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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Probable WWII submarine found



wreck found under water in a Papua New Guinea harbour likely was a Japanese midget submarine from World War II.
Australian and New Zealand warships found it while working in the area to clear WWII-era explosives on Thursday.
Simpson Harbor is in the town of Rabaul, which was a major Japanese military base on the northeast coast of the South Pacific nation.
New Zealand Navy Lt. Commander Matthew Ray told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio the find was initially identified as "a 20-metre long solid, manmade object".
Closer inspection confirmed it was a submarine, he said.

In this photo released by Australian Department of Defence, the stern section of an uncharted submarine wreck is shown on the seabed off the coast of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

As Rabaul was Japan's major base in the Southwest Pacific for most of the war, most of the submarines in the harbour had been Japanese.
"My best guess would be it's a Japanese midget submarine. It doesn't look big enough to be an ocean-going ... submarine," said former submariner Gary Oakley.
One- and two-man Japanese midget submarines were transported by ship or larger submarines and used covertly to infiltrate enemy targets including Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and Sydney Harbor.
Such a submarine could have been destroyed by an American air raid or naval bombardment or even scuttled by the Japanese toward the end of the war, said Oakley, also an Australian War Memorial curator.
He said it could also be the first Australian submarine lost in World War I, although that submarine, AE1, was thought to have sunk in another harbour some 20km away.
AE1 became the first Australian naval loss of the war when it sank on Sept. 15, 1914, with the loss of 35 lives.





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