BY ROD McGUIRK
A JAPANESE World War II submarine wreck was found partially buried in the seabed of Simpson harbour during a search for unexploded munitions, Australia's military said on Friday.
Australian and New Zealand warships found it 55 meters underwater while working in the area to clear explosives from the major WWII Japanese military base.
The wreck is partially buried in sand but upright. Australian navy historians had concluded from underwater images that the wreck is Japanese.
"The Royal Australian Navy will now work with Japanese authorities to assist in determining the wreck's identity," it said.
Gary Oakley, an Australian War Memorial curator and a former submariner, said it appeared to be a midget submarine crewed by one or two men.
"My best guess would be it's a Japanese midget submarine. It doesn't look big enough to be an ocean-going submarine," Oakley said after examining indistinct images of the wreck released by the Defence Department.
Japanese midget submarines were transported by ship or larger submarines and used covertly to infiltrate enemy targets including Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and Sydney Harbour.
Such a submarine could have been destroyed by an American air raid or naval bombardment or even scuttled by the Japanese toward the end of the war, Oakley said.
Source: Huffington Post, 28 October