June 1942 (3)

Sydney Harbour attack

Sydney Harbour attack

1-8 June – Three type A midget submarines pulled away from their I-class “mother” submarines about 15 km from Sydney, Australia with the mission to sink the Allied shipping in the harbour.  The first two-man sub, commanded by Lt. Chuma Kenshi, entered the harbour at 8pm.  There was only the central section of the anti-torpedo netting stretched from Georges Head to Green Point, but Chuma’s boat became entangled.

Midget submarine crews

Midget submarine crews

It was detected by a harbour worker and located by defense craft an hour later.  Before it could be attacked, the Japanese sailors, who had made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to break free, destroyed themselves and their submarine by detonating its 35-kilogram scuttling charge.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

Meanwhile, the second submarine, commanded by Lt. Ban Katsuhisa, had slipped past the boom net and made its way to a position off Potts Point.  It was seen and fired upon around 11 pm by the US heavy cruiser USS Chicago and the RAN corvette, Geelong.  The third submarine, commanded by Lt. Matsuo Keiu, was at this time already spotted and being subjected to a depth charge attack from the harbour defense.

HMAS Kuttabul

HMAS Kuttabul

Ban Katsuhisa took this opportunity to fire his 2 torpedoes at the Chicago, which stood out against the illuminated flood-lights of Garden Island.  Both weapons missed their target: one ran aground on Garden Island and failed to explode, the other passed under the Dutch submarine K-9 and struck the sea wall where the converted harbour ferry HMAS Kuttabul was moored.  The blasted damaged the K-9 and sank the Kuttabul, resulting in the deaths of 19 Australian and 2 British naval personnel; 10 others were wounded.

retrieval of Midget No. 21 after depth charge attack

retrieval of Midget No. 21 after depth charge attack

The Allied warships started to leave the port as the harbour defense began a full-scale search for the enemy submarines.  The third midget [Matsuo’s] was finally located at 5 am in Taylors Bay and attacked with depth charges.  The two crew members shot themselves to avoid capture.

Reconstructed midget sub on tour

Reconstructed midget sub on tour

The remaining midget submarine [Katsuhisa’s], was thought to have left the harbour at 1:58 am, according to an electronic indicator loop, but was not located until 12 November 2006 by amateur divers off of Sydney’s norther beaches.  Pictures and the story by the crew that located sub M-24 can be located HERE!

Japanese Type A midget submarine, identical to the 3 that attacked Sydney in 1942, located near Pearl Harbor by the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab, 2002, according to Navy News.

Japanese Type A midget submarine, identical to the 3 that attacked Sydney in 1942, located near Pearl Harbor by the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab, 2002, according to Navy News.

2 June – The United States and China signed a lend-lease agreement.  Immediately afterward, the US began to channel large amounts of military equipment to China by way of Indian ports.  Chiang Kai shek would end up using most of the matérial to fight the Chinese Communist forces rather than Japan.

house bombed at Bellevue Hill

house bombed at Bellevue Hill

unexploded torpedo, Sydney

unexploded torpedo, Sydney

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 June – Sydney, in the early hours received 10 high explosive shells from Japanese submarine I-24 for 10 minutes.  Enemy sub I-21 fired an unknown amount of shells for a period of 16 minutes at Newcastle.  Although it has been estimated at 15 high explosive and 6 star shells, many of which failed to explode.

Click on images to enlarge.

Data about Australia retrieved from the NSW State Records and the Australian National Archives,

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Aussie Humour – 

38f2a8889e604821fb

Desert-sign-595x590

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ronald Allan – Toowoomba, AUS; RA Air Force # 434610anzac-small

Alexander Ashley – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force # 424012

Theresa Carter – Portland, AUS; RA Air Force # 174164

Jack Chalker – UK & AUS; British Royal Field Artillery/ RA Army, CBI, POW (Changi)

Patricia Hawkins – Wellington, NZ; Indian Wing of British Army, WWII, CBI

Rangi Ryan – Albany, NZ; RNZEF # 274451, WWII

Tom Swalm – Plano, TX; US Air Force, MGen (Ret. 31 years) Vietnam

John Wells – Louisville, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO

#################################################################################

jeep

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on February 26, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 90 Comments.

  1. Great account of the attack! Very well written.

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  2. Fascinating. Thanks so much.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Linda. Hope we’ll be seeing more of you in the future; we have a great bunch of people here I’m certain you’ll soon be calling as friends.

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  3. thanks for the visit. interesting site you have here.

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  4. Correction of a further error. Lt Gray’s first name was Robert. Colin Gray was the top scoring New Zealand fighter pilot of the war.

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  5. It seems that the Japanese got a lot closer to Australia than some of us realise. I knew about Darwin and Sydney but not about the other incidents mentioned by roberthorvat.

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    • I’m surprised to hear that, being it was more important to you that the US. But, I suppose all school systems are lacking in coverage these days.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think so. We have to do a lot of discovering on our own. Our http://ww100.govt.nz/ is bringing out lots of photos and stories that will be new and unfamiliar to many.

