In the Last, Desperate Days of World War II, Japan Built Kamikaze Mini-Subs

  • In Science
  • 2019-02-11 20:43:00Z
  • By Popular Mechanics

From Popular Mechanics

In the last months of World War II, with its massive navy defeated, Japan was desperate for a way to stem a possible Allied invasion on the horizon. The answer: building hundreds of kamikaze miniature submarines. Known as Kairyu, the sub carried two torpedoes each and were fitted with an explosive charge to ram and sink Allied ships and troop transports.

In 1945, defeat was at Japan's door. The four-year War in the Pacific had island-hopped from Hawaii to near Japan's "Home Islands." Japan's flying kamikaze suicide pilots with their explosive-laden planes were one example of the country's desperation. The Kairyu submarines were another.

Submarine authority H.I. Sutton, author of the Covert Shores submarine blog, describes the Kairyu submarines as just more than 56 feet long and four feet wide. The 19-ton submarines had a crew of two. The Kairyus could travel up to 450 nautical miles on the surface at 5.4 knots, or 38 nautical miles while submerged at speeds of 3 knots.

The Kairyu submarines were armed with two externally mounted torpedo tubes and a bow-mounted explosive charge for ramming. Like the kamikaze pilots of the air, Kairyu crews were not expected to return from their missions.

The Kairyus were meant to sink the Allied ships that would have been instrumental to an invasion. A likely tactic would have been to send out the Kairyu fleet as an Allied invasion force approached, sending the submarines deep to avoid detection. Once the invasion began, the Kairyus could surface among the enemy fleet and launch torpedoes. Many invasion transports, unloading troops and equipment, would have been unable to take evasive action. Once their torpedoes were expended, Kairyus would have then rammed allied ships.

History didn't turn out that way. The United States attacked with atomic bombs rather than an invasion, and Japan surrendered before the Kairyu fleet could be used. The Allies grabbed the surviving subs for study after the war. No country has built kamikaze mini-submarines since.

Read more atCovert Shores.

('You Might Also Like',)


More Related News

After gender change, a bureaucratic brick wall in Japan
After gender change, a bureaucratic brick wall in Japan
  • World
  • 2019-02-19 03:30:48Z

Elin McCready, a transgender woman, has been married for 19 years, but registering her female identity and name has thrown her union into jeopardy because Japan doesn't recognise gay marriage. "We've effectively broken the system," said McCready, a 45-year-old American, who has three children with her Japanese wife Midori.

Japan's Abe won't deny nominating President Donald Trump for Nobel Prize
Japan's Abe won't deny nominating President Donald Trump for Nobel Prize

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would not say whether he nominated President Donald Trump but lauded his efforts to defuse the Korean crisis.

Abe mum on Trump
Abe mum on Trump's claim of nomination for Nobel Peace Prize

TOKYO (AP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe kept quiet Monday over President Donald Trump's claim that he had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, but praised him and emphasized he did not deny doing so.

Japan's Abe Declines to Say If He Backed Trump for Nobel Prize
Japan's Abe Declines to Say If He Backed Trump for Nobel Prize

Abe, who has worked hard to build a personal rapport with Trump, walked a fine line during a parliamentary committee meeting Monday when asked about Trump's claim from Friday that the Japanese leader had put his name forward for the prize. "I am not saying it's not true," he told an opposition lawmaker, adding that the Nobel committee doesn't reveal nominations and he would refrain from commenting. Abe praised Trump for his diplomacy with North Korea and helping to protect Japan, which relies on the U.S. military for its defense.

Japan Frets Over
Japan Frets Over 'Nightmare Scenario' as Trump Meets Kim Again

Like the first time Trump met Kim in June, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has found himself on the outside peering in before their second summit set for Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi. The meeting brings both the promise of a less-dangerous North Korea and the potential peril of a weak deal that leaves Japan

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Science

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.