Type: Imperial Japanese Navy Demolition Boat
J.M. "Boats" Newberry, founder of PT Boats, Inc., located this Imperial Japanese Suicide Demolition Boat in Kerama Retto, Okinawa, and arranged for its transport back to the United States. In 1972 Newberry placed the boat at Battleship Cove. The design appears to be that of a semi-submersible.
A U.S. Army report in PT Boats, Inc.'s archives indicates that 1000 of these boats were to attack Allied Forces assaulting Okinawa. They were concealed in artificial and natural caves. These one-man boats were made of light plywood with reinforced wooden beams. Many were powered by U.S. made Gray Marine six-cylinder engines. Horsepower rating was between 70-80. They carried two depth charges, 260 pounds each, which were released by hand or on impact with their targets. They were painted green.
Elaborate attack plans were found in the caves along with information indicating that many amphibious units had been set up in out-of-the-way coastal installations. When discovered, none of the amphibious squadrons' personnel were located, leading G-2 of the 77th Division to call the discovery "mysterious."
On display in an original Quonset Hut, the Demolition Boat has been compared to Japanese "Shinyo" (meaning "seaquake") boats but does not match a Shinyo's characteristics.
"Special Attack" was the Imperial Japanese phrase used to describe tactics that generally involved the loss of a human operator. Laden with explosives, special attack boats were used in a suicidal fashion against American vessels in the Pacific during World War II. However, very few attacks were successful, as these boats were easily spotted and were frequently destroyed before they were deployed.
The Imperial Japanese Suicide Demolition Boat is on display at Battleship Cove, the world's largest collection of historic naval ships, and is owned by PT Boats, Inc., headquartered in Germantown, Tennessee.
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