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on March 23, 2013
I had heard of these huge Japanese submarines but had come up short on details. John Geoghegan's book changes this forever. This is a gripping page-turner that I read in one sitting on a flight from LA to Mumbai. It not only provides all the facts but personalizes Yamamoto's vision of a game changing operation to bomb the US East Coast from underwater aircraft carriers.

The story has many twists and turns that keep you wondering, what would have happened if this had been pulled off before the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The writing is vivid and brings to life both sides of this incredible tale. The book reads like a great espionage novel. What makes it all the more amazing is that it really happened!

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a Japanese technological "Hail Mary " that almost worked.
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on March 28, 2013
Excellent military history reading. Watched the authors pbs special on this topic back in jan. and was waiting for this book to follow. At nearly 400 pages there is no "padding out" as each chapter presents on topic information. The officers and crew of both the I-401 and I-400 are portrayed as the couragous submariners and pilots in this relitively unknown chapter of Japans side of the Pacific War. The book starts on how Admiral Yamamoto proposes the idea and follows through the construction of the subs and the logistical problems that plagued the shipyards to build them. Over the course of the war the subs planned use kept changing, from initially an atlantic attack on Boston/New york to a Pacific attack on California, to finally an attack on the panama canal. The chapters on the Seiran (the planes that were on board) were very interesting as well. Many people find the idea of a giant submarine that acted as an underwater aircraft carrier to be fantastical yet the Japanese had these and very well could have altered the outcome had they been built sooner. This story would make an excellent period movie and could use this book as reference.
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on March 26, 2013
I bought this book because I had seen the documentary on PBS that Mr. Geoghegan produced about this fascinating topic. I don't generally read military history books, but I was so intrigued by this little historical piece of WWII history, that I bought it and read it in a few days. It reads like a novel, in that the characters are so richly developed and the story is so captivating. What makes it even more awesome, is that this is all true!

I could see this book being turned into the next big WWII movie. It would be great on the big screen! Buy it! You won't be disappointed!
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on May 11, 2013
It sounds like war time pulp fiction, but the Japanese I class submarines were very real -- although all things considered the Japanese would have done better to leave them on the pages of the pulps.

The brain child of Admiral Yamamoto just after Pearl Harbor, these giants each carried two or three single-seat bombers (floats for return optional) and had enough range to attack New York or Washington. They were finished too late to perform their mission. As the war evolved so did the plans for their use. From pinprick attacks on American cities, their mission was switched to attacking the Panama Canal in an effort to close the vital lifeline,

Although they were a technological marvel, they weren't very practical. The American crew that brought one back to the US for study after the war found them uncomfortable and cranky boats to handle. Their construction consumed enormous amounts of resources the Japanese couldn't spare. Their fuel demands were insupportable by the time they were finished. And their military valuable was questionable at best

Still, it was a fascinating concept.
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on April 28, 2013
How many books have been written about WW II? How many words have been written and how many conclusions have been offered for untold numbers of war-time situations? It has been nearly sixty eight years since the United States slammed the door shut on World War II and I had little hope that I would discover anything new. Well, was I ever wrong! John Geoghegan has presented us with a masterful piece of work about World War II; about Naval warfare and about submarine warfare. All with details that leave you almost speechless. On several occasions I found myself asking silently, "how did he get that information?" Or "who did he actually speak to to get that little nugget?". The research needed for this book is astounding, incredibly detailed and he obviously drilled deep into families and organizations.

As a person who was a fetus in his second trimester of development when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, I remember little about that World War. However, as a submarine veteran of six years on submarines, including having served nearly one year (1962-63) on the USS Segundo, SS 398, one of the featured submarines in this book, I can attest to the accuracy of Geoghegan's general presentation of life on submarines. This book presents an overall view of the war-time strategy of Japan as well as the details of the life and careers of key Imperial Japanese Navy personnel associated with the Japanese submarines presented in "Operation Storm". Geoghegan interviewed the families of the first and second Commanding Officer of the Segundo, as well as numerous crew members from WW II. From beginning to end, this is a wonderful and compelling book.

