This is a book about a special group of Japanese submarines that were able to carry planes. The subs were originally planned to attack American cities and to attack the Panama Canal and thus slow down American warships moving to the Pacific Ocean. The man who came up with the whole idea was Yamamoto, the man who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The book includes material on how the subs were devised, their construction, and the fate of some of them. It also covers in detail the design and construction of the planes that the subs were to carry. The subs were bigger than any American submarine and were constructed to go further without refueling.
The book also points out some other interesting things:
Japan did not originally planned for a long war. They had planned for a very short one with the goal of getting the Americans to agree to a peaceful settlement which would have left Japan in control of most of Southeast Asia. They had not figured on a long war and the problems with diminishing resources, natural and man-made things like planes, ships and pilots.
The idea of bombing American cities with the planes the subs carried was to break the will of the American people to continue fighting.
The book goes into the attack on Santa Barbara and the sinking of a number of ships just off the American west coast. This is something not covered by other books in general. The book shows that there was a lot of Japanese submarine activity just off the west coast early in the war. This did cause a lot of panic and upset, just what the Japanese wanted. It also tied up some military resources to help defend the west coast.
The book discusses what is known as The Battle of Los Angeles which is covered elsewhere on my site.
The book covers the actual attack by a Japanese plane launched from a submarine. It tried to start forest fires by dropping incendiary bombs but the forest was too wet to burn.
One of the major problems the Japanese had with their submarine program was the decision to use many of the subs for resupply purposes as the surface ships were being sunk in large numbers by American subs and planes. This, of course, took them away from what would have been their primary purpose which was to try to sink American ships.
Originally 18 of the super subs were to be built but, due to material shortages, all but five of them were canceled.
There's also some very upsetting information about how certain Japanese sub captains would sink a ship and then surface looking for survivors. Survivors who they would then have killed by the sub's crew.
The book goes into extreme detail about the sections of the I submarine and what each section was used for and what it consisted of.
There was a plan to use the subs to deliver biological weapons to U.S. cities to kill as many people as they could.
There were around 127 Japanese submarines sunk during the war.
The book is 478 pages long. I originally thought that it might be sort of boring but it actually turned out to be really interesting. Worth getting.
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