Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7, 1941: never forget

Today is the 68th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.  It is a time to remember and honor those who served and died in that horrific war.

For my military history buff readers, there is an interesting report in the Los Angeles Times today which may lead to the rewriting of one part of that long nightmare of a day.  From the article:

The remains of a Japanese mini-submarine that participated in the Dec. 7, 1941, have been discovered, researchers are to report today, offering strong evidence that the sub fired its torpedoes at Battleship Row.

That could settle a long-standing argument among historians.

Five mini-subs were to participate in the strike, but four were scuttled, destroyed or run aground without being a factor in the attack. The fate of the fifth has remained a mystery. But a variety of new evidence suggests that the fifth fired its two 800-pound torpedoes, most likely at the battleships West Virginia and Oklahoma, capsizing the latter. A day later, researchers think, the mini-sub's crew scuttled it in nearby West Loch.

The loch was also the site of a 1944 disaster in which six tank landing ships preparing for the secret invasion of Saipan were destroyed in an ammunition explosion that killed 200 sailors and wounded hundreds more.

When the Navy scooped up the remains of the so-called LSTs and dumped them outside the harbor to protect the secrecy of the invasion, it apparently also dumped the mini-sub's remains, which were mingled with the damaged U.S. ships.

"It's not often that a historian gets a chance to rewrite history," said marine historian and former Navy submariner Parks Stephenson, who pieced together the evidence for the television program "Nova." "The capsizing of the Oklahoma is the second most iconic event of the attack. If one submarine could get in in 1941 and hit a battleship, who knows what a midget sub could do today. Iran and North Korea are both building them. It's very worrying."
Chattah Box has more here.

1 comment:

  1. I am always pleased when one of the younger generation remember. It is important to remember.