Forum: Rumors
Topic: Rumors - Part 4
started by: Ken Hackler

Posted by Ken Hackler on Mar. 24 2001,3:55
[Note: I moved this posting by Band22 that was originally in the 'Midget Submarine Identities' section.  It seemed more natural to have a section for this topic by itself. KH]


Have you seen the digital analysis of the attack photo done by Auto-metric? This was the study done for Dan Martinez of the Arizona memorial studying the torpedo wakes and shock-waves and  demonstrating the presence of midget e striking the West Virginia. I think they have Bob Ballard over there looking for it. If they find it with empty tubes it will really heat this theory up. What's your take on it?

Roger Hare  

Total Posts: 2 | Joined Mar. 2001 | Posted on: 9:57 pm on Mar. 18, 2001 | IP  

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 4:06 am on Mar. 24, 2001)

Posted by Ken Hackler on Mar. 24 2001,4:02

Hi there!

Yes, I have seen the error-filled Autometric "study" (as you put it) of what may be nothing more than a piece of fiber or partially obscured small boat on an old and low-quality photograph.

The famous picture shows battleship row on the morning of December 7, 1941, with aerial torpedo tracks running towards several of the ships. There is no submarine in that picture for a dozen reasons, both simple and technical. There never was a second midget submarine inside Pearl Harbor unless you count Midget B and Midget C being together there briefly before Midget B was buried and Midget C shipped off to the states.

The poorly written "Attack from Below" articles by Autometric (in Naval History and Proceedings magazines) should be viewed as simple fantasy, written by people who do not know how to conduct research. Their self-serving and far-fetched contentions are far too easy to pick apart.  For example, the flaw on the photo appears on their copy, and in their December 1999 Naval History magazine article, yet they do not point it out to the reader.  Why?  Because it would blow their theory.  Same with the small boat.  They acknowledged the small boat in a follow-up article some months later, but did not explain why the boat crew so close somehow overlooked a submarine on the surface only 30-50 yards from them.

Imagine that.

If you are interested, I'd suggest that you get a copy of the photo they used from either the Naval Historical Center (NHC) or National Archives (NARA). Order negative number NH50931 from NHC, or NWDNS-80-G-30550 from NARA. Have them enlarge it for you using their best negative to make the print. It will cost you about Ó. The NHC copy is clearest if you are viewing them online. Or, for an even clearer copy online, go to:

Examine the photograph closely. Then ask yourself: Exactly how do the Autometric representations of the torpedo wakes work if they ignored one that originates far behind where they place the imaginary submarine.

Also ask, how did the Japanese planes attack, and is there a pattern in the real torpedo wakes in the photograph (not the ones drawn by Autometric).

Finally, look at the dark rectangle that the Autometric people are calling a submarine conning tower, and compare the size as they measured it against the actual size of the conning tower on a Type-A midget. They measured the object in the photo as being four feet tall, which is right for a Type-A midget conning tower. But they failed to explain why the "conning tower" in the photograph is so skinny. A real Type-A midget submarine conning tower is four feet tall and eight feel long. Yet this object is clearly very narrow compared to its height, when it should be the other way around. The oblique nature of the photograph may "hide" some of the width of the conning tower, but not that much.

I knew when I read their three pieces of fiction and looked at their incorrect renderings of the torpedo wakes that it was totally false. I knew for the dozen technical and simple reasons I mentioned earlier. But then I thought, it has to be easier. So I got a copy of the same photo they manipulated with their edge-sharpening software - and the fiber is staring me in the face!

I've posted my copy of the enlarged photo showing the fiber they call a submarine conning tower.

Here is the link in case it doesn't open right away. There's a major delay at times with this site for some reason.

The photo you are looking at has not been modified or manipulated in any way, but it has been enlarged and scanned. However, don't take my word for it. Get a copy of your own!

As you can see I have added labels.

Notice how the end of the fiber (or hair or whatever it is) extends into the whitewater area of the torpedo wake. During the developing process the white has bled over the very thin darker line of the fiber, making it appear that the end of it is free-standing. It also makes it stand out a lot more because it is against a white background. The rest of the fiber (down and left of the torpedo wake) is against a dark background and can hardly be seen.

