Don’t people do history any more?

Scientists have solved the longstanding mystery of a Japanese submarine missing since 1946 after stumbling across it in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

The Sen-Toku I-400 submarine – one of the largest pre-nuclear underwater vessels ever built – was discovered lying 2,300 feet beneath the surface of the ocean off the southwest coast of Oahu.

The whereabouts of the 400-foot long mega-vessel has been the subject of widespread academic debate since its disappearance in 1946 when it was preparing to attack the Panama Canal before being scuttled by US forces.

You what?

A Jappo sub attempting to attack something in 1946? A year after surrender?

Err, no, not really.

The wreckage was identified by its distinct aircraft launch ramp, deck crane and stern running lights, with its aircraft hanger broken off, the likely result of the three US Navy torpedo blasts that sunk it in 1946.

Sigh.

So, there was indeed a plan for that sub and a few others to attack the Panama Canal. But that was in 1945. At the end of the war the sub and crew surrendered and was taken to Hawaii. Where, in 1946, the Americans scuttled it with those torpedoes in order to stop the Soviets getting a good look at it.

People need to be seriously ignorant of history if they think that the Japanese Navy was sending subs across the Pacific in 1946.

9 comments on “Don’t people do history any more?

  1. I don’t think that’s bad history, just appalling writing.

    “since its disappearance in 1946 when it was preparing to attack the Panama Canal before being scuttled by US forces.”

    So it disappeared in 1946. The sequence of events before the disappearance:

    1) It was preparing to attack the Panama Canal.
    2) It was scuttled by US forces.
    3) It disappeared in 1946.

    That sentence implies that 1) comes before 2) and 2) comes before 3), which are both correct.

    The quality of the writing completely obscures that, of course, and you’d think they’d include the fact that the planned attack was indeed in 1945. Isn’t this the sort of thing that subeditors used to pick up?

  2. Well, look up Hrioo Onoda, the last active Japanese WW2 soldier, finally surrendered in Indonesia in 1974. Though obviously it’s far less likely a sub went holdout.

  3. The sub was reported to be where they found it some time ago. I’ve known, as a student, since 2009 where it was and what sort of sub it was. So pretty much a non story by the paper.
    Got to admit the Japs beat the yanks regarding submersible aircraft carriers.

  4. Personally my favourite bit is “solved the longstanding mystery”… unadulterated hype, and tripe.

    There are plenty of submarines whose circumstances and even location of disappearance remain a mystery, but given that this one was used as target practice in controlled conditions there is a distinct lack of enigma.

  5. If it was scuttled then how the hell has there been ‘widespread academic debate’ of its whereabouts?? Try looking right below where you scuttled it perchance?

  6. The use of the verb ‘to scuttle’ is, here, technically wrong. A ‘scuttle’ in maritime terms is a hatch or port in the side or bottom of a vessel. ‘To scuttle’ is to deliberately open said scuttles, thus causing the vessel to sink. A vessel cannot, therefore, be ‘scuttled’ by torpedo or gunfire, that’s plain ordinary ‘sunk’. The ‘Admiral Graf Spee’ was scuttled off Montevideo; I know, I saw ‘Battle of the River Plate’.

  7. ‘People need to be seriously ignorant of history if they think that the Japanese Navy was sending subs across the Pacific in 1946.’

    what odds Murphy (or even his lapdog Arnald – long absent from these pages) writing for the Telegraph if being seriously ignorant of History is an essential qualification?

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