In 1942, the first "Yanagi" mission was carried out by the
Imperial Japanese Navy, and the submarine I-30 became the first Japanese boat to
arrive in European waters during WWII, putting in at the German U-boat
base in Lorient, France.
After the inevitable welcoming ceremony, and
being tied up to a buoy for several days, the large Japanese "B2" class boat was
moved into one of the U-Boat "pens" where she was to receive a refit and
repaint (After many weeks at sea on her long journey from Japan ... she was in need of
both!)...and doubtless to unload her precious but small cargo of strategic
materials. It is this scene that I depict on this canvas.
Overall, the German hosts were not unduly
impressed by the Japanese boat, declaring her to be too noisy, slow to
manoeuvre, slow to dive and with
too limited a diving depth. They did seem to agree that she was big, though!
I-30 had made the first of what was to be several
such trips by IJN submarines to Europe during the 1942/1944 period. Unfortunately for
her ... she never made it back, hitting a mine just after she left
Singapore on her return trip.
.Of the total of five such missions, only one was to be
successful, when the infamous I-8 made it back to Japan in 1943.
and Italian U-boats also participated in this unique effort of
between the axis navies with marginally greater success, but the whole
exercise was to make little or no difference to the outcome of the war. It
did serve a purpose, one can suppose, on the propaganda front for some