This Japanese Super-Torpedo Was the Hypersonic Weapon of World War II

    Michael Peck

    Security,

    When U.S. Navy warships began exploding in the middle of the night, America realized it had a problem.

    Which should remind us to be skeptical of “game-changing” weapons such as Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles. It is not enough to claim that ship-killer missiles will wipe out the U.S. Navy. We must ask under what conditions these weapons will be effective. Do they require satellite guidance that can’t be jammed, sensors that can’t be decoyed, or missiles that can’t be shot down? As the world moves further into the twenty-first century, it may turn out that new forms of warfare—cyber, stealth, lasers—will end up leaving the anti-ship missile as a powerful but dated weapon.

    When U.S. Navy warships began exploding in the middle of the night, America realized it had a problem.

    In the autumn of 1942, Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands near Australia, became the focal point of the Pacific War. For six months, U.S. and Japanese forces savagely battled on land, air, and sea to determine who would control the island and its strategic airfield.

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    For the U.S. Navy, which had belittled the Japanese as incompetent, Guadalcanal came as a shock. The disaster at Pearl Harbor could be explained by surprise and treachery, but the Navy left two dozen warships in “Ironbottom Sound” off Guadalcanal.

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