Our research for the December 1999 Naval History article began in 1993. At that time, Commander Rodgaard met with Daniel Martinez, Historian of the National Park Service’s USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial and noted historian and journalist Burl Burlingame, who had presented a paper pointing out the possibility of another midget submarine at a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Also involved in research on this subject were John Krol and Robert Chenowith. After Commander Rodgaard briefed the management of Autometric, Inc., on the idea of pursuing research into a midget submarine attack as a public service to the Park Service, he was directed to assemble an Autometric team of analysts experienced in intelligence-oriented image analysis and photogrammetric sciences. This analysis supported the notion that another Japanese midget submarine was present in the harbor during the attack. And the analysts observed that the submarine had launched two torpedoes, one at the USS West Virginia (BB-48), and the other at the USS Oklahoma (BB-37). Hosted by Martinez, the Autometric team presented its findings at a press conference on 6 December 1994.
In 1998, Peter Hsu, a respected naval architect and marine forensic engineer for Techmatics Division, Anteon, saw an article on the Japanese midget submarine based on Autometric’s report, acquired a copy of the photo—purported to be of the midget submarine—from Autometric, and analyzed the underwater explosion phenomena, concussion wave propagation, and cavitation effects seen in the attack photograph. Hsu’s analysis substantiated Autometric’s findings on the two torpedo launchings. This included the explosion against the West Virginia and the ensuing effects on the submarine by concussion waves from the single torpedo detonation, and possibly other detonations.
As evidenced in subsequent letters to Naval History after the article was published, our findings apparently are controversial. Therefore, we hereby outline our approach to future plans and report on what we currently regard as historical fact.
In January 2000, Commander Rodgaard met separately with Martinez and Burlingame in Hawaii. Among other topics, he discussed the team’s intention to expand the research into a monograph. In February, Martinez met with the team in Washington, D.C., where the group discussed the approach to the monograph and set a time for its completion subsequent to symposium events marking the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in 2001.
Martinez informed the team that official U.S. Navy battle damage photography of the West Virginia had just been released to the Park Service. Once it is catalogued by the Arizona Memorial archives, it will be made available to researchers. The team plans to analyze this data and integrate the findings into its forensic analyses.
Following, in abbreviated form, are current and planned actions of the team as it focuses on the content of the monograph:
•Conduct a detailed analysis of all sources describing the timeline of the Japanese submarine attack plan
•Conduct a precise photogrammetric analysis of all photography to position any possible torpedo-launching aircraft
•Perform a precise photogrammetric analysis of all torpedo tracks, concussion waves, and detonations
•Continue the detailed analysis of the wave action and submarine surface motions
•Continue a detailed analysis of Pearl Harbor geology and security measures
•Conduct analyses of additional available photographs including battle damage imagery, and other data
•As new imagery becomes available, pursue the further use of advanced digital scanning and processing techniques
•All comments and critiques from historians, analysts and correspondents will be reviewed and action taken.
•All of the above research will be published periodically in updates in Naval History magazine.
The authors were selected for Naval History’s 1999 Author of the Year Award for their December article. They thank all who have shown interest in their research, especially Yoshinori Nakai, Washington Bureau Chief and American Editor of the Mainichi newspapers, who wrote about their research and supplied material relating to the Pearl Harbor midget submarines that he obtained from the Japanese Defence Force archives. The authors are currently in the process having this material translated. Nakai believes that the original negative of the attack photograph used in the analysis no longer exists.