On June 22, 1942, late into the late into the night, the one year anniversary of the largest event in human history had happened. This was of course the massive German invasion of Russia. The war was raging there. And across the world, at the mouth of the Columbia River on the Oregon coastline, one of the smallest combat events was about to take place. This was the attack on Fort Stevens, Oregon by the Japanese 1-25 submarine. Commander Tagami Meiji ordered his crew to aim the sub’s artillery tube at the Fort Stevens. They fired 17 140mm shells into the fort. The shells landed in a swamp, near a concrete pillbox, and a few rounds damaged a backstop in a softball field. But the local commander refused to allow his crew to return fire and ordered lights out to deny the Japanese illumination and targets to fire at. It was a good call. The commander had no idea the size of the force he was facing – and he had only two ten inch guns. The Japanese shells managed to cut phone lines and that became the only and the most sustained damage on a mainland US military target by the Axis powers in World War II.
A US military spotter plane on a training mission found the submarine and directed a B-17 in, which dropped bombs but the sub egressed unscathed.