Bronze Bell Recovered from World War II Aircraft-Carrying Submarine

Mar 17, 2016

HURL submersibles recovered the I-400 bell.
Credit HURL/ University of Hawaii.
Illustration showing relative location of the I-400 and its bronze bell.
Credit T. Kerby, HURL/UH.

Scientists with UH’s School of Ocean, Earth Science and Technology have recovered the bell from a Japanese WW2 submarine sunk off of O‘ahu.

The i-400 “Sen-Toku” class submarine was considered one of Japan’s secret weapons.  With a length longer than a football field, it carried three attack planes concealed inside a small hanger on its deck.  Planes were outfitted with a single bomb and were able to attack targets of interest with little to no warning.  The subs never actually were used in combat, and were captured by U.S. forces following Japan’s surrender.

To keep the technology from Soviet hands- the sub was torpedoed and sunk off of Barbers Point during the cold war.  

Researchers discovered the vessel in five-hundred-meters, and have since carried out a series of missions to map the wreck and nearby debris field.  Terry Kerby is the operations director of the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory.

After a year-long stabilization process the bronze bell will join binoculars and other artifacts from the Japanese submarine at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum