Two bombers inside the samurai sub I-14'
s watertight hangar (pictured in a computer-generated cutaway image) could catapult off the deck within minutes of surfacing, say archaeologists who found the wreck of the World War II Japanese submarine off Hawaii in February 2009.
In dry dock the I-14
submarine stood almost four stories high and, at 375 feet (114 meters), was longer than a football field. The Japanese aircraft-carrying submarine held up to three folding-wing float planes armed with 1,800-pound (816-kilogram) bombs.
That a submarine could have bombing capability was an idea well ahead of its time, said NOAA's Van Tilburg. "That concept is so powerful, because essentially that's what we have today," he said, referring to modern submarines armed with guided missiles.
Of the 1946 sinking of the I-14,
which he filmed, retired U.S. Navy Chief Charles Alger says in the November 2009 documentary
: "It was very sickening--the moment of the explosion. But like any good sailor, a job is done, and we've done it."
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Image courtesy Wild Life Productions