Podcast & Book Reviews

Podcast Review | Night of the Midget Subs — Sydney Under Attack by ABC Conversations

December 1, 2020

Podcast Review | Night of the Midget Subs — Sydney Under Attack by ABC Conversations

Podcast Review | Night of the Midget Subs — Sydney Under Attack by ABC Conversations

By Robert Miller | Portfolio Manager at NAOS Asset Management

This podcast it not related to investing whatsoever but is nonetheless a very interesting story in Australian history. Most people would be somewhat aware that Japan attempted an attack in Sydney Harbour during WWII, and this ABC Conversations episode recounts the details of what happened.

The Japanese Imperial Navy launched a midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour during WWII on May 29th, 1942. Garden Island was seen as very strategic given it had become one of the largest supply & repair depots for the allied forces in the Pacific War. At the time there was a large US cruiser boat docked at Garden Island, the USS Chicago, which was the main target.

There is no doubt the attack caught everyone by surprise, despite some apparently very obvious signs of reconnaissance by the Japanese Imperial Navy in the days leading up to May 29th. To fathom the events that occurred and the sheer occurrences of luck involved is very hard to believe. For example, the first midget submarine was uncovered by a civilian in a row boat, and the fact that some torpedoes launched did not detonate.

The loss of 21 lives was tragic however it could’ve been exponentially worse. The foreshore of Sydney Harbour would look very different today if this attack had been executed as planned. Thankfully it wasn't.

Listen to the podcast