Today marks the 68-year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), which resulted in the United States entry into World War II.
A recent discovery by a group of divers may change the long thought circumstances surrounding the single greatest loss of life in United States naval history, the sinking of the USS Arizona. The discovery of a group of Japanese midget subs, recently, in and around Pearl Harbor has raised questions on the USS Arizona’s final hours.
In article published today on this recent discovery by Wired, they explain that
Nearly seven decades after the attack on Pearl Harbor, researchers believe they have uncovered new evidence that a Japanese miniature submarine may have helped strike Battleship Row.
During a routine test dive, marine researchers spotted some unusual steel debris on the ocean floor near Pearl Harbor. The wreckage, investigators from the PBS series NOVA concluded, was likely the remains of a Japanese mini-sub scuttled by its crew after the attack.
Sections of the two-man, Japanese vessel — resting than 1,000 feet below the surface — were spotted by the Pisces IV and the Pisces V, deep-sea research submersibles operated by the Hawaii Underwater Research Laboratory. The remains of the sub were intermingled with wrecks of several U.S. amphibious assault vehicles, destroyed in a 1944 ammunition fire and later dumped in the ocean. Parks Stephenson, a marine forensic historian and former Navy officer and submariner, led the NOVA expedition to investigate the mini-sub find.
On January 5, 2010 on PBS, NOVA will explore these final hours and what affect these midget subs may have played in the tragic events that took place on this day.
Discovery of the submersible may close a chapter on the history of Pearl Harbor. Five mini-subs were to scheduled to take part in the surprise attack, but four of them never reached their target: They either ran aground, were scuttled or destroyed. The fifth submarine was unaccounted for, but the NOVA research team concludes that the vessel managed to penetrate Pearl Harbor and fire its two 800-pound torpedoes, most likely striking the Oklahoma.
Listen to a podcast describing the NOVA program here.
[PHOTO: NOVA/Ingo Bauernfeind]