By Phillip Massaad:
Book Title: Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942: A Maritime Mystery
Steven Carruthers has written a highly readable and authoritive account of not just the attack on Sydney Harbour, but the role of Japanese midget submarines and conventional submarine warfare along Australia’s seaboard. The extent of his research is clearly evident in the extensive bibliography and within the text. I enjoyed the detailing of the events from all parties involved, Australian, Japanese and American.
I picked up one unfortunate mistake on page 36. The top photo caption claimed the ship pictured was the Northampton Class Heavy Cruiser Chicago. The ship pictured is indeed the USS Chicago – just the wrong one. The one depicted is the Baltimore Class Heavy Cruiser, built in 1943 and commisioned in 1944. The photo of the USS Chicago on page 182 is of the correct ship.
Should Steven Carruthers embark on a second edition, may I suggest some ideas:
The discussion of the training and execution of midget submarines is told well, but how did midget submarine warfare fit into the Japanese war strategy? What was the philosophy behind such an expensive enterprise?
Perhaps looking at Paul Kemp’s ‘Midget Submarines of the Second World War’ may assist.
I’ve always wanted to know exactly what happened to the wreck of the Kuttabul? Carruthers notes the fate of the Dutch submarine K9 but was the wrecked ferry left sunk or was it raised and scrapped? Is this how the wheelhouse came to be in the War Memorial?
Two minor points: I was surpsrised the sinking of the Wollongbar was not mentioned. The loss of the premier intra-coastal liner in NSW was a significant victory to the submarine campaign.
Finally, I would have liked to have seen a more detailed diagram of the midget submarine, something similar to that found in David Jenkins’ ‘Hitting Home’.
These are all minor points and should not detract from what is an interesting, detailed and contemporary account of Australia\’s darkest days and most intriguing mysteries. Congratulations!