Tuesday March 22, 2005

Submarine Aircraft Carrier

A little huge piece of history has been sitting at the bottom of the Pacific for almost 60 years:

During test dives Thursday, the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory's Pisces submarines found the remains of the Imperial Japanese Navy's I-401 submarine, a gigantic underwater aircraft carrier built to bomb the Panama Canal.


The latest HURL discovery is from the I-400 "Sensuikan Toku" class of submarines, the largest built prior to the nuclear ballistic missile submarines of the 1960s. They were 400 feet long and 39.3 feet high, could reach a maximum depth of 330 feet, and carry a crew of 144.

The phrase sensuikan toku is 潜水艦='submarine' and (I'm guessing) 特='special'.  I suspect it's only a matter of time before we see the release of a new anime series titled Uchuusensuikan I-401 (宇宙潜水艦I-401).  I can hardly wait.

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My father served on a destroyer during WWII, and he's told me many times how they towed one of this submarine's sister ships back to Tokyo Bay near the end of the war.

The article also mentions the seaplane the Marshall Mars. About thirty years ago, we were on vacation in Canada at a place called Sprout Lake (pronounced "sprote", not "sprout"). Anchored in the lake were the Phillipine Mars and theHawaii Mars, which had been converted into tankers for fighting forest fires. Every afternoon while we were there, one of them would take off, fly about, and drop a load of water into the lake. It was something to see.

And to bring the story full circle, my dad had flown in one of those two planes (I forget which) while he was on duty in the Pacific. He was rather bemused to see it again.

Posted by: Will Duquette at Mar 23, 2005 7:43:32 PM