Light colors bleeding over a thin dark line is not unusual in old photographs like this. For another example grab a copy of the book "The Way It Was - Pearl harbor - The Original Photographs" by Donald Goldstein, Katherine Dillon, and J. Michael Wenger. Look at photograph 6-52 on page 78. The sailor's white pants have bled over the thin black line of the hand rail at one point.

This was not such an uncommon thing as one might think. Ask an old time photographer, particularly those who did newspaper work.

If you would like to see the flaw with the naked eye, get a copy of Walter Lord's book "Day of Infamy," published in 1957.

So much for Autometric's "expert" credentials.

Look for an article in the special edition of World War Two magazine for the 60th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack (due out in late April 2001). It will briefly explain a few of the reasons why the Autometric articles should be viewed as fiction. A follow-on article is being written as we speak, and will go into a bit more detail.

Bob Ballard and National Geographic did indeed look for Midget A (the Ward midget) in November 2000. They did not find her, but they did find the aft portion of another midget dumped later in the war by the Navy, as well as two torpedoes, also dumped later in the war. Look back through some of the previous posts here if you are interested.

They did a brief write-up of their unsuccessful search that you can view online at the National Geographic website, or you can wait until May to see the television special.

Now, let's ignore the facts and common sense, and dabble briefly in speculation...

What if another midget submarine had entered Pearl Harbor that morning - where is she now? The accepted version of events accounts for four of the midgets, leaving Midget E as the logical candidate.

After avoiding the concentration of aerial torpedoes in front of Battleship Row, the submarine had to escape. The most direct escape route meant passing between Ford Island and 1010 Dock, avoiding the dredge in the channel, and making the turn around Hospital Point. A midget submarine could not have navigated that route without using her periscope. The longer circuit around Ford Island meant passing dozens of ships in East Loch and along the north side of Ford Island. The greater number of turns and ships made navigating even more perilous. In either event, she would have needed her periscope to navigate. Yet, if she used her periscope, why wasn't it seen? Everything else (real or imagined) was seen and reported on December 7th.

Three cruisers, several dozen destroyer-types, and half a dozen minesweepers left Pearl Harbor at high speed that day. A ship traveling very fast would push (or, conversely, pull) a huge amount of water through the narrow and shallow channel, and the waves would swamp a small vessel. There is a speed limit in the channel for that reason. A midget submarine could not negotiate the channel under those circumstances.

What if the midget never left? Pearl Harbor was a hive of activity once the attack began- ships left, minesweepers operated inside and outside the harbor, destroyers and PT boats patrolled in the harbor, and dozens of small boats engaged in rescue operations. The uproar continued for weeks. It is difficult to imagine a submarine hiding or surviving all that commotion.  

If a midget submarine has been lying inside Pearl Harbor all these years, where is it?

The scene of massive salvage operations during the war, Pearl Harbor has undergone expansion projects, dredging, and bottom surveys since 1941. In addition to thousands of routine scuba diving operations, countless ships have conducted minesweeping training or tested their sound gear in Pearl Harbor over the past six decades.

Naval Historical Center photo NH 47036

As you can see, the term "midget submarine" is misleading. Small perhaps when compared to fleet submarines, they are still very large objects. A torpedo or piece of an airplane might be overlooked in the murky waters of Pearl Harbor, but not a submarine.

There is no concrete proof, but the preponderance of evidence goes against a second midget submarine having entered Pearl Harbor that morning. The simple and logical answer best fits the known facts.

Midget A  was sunk by Ward and PBY 14-P-1.

Midget B made it into the harbor, only to be sunk by Curtiss and Monaghan.

Midget C (from I-24) was captured after washing ashore on the eastern side of Oahu.

Midget D tried unsuccessfully to enter the channel but was fatally damaged by depth charges, or she sank due to mechanical problems and later depth charged as a magnetic contact.

Midget E (from I-16) attacked USS St Louis shortly after 10:00 that morning as she left harbor, then disappeared after sending confusing radio messages that night.

Based on times and locations, Midgets A, B, and D could have been from any of the other three Japanese 'mother' submarines (I-18, I-20, or I-22), but there is no way to know which.

