harbor attack, the private motion of an enormous 67- ship armada, to within striking series of Hawaii, was maybe the most tough stage of “ Secret Operation Z“. Bad weather condition preferred the Japanese job force, with storms preventing U.S. security of the ships for much of the method. The job force was under orders to instantly sink any allied vessel it came across to avoid them from communicating intelligence back to U.S. forces.

The strike itself consisted of 353 Japanese airplane, of which Japanese losses were just 29 airplane. By war’s end, every one of the 67 Japanese ships from the initial job force would be sunk by the allies other than one.

Two Japanese trump cards used in the attack on Pearl Harbor consist of the extremely effective shallow water version of the Japanese Type 91, Mod 2 air-delivered torpedo and the mostly not successful Type HA-19 A Kō-hyōteki-class midget submarine.

This1968 graphic released in Popular Mechanics demonstrates how the Japanese

Type91 Mod 2 shallow-water torpedo was utilized to advantage in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor.( Photo: Popular Mechanics)

The Japanese Type91, Mod 2 air-dropped torpedo utilized numerous unique innovations to enhance high speed shipment and shallow water efficiency. Wood stabilizer fins were connected to the front of the torpedo for its freefall stage prior to getting in the water. The fins avoided extreme roll, pitch and yaw of the torpedo as soon as launched from the shipment airplane, a Nakajima B5N.

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The Type91Mod 2 shallow-water torpedo contributed in the airstrikes on American shipping at Pearl Harbor. (Photo: by means of Pearl Harbor Museum)

“data-image-title =” PearlHarbor _20″ data-large-file=” https://i1.wp.com/theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2021/12/ PearlHarbor _20 The Type91 Mod 2 shallow-water torpedo contributed in the airstrikes on American shipping at Pearl Harbor.( Photo: by means of Pearl Harbor Museum)

The torpedo was more supported in flight after release by the angular velocity control system, which avoided extreme rolling of the torpedo as soon as launched. This decrease in roll integrated with directional fins on the tail that preserved a more horizontal angle of attack after release was mainly accountable for the torpedo’s exceptional shallow water efficiency.

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The Type91 shallow-water torpedoes beneath Kate torpedo bombers. This variation of the torpedo utilizes a various box-shaped rear fin system than was used at Pearl Harbor.( Photo: by means of Reddit)

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The Type 91 shallow-water torpedoes beneath Kate torpedo bombers. This variation of the torpedo utilizes a various box-shaped rear fin system than was utilized at Pearl Harbor.( Photo: through Reddit)

But not all of the Japanese trump cards utilized at Pearl Harbor succeeded.

The Type HA – 19 A Kō-hyōteki-class two-man midget submarine was an abject failure throughout the attack.
The mini submarine was expected to go into the harbor and utilize its 2 torpedoes to assault U.S. warships.

As it ended up, the sub’s navigational devices, particularly its gyro-stabilized compass, were unusable when it was introduced, and its two-man team might not fix it in time to browse into the harbor. The team attempted several times to go into Pearl Harbor, however struck reefs on each effort. On 2 events throughout the tried submarine seepage of the harbor, the mini-sub was assaulted by U.S. Navy vessels utilizing depth charges. Among these attacks knocked one crewman unconscious.

When it lastly ended up being clear the mini-sub might not go into the harbor, the team tried to go back to the Japanese ship that had actually released them. Damage from the depth charge attacks triggered battery damage that gave off fumes. The 2 crewmen ultimately passed out from fumes and the mini-sub cleaned up on a reef where they then set scuttling charges to damage the submarine. In a last stroke of failure, seawater avoided the scuttling charges from detonating, and one of the 2 crewmen drowned swimming to coast from the reef where the sub was stranded. The U.S. Navy later on recuperated the sub after the Army Air Corps had actually unsuccessfully bombed it. It went on to end up being an interest to assist offer war bonds and lastly a display at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

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The Japanese HA – 19 Class mini-sub utilized in a not successful attack on Pearl Harbor on display screen at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Photo: by means of National Museum of the Pacific War)

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The Japanese HA – 19 Class mini-sub utilized in a not successful attack on Pearl Harbor on screen at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Photo: by means of National Museum of the Pacific War)

Tom Demerly is a function author, reporter, professional photographer and editorialist who has actually composed posts that are released around the globe on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside publication, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s federal government media outlet Sputnik, and numerous other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence event system as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience consists of being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance system, Company “F”, 425 th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is a knowledgeable parachutist, holds innovative SCUBA accreditations, has actually climbed up the greatest mountains on 3 continents and went to all 7 continents and has actually flown numerous kinds of light airplane.

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