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HELP! NEED BOOK LIST JAP MIDGET SUBS - A new info gathering quest.

Place for general submarine conversation

Postby U-5075 » Tue Aug 12, 2003 9:14 pm

I'm looking for books about Japanese midget subs. In particular I'm interested in info about Kure Naval Base, Japan, especially during July/August 1945. At about that time the Type D Koryu was being built about as fast as the Japanese shipyards could build them.

They were intended to be one of many weapons against the US ships when they came to invade Japan. They were a two torpedo midget with a 5 man crew and were supposed to have a 1,000 mile range surfaced (150hp engine) and 350 miles submerged (500hp electric motor) Max. underwater speed was supposed to be 16 knots! Max surfaced speed max 8 knots. The Japanese Navy was running out of torpedoes so the intent was to pack the forward section with lots of explosives and make them a suicide-type weapon. Two A-bombs were dropped and the Koryo was apparently never used. I'll probably be doing an addendum/correction to some of the details above.

About two weeks ago got an e-mail. The daughter of a WWII photo-recon person. She was looking for info to get her father awarded a belated-but-promised Silver Star. He and another Army-type did some LOW leveL recon mission flying over the dry docks at the Kore Naval Base, Japan. Apparently he has some interesting photos from this mission. We are in the process of finding relevant unit history records and possibly his own military personnel records. (There was a fire in the St. Louis records facility, but recently some additional records were found undamaged). Records of his mission were probably classified but most likely they have been declassified and might be found. Hopefully some interesting stories will be collected.

For you online database gurus there is a lot of stuff in the Dept. of the Navy - Naval Historical Center website. These are primarily very interesting photos of Kure Naval Base Japan and of Type D Koryu midget submarines.

You could look at

An interesting collection of good close-ups.
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Postby U-5075 » Thu Aug 14, 2003 8:37 am

This is an interesting website about the midget sub found in 400 meters of water. It was a tough find because it was eventually found in a debris field several miles off of Pearl in 1,000 to 3,000 feet of water. The debris was a lot of dumped US Military equipment. This sub was a Type A, an experimental precurser to the Koryu type.

This site has five color underwater videos and color stills (image grabber stills from the videos).
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Postby raalst » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:13 am

Apparently Paul Kemp as some views on the Koryu,
in his book "manned torpedo's and midget submarines"
of which I have a german translation.
Update : the english book is titled "Underwater Warriors"

The whole book gives a feel of thoroughness on which basis
I would say his observations are trustworthy.

maybe you can find the english version ?
If you need I can probably provide the ISBN number
Update : no I can't, its the ISBN of the german version.
original was published by arms & armour press, london 1996


Edited By raalst on 1060975229

Ronald van Aalst

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Postby U-5075 » Sat Aug 16, 2003 9:41 am

Thank you Ronald, I've got Kemp's Midget Sub's book in English at our local library and will check it today. And thank you again for all of your help in the past.

Yesterday I found a Pacific War bibliography on the internet. Here are the Japanese submarine and midget submarine references listed there. This information overkill is presented should someone (including myselfr) be searching the SC message database at a later date.

"Japanese I-boat Captain" by Zenji Orita with Joseph D. Carrington, Major Books, 1976. Unique cause it's by a surviving Japanese sub commander!

"Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1904-1945" Carpenter, D. & Polmar, N. 1986. Conway Maritime Press Ltd.

"Japanese naval vesself of World War Two: as seen by US Naval Intelligence. Arms and Armour Press 1987. Interesting cause it tells what the US did know about the Japanese warships.

"The Japanese submarine Force and Workd War II" by Carl Boyd and Akihiko Yoshida. Shrewsbury: Airlife, 1996.

2 Japanese Midget sub articles and one torpedo article. All three in Warship magazine, Conway Maritime Press Ltd. and authored by Itani, J. et al.

(1993) p 113-129. "Japanese midget submarines: Kohyoteki Types A to C" (detailed account with illustrations and technical data).

(1992) "Japanese special attack weapons" pp. 170-184 (includes midget subs, human torpedoes and explosive boats).

(1991) "Japanese oxygen torpedoes and fire control systems" pp121-133
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Postby JBarche » Mon Aug 18, 2003 2:40 am

There are two more books I'd like to add. they are from a japanese series called "GAKKEN" issues No 35 and 36. 35 deals with the Ko-Hyotekis A to D including the mine layer prototype Y 36 is focused on the Kaiten, the Kairyu and some quite unusual prototypes. Good Photos and drawings lots of historical information (I guess) but all the text is in japanese and I do not know any japanese :( .

greetings Jens
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Postby U-5075 » Mon Aug 18, 2003 7:34 am


Thank you very much for the references. No problem with the text in Japanese. As far as detailed-conscious model builders are concerned the photos of that time are golden sources of details. And from an information guru's perspective photos are also a gold mine cause they often show subtle differences from boat to boat. This in turn tells a lot about the evolution of a boat. And those changes also give evidence of the possible problems that were experienced in the earlier boats.

"No two Seehunds were built alike." Klaus Mattes.

There was very much of an overlap of the design improvements going from the Neger to the Marder German one-man torpedoes. Many improvements supposedly found in the Marder were first tried, tested and used in the Negers.
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Postby U-5075 » Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:17 am

Here are three URL's that have interesting reviews of US plans to invade Japan and the Japanese plans to defend this invasion. Some mention is made of Japanese midget subs, but the sites are interesting because they put the midget sub role intp the context of the time (the Japanese had their backs to the wall and the US was most apprehensive about the forthcoming casualties).

Hopefully I keyed these in correctly.
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Postby U-5075 » Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:23 am

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