There are three other Type-A midget submarines on public display. A midget salvaged at Guadalcanal (thought to be Ha-8) is at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut. The U.S. Naval Station on Guam still has the midget (possibly Ha-51) that was captured when the Mariannas were retaken 1944. In Canberra, Australia, undamaged sections of Ha-14 and Ha-21, two of the midgets that attacked Sydney Harbor in May 1942, were assembled to make one submarine that is now on display at the Australian War Memorial.

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 10:36 pm on April 29, 2001)

Posted by N Nease on Mar. 24 2001,11:12
Hello Ken and Roger,

I took a look at the National Geographic piece online. Really interesting stuff! They seem to have come to the theory that they were not looking for an intact sub, but pieces. Given this theory, and the fact that the USS Ward fired on this sub about an hour before the attack at Pearl Harbor, this sub probably never made it's destination.

I did not see, however, where the torpedo found was dumped by the Navy. Exerpt from the piece:

The torpedo has tailfins and a double screw, where a brown sea urchin has made its home. It’s broken in the middle, probably from the fall or an explosion, and missing its nose, where there is only a square hole. The Park Service survey also reports an unidentified “periscope,” or a similarly shaped object near here. A live torpedo here, a periscope there? What if the midget fell apart after being bombarded by depth charges from the Ward?

“Did the sub implode?” says Ballard. “This is a thousand feet of water with, let’s see—30 atmospheres of pressure. That’s enough to implode it, to cause it to collapse. It could have imploded and is lying in pieces on the ocean floor.”

You may also be interested in some research on the subject done by Lorraine Marks-Haslip, Historian for the USS Arizona Reunion Association. She leaves the conclusion up to the reader, but makes a very strong argument. < http://

N. > Nease

Posted by Ken Hackler on Mar. 24 2001,2:30
Mr. Nease,

Your link to the Arizona Association's historian is welcome and interesting! If you wish to discuss the topic of Arizona taking an aerial torpdeo hit (I can prove she didn't given a little more time) you will find a great many people here who would be happy to discuss that one with you!

As for the National Geographic website and the findings they discuss:

As you point out, the online article doesn't come out and say that the torpedo was mechanically disassembled and dumped there later in the war. I am saying that based on the photographs, the huge amount of junk found in previous searches in that area, and the fact that it's a dumping area still marked on the charts to this day.  

Look at the photos closely.

The torpedoes were mechanically disassembled, not blown apart. You can see the mounting flange clearly. Had these torpedoes been thrown clear of an imploding midget submarine, the warheads would not have come off so neat and clean. I would also point out the unlikely possibility of a torpedo being ejected from its tube with no damage other than the warhead being so neatly removed.

(there is a second photo showing the front of the torpedo and the mounting flange, just use the arrows above the picture.)

National Geographic was searching in a known dumping site that is filled with junk - including large pieces of another midget submarine brought back later in the war from the Mariannas. There's a good chance that a midget submarine periscope would be lying about.

Why is it a big deal? The items mentioned could well have belonged to Midget A, in which case we could declare her "found" and there would be no more mystery.

The problem is that they were looking in the wrong place and did not find midget A, and those torpedoes were not ejected from an imploding midget submarine. (Besides, where is the rest of the debris from the submarine that imploded?)

Midget A was more than likely hit by a single round from Ward's #3 gun as well as several of Ward's depth charges. The PBY added a depth charge after the submarine sank. That means she was already "holed" and flooding. The air would have been gone from her quickly, and she would not have imploded (as Ballard suggested) because the pressure in the boat was equalized already.

National Geographic (or anyone else) can find Midget A and solve the riddle once and for all - they only need to look in the right place.

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 3:04 pm on Mar. 24, 2001)

Posted by Chris Johnson on Apr. 27 2001,3:32
Ken- You are so right. National Geographic could have found Midget A had they been looking in the right area. From what I understand, they went and asked quite a few of the top historians where they thought they should search, but in the end never looked in any of these places. Such a waste to bring out such sophisticated equipment and labor, and not even be looking in the right area.


