The riveting true story of Japan's top secret plan to change the course of World War II using a squadron of mammoth submarines a generation ahead of their time
In 1941, the architects of Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor planned a bold follow-up: a potentially devastating air raid—this time against New York City and Washington, DC. The classified Japanese program required developing a squadron of top secret submarines—the Sen-toku or I-400 class—designed as underwater aircraft carriers, each equipped with three Aichi M6A1 attack bombers painted to look like U.S. aircraft. The bombers, called Seiran (which translates as “storm from a clear sky”), were tucked in a huge, water-tight hanger on the sub’s deck. The subs' mission was to travel more than halfway around the world, surface on the U.S. coast, and launch their deadly air attack. This entire operation was unknown to U.S. intelligence. And the amazing thing is how close the Japanese came to pulling it off.
John Geoghegan’s meticulous research, including first-person accounts from the I-401 crew and the U.S. capturing party, creates a fascinating portrait of the Sen-toku's desperate push into Allied waters and the U.S. Navy's dramatic pursuit, masterfully illuminating a previously forgotten story of the Pacific war.
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About the Author
JOHN J. GEOGHEGAN has written extensively about aviation history, underwater exploration and marine engineering for the New York Times Science Section, Smithsonian Air & Space, WIRED, Popular Science, Aviation History, Military Heritage, Flight Journal, and the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine.
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Excerpted from "Operation Storm"
Copyright © 2014 John Geoghegan.
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Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
Principal Actors xi
Part I Prologue
Chapter 1 Face-Off 3
Chapter 2 The I-401 14
Part II Preparation
Chapter 3 Birth 23
Chapter 4 Nambu 33
Chapter 5 Underwater Aircraft Carriers 45
Chapter 6 Proof of Concept 56
Chapter 7 Challenges 70
Part III Complications
Chapter 8 Reduction and Revival 77
Chapter 9 Nambu Under Fire 83
Chapter 10 Nambu Becomes a Mole 90
Chapter 11 Seiran Takes Flight 95
Chapter 12 The Panama Canal 100
Chapter 13 Ariizumi 105
Chapter 14 Ariizumi Under Fire 114
Chapter 15 The Segundo (SS 398) 121
Chapter 16 Decline 131
Part IV The Mission
Chapter 17 Nambu and the I-401 141
Chapter 18 The 631st 163
Chapter 19 Fulp on Patrol 174
Chapter 20 Kure 185
Chapter 21 Adversity 197
Chapter 22 Attacking the Canal 204
Chapter 23 Green Light 214
Chapter 24 Fulp's Last Patrol 218
Chapter 25 Nanao Bay 227
Chapter 26 The Taste of Persimmon 235
Chapter 27 Johnson Takes Command 244
Chapter 28 Operation Storm 249
Part V Race Against Time
Chapter 29 Departure 261
Chapter 30 Underway 267
Chapter 31 Crossed Wires 272
Chapter 32 The Emperor's Voice 279
Chapter 33 Anarchy 288
Chapter 34 Escape 302
Chapter 35 Interception 307
Chapter 36 Spoils of War 315
Chapter 37 Reckoning 325
Chapter 38 Boarding Party 333
Chapter 39 The Tenth War God 338
Chapter 40 Bittersweet 342
Chapter 41 Freedom 347
Chapter 42 The Long Road Home 352
Chapter 43 Rediscovery 358
What People are Saying About This
"A magnificent page-turner that reveals the inside story of a remarkable top secret program, Operation Storm is a powerful, towering achievement." David King, bestselling author of Death in the City of Light
“A great historical read, scrupulously researched and brilliantly written. Geoghegan has produced a marvelous insight into the men on both sides who fought a brutal underwater war beneath the waters of the Pacific in WWII.” Clive Cussler, bestselling author of the Dirk Pitt and NUMA Series
“The Imperial Navy’s submarine force in WWII is still barely understood in the West. Geoghegan has given us one of the first detailed glimpses into the workings of Japan’s undersea fleet. His detailed coverage of the Imperial Navy’s I-400 program is uniquely interesting.” Jonathan Parshall, author of Shattered Sword
“Anyone who believes there are no more hidden secrets to World War II will feel differently on seeing this book. I’ve been reading about the war all my life, but knew nothing of the extraordinary weapon whose story John Geoghegan tells here. And tells, I might add, in a riveting, vivid, suspenseful way that makes it hard to stop reading once you’ve begun…it's a remarkable tale.” Adam Hochschild, bestselling historian and author of, To End All Wars and King Leopold’s Ghost
“Just when we were beginning to think that every conceivable World War Two topic worthy of study has already had a shelf’s worth of books devoted to it…John Geoghegan’s Operation Storm combines painstaking research and crisp writing to bring to life, for the first time in English, the fascinating story of Japan’s late war I-400 experimental submarine program.” M.G. Sheftall, author of Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze
“Operation Storm does for Japanese submarines what Das Boot did for U-boats showing the human side of a remarkable story no less extraordinary for being true. Geoghegan's splendid research combined with his writing skill makes Storm a genuine page turner." Col. (ret.) Walter J. Boyne, former head of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
"Impressively documented and lucidly written, here is a lively, well-balanced account of the Imperial Japanese Navy's huge I-400 class submarines and their eleventh hour ‘game-changer’ mission.” Carl Boyd, co-author of The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II; Professor Emeritus, Old Dominion University; and U.S. Navy submariner 1954-58
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although the writing itself is clear but uninspired, the information presented is fascinating on many levels, from strategic to tactical to personal. Starting with a chapter on the post-surrender confrontation between the secret Japanese sub and an American sub , the following chapters fill in the background leading to this point. Technology, military politics, and human decisions are brought together until the reader is back at the intense moment of the two subs' meeting. While not critical to an understanding of WWII, a certain richness of detail is added.
I heard an interview with this author on NPR and it perked my interest in the book. I got it and read it nearly cover to cover. Fascinating read and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a unique bit of WW II history.
Interesting and informative book about the uses of Japanese submarines during the war. One gets an understanding of the code of honor submariners lived by, strategies for victory, use of subs as aircraft carriers, and supply ships.
I could read it over and over agin
Operation Storm is a terrific read from cover to cover. Mr. Geoghegan did the research and made this little known piece of history riveting! A must have for all the history/WWII buffs on your Chistmas list!
I knew that the Japanese Imperial Navy had developed specialized submarines before and during WWII. This book is an eye-opener as to how enterprising they were as far as submarine warfare was concerned. It is interesting to note that the Allies had pretty much given up on the ideas of very specialized boats. That is, until after the war when the United States modified some late WWII submarines for the Regulus Missile Program. I'd like to see more of the correlation between the large 'aircraft carrier' subs of the Japanese and the early US missile boats. Overall a good read.