“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore”
Vincent van Gogh
“There are fish in the sea better than have ever been caught”
Short "Teaser" for Tonight's Program
Submarine Archeology Score
"These subs were bigger than nuclear subs, the largest diesel subs ever built. They could launch aircraft, stay submerged and run 37,500 miles -- 1 1/2 times around the globe -- without refueling."
John Wiltshire, acting director of HURL (Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory)
It was HURL submersibles Pisces IV and Pisces V that found several of these 60-year-old Japanese submarines in February. The Geographic Channel partly funded and documented their mission for a special, "Hunt for the Samurai Subs," premiering TONIGHT as a crown jewel of the network's second annual Expedition Week.
This legendary class of submarines was developed by the WWII- era Japanese Empire using revolutionary technology. They were the largest submarines ever built -- 400 feet long -- until nuclear-powered submarines were built in the 1950s and 1960s. Had they become operational sooner, they might have had a big impact on the outcome of the war in the Pacific. Plans included the bombing of New York and Washington DC.
The U.S. Navy came into posession of the submarines at the end of WWII, sailing five of them from Japan to here to Pearl Harbor for inspection. A veteran involved in the transfer has reported that other than being unable to read the printing on the instruments, the American submariners had little trouble operating the vessels. The boats were ultimately sunk off of Oahu's coast (1946) in order to avoid sharing their technology with our Cold War adversaries, the Russians, per treaty as our WWII allies.
Tonight, "The Hunt for the Samurai Subs" on the National Geographic Channel tells their story.
"This saga recounts my adventures during the last voyage of His Imperial Japanese Majesty's Sensuikan Toku (Special Submarines). In 1945 I returned from World War II as Executive Officer and Navigator of the U.S. Navy prize crew in one of these aircraft-carrying giants: H.I.J.M.S. I-400. Sailing her from Sasebo, Occupied Japan, to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, seemed a fitting finale to my career in the Submarine Service. . ."