Posted by Ken Hackler on Apr. 28 2001,6:52

National Geographic had the facts AND two of the witnesses and still chose to look in the same area where the Park Service and U. of Hawaii looked in 1988. Oh well, it's their money and they can spend it as they like!  

Posted by Maltedfalcon on May 10 2001,3:20
Two quick questions, in the battleship row photo where exactly is the launch, I cant see it, could you post the photo with the launch circled?

and secondly, you said they were looking in the wrong place to find the ward sub. Where should they have looked? are there any plans to look there in the future?

Matt Sparks

Posted by Ken Hackler on May 10 2001,5:03

In the enlarged photo above look at the areas I have labeled as "Rooster tails" and "Alleged submarine."  The launch point as Autometric says is in that area.

As for your other question, National Geographic looked in an area south of the channel entrance buoys. The area was roughly a mile square, and the exact latitude and longitude are contained on the NG website. This is the same location examined in the past by others, such as the National Park Service and University of Hawaii.

Where they should have looked, in my opinion (based on examining the documents submitted by the various ships involved as well as interviews with men who were there) is 650 yards from buoy #1, on a bearing of 220-225 True.

That will get them within 300 yards or so, since the sinking site may well not be where she ended up. With deep water one must allow for drift on the way down.

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 10:19 pm on July 13, 2001)

Posted by Maltedfalcon on May 10 2001,7:32
Ken, Thanks for your quick reply.
I just want to say that until some finds the last two subs outside the harbor, I will entertain the idea that possibly one (besides the one that was rammed) got in.

That being said, I wanted to say about the picture with the rooster tails, I still can't see the launch. but after careful examiniation I see what created the rooster tails.

I see 4 torpedo wakes in the picture, (their might be more) I have posted the picture here.
< >
and labeled the wakes 1, 2, 3, 4.
note that each wake starts at an entry splash.

notice 1 and 2  are along the same flight path and 3 and 4 are on a different flight path, It would be interesting to know if the torpedo bombers flew in pairs (i.e a lead and a wingman)

wake 1 and 2 are the oldest (or first fired) this is obvious from the size of the explosion pattern on the water and you can see the waterspout of the hit from 1.
The shockwaves  have rippled out past the entry splashes.

notice the rooster tails sit exactly on the path of torpedo 4. The rooster tails are simply  torpedo 4 moving through the ripples from the explosion of torpedo #1

As I said above  I still don't see the launch or more obviously the wake of the launch. It's possible that the launch is the white spot just to the right of the rooster tails, sitting on wake line 4. If that is the case. they must have had to duck when torpedo 2 hit the water
in front of them. Then the wake of the launch is masked by the wake of the torpedo. But still I am bothered by the lack of a wake for this launch.

As I understand it the original of this photo still exists in Japan, Is anyone working on obtaining 1st generation copy from it?

Matt Sparks

Posted by Ken Hackler on May 10 2001,10:47
There are actually about 7 wakes in the photo, four of which are pretty obvious as you say.  All are aerial torpedoes that can be traced backwards, and none came from a second submarine because a second submarine never made it into Pearl Harbor.  

Those who believe the nonsense put forth by Autometric based on their incorrect representations of the wakes need to examine the photograph closely, and as you found, the first four are very obvious and not from a submarine torpedo.  My theory is that the rooster tails were made by an aerial torpedo.  If you move the rooster tails slightly to the left in the photograph, they line up almost perfectly with an aerial torpedo wake.  The reason I say move them to the left is that one must allow for the wind that morning ..... look at the flag on Nevada's fantail.

There is a pattern to the wakes, and if you transfer the wakes to an overhead chart of the harbor, the pattern is extremely obvious and completely consistent with the way in which the torpedo bombers made their approaches and launches.

One problem is that four of the wakes cross at roughly the area where the rooster tails are located.  They get confused and lost not only in the different wakes, but also in the flaws on the photo.  There are numerous streaks and "ladders" on the photo as a result of the developing process, and a lot of detail is lost as a result.  In addition to the lost detail, it makes it appear as though there are details that don't really exist.

By the way, I tried opening your link but it didn't work.  Can you check it please?