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        • That is truly an amazing site! So much data on WWI and ANZAC. I only just finished reading an update on the diggings at Gallipoli in the Smithsonian Museum magazine. One of the main reasons I read that mag is because it doesn’t just concentrate on US history. [sometimes a tad too much on Africa and the Middle East, but what are you going to do?] Thank you very much for the link.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, glad you enjoyed it. I follow it via Facebook. I could probably add a few pieces to the site but there’s only so many hours in a day. 😦 Pleased to know that the Smithsonian has an article on Gallipoli.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I was unaware of the background of how the mini subs made it into our harbour, but as Dan pointed out, in mini formation, must be a story there somewhere, also the fact that Katsuhisa’s sub was discovered many years later, the question hangs as to why they did not make it home, something must have gone wrong.
    Great piece of history.

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  7. I toured a WWII era sub once in San Francisco . I wouldn’t be a submariner , especially not in a mini-sub . Couldn’t stand the close confinement . What a way to do your duty for your country !

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  8. I wasn’t aware that Sydney had been attacked.

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  9. Thank you for posting this…I was completely ignorant that Sydney was badly hit by Japanese attacks. I am curious and I want to learn more. How much of a treat the Japanese Navy was to Australia soon after Pearl Harbor?

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    • As far as I know, the Japanese had their sights set on Australia up until about 7 months into the war when they realized just what it would take to try and control the size area they were conquering. To add Australia into that mix would have been too much, so any further attacks were meant to keep the US and Australia separated and away from their other Pacific invasions. It’s great to see that you are so interested, thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the post and the info. I agree with you that it wold had been to much for the Japanese to handled. It seems that they already where overstreching when they attack Pearl Harbor. Am I incorrect to assume that that was one of the reason why they attack in first place to KO the US early on because they knew that that was their once chance?

        I love history, so is always great to read things in your blog about WWII. I am about to finished Conversation with Dick Winters, have you had a chance to read it?

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        • You are correct. Japan wasn’t looking so much for a fight with the US as they just wanted the US Navy to stay out of their business in Asia and the Pacific. Pearl Harbor could actually have been quite worse if struck on a different day – personnel would not have been in church, they’d be back on base from leave and weekend passes, etc. The Japanese just wanted to hit those ships.
          No, I have not read the Conversations with Dick Winters. I just finished “Section 60: Arlington Cemetery…” on Sheri DeGrom’s recommendation and is excellent.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank You gpcox for the story of Sydney’s introduction to the realities of warfare . The loss of 21 young lives was tragic in itself , though small by comparison with other events world wide . Of course we were already rudely awakened , by the bombing of Darwin where more bombs were dropped than at Pearl Harbour and 242 lives lost , we were also bombed at Broome and Townsville. We were so grateful for the Coral Sea Battle which saved Australia and Papua New Guinea.

    Thanks
    Ron

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are very welcome, Ron. The total numbers should not be a comparison, each life lost makes an impact on this world. But I can appreciate what you’re saying and very glad the Japanese did not make further headway into Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. On midget subs — the RN used three against Tirpitz (sister ship to Bismarck) and damaged it, a fascinating tale in itself.
    And another won a VC for an operation against the Japanese Takao (heavy cruiser, from memory).

    Dammit, memory relinquishing its grip, I’ll have to look ’em both up. Again …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me know if you do a post on them!!!

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      • Only 23 members of the Royal Navy, including one Royal Marine, were awarded the Victoria Cross in WWII. Four of them were serving in midget submarines: Lieutenant Ian Fraser and Leading Seaman James Magennis of HMS/M XE3, which damaged Takao in Singapore on 31 July 1945 so badly that she never went to sea again; and Lieutenants Donald Cameron of HM S/M X6 and Godfrey Place of HMS/M X7, which damaged Tirpitz in a Norwegian Fjord on 22 September 1943, putting her out of action for several months.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you very much, Martin. I knew I was asking the right person!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • The correct number of VCs awarded to British Commonwealth sailors and airmen in WWII is 24. The website that I looked up gave a figure for only British naval and marine recipients. It excludes Lt Colin Gray of the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve, who was awarded a posthumous VC for an attack on Japanese shipping on 9 August 1945, the day that the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. It was the last VC of the war and to date is the last one awarded to either an airman or a sailor from any Commonwealth country.

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            • Thank you very much for going to trouble for this information for me. Sometimes I stumble on the best data and other times I can not make an inch headway. I greatly appreciate this, Martin.

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  12. Thanks for highlighting the Australian perspective! I always had it stuck in my memory that the HMAS Kuttabul was being used as a hospital ship. Don’t recall how I got that piece of trivia, and of course, it doesn’t really make any sense as there are regular hospitals near to where it was berthed. Anyway, when you didn’t mention it in this post, I went off surfing the net and finally reminded myself it was temporary accommodation for sailors. How the memory can play tricks. I think what I was remembering was how so many sailors were trapped and their bodies not recovered for days, and I somehow attributed that to being incapacitated. At the time of the attacks, my mother and extended family was living at Lavender Bay. If you look to the left of the Harbour Bridge on your first map you will see it marked there. None of the family ever passed on the stories of their experience, except that, during and just after the war, property values on those foreshore suburbs plummeted. In 1956 my uncle passed on the right of first refusal to buy the property. You can guess what they are worth now. Actually, I did a post related to that when I wrote about Wendy’s Secret Garden. Of course, those crass capitalist comments are not really related to the sacrifices of those who served in the war! Feel free to edit.

