Thursday, April 17, 2008

WW II Japanese Midget Submarine Donated To Park

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National Parks Gallery
April 17, 2008


The park has acquired a very rare Type C Japanese midget submarine from World War II and placed it on display in front of its visitor center on Guam. The submarine was donated to the park by the U.S. Navy.

In August, 1944, a Ko-Hyoteki (Target A) Hei Gata (Type C ) Japanese midget submarine ran aground off the southeastern coast of Guam. The submarine was crewed by two Japanese soldiers, who held off American troops ashore for three days prior to surrendering. The submarine was then internally gutted and placed on exhibit at Camp Dealy on Toghca Bay, Guam, by the United States Navy’s 103rd Construction Battalion.

The Type C class was equipped with a diesel generator to recharge its batteries and for use in running on the surface. Built in three sections of 5mm to 8mm thick welded steel with rivets added for extra strength in the fore and aft sections, the submarine is just over 80 feet long. The forward section contained two bow-mounted 17.7-inch torpedoes in tubes. In the center section was the conning tower and the stations for the two-man crew. Fore and aft of the conning tower were the batteries, while the aft section held the motor and the reduction gear.

The submarines were carried by either Chitose class seaplane tenders or C1 type submarines. They had a displacement of 46 – 49 tons submerged and had a range that varied, but was not thought to exceed 300 miles. Most craft were launched very close to their targets. Few crewmembers were expected to return safely.
It’s believed that 47 subs of this type were built before the end of the war, but only 15 saw action during World War II. The fate of eight of the submarines is known, while the boat recently donated to the NPS is one of seven that have remained unaccounted for since the war.


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