Posted by Maltedfalcon on May 11 2001,3:34
Sorry! the link should work now.
If it doesn't load when you first open it, hit your refresh button.

It's tough to tell which way the wind was blowing.
the flag on the Nevada is blowing the opposite way the smoke out at the army airfield is blowing.

The map at:
< >
shows the prevailing wind blowing West by southwest
the flag on the Nevada is blowing Northeast or almost directly into the prevailing wind.
This just shows the winds were gusting around the harbor that day
Out in the harbor away from the ships I would expect the wind to blow true. and in that case the rooster tails would blow almost exactly along the line of torpedo 4
So I suspect torpedo 4 made the rooster tails. If you move them to the left they would line up with the trail of the torpedo that caused the explosion ripples, So it couldn't have generated the rooster tails.


Posted by Ken Hackler on May 11 2001,4:25
Nevada's flag is blowing true, and in the same direction as the smoke that morning. Look at the other attack photos and you will see. The wind was blowing WSW most of the morning.

Nevada's flag indicates the direction of the wind in the harbor, and it is the same direction that the rooster tails moved. They moved to the right, with the wind, and away from the torpedo wake.

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 12:41 pm on July 4, 2001)

Posted by Ken Hackler on May 12 2001,10:52

I tried your link again but can't get it to open.  Perhaps it is just my slow internet connection, but I was wondering if you could check it again?  Thanks.


Posted by Ken Hackler on May 13 2001,11:46

I finally got the page to open that you gave a link for.

You missed a few of the torpedo wakes in your rendering.  How about if I put a drawing online for you?  I'll work on that this evening.

Posted by Maltedfalcon on May 14 2001,1:53
Great! I would love to see a picture.
I understand they found an unexploded, air dropped torpedo a while ago, where was it found, could they tell which ship it had been aimed at?
By the way, If you visit the Pearl Harbor movie page  and get through all the fluff, in the photo section, they have blueprints of the tails of japanese torpedos showing the extra fins used to keep them from going deep as the were dropped in the harbor.
Matt Sparks
Posted by David Aiken on May 14 2001,3:32
Aloha Matt,
As to the torpedo recovered on 2 May 1991, under Tennessee - West Virginia forum, check out the text at "That Photo Again" 27 April 7:27AM posting.

(Edited by David Aiken at 3:37 pm on May 14, 2001)

(Edited by David Aiken at 3:38 pm on May 14, 2001)

Posted by DuoDSG on Jun. 02 2001,10:28
Wow, I'm glad you guys are so in-depth about the midget subs, because I had always heard of the picture with what appeared to be one of them firing torpedoes.  Thanks a TON.  You have no idea how much this has cleared up.
Posted by Tony D on Jun. 04 2001,9:23

Interesting read on the mini-submarine.  I don't know if you saw it, but we posted an essay on 7 Dec. 1999 over at's Tech Board which also debunked that Naval History article.

I'm new to this board, I was really just looking around for additional information on St. Louis's sub contact since that seems to be the "missing" one in both the NavHist article and the June issue of National Geographic as neither article mentions that submarine at all.  I see that you cover that particular one quite well in your post on this subject.

You mention Walter Lord's book.  In his book, there's another good picture, possibly taken by the same Japanese aircraft that took the one "showing" the mini-submarine, that is a direct overhead view of Battleship Row after the attack began but before Arizona was destroyed.  I call this to your attention as it seems to be obvious from this photograph that under water visibility was poor, even from directly overhead, which would imply that you couldn't see the mini-submarine from this viewpoint, let alone from a large angle as in the photograph used by NavHist article's authors.


My apologies, but I just noticed that this board prefers the use of proper names.  I'm Tony DiGiulian, I will delete my current profile for this board and create a new one using my full name.  I'm so used to using just "Tony D" over at our own message boards that I just naturally use it everywhere else.

(Edited by Tony D at 8:02 am on June 5, 2001)

Posted by Ken Hackler on Jun. 10 2001,1:23

I took the liberty of moving your post about the St Louis and Midget E to a new topic of its own, since it seemed to be a good idea at the time.  I may as well make a new topic line on each of the five midgets, and we'll just use this as the first example!

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 4:00 pm on June 12, 2001)

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