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  13. I find myself wondering if they left the floodlights on after the attack? Nothing ever surprises me … I visited Garden Island often enough but never knew the full story. It may take years, but we live and learn. Thanks, GP.

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  14. My mother was in Sydney that day and often used to tell us how concerned people were. But she didn’t say much about the war because she and my father were both Quakers.

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    • It is a shame we don’t have her first hand story. So many from that era just felt they had to bear up under whatever happened and didn’t feel anyone would care to hear their feelings on anything. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Midget subs are fascinating. I have one in one of my books. Thanks for the history.

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  16. Australia got it’s revenge gp with the MV KRAIT, a captured Japanese fishing boat/trawler, which is now mored at the Australian National Maritime Museum here in Sydney. ( where I had the privilege of serving as a volunteer guide for some years) and I’nm sure it will make a surprising post. You might like to do a post on that event gp for your many followers,
    Heres a quick Wiki link to whet your appetite

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Krait

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  17. Fascinating facts, gpcox. Never considered the midget subs being used in Australia. Maybe you can write about the midget sub that was actually in Pearl Harbor one day.

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  18. I too found it interesting and also like finding out things that I never knew. Enjoy your blog so muc, Everett. Excellent job!

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  19. Another interesting post as usual, my friend!

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    • I just realized how “generic” my original comment appears. I did not mean it to be so. Your blog is my only follow on historic topics. I look forward to reading it whenever I see you have a new post. The thing I like most is that you focus on so many areas of the war that I have little knowledge of. Most recently Aleutian Island attacks, and now Australian attacks.

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      • Your ‘generic’ response did not offend me, John. I know myself, I run out of compliments for people or responses to their posts. I guess you can see that on your own site. I rarely have enough time to leave a response everywhere, but I still feel as though I constantly repeat myself.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. Interesting read, as always, and I enjoyed the humo(u)r section.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. The day they do this to you, my hands are tied. ;D

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  22. Hope you got that reply. Sent you one GP a minute ago

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  23. Dan is so right. What a great story, not least the discovery of Katsuhisa’s submarine in 2006.

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    • After these 2 1/2 years of blogging, whenever I mention Australia being bombed, etc. I hear from people that never knew about it. As I told Mrs P. so much happened at the same time , documentaries, newspapers and schools stuck to ‘what sells’.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Continuing to enjoy the three dimensional look on the war. No matter how many documentaries and movies that have been produced, you always manage to shine the light on something new.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I did try to send you a reply to your comment on my website today GP. WordPress will not let me view my own site. So, not sure what to do

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    • Go onto one of their posts if Support isn’t giving you much help. I have to make an inquiry myself as I having trouble with my notifications. I think they may be ‘improving’ WP a bit too much. Try just putting in a post without any connection to pinterest and only 6-8 Tags – give it a shot – what can it hurt?

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  26. I read recently that Japanese mini submarines raided along the east coast sinking the occasional merchant ship. At the time it was covered so as not to spread fear and panic. (Bare with me I’ll find the example I am think of.)

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    • I’ll wait, I’m very interested.

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      • This is an extract from the Australian Government Department of Environment below that you may find interesting….

        “Wartime secrecy meant that the public knew little of the impact on merchant vessels by enemy submarines during WWII. But Japanese (and to a lesser extent German) submarines had significant successes operating along the east coast of Australia. The steel ‘Liberty’ ship William Dawes (link is external) was one of approximately nineteen victims in NSW coastal waters. A Japanese Imperial Navy submarine I-11 attacked and sank the 127 metre long 7000-ton vessel on 22 July 1942 off Tathra on the NSW south coast. Five of the crew were killed. Divers from the recreational diving group, The Sydney Project (link is external), conducted the first visits to the 135-metre deep site in October 2004. The dive constitutes the deepest shipwreck dive ever undertaken in NSW and the second deepest in Australia to date. The dive team have completed AIMA/NAS training through the Heritage Office, NSW Department of Planning, and have been active in mapping and identifying deep wrecks throughout the State. The site is protected under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • I know I’ve heard of the “Dawes” but can’t seem to locate it on my site – I’ll need to get into this, Robert. Thanks you for the update in the diving. I’ll get busy on that research.

          Liked by 1 person

  27. Talk about obscure WWII stories!

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  28. I knew they used midget subs but I didn’t know that they were used in mini-fleet formations like this for significant missions. Great story. Thanks for telling it.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Thank you very much for this. Every reader is another person who will not forget what these troops did for us.

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  1. Pingback: Friday Reblog – Pacific Paratrooper | Andrew's View of the Week

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