Submarine USS Nautilus Museum - Japanese Type A Midget Submarine
Bill Maloney
1/17/2007

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01JapaneseTypeASubmarine 02TypeAMinisub 03TypeATorpedos 04Mini Sub's Torpedos
01 Japanese Type A Submarine 02 Type A Minisub 03 Type A Torpedoes 04 Japanese Mini Sub's Torpedo's
05TypeATorpedos 06Midget Sub Torpedos 07 Nippon Midget Sub Bow 08Midget Sub Tail
05 Type A Torpedo's 06 Japanese Midget Sub's Torpedo's 07 Type A Bow 08 Japanese Midget Sub A Tail
09Nippon Mini Sub Tail 10Propellers 11Propellers 12PropellerGuard
09 Japanese Midget Sub Tail 10 Propellers 11 Propellers 12 Propeller Guard

The Japanese Type A Submarine

The Japanese Type A Submarine is the same type used in the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the Type A midget subs has been confirmed as the first Japanese naval vessel sunk by the US in WWII by the USS Ward. Have a look at this very interesting analysis of the torpedo attacks in Pearl Harbor conducted by the US Naval Institute. The speculation and conclusion of the article is that one of the Type A submarines entered the harbor and fired one torpedo at the USS West Virginia, then turned and fired her second torpedo at the USS Oklahoma, striking both ships. It then turned towards the harbor entrance and the water pressure wave from the Torpedo's detonation lifted the midget sub partially out of the water, it's propellers throwing a rooster tail of water in the air (here's a larger image of that photo on the Naval Historical Center Website ). My personal guess would be that after that the sub dived and stuck its bow and open torpedo tubes into the mud, and there is is still today.

Derek Bell of the Historic Ship Nautilus Museum provided more background on the sub. The code name for the Japanese Type A Minisub is Mato. The Midget Sub was carried to within range of its target by a mother ship, most often a Submarine then released and expected to return after completion of its mission. This midget sub was used as part of a War Bond Drive during 1944.

The midget submarine's specs are:

Length: 78 feet
Beam: 6 feet
Height: 10 Feet
Draught: n/a
Crew: 2
Displacement: Surface - ? / Submerged - 46 tons
Max Speed: Surface - 23kts / Submerged - 19kts
Range: 2kts - 100 nautical miles (approximately 25 hours of running time), 6kts - 80 nautical miles, 19kts - 18 nautical miles (roughly 55 minutes endurance at that speed)
Fuel Capacity: NA
Diving Depth: 100 feet
Armament:
Two 18 inch torpedoes with 1000 pound warheads
Power Plant: One electric 600 horsepower battery powered motor driving 2 counter rotating propellers on a single shaft. There were no engines onboard to recharge the batteries
Launching Date: 1938

 
Other Submarine Museums and Exhibits
John Holland's Submarine Fenian Ram USS Nautilus USS Lionfish

 

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