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“The pilots who were actually going to carry out the raid were deathly afraid that if one of the midget subs were sunk or captured that they would give the surprise away.
WATCH: Explaining the attack on Pearl Harbor By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead.
Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.
Learn more about the little-known story of the five Japanese midget submarines that beat the planes to Pearl Harbor and nearly blew the cover of the surprise attack. The Japanese navy considered the 78-foot-long miniature submarines to be their secret weapon.
By the pale light of a waning moon, the American sailor spied something unusual piercing the glassy skin of the Pacific Ocean less than two miles south of the entrance to Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor could only succeed if it was a complete bolt out of the blue.” Shortly after midnight on the “date which will live in infamy,” the first of the five midget submarines was released seven miles from the entrance to Pearl Harbor after riding piggyback on a conventional submarine.
‘Minnesota Midget’ cantaloupe is a backyard gardener’s dream.
The Japanese originally planned “Operation Hawaii” to be solely an air strike but modified it to combat test the newly developed midget submarines, which were to surface after the start of the aerial attack and fire torpedoes into the American fleet.
Flight commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the air assault, believed the mini-submarines to be an unnecessary risk that could only endanger the secrecy of the entire operation if they were spotted by the Americans before the bombers arrived.
The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials.
Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued.
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