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Operation Rising Sun

David W Jourdan

The Sinking of Japan’s Secret Submarine I-52
David W. Jourdan recovers the sunken history of the Japanese cargo-carrying submarine I-52, exploring air-sea-undersea warfare and Japanese technology during World War II.

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World War II gave rise to tales of epic battles, sagas of heroism, bravery, and cowardice. The sinking of Japanese submarine I-52 is one such tale. Author David W. Jourdan recovers this sunken history and explores how Allied codebreaking, the victory over the Axis's desperate mission for much-needed resources, and a modern-day treasure hunt contributed to the contemporary understanding of resource manipulation, air-sea-undersea warfare, and Japanese technology during World War II. In the final year of the war, Germany and Japan were increasingly starved of resources that they needed to continue the conflict. Because of this, the sinking of the Japanese cargo-carrying submarine I-52 played a crucial role in the tipping of Allied-Axis power. The submarine was conducting the last mission of a desperate program called Yanagi, aiming to transport vital war supplies, technology, and human expertise between the Axis confederates, before it was caught and destroyed in a combined air, sea, and undersea battle. Its mission, cargo, and movements were known to the Allies by codebreaking efforts, and its sinking denied Germany sorely needed rubber, metals, chemicals, medicines, industrial designs, weapons technology, and know-how. Incidental to the hundreds of tons of military supplies was a shipment of gold. The subsequent interest of modern-day treasure hunters has given ocean explorers, like Jourdan, the chance to uncover the details of such a unique historical event. The research that was stimulated by this effort led to the discovery of one-of-a-kind recordings of American Avenger torpedo bomber attacks on an enemy submarine. One of the first joint American-Russian research expeditions, the search for the wreck of I-52 and its discovery on the seafloor, nearly intact over three miles deep, accompany the historical account of the submarine with a tale of teamwork, detective work, and mariners' battle with the sea.

ISBN: 9781640121690
Format: Hardback
Author(s): David W Jourdan
First Publishment Date: 1 June 2020

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  1. It is a jolly good read either way review by Warship World reader PB on 25/11/2020

    Just imagine what the British population, weary of total war, would have made of the news that Japanese submarines were operating in the North Atlantic. Of course, the population was kept in the dark and were blissfully unaware of submarines such as the I-52 which had made its way into the North Atlantic on a supply mission to transfer vital war materiel to the Germans. To be fair the Germans also sent U-boats into the Pacific to supply their Japanese allies with modern torpedo technologies and other vital supplies.

    That I-52 got into the Atlantic is the main thrust of this excellent and professionally written book that effectively comes in two parts. The first focuses on the wartime mission to evade the Allies and bring vital components to the beleaguered Axis power in Europe to, however futilely, try to stem the inexorable tide of Allied dominance. The author has got to extraordinary levels of research to discover mission plans, crew, and cargo manifests of German and Japanese sources around the world to paint a vivid and times claustrophobic portrayal of life aboard a mid-20th century submarine. The stench and the foul air and the long periods at sea are described in extreme detail as is the search and science behind the tracking of a doomed submarine. From the moment I-52 left port it had already been identified and noted and it was only a matter of the correct time and place before it would meet its destruction at the hands of anti-submarine aircraft from the escort aircraft carrier USS Bogue.

    The discovery of long forgotten mission logs from the pilots and crew of the aircraft carrier lend a human aspect to the story of the unequal fight between the hunted submarine and its hunters, the aircraft.

    The second part of this book chronicles the search for the sunken submarine and efforts to recover some of the valuable cargo that it had been carrying to Germany. T was one of the first joint US/Russian salvage operations following the collapse of the Iron Curtain and reading the text suggests that some tensions still persisted between former Cold War adversaries.

    In some places the text becomes quite technical and in-depth whilst in others the book reads like an action, espionage, and codebreaking adventure novel. It is a jolly good read either way.

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