Occupation – Sub Clean-up

In a dry-dock at Kure Naval Base, Japan, 19 October 1945. There are at least four different types of midget submarines in this group of about eighty-four boats, though the great majority are of the standard “Koryu” type. The two boats at right in the second row appear to have an enlarged conning tower and shortened hull superstructure. The two boats at left in that row are of the earlier Type A or Type C design, as are a few others further back in the group

By definition, a midget submarine is less than 150 tons, has a crew of no more than eight, has no on-board living accommodation, and operates in conjunction with a mother ship to provide the living accommodations and other support. The Japanese Navy built at least 800 midgets in 7 classes, but only a fraction had any noticeable impact on the war. Their intended purpose initially was to be deployed in front of enemy fleets, but their actual use would be in harbor attacks and coastal defense.

The Japanese midget subs were not named but were numbered with “Ha” numbers (e.g., Ha-19). These numbers were not displayed on the exterior and operationally the midgets were referred to according to the numbers of their mother ships. Thus, when I-24 launched Ha-19, the midget was known as “I-24tou” (designated “M24” in some texts). The “Ha” numbers were not unique either; some Type D’s were numbered Ha-101 through Ha-109.

US officials overlooking captured Japanese submarines in Kure, Japan.

In mid-1944, with coastal defense requirements becoming urgent, the Japanese Navy developed the Koryu Tei Gata Type D. More than just another improved version of the Type A, this was a new design. They were the largest of Japan’s midgets, displacing about 60 tons, 86 feet (26 meters) in length, with a five-man crew, featuring a more powerful diesel engine, and had improved operating endurance. Koryu’s armament consisted of two muzzle-loaded 17.7-inch torpedoes. As with the earlier types, individual boats had alpha-numeric names in the “Ha” series beginning with Ha-101.

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Some 115 units had been completed when Japan capitulated in August 1945. At the end of the war, Allied Occupation forces found hundreds of midget submarines built and building in Japan, including large numbers of the “Koryu” type; nearly 500 more were under construction. Some of these submarines intended for training pilots for Kaiten type manned torpedoes, had an enlarged conning tower and two periscopes.

Kaiten aboard surface vessel

Kaiten submarines were designed to be launched from the deck of a submarine or surface ship, or from coastal installations as a coastal defence weapon. The cruiser, IJN Kitakami, was equipped to launch Kaiten and took part in sea launch trials of Type 1s. In addition, several destroyers of the Matsu class were also adapted to launch the weapon.
In practice, only the Type 1 craft, using the submarine delivery method, were ever used in combat. Specially equipped submarines carried two to six Kaiten, depending on their class.

Partially from: Rare Historical Photos.com

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Adams – Jena, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Col. (Ret. 22 y.)

Gordon Bashaw (100) – Gardner, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Thomas Carney – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Vietnam, Lt. General (Ret.)

Joseph Giles – Louisville, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Charles Hickman (101) – Leola, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

James Loveall – Rockville, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/ 188/11th Airborne Division

Marshall Minton – Kouts, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 44/157th Field Artillery

Weston Norman – TX; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Shanahan Jr. – Cedar Rapids, MI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor, KIA

Albert Zieg – Portland, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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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 September 5, 2019, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 97 Comments.

  1. These early subs must have been a very tough environment.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hadn’t realised about the manned torpedos.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Absolutely fascinating gp, the amount of subs designed and used overall in the war is amazing and honestly a credit to the ingenuity of the time, I believe that even here in Australia we discovered the wreck of one of the 8 manned subs.
    Cheers mate.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yes, I believe the Sydney harbour attack in 1942 was by 3 type “A” midget subs and the main targets were two cruisers — HMAS Canberra and the USS Chicago. I think from memory that one of the subs is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you for the history lesson

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The photos are very interesting. Until I read this post, I didn’t realize that there were mini-subs.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. That’s a lot of submarines and those kaiten subs are the suicide submarines. Lucky the war ended when it did otherwise those kaiten subs could do a lot of damages to the Allied forces. Interesting post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think these were either being held in reserve for the Allied invasion of Japan or there was not enough fuel to operate them.
      Glad to hear from you – I know you received far more weather out of Dorian than I did.

