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Topic: Rumors - Part 1B, Confusion over the charts< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 11 2001,3:58   Ignore posts   QUOTE


When Midget C grounded on a reef near Bellows Field on December 8, 1941, her crew tried to scuttle the boat using the onboard demolition charges. They failed and Midget C was subsequently salvaged and taken to Pearl Harbor for inspection.

Two charts were recovered from Midget C, a large-scale chart showing the island of Oahu out to a distance of approximately 10 nm, and a smaller-scale chart showing the approach channel, the Main Channel, and Pearl Harbor itself. The smaller-scale chart is indicated on the large-scale chart in the typical fashion for nautical charts (i.e., a "box" inset). The charts themselves were commercial nautical charts publicly available anywhere in the United States before the war.

Perhaps a note is needed here to explain distinctions made between the Main Channel, the approach channel, and the “swept” channel that different people talk about. The Main Channel is the channel between Pearl Harbor proper from Hospital Point south to the point where the beaches end. It is essentially the channel bordered by land. The Approach Channel runs from the beach out to the entrance buoys (roughly south-southeast, on a course of 150 degrees), and is dredged out across the reef to allow ships an entry. It is also referred to as the “swept” channel at times, because minesweepers went out every day beginning in mid-October 1941 to sweep for mines that may have been laid by enemy submarines.

The large-scale chart showed the course for Midget C to follow from her release point southwest of Pearl Harbor up to the channel entrance buoys. The smaller-scale chart was to be used from the buoys into Pearl Harbor itself, and shows a track around Ford Island with times marking turns and bearings on landmarks. This chart shows the midgets rounding Hospital Point at 0430 (Tokyo time), and heading into the South Channel towards Battleship Row. The midgets were to circle Ford Island counterclockwise, leave through the Main Channel, finally heading east to the Lanai Island rendezvous with their mother submarines.

In the Spring of 1945, ADM H. Kent Hewitt was directed by the Secretary of the Navy to investigate concerns expressed by the Army Pearl Harbor Board (APHB) that Midget C had entered Pearl Harbor before the Japanese air attack on December 7, 1941. The APHB based that finding (in part) on comments by FBI agent Robert L. Shivers, who read the translated notes on the captured charts and incorrectly assumed the notes referred to the past tense rather than future tense. In addition, the APHB noted that ship locations marked on the chart were substantially different than actual ship locations on December 7.

ADM Hewitt began by reviewing documents from previous Pearl Harbor attack investigations. During the course of his inquiry, ADM Hewitt interviewed: (1945 ranks shown)

(1) Captain Edwin T. Layton, CINCPAC Fleet Intelligence Officer
(2) Captain William R. Smedberg III, Assistant Combat Intelligence Officer, COMINCH
(3) Captain Joseph J. Rochefort, OIC, Communications Intelligence Officer, 14ND
(4) Rear Admiral Irving H. Mayfield, OIC, District Intelligence Office, 14ND
(5) Captain Arthur H. McCollum, OIC, Far Eastern Section, Foreign Branch, ONI
(6) Commander Walter Karig, USNR, co-author "Battle Report - Vol. 1"
(7) Lieutenant Wellbourne Kelley, USNR, co-author "Battle Report - Vol. 1"
(8) Lieutenant Commander Leo Reierstad, USNR, OIC, Translating Unit of OP-16FE
(9) Lieutenant Junior Grade Joseph M. Conant, USNR, Head, Translation Sub-Section of OP-16FE

Photostatic copies of both charts retrieved from Midget C were included as exhibits in ADM Hewitt's inquiry, along with a translation of the notes on the charts.

The Army Pearl Harbor Board (APHB) also contains a copy of both the original small- and large-scale charts taken from Midget C, along with a copy of the large-scale chart prepared by the FBI that has translations of the Japanese notes. The APHB copy is clearer than the copy in the Hewitt Inquiry if you are trying to understand what is on the large-scale chart.

Now back to Hewitt. There was one copy of the larger-scale chart (Exhibit 33A, Item 119), BUT...

Part of the confusion comes from the fact that there were multiple copies of the small-scale chart, which was found in four sections because it had torn along the crease lines where it was folded. Exhibit 32A, Item 116, was a copy of the original chart without English translations. Item 117 was a copy of Item 116, but with English translations, and Item 118 was the back of Item 116, also including English translations. Adding to the confusion, Exhibit 14(A-D), Item 106, is the negative (or 'black') copy of Item 116, used to make the photostatic copies. Remember, this was 1945, and the push-button photocopiers we now take for granted were not even a distant dream.

To make matters worse, a Navy Intelligence officer transferred the information from Item 116 to a new chart for clarity, which was then used in Pacific Fleet Intelligence Bulletin, Volume 1, Number 22 (dated 8 December 1944). CAPT Smedberg provided a copy of that bulletin to ADM Hewitt, but was unable to get the original chart used in the bulletin. Instead, he gave ADM Hewitt a copy of a similar chart, also created by Navy Intelligence, that he obtained from CAPT E. S. Pearce, then head of the Japanese Section of the Far Eastern Branch at ONI. Both the bulletin chart and the one obtained from CAPT Pearce are included in Hewitt's Inquiry as Exhibit 3, Item 2, and Exhibit 4, Item 37.

