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.
and#8220;A powerful taleand#160;aboutand#160;how anand#160;intersection of youth, patriotism and sacrificeand#160;ended in a fiery, suicidal assault on an American warship.and#160; More than recounting a battle, this is a very human story that relives one of the most painful episodes of World War II.and#8221;and#8212;James P. Delgado, Author of Silent Killers: Submarines and Underwater Warfare
and Khublai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada
and#8220;Mair and Waldron masterfully interweave World War II documents, interviews, and oral histories of two opposing nations in mortal conflict to create a rare and intimate view of the Pacific War that provokes the reader to rethink the boundaries of individual courage and national patriotism.and#8221;and#8212;Larry E. Murphy, Chief (retired), Submerged Resources Center, National Park Service
and#8220;A crisp, persuasive narrative about a little-known, but startling World War IIand#160;attackand#8230;Mair and Waldron portray the story from both perspectives, constantly building to a dramatic, fiery crescendo. Their profiles of American and Japanese sailors add poignancy to a compelling story of battle disaster, death and survival.and#8221;and#8212;David Sears, Author of Pacific Air and At War with the Wind
and#8220;This doomed mission almost became lost in history after the atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the authors of Kaiten have pulled together the story, and populated it with flesh-and-blood warriors on both sides of the conflictand#8230;This book can take its place alongside Shadow Divers and Unbroken as a graphic, living story from the worst war the world has ever known.and#8221;and#8212;Richard McCord, Journalist, Editor and Publisher of the Santa Fe Reporter and Author of The Chain Gang: One Newspaper versus the Gannett Empire
and#8220;If you like reading history with the details to bring it to back to life, you'll enjoy Kaiten.and#8221;and#8212;Ralph Wilbanks, underwater archaeologist and NUMA expedition leader
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 Kaiten
and#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
A businessman and historian, Michael Mair
is the son of a USS Mississinewa
He began research for this book in 1995, including extensive interviews with other survivors and naval personnel stationed in the Pacific at the crucial time in 1944. He has appeared on various History Channel programs, served as a consultant for the Canadian television program Sea Hunters
, and contributed to Naval History
magazine. He lives in Platteville, Wisconsin.
Joy Waldron is the coauthor of The USS Arizona: The Ship, the Men, the Pearl Harbor Attack, and the Symbol That Aroused America. A professional journalist and editor, she has published numerous articles on World War II ships, survivors, and underwater archaeology. Other journalistic credits include investigative reporting on the search for the Titanic and breaking the news worldwide of Robert Ballardand#8217;s expedition, including roundup stories for Smithsonian magazine and others. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Bordeaux, France.