Ko-hyoteki class submarine

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The Ko-hyoteki (甲標的 Kō-hyōteki?, "Type 'A' Target") class was a class of Japanese midget submarines used during World War II. They had hull numbers but no names. For simplicity, they are most often referred to by the hull number of the mother submarine. Thus, the midget carried by イ -16 was known as I-16's boat, or "I-16tou." The midget submarine hull number began with the character "HA", which was known only by the papers carried by the crew.

Contents

History

Fifty were built. The "A Target" name was assigned as a ruse — if their design was prematurely discovered by Japan's foes, the Japanese Navy could insist that the vessels were battle practice targets. They were also called "tubes" (筒) and other slang names.

The first two, Ha-1 and Ha-2, were used only in testing. They did not have conning towers, which were added to the later boats for stability underwater.

Ha-19 was launched by I-24 at Pearl Harbor. Most of the other fifty are unaccounted for, although three were captured in Sydney (Australia), and others in Guam, Guadalcanal, and Kiska Island, accounting for some of the other hull numbers.

The submarines were each armed with two 450 mm torpedoes in muzzle-loading tubes one above the other on the port bow. In the Pearl Harbor attack, the specially designed Type 97 torpedo was used, but problems with the oxygen flasks[clarification needed] meant that all later attacks used a different torpedo. Some have stated that a version of the Type 91 torpedo, designed for aircraft launching, was used, but other reports[2] indicate that the Type 97 torpedo was modified to the Type 98, otherwise known as the Type 97 special. There is no definitive information that the Type 91 was used. The Type 98 was later supplanted by the Type 02 torpedo. There was also a demolition charge which it has been suggested was large enough to enable the submarine to be used as a suicide weapon, but there is no evidence that it was ever used as one.

Each submarine had a crew of two men. A junior officer conned the boat while a petty officer manipulated valves and moved ballast to control trim and diving.[1]

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