Lower hull crew hatch cover : Midget Submarine Type A, Imperial Japanese Navy

Accession Number RELAWM30104.012
Collection type Technology
Object type Maritime vessel or watercraft
Physical description Steel
Maker Kure Naval Dockyard, Ourazaki Kure
Place made Japan
Date made c 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Gloss black, circular access hatch cover with three locking steel latches and a central locking mechanism. The outer steel skin is damaged and dented, the hand hold for closing the hatch has been bent and flattened and the weld holding the single hinge to the submarine hull has broken away.

History / Summary

Type A midget submarines were produced for the Japanese Navy between 1938 and 1942, and were designed to be launched from warships during major fleet actions and were carried by Chitose class seaplane tenders and C1 Type submarines. No generators were fitted to these midgets, so that recharged batteries could only be fitted by a dockyard or a mothership. During the war many additions were made to individual craft in the form of jumping wires, propeller guards, net cutters etc., which gradually reduced their serviceable speed. The most notable actions undertaken by these submarines were at Sydney Harbour, Pearl Harbour and Diego Saurez. This particular submarine was one of three which was sunk in and around Sydney harbour on 1 June 1942 while attempting to destroy Australian and American warships. The only casualty being the depot ship HMAS Kuttabul, which was torpedoed with the loss of 21 sailors. The submarine consists of 5 compartments, (2 battery rooms) and is constructed of 6.4 mm steel plate. The operational equipment consisted of 1 gyro compass, 1 magnetic compass, 1 radio receiver, 1 radio transmitter and underwater listening gear. Miscellaneous equipment consisted of a figure 8 net cutter, single periscope and circular propeller guard on vertical and horizontal aft planes. Japanese midget submarine in three sections. 1. forward length 22 ft, diameter 6 ft. this is one of three midget submarines which made an attack on Sydney during the night of May 31 - June 1, 1942.