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Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War IIby John Geoghegan
Synopses & Reviews
The riveting true story of Japan's top secret plan to change the course of World War II using a squadron of mammoth submarines a generation ahead of their time
In 1941, the architects of Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor planned a bold follow-up: a potentially devastating air raid--this time against New York City and Washington, DC. The classified Japanese program required developing a squadron of top secret submarines--the Sen-toku or I-400 class--which were, by far, the largest and among the most deadly subs of World War II. Incredibly, the subs were designed as underwater aircraft carriers, each equipped with three Aichi M6A1 attack bombers painted to look like US aircraft. The bombers, called Seiran (which translates as “storm from a clear sky”), were tucked in a huge, water tight hanger on the sub’s deck. The subs mission was to travel more than half way around the world, surface on the US coast, and launch their deadly air attack. This entire operation was unknown to US intelligence, despite having broken the Japanese naval code. And the amazing thing is how close the Japanese came to pulling off their mission.
Meticulously researched and masterfully told, Operation Storm tells the harrowing story of the Sen Toku, their desperate push into Allied waters, and the dramatic chase of this juggernaut sub by the US navy. Author John Geoghegan’s first person accounts from the last surviving members of both the I-401 crew and the US boarding party that captured her create a highly intimate portrait of this fascinating, and until now forgotten story of war in the Pacific.
"Pearl Harbor was not Admiral Yamamoto's only sneak attack. Within weeks of December 7, 1941, he approved a plan to build 18 enormous I-400 submarine aircraft carriers that would traverse the seas, surface, and launch 54 planes to bomb Washington, D.C., or New York City. Yamamoto's strategy stood in stark contrast to those of the Americans; whereas the latter spent a fortune on a futuristic weapon that would go on to cause unprecedented destruction, Japan's expensive, high-tech submarine program was primarily meant to frighten. Despite diminishing supplies and American bombing, three submarines were eventually completed, though only two were launched near the end of the war, and these were captured by American forces just weeks after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Aviation historian Geoghegan's virtuoso research turns up surviving witnesses and obscure documents to corroborate this engrossing story of politics, logistics, and the technological leaps and bounds made during wartime, and the resulting tale is a thrilling take on a little-known aspect of the conflict in the Pacific theater. 8 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In November 1944, the U.S. Navy fleet lay at anchor in Ulithi Harbor, deep in the Pacific Ocean, when the oiler USS Mississinewa erupted in a ball of flames. Japanand#8217;s secret weapon, the Kaitenand#151;a manned suicide submarineand#151;had succeeded in its first mission.
The Kaiten was so secret that even Japanese naval commanders didnand#8217;t know of its existence. And the Americans kept it secret as well. Embarrassed by the shocking surprise attack, the U.S. Navy refused to salvage or inspect the sunken Mighty Miss. Only decades later would the survivors understand what really happened at Ulithi, when a diving team located the wreck in 2001.
In Kaiten, Michael Mair and Joy Waldron tell the full story from both sides, from the strategic importance of the USS Mississinewa to newly revealed secrets of the Kaiten development and training schools. U.S. Navy survivors recount their gripping experiences in the wake of the attack, as well as the harrowing recovery efforts that came later. Japanese pilots reveal their terrifying experiences training to die for their country and Emperor, never knowing when their moment of doom would come.
About the Author
John Geoghegan has written extensively about aviation history, underwater exploration and marine engineering for the New York Times Science Section, Smithsonian Air & Space, WIRED, Popular Science, Aviation History, Military Heritage, Flight Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine.
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