Japanese subs built to transport three operational bombers

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Staff Sergeant
Feb 23, 2005
Monstrous WWII Japanese Sub Wreck Found Near Hawaii

Associated Press 3/21/05

HONOLULU -- Researchers in waters off Hawaii have found the wreckage of a large World War II-era Japanese submarine.

The I-401 is from the largest class of submarines built before the nuclear ballistic missile vessels of the 1960s. They were 400 feet long, nearly 40 feet high and could carry a crew of 144.

The Japanese Navy designed the subs to carry three "fold-up" bombers that could be assembled for flight within minutes.

An I-400 and I-401 were captured at sea a week after the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Neither completed its reported wartime mission to spread germs over U.S. cities or bomb the Panama Canal. Both subs were ordered to sail to Pearl Harbor. They were deliberately sunk later, partly because Russian scientists were demanding access to them.
The bomber aircraft that were to be carried by the I-400 class submarines intended to attack the Panama Canal were actually Aichi M6A floatplanes that could function as dive bombers and torpedo bombers.
What about protruding barrels if the Aichi M6A could dive and function as the torpedo. Shouldn't these be protruding upright in order to be the kind of the schnorchel ?

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