Forum: Midget B
Topic: Midget B's attack route
started by: Ken Hackler

Posted by Ken Hackler on Jun. 30 2002,2:11
This link takes you to an online photo at the Navy Historical Center's website. The photo was taken by a Japanese aviator very early in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Notice the USS Curtiss at the lower left. USS Breese and the other DM's and DMS's were to the left of Curtiss, and just out of view in this photo.

When an excited crewman on Breese reported seeing two midget submarine conning towers that morning, one was the real thing. Midget B's conning tower was to the right of USS Curtiss in the channel coming from Hospital Point. However, the second conning tower he reported was actually one of the two black cage buoys in the channel. They appear as small black dots in this photo, one near Ford Island in the center right of the photo, and one in the lower right of the photo.

Interestingly, USS Monaghan made a similar error. After sinking Midget B, the Monaghan ran soft aground and became entangled in the derrick barge (at the bottom left of the photo).  When Monaghan finally disengaged from the barge and headed for Hospital Point (to the right and out of the photo), her forward gun crew saw one of these buoys also, and fired one shot at it before realizing what it was.
Posted by Ken Hackler on Jun. 30 2002,3:16
This is another Japanese photo of the Pearl Harbor attack, taken at roughly the same time very early in the attack. However, this photo was taken farther to the west, and shows Middle Loch.

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Notice the USS Curtiss and the DM's and DMS's moored at the entrance to Middle Loch. Ford Island is in the center background, with water geysers rising from two battleships following aerial torpedo hits. Hospital Point is to the right, and just out of view in this photo behind the black smoke rising from the south end of Ford Island.

Midget B approached Middle Loch and the ships moored there by using the channel that appears in the right of the photo. The black smoke rising from the end of Ford Island blocked the Navy Yard Signal Tower from the ships in Middle Loch, so they did not see the signal flags warning of a submarine in the harbor at about 0830. They all sighted Midget B on their own, and raised their own signal flags to warn other ships.  USS Phoenix, north of Ford Island in East Loch, sighted the flags on ships in Middle Loch, and passed the message along at 0839 local time (1909 GCT). A copy of the USS Phoenix message as recorded by the Navy Yard Signal Tower can be view online through the National Archives website
Posted by Ken Hackler on Jul. 04 2002,11:42
This picture is also from the Navy Historical Center's online collection. It shows the southwest end of Ford Island on the morning of December 8, 1941.

The channel you see in this picture runs from Hospital Point (left) to Middle Loch (right).  The cage buoys mistaken as midget submarine conning towers by Breese and Monaghan can clearly be seen.

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