Completing the confusion, the Navy publicly released one section of the four that make up Item 116 during either 1942 or 1943. Walter Karig and his co-author Wellbourne Kelley used that as Plate V in their 1944 book "Battle Report - Volume 1." A copy of that is included in Hewitt's Inquiry as Exhibit 17, Item 107.

All told, the Hewitt Inquiry contains seven copies of the small-scale chart:

  **   Three copies of the original small-scale chart
         (Exhibit 32A, Items 116 and 117; and Exhibit 14,
         Item 106)

  **   One copy of the back of that chart (Exhibit 32A,
         Item 118)

  **   Two "new" copies created by Navy Intelligence
         (Exhibit 3, Item 2; and Exhibit 4, Item 37)

  **   Item 116 with English translations, which was
         publicly released by the Navy and contained in
         the 1944 book "Battle Report" as well as many
         others since (Exhibit 17, Item 107).

Thankfully, there is only one copy of the large-scale chart (Exhibit 32A, Item 119).

ADM Hewitt analyzed the charts and notes, and listed various reasons why the chart was a planning tool for the attack rather than a record of Midget C's actual movements.

Amongst Hewitt's stated reasons for this were:

(1)  The lack of tense in the notes on the chart
(2)  The times on the chart
(3)  The neatness with which the track and notes had been made on the chart
(4)  The incorrect positions of the ships in Pearl Harbor

ADM Hewitt also examined the initial interrogation reports of Midget C's skipper, ENS Kazuo Sakamaki. Sakamaki said very little, but he did admit that he'd failed in his mission. Since his mission was to enter Pearl Harbor, his "failure" should logically be assumed to mean that Sakamaki had not made it into the harbor. CAPT Smedberg testified that Sakamaki admitted he’d never made it into Pearl Harbor, but the text of Sakamaki's subsequent interrogation interviews is not included in the Hewitt Report. The letter Sakamaki wrote immediately following his capture all but said he didn’t enter Pearl Harbor, although he did not come out and say so in those exact words until his book "I Attacked Pearl Harbor" was published (Japanese edition 1947, U.S. edition 1949).

Sakamaki also said in his book that all the midget crews received the same charts. Presumably the scribbled notes on the captured charts were made by Sakamaki during briefings while in Kure before they left for the Pearl Harbor attack.

Karig and Kelley's 1944 book "Battle Report - Vol. 1" was also examined by ADM Hewitt. They used a photostatic copy of one section of the smaller-scale chart from Midget C in their book. The bellicose and sensationalist text of the book (aimed at wartime audiences) is hard to read, and followed the APHB in assuming that Midget C had entered Pearl Harbor prior to the air attack on December 7, 1941. Both authors were influenced by ADM William Rhea Furlong, who was also responsible for the rumor that mines were dropped in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Karig and Kelley were both Navy reservists and had to testify (somewhat sheepishly) before ADM Hewitt concerning the account of Midget C and the chart in their book. Notice that Karig and Kelley assumed the times on the chart were Honolulu times, and didn't consider that the Japanese Navy would use Tokyo time in the same way the U.S. Navy used Greenwich Civil Time (GCT). Using a single time reference for the entire Navy meant that no conversions are needed for time zones. The Navy still uses GCT, which later became GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). It is also known as "Zulu" time because that is the time zone designation for Greenwich, England, which is the location that time zones are based from.


ADM Hewitt concluded that Midget C did not enter Pearl Harbor. Further, Hewitt found no evidence to support the various rumors that a second midget submarine had ever entered Pearl Harbor.

The chart that Walter Lord used in his 1957 book “Day of Infamy” is the same one Karig used. Lord mistakenly says that the chart recovered from Midget C was actually found in a Japanese Zero shot down on December 7. The plane (Akagi Zero AI-154 flown by PO1 Takeshi Hirano) crashed on Ft Kamehameha. The pilot's flight suit and personal effects were examined by Army Intelligence officer LT COL Kendall J. Fielder, who found a map of Pearl Harbor in the pilot's belongings.

There are several notes on the chart that Lord misunderstood, which partly explains why he attributed the chart to Fielder. For example, a note by the tank farm just north of Hickam Field says “Can be seen from a distance of 5 miles.” Aerial maps do not have such notes, since the distance an object can be seen from a plane is a function of altitude. However, such notes are a common feature on nautical charts, which presume that sightings will be made from (or near) sea level. There is another note at the end of Hickam Field near Bishop’s Point that simply says “fight.” There is no indication of tense, and this is a hand-written note rather than a pre-printed comment on the chart. Sakamaki made that note for himself during the briefings, and it means simply “Prepare to fight.” Note that it is right beside the area of the Main Channel where Sakamaki’s midget was to have waited for the air attack to begin, so it makes sense that he would use the waiting time to prepare his boat and equipment for the attack. Finally, there is another note in the same location that says “No. 1 Steering Air.” This is another hand-written note made by Sakamaki, indicating that he intended to change from air one tank to another just before entering Pearl Harbor proper. Remember that midget submarine steering was pneumatically operated, not electrically. Aircraft would have had no need for such notes or comments.

