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  • *shudder*

    November 14, 2008

  • "There was excitement aboard the submarine, and clustered about the captain were the Kaiten pilots begging for permission to be launched against his enemy ship. These fanatical young submariners—like their airborne brother, the kamikaze pilot—had sprung into existence during the war. The Kaiten was, in effect, a midget submarine weighing about eight tons. The entire forward section was the explosive warhead of a huge torpedo with the pilot and the power plant occupying the after section.... Once launched from the mother sub, there was no turning back. The suicide submarine was equipped with a small periscope that allowed the pilot to keep his target in sight until the final moment when torpedo and ship exploded. Should he miss his target, the pilot was doomed anyway. But his end would not be the glorious death so appealing to the Japanese warrior. He would simply continue running until the fuel supply was exhausted; then slowly the human torpedo would sink, and as it went deeper and deeper, the mounting pressure would cave in the bulkheads and the pilot would suffocate."

    —Thomas Helm, Ordeal by Sea: The Tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, 1963 (New York: Signet, 2001), 37

    This is unbelievably depressing.

    November 14, 2008