Built by Karasukojima Naval Armory as the 8th Type A Midget Submarine completed. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).
On December 2, 1942 at 11:08pm Japanese submarine I-20 launched HA-8 roughly 10.8 miles off Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal. The midget submarine is commanded by Lt(jg) Tanaka with crew member Mitani.
On December 3, 1942 this midget submarine sights several targets including American transports and destroyers but becomes beached for a short time then fires both torpedoes at a transport and hears an explosion. Afterwards, HA-8 is chased by a destroyer but escapes without damage. When it surfaces, the midget submarine was swamped and scuttled by the crew off Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal.
Fates of the Crew
Both of the crew reach shore and join Japanese forces on Cape Esperence. Their ultimate fate is unknown.
Possibly this submarine might be Type A Midget Submarine (Cape Esperence 1943) salvaged by USS Ortolan (ASR-5) during May-June 1943 off Guadalcanal displayed at the Submarine Force Museum.
Alternately, this submarine might be Type A Midget Submarine (Cape Esperence 1945). On January 4, 1945 USCGC Ironwood (WLB-297) began salvaging this submarine from a depth of 30' off Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal.
Divers, working from a small boat, use a hose and crowbars to clear a space under the bow and stern of the submarine. On January 9, 1945 a chain sling is rigged around the bow for salvage. The identity of this 1945 salvaged midget submarine is unknown but possibly HA-8, HA-22 or HA-37.
Combined Fleet - Midget Submarines in the Solomon Islands 1942
Historic Naval Ship Association - Japanese HA-8 via Wayback Machine April 28, 2012
"Locally, this submarine has always been labeled as HA-8. Some sources identify the midget as the HA-8, others the HA-10 and still others the HA-30. It came to the SUBASE Groton as part of a country war bond effort in 1943-1944 and has remained in Groton ever since. It is one of four such Type A midgets on display in the world."
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May 26, 2019