Title: Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942: A Maritime Mystery
Author: Steven L Carruthers
Distributor: Dennis Jones & Associates Pty Ltd
Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942: A Maritime Mystery is a revised edition of the author’s first bestselling book,Australia Under Siege (Solus Books, 1982), which records the attack on Sydney Harbour by Japanese midget submarines on 31 May – 1 June 1942, the shelling of Sydney and Newcastle a week later, and the large-scale submarine campaign to terrorize and destroy commercial shipping off the east coast of Australia. Following its publication, many survivors and participants on the harbour that night, and members of the public, came forward with their stories and this book fills many gaps not recorded in the official naval history. The book also explores the role of censorship, which allowed the government of the day to cover up peculiarities in defence conduct, and even Australian casualties.
It is now evident military secrecy and government censorship were major factors why few details about the Sydney Harbour attack did not emerge until many decades after the war. Had there been an official investigation, it would have revealed serious flaws in the harbour defences, as well as the failure of some personnel; it also would have revealed the gallantry of many Australian defenders.
The information in the new book expands on the first edition. Additions include further accounts from HMAS Kuttabul survivors; from former crew members of Australian and American warships in the harbour that night, including the American battleship, Chicago , the primary target for the Japanese; the role of censorship in war-time Australia; and the role of suicide attacks as a weapon of war. In the modern age, the author writes that suicide attacks have become the defining act of political violence as he traces the most recent suicide attack on a Sri Lankan gunboat outside the main base for the island nation’s navy in January 2006 with the loss of all 15 crew.
This book includes new information about both the Sydney Harbour and Pearl Harbor attacks. According to the author’s narrative, Japanese reconnaissance flights over Sydney Harbour took place on 17 February, 23 May and 29 May 1942; not 30 May as recorded in the official Australian history. The first two flights went undetected. The book presents indisputable evidence the last flight took place on 29 May, two days prior to the attack; not the day before. The author says this is an important point because it will cause historians to rewrite the official history, as well as how they interpret the actions of the defence authorities at that time. The author also records that the midget submarine caught in the anti-submarine net strung across the harbour was entangled inside the net; not outside the net as generally believed. The book records a rare interview with James Cargill, the Maritime Services Watchman who first discovered the midget submarine in the harbour, which ends all speculation about how the submarine became entangled.
Since the Sydney harbour attack, the whereabouts of one midget submarine has become one of Australia’s greatest maritime mysteries. This book explores the many theories surrounding its disappearance and its possible location.
Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942: A Maritime Mystery is illustrated with many historical photographs and documents not seen by the Australian public. These include one of the most dramatic photographs of World War II, taken by a Japanese aircraft over Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1942, which captures the moment one midget submarine fired its two torpedoes at the battleships USS West Virginia and USS Oklahoma . Like the midget submarine that fired its torpedoes at USS Chicago in Sydney Harbour, the whereabouts of this submarine is also a mystery.
At $29.95, Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942: A Maritime Mystery is great value and will be of interest to both historical scholars and the general public.