NOVA: Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor
Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor
Wednesday May 23, 2012 9pm
NOVA joins an exclusive dive beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor to trace new clues to the historic sinking of the USS Arizona. 1,177 crewmembers perished in the dramatic 1941 sinking of the storied battleship — the greatest loss of life in United States naval history. For decades, it has been thought that the Arizona was brought down by fire from Japanese aircraft. But the discovery of a Japanese "midget sub" far from the scene of the battle raises new questions about the Arizona's final hours. Severed into three pieces and dropped in 1,200-foot-deep water outside of the harbor, the sub matches four other vessels discovered in shallower water closer to the harbor entrance. Each of the four vessels were equipped with a pair of torpedoes, but only the torpedoes of the fifth sub are still missing, apparently fired at an unknown target. What was that submarine's mission? Why was it laid to rest so far from the harbor? What was the fate of its two-man crew? With unprecedented access to the Arizona wreckage, NOVA teams up with the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab to use manned deep submersibles in an attempt to resurrect the fifth midget submarine. Using eyewitness testimony and reports from after the attack, this program examines the possibility that this mysterious midget submarine may have been a key Japanese weapon in what became known as the day of infamy. View preview below.
USS West Virginia (foreground), sunk and burning; USS Tennessee in background | Credit: Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command