See "Rumors Part 1A" of this section for a more complete discussion of what Fielder found and incorrectly thought about the chart, based on his testimony before the APHB.

The chart found in the crashed Zero was described by another author as a "crude, hand-drawn" chart, which matches the description of other charts recovered from Japanese planes (as opposed to the commercially printed nautical charts found on Midget C). The hand-drawn map recovered by LCDR Layton from a crashed torpedo plane on December 8, 1941 is a good example of the maps carried by aircrews. It is available online through the Naval Historical Center's website. The chart that Fielder recovered should look like this. However, I have never seen a copy of the Fielder chart so this is speculation on my part. I assume the Fielder chart is now in the National Archives, or possibly still in the files of Army Intelligence.


The large- and small-scale charts were simply different scales of the same charted area. The large-scale chart was used to navigate up to the channel entrance buoys, and the small-scale chart used from the buoys to inside the harbor.

I am not surprised that the FBI agent, the Army Pearl Harbor Board, Walter Karig, Wellbourne Kelley, or Walter Lord misunderstood the information on the charts. None of them were seamen, nor did they have any experience with navigation. Karig and Kelley were Navy Reserve officers only because they were commissioned by the Secretary of the Navy to write the "Battle Report" series of histories. Samuel E. Morison, probably the best known Navy historian of WW2, was commissioned in the Navy Reserves for the same reason.


(1)  Report of the Army Pearl Harbor Board (1944)

(2)  "Battle Report" Walter Karig and Wellbourne Kelley, 1944, Farrar & Rinehart, New York.

(3)  "I attacked Pearl Harbor" Kazuo Sakamaki, 1949, Association Press, New York.

(4)  "Day of Infamy" Walter Lord, 1957, Holt, New York.

(5)  Admiral H. Kent Hewitt's 1945 Inquiry, including the following exhibits and testimony:

EXHIBIT 3, ITEM 2  Photostatic copy of a captured Japanese chart from a midget submarine, small scale, with English translations. This is an American chart created with information from item 116 (for clarity) by an ONI Officer. (CAPT Smedberg provided)

EXHIBIT 4, ITEM 37  Photostatic copy of captured Japanese chart from midget submarine, small scale, with English translations. This is an American chart created with information from item 116 (for clarity) by an ONI Officer. (CAPT Smedberg provided)

EXHIBIT 14, ITEM 106  Photostatic copies of captured Japanese chart from midget submarine, small scale, with English translations, originally in four sections. This is the "negative" (black copy) used to make photostatic copies of item 116. (CAPT Layton provided)

EXHIBIT 17, ITEM 107  Photostatic copy of Plate V from the 1944 book "Battle Report."  This is a copy of the center section of item 116.

EXHIBIT 32A, ITEM 116  Photostatic copy of captured Japanese chart from midget submarine, small scale, in four sections. It shows Pearl Harbor itself, without English translations. (CAPT Layton provided)

EXHIBIT 32A, ITEM 117  Photostatic copy of captured Japanese chart from midget submarine, small scale, in four sections, showing Pearl Harbor itself, with English translations (translated copy of item 116). (CAPT Layton provided)

EXHIBIT 32A, ITEM 118  Photostatic copy of captured Japanese chart from midget submarine, small scale, in four sections. It is the back side of item 116 with English translations. (CAPT Layton provided)

EXHIBIT 32A, ITEM 119  Photostatic copy of captured Japanese chart from midget submarine, large scale, showing Oahu and waters out to approximately 10 nm, with English translations. It shows the outline of the smaller scale chart that covers Pearl Harbor (Items 37, 106, 107, 116-118). (CAPT Layton provided)

EXHIBIT 68  Documents relating to the capture of Ensign KAZUO SAKAMAKI and his midget submarine.

TESTIMONY OF CAPT EDWIN T. LAYTON  CINCPAC Fleet Intelligence Officer, Pearl Harbor

TESTIMONY OF CAPT WILLIAM R. SMEDBERG III  Assistant Combat Intelligence Officer, COMINCH, Washington DC

TESTIMONY OF CAPT JOSEPH J. ROCHEFORT  OIC, 14ND Communications Intelligence Unit, Pearl Harbor

TESTIMONY OF CAPT ARTHUR H. MCCOLLUM  OIC, Far Eastern Section, Division of Naval Intelligence, Washington DC

TESTIMONY OF RADM IRVING H. MAYFIELD  OIC, 14ND District Intelligence Unit, Honolulu

TESTIMONY OF CDR WALTER KARIG,  USNR  Co-author of "Battle Report"



TESTIMONY OF LTJG JOSEPH M. CONANT, USNR  Head, Translating Sub-Section, OP-16FE, Washington DC

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 4:42 pm on Nov. 18, 2001)

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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