Nobby bombs the U.S.

HangarDoorI-400Class

At 06:00, on 9 September, 1942, the I-25, a I-400 class submarine, surfaced west of the Oregon/California border. The submarine launched a small plane, the “Glen”, flown by Nobuo [Nobby] Fujita and Petty Officer Okuda Shoji, with a 154 kg load of two incendiary bombs.

Fujita dropped two bombs, one on Wheeler Ridge on Mount Emily in Oregon. The location of the other bomb is unknown. The Wheeler Ridge bomb started a small fire 16 km (9.9 mi) due east of Brookings, which U.S. Forest Service employees were able to extinguish. Rain the night before had made the forest very damp.

The floatplane was housed in a streamlined, water-tight, hangar installed forward of the conning tower. Its wings, fins and floats were removed, and the horizontal tailplane folded upward in order for it to fit inside.

Two launching rails extended forward from the hangar to the bow, from which the reassembled floatplane was catapulted aloft by compressed air. In order to recover the aircraft, the pilot had to make an open-ocean landing and taxi to the starboard side, where a retractable crane hoisted it back on board the submarine.

The aircraft universally used for this purpose was the Uokosuka E14Y1, called ‘Glen by the Allies. It was powered by a 9-cylinder, 340-hp Haitachi Tempu 12 radial engine that provided a maximum speed of about 150 mph, and a normal cruising speed of 85 mph. Constructed of a metal and wood airframe, with fabric-covered wing and tail surfaces, the aircraft weighed just 3,500 pounds, including the twin floats.

With a wingspan of 36 feet, the Glen could remain airborne nearly five hours, giving it approximately a 200-mile operating radius. Normally, the aircraft carried a crew of two, plus a load of 340 pounds in small bombs. As defensive armament, it possessed only one rear-mounted 7.7mm machine gun.

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5 Responses to “Nobby bombs the U.S.”

  1. jams O'Donnell May 26, 2010 at 23:07 Permalink

    Ingenious I’m sure but no effect on the US war effort whatsoever!

  2. richard May 27, 2010 at 02:52 Permalink

    That was an interesting tale of ingenuity and pluck, and told with a masterful economy.

  3. BobG May 27, 2010 at 06:12 Permalink

    “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
    –Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

  4. jams O'Donnell May 27, 2010 at 10:19 Permalink

    Despite being if no strategic or tactical benefit I do love these little backwaters of history

  5. MadPiper May 27, 2010 at 12:34 Permalink

    A bold attempt to strike fear of invasion in the US, but it paled with Doolittles Raid earlier that year.

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