In 1945, on this day USN Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz (pictured) delivered a top secret, presidential briefing on the latest super-weapon developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy: the I-201, a fast-attack sub with a sleek, cutting-edge design which was twice as fast its American equivalents and surpassing even the German Type XX.
Samurai SubsIn fact twenty-three units had been ordered from the Kure Navy Yard under the 1943 construction program. Because dire warnings from the Naval Marshal General and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto had convinced the Imperial Government that the Navy would lose a Pacific War to the United States. The superior industrial might of the US would assuredly replace lost capital ships at a faster rate. At best, Japan would enjoy a year of glory, followed by defeat after defeat until the United States mustered overwhelming forces to impost their will upon the Pacific.
And so Japan needed to develop a strategic weapon which would redefine the military equation in the Pacific. Yamamoto planned to deploy the I-201 to patrol the sea lanes between Hawaii and the American west coast, placing Hawaii under siege and seriously hurting American operations in the Pacific.
Because the Japanese simply had to have maritime control of the Region. After the occupation of Manchuria and Korea, they had been locked in a bitter conflict with the Soviet Union. With Nazi Germany now on the verge of victory, the Japanese leadership needed to win the Soviet-Japanese Border War before the United States entered the war, exposing Japan to the larger threat of a "Grand Alliance".