This book is a must read for every Submariner, Naval or history buff.
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on May 10, 2013
This is just a well written informative book on a part of WWII in the Pacific few Americans were ever aware of. In war, it's not so much what you do as what you do not do. Shortly after Pearl Harbor Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who had planned the Pearl Harbor attack came up with a unique idea on how to bring the war to the American mainland. Build a force of specially built submarines large enough to house air tight aircraft hangers with a capacity to hold three specially designed Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft with removable floats. On January 13, 1942 Yamamoto submitted his plans which led to the building of only three of the eighteen originally ordered super submarine aircraft carriers. The reason of course was time and Japans ran out after building only three of the Sen Toku I-400 Class submarines, The I-400, I-401 and I-402. These super subs could carry enough fuel to take them around the circumference of the globe one and one half times. To give you an idea of their size, each was approximately 390 feet long, almost twice the length of an American Growler class submarine. Yamamoto planned to have these subs using their aircraft, bomb San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C. and the Panama Canal, The author introduces us to all the major players in the development, deployment and eventual destruction of these unique super submarines. We meet and personally become familiar with the Japanese and Americans involved in one of the most interesting, amazing and little known stories of WWII. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in the WWII submarine services of the WWII combatants, will find this book fascinating. Like Hitler and his dreams of Super Weapons, Yamamota's idea had real possibilities, but luckily for the world these two Axis partners made serious miscalculations. You Tube does have actual videos of the captured I-400's which were totally unknown to the American's during the war. When they were finally discovered the American's were absolutely astonished. As WWII ended, the Cold War began, so the United States decided to destroy all three vessels before their technology could fall into the hands of the Soviets. A great read,
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on May 4, 2013
I had never encountered an Underwater Aircraft Carrier until I read this book.It opened my eyes to a whole new
strategic attempt by the Japaneses to find a way to attack the US mainland. Unfortunately for them and fortunately
for us the development of the vessel came very late in the war and they were unable to carryout the plan. I felt the
book was a very fine presentation and a worthwhile read.
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on June 9, 2013
Very interesting story that shows in great detail the lengths the Japanese were will to go to to land a useless blow so late in the conflict.The story also has some parallels with some of the desperate measures taken by the Germans when the war was already well and truly lost.I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in wartime technology and a mind for detail,very well written.
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on January 26, 2016
This book 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.

Few 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 1941 [Blu-ray].

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.

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.

Christopher Kelly is the co-author of America Invades: How We've Invaded or been Militarily Involved with almost Every Country on Earth and Italy Invades
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on May 16, 2013
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, Admiral Yamamoto came up with an even more daring plan; strike Washington D.C., New York, and the Panama Canal. In "Operation Storm", author John J. Geoghegan describes the development of a top-secret force of Japanese submarines designed to launch specialized strike aircraft at these prime targets.

At over 400 feet long and carrying a crew of 200 plus three specialized attack bombers, the I-400 class was the largest submarines built during the war. But, the course of the war shifted against the Japanese after the battle of Midway in June, 1942. Add in the death of Yamamoto in the spring of 1943 and the American advance across the Pacific in 1943-1944. It was becoming questionable if the I-400s would be able to carry out their intended mission.

By the spring of 1945, four of the submarines were ready for operations. A plan was developed to attack the Panama canal using the subs and their specialized Aichi M6A1 attack bombers. During the course of planning, it was determined that the attack should concentrate on the doors to the canal's locks. Unfortunately for the Japanese pilots, the mission soon turned in to one of suicide, since bombs and torpedoes alone would not be able to do the job. Thus, the pilots would have to crash their planes into the doors.

However, due to the rapid American advance, the Panama Canal attack had to be canceled. The new target was the American base at Ulithi. The I-400 squadron would launch their planes against the massive American fleet lying at anchor. In the late summer of 1945, the subs finally got underway, but the mission was plagued by logistical failures and no planes were launched. The war ended without the I-400s firing a shot in anger.

But the story doesn't end there. The crew of the American submarine Segundo encountered the I-401 after the surrender. Thus ensued a battle of wits between the defeated Japanese and the victorious Americans. Would the Japanese crew surrender the I-401 without incident?

I found "Operation Storm" to be and interesting and informative read. I was aware of the existence of the massive Japanese subs, but this book does a fine job of explaining their ambitious plan to attack the United States. The book is well-researched and sheds light on a little-known aspect of the Pacific War. The author also draws on first-hand accounts of the last surviving members of both the I-401 crew and the U.S. boarding party that captured her. Highly recommended.
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