      Like

      • It could be lack of competent manpower too. The new recruits were trained so hastily that they were not as good as the old ones.
        A transformer blew up and about 25 poles were down on Johns Island so we did not have power for two days and Comcast was out for three days. That tree in back was swaying like crazy and one big branch split and hanging precipitously. That tree has to go!

        Liked by 3 people

        • You are quite right about their training. Some of the kamikaze cadets were barely 16 years old.
          I am very glad you and your husband are okay though, despite the discomfort of no power (I sure know how that is!!), but yes – you need to get rid of that tree.

          Like

  8. “Kaiten type manned torpedoes” were those suicide missions like the kamikaze?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I’ve never heard of midget submarines and I love these jokes, GP!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Fascinating there were so many midget subs being prepared for action. The link which Linda gave is fascinating, too.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. very interesting. Great rare photographs.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I wonder if they were all melted down or still survive somewhere! I can’t think of anything worse than being squashed into one of these with seven other people submerged and in danger 😳. How long would they have been underwater before they had to resurface?

    Liked by 5 people

  13. A submariner is a whole different kinda creature.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Very interesting! You so often share something I’ve never heard before. Thank you for teaching me, GP!
    The humor is perfect for this post and they made me snort-laugh! 😀
    It was an honor, once again, to read the names in The Farewell Salute aloud, and say thank you to each of them.
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I enjoyed reading about something I knew absolutely nothing about, so thank you for sharing that. Just as a matter of interest, somebody with “hundreds of midget submarines built and building, (and) nearly 500 more under construction” doesn’t sound particularly ready for surrender to me!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. That’s a lot of submarines. It’s surprising they didn’t have a greater impact on the war. Didn’t Japan also try subs with aircraft on board, or am I thinking of someone else?

    Liked by 4 people

  17. 🤣😂🤣😂 Squids=engineering spaces
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
    (SNORT!)(GASP!)
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  18. That’s a lot of submarines. With all that production, Japan must have had big plans so we are lucky they didn’t get used.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Interesting article. Many thanks 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  20. One of these submarines (with an interesting history) is now on display at the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. There’s some information about it here. If I ever get to that museum, I’ll get some photos.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. I am surprised Yamamoto allowed construction to continue when he knew their efficacy was near zero. Such a diversion of precious manpower and resources for a folly.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Just stopping by to say…
    Please go by and visit LordBeariOfBow’s WP site…comment section! There is a good news update!!! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Just stopping by to say…
    Please go by and visit LordBeariOfBow’s WP site! There is a good news update!!! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  24. I never knew there were so many of those things, GP. You continue to amaze me with these posts.
    (Oh, by the way, one of your “things” is on the Delta Pearl this weekend.) Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. You would have thought the Japanese could have made better use of these mini-subs. Super post. Thank you, GP

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Interesting article. These could have been frightening weapons. I’m glad they didn’t work as planned.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. As if regular subs aren’t claustrophobic enough… Really interesting stuff, and the military humor was excellent 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  28. At first I wondered whether the subs were taking into account the average Japanese size.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Reblogged this on Dave Loves History and commented:
    #DaveLovesSubmarines

    Liked by 4 people

  30. Those Kaiten submarines were a menace at Ulithi atoll/lagoon, where the fleet resupplied and repaired from October 1944 and through the end of the war. Because it could hold “700 vessels,” it was a prime target.

    Liked by 4 people

  31. Small but very useful. I love the Japanese design ideas. Last years i found play toys from around 1950. A terrible design. Lol Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Interesting info about the Japanese miniature submarines. Love the cartoon about the engineering types.

    Liked by 6 people

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