Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Operation Storm

Operation Storm (, published in 2013, is an excellent account of the secret Japanese I-400 submarine program in World War II. Admiral Yamato himself conceived of this program to build underwater aircraft carriers that could strike American cities. The Japanese built the largest submarines of the war that were equipped to venture on round trip journeys of 38,000 nautical miles.

Few Americans realize that a Japanese seaplane launched from a submarine actually bombed Oregon (twice) during the war. On February 23, 1942 another Japanese sub (I-17) shelled the Ellwood oil field near Santa Barbara inspiring Spielberg's flop movie with John Belushi  -- 1941 (

Geoghegan does a terrific job of weaving back and forth from Japanese and American perspectives. He also represents very different perspectives amongst the Japanese officers aboard I-401. Admiral Ariizumi would rather die than surrender while captain Nambu feels otherwise. His writing is lively and well-researched. His account of the Japanese massacre of surrendered merchant seamen in the Indian Ocean is harrowing.  According to Operation Storm, Ariizumi may have personally dispatched a female civilian with his sword.

I-400 Class Submarine
Carried three Seiran aircraft
This book has broader appeal than just military history junkies. Its message is a powerful antidote to those who insist that the atomic bomb was unnecessary -- many in Japan wanted to continue the hopeless struggle even after both bombs had been dropped ( How many realize that some in the Japanese Navy gave serious consideration to attacking West coast cities with biological weapons that HAD been used in China?  The I-401 program may ultimately have failed but its existence alone is a compelling story.

You can purchase signed copies of 
America Invades here...
or copies here on Amazon...

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