Class: Type “A”, Ko-Hyoteki
Built: Kure, Japan
Length: 79 feet
Beam: 6 feet
Displacement: 46 tons
Complement: 2 men
Armament: Two 18-inch torpedo tubes
Propulsion: One 600 hp electric motor; 20 knots
Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum
1 Crystal Lake Road
Groton, CT 06349-5571
Fax: (860) 694-4150
Email: [email protected]
Latitude: 41.3876348975, Longitude: -72.0874647791
The Japanese began developing midget submarines in the early 1930s. The Type “A” was perhaps the most advanced midget submarine in service with any navy during World War II. They were designed to be carried into a forward area by specially configured surface ships or submarines. Five similar Type “A” subs were involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor (including HA-19), but all were lost.
On 7 May 43, the submarine rescue vessel USS Ortolan (ASR-5) (formerly AM-45) salvaged a Japanese midget submarine off the North coast of Guadalcanal and towed her to Kukum Bay, Guadalcanal. Then in June 1943, she delivered the mini-sub to Noumea, New Caledonia. Locally, this submarine has always been labeled as HA-8. Some sources identify the midget as the HA-8, others the HA-10 and still others the HA-30. It came to the SUBASE Groton as part of a country war bond effort in 1943-1944 and has remained in Groton ever since. It is one of four such Type A midgets on display in the world.
HA-30‘s wartime mission:
7 November 1942: At 0600, the Japanese submarine I-16 arrives at her midget launch area at Guadalcanal.
11 November 1942:
At 0200, Lt(j.g.) Yamaki Teiji and PO1C Hashimoto Ryoichi embark their midget.
At 0349, the surfaced I-16 sights a PT-boat and dives.
At 0421, the HA-30 is launched 10.8 miles from Cape Esperance. During the launch her rudder is damaged and three minutes later the craft loses steering. Lt(j.g.) Yamaki surfaces and aborts the mission. En route to Kamimbo Bay, the crew sights two enemy aircraft and then scuttles their midget.
Around 1900, both sailors reach the shore at Marovovo.
The Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT is home to USS Nautilus, three midget submarines and a world-renowned research library.
Beached near Aruligo Point on the northern shore of Guadalcanal, 1 May 1944. It had been raised by eight Navy Seabees from a sunken position 20 feet deep and 300 yards offshore, where it had been scuttled by the Japanese in late 1942. The beached Japanese transport Yamazuki Maru is in the background.