Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Miniature model of Japanese midget submarine made from the lead ballast of two Japanese midget submarines

Date: c 1942
Dimensions:
Overall: 17 x 112 mm, 0.05 kg
Display Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 98 mm
Medium: Lead
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Dorothy Jack
Classification:Models
Object Name: Model
Object No: 00016638
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Description
    A miniature model of Japanese midget submarine made from the lead ballast of two of the Japanese midget submarines that entered Sydney Harbour on the night of May 31, 1942. Along the portside of the submarine is stamped `SUNK IN SYDNEY HARBOUR MAY 31 1942" and along the starboard is stamped `MADE FROM BALLAST JAP MIDGET SUB".
    Many such souvenirs from the recovered submarines were made to assist in the Australian War Relief Effort. A national tour was organised which ran from July 1942 to April 1943 to exhibit the sub to a paying audience and to sell souvenirs.
    This particular example was given to the donor, Dorothy Jack, by Rear Admiral G Muirhead-Gould, who was Commodore of Sydney's naval establishments during the raid.


    SignificanceThe Japanese midget submarine attack in 1942 really brought World War II to the doorstep of Sydney. Although greater damage and casualties may have been carried out by the submarines if their plans had of been realized, the death of 21 men was a brutal reminder of how close the war had come.

    HistoryOn the night of 31 May, 1942 at around 8pm, three Japanese midget submarines attempted to enter and attack ships in Sydney Harbour. They had been launched from a group of larger submarines waiting an estimated 15km off the Heads.
    The first submarine became entangled in an anti-torpedo net that was suspended between George's Head and Green Point. To avoid being attacked or captured, the Japanese crew destoyed themselves and the submarine using ammunition on board.
    The second submarine managed to avoid the anti-torpedo nets and was able to enter the harbour and steer towards the Harbour Bridge. Having been spotted near Garden Island, it was fired on by the US cruiser CHICAGO. The CHICAGO missed however and the Japanese submarine was then able to release two torpedos. While these torpedos missed the CHICAGO and the Dutch submarine K-9, also in the vicinity, one torpedo exploded near the converted ferry HMAS KUTTABUL which was being used as a depot ship. On board, 19 Australian Navy and 2 Royal Navy were killed. In the resulting chaos, the submarine managed to escape.
    The third submarine was later located and attacked with depth charges by vessels of the Royal Australian Navy.
    [http://www.ww2australia.gov.au]




    The second submarine entered the harbour at about 9.48 pm and headed west towards the Harbour Bridge, causing a general alarm to be issued by the Naval Officer in Charge, Sydney. About 200 metres from Garden Island the submarine was fired on by the heavy cruiser USS Chicago. The submarine then fired its two torpedoes at the cruiser. One torpedo ran ashore on Garden Island but failed to explode. The other passed under the Dutch submarine K9 and struck the harbour bed beneath the depot ship HMAS Kuttabul where it exploded, killing 21 sailors (19 Royal Australian Navy and 2 Royal Navy). The submarine then slipped out of the harbour, its mission complete.

    The third submarine was sighted by HMAS Yandra at the entrance to the harbour and was depth-charged. Some four hours later, having recovered, it entered the harbour but it was subsequently

    The two submarines that were recovered were identical, and their remains were used to reconstruct a complete submarine, which toured New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia before being delivered to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in 1943, where it remains on display.

    The records held by the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial on the midget submarine attack are listed in the table below.






    The third submarine was sighted by HMAS Yandra at the entrance to the harbour and was depth-charged. Some four hours later, having recovered, it entered the harbour but it was subsequently attacked with depth charges and sunk in Taylor Bay by vessels of the Royal Australian Navy. Both members of the submarine's crew committed suicide.

    The two submarines that were recovered were identical, and their remains were used to reconstruct a complete submarine, which toured New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia before being delivered to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in 1943, where it remains on display.

    The records held by the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial on the midget submarine attack are listed in the table below.






    All three midget submarines were lost, with two of them destroyed before they could fire their torpedoes. The third fired at but missed the USS Chicago, sinking HMAS Kuttabul, a coverted ferry, and killing 21 sleeping sailors aboard

    Discuss this Object

    Comments

    Please log in to add a comment.