HIJMS Submarine I-155: Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2016 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 6

1 April 1924:
Laid down at Kure Navy Yard as the KD3A class Submarine No. 78.

1 November 1924:
Renumbered I-55.

2 September 1925:

1 March 1927:
LtCdr (later Captain) Minowa Chugo (38)(former CO of RO-51) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

5 September 1927:
Kure Navy Yard. I-55 is completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Kure Naval District. LtCdr Minowa Chugo is the Commanding Officer.

1 December 1927:
LtCdr (later VAdm) Hiraoka Kumeichi (39)(former CO of RO-63) is appointed the CO.

10 December 1928:
LtCdr (later RAdm) Nabeshima Shunsaku (42)(former CO of RO-68) is appointed the CO.

11 July 1929:
20 miles SW of Odate Shima lighthouse, off Kyushu. During a simulated underwater attack at 1020, I-55 accidentally collides with her target, the heavy cruiser KINUGASA, and receives substantial damage to her hull plating in the bow area.

5 November 1929:
LtCdr (later RAdm) Ishizaki Noboru (42)(former CO of RO-22) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1930:
LtCdr (later Capt) Abe Shinobu (42)(former CO of RO-58) is appointed the CO.

10 February 1932:
S of Odate Shima, off Kyushu. At 1348, during SubDiv 18 maneuvers, I-55 is accidentally rammed by her sister I-54 under LtCdr Okura Tomesaburo. The damage is minor.

15 November 1932:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Shinno Arataro (45)(former CO of I-122) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1933:
LtCdr (later Captain) Takezaki Kaoru (45)(current CO of I-54) is appointed the CO of I-55 as additional duty.

20 February 1934:
LtCdr Shinno Arataro (45) is appointed the CO (his second tour as the CO of that boat).

10 May 1935:
LtCdr (promoted Cdr 15 November 1935; Rear Admiral, posthumously) Tamaki Tomejiro (45)(former CO of I-58) is appointed the CO.

10 May 1936:
Off Cape Ashizuri, Shikoku. At 2217, when returning to Sukumo Bay after fleet exercises, I-55 collides with I-53, receiving minor damage to her bow plating.

23 July 1936:
During the maneuvers off Kyushu the Combined Fleet is caught by a typhoon off Beppu. I-55 is grounded in Terajima Channel and receives serious damage to her outer hull. On 31 July, after the partial dismantling of her superstructure, I-55 is towed to Kure and drydocked for repairs.

10 November 1936:
Cdr (later Captain) Kume Ikuji (46)(current CO of I-51) is appointed the CO of I-55 as additional duty.

1 December 1936:
LtCdr (RAdm, posthumously) Yamada Takashi (49) (former CO of I-58) is appointed the CO.

15 December 1937:
LtCdr (later Captain) Tonozuka Kinzo (50)(former CO of I-64) is appointed the CO.

20 November 1939:
LtCdr (later Captain) Tagami Meiji (51)(former CO of RO-63) is appointed the CO.

28 April 1941:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Nakajima Kiyoji (54) (former CO of RO-59) is appointed the CO.

November 1941:
I-55 is in Capt Kijima Moriji's SubDiv 18 of RAdm Yoshitomi Setsuzo's SubRon 4 with I-53 and I-54. LtCdr Nakajima Kiyoji is the Commanding Officer.

1 December 1941:
Departs Samah in company of I-53 and I-54 on her first war patrol.

7 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya:
South China Sea. I-55 forms a patrol line with the rest of SubDiv 18 E of Kuantan, Malaya.

9-10 December 1941: The Destruction of British Force "Z":
Attempts to intercept HMS PRINCE OF WALES and REPULSE, but they are found and sunk by IJN aircraft.

14 December 1941:
W of Anambas. Around 1100, Dutch submarine Hr.Ms. K.XII, under Ltz. I KMR Henry C.J. Coumou, sights the periscope of a Japanese submarine (most likely I-54 or I-55). After an unsuccessful attempt to ram by Coumou, both subs leave the area.

20 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh.

29 December 1941:
Departs Camranh to patrol in the Bangka Strait area off Sumatra on her second war patrol.

14 January 1942:
Returns to Camranh.

31 January 1942:
Departs Camranh on her third war patrol. She is assigned to patrol off Anambas with the "A" Group.

2 February 1942:
Refuels at Anambas advanced base, then proceeds to the southern entrance of the Lombok Channel.

5 February 1942:
RO-34 expends all her torpedoes in an attack on an Allied convoy. Rear Admiral Yoshitomi orders her to return to Camranh. I-55, I-53 and RO-34 are dispatched to cover RO-34's area. [1]

7 February 1942:
Java Sea. Around 2300 (local), the surfaced I-55 intercepts the 4,519-ton Dutch passenger steamer VAN CLOON at 06-18S, 111-36E, en route from Surabaya to Colombo. Crippled by shellfire, she is beached in a sinking condition off the S coast of Bawean Island, Java. American yacht USS ISABEL (PY-10) rescues all 187 survivors.

While rescuing the survivors, ISABEL sights a surfacing submarine and opens fire on her. I-55 dives again and later is attacked by a PBY "Catalina" floatplane patrolling nearby.

8 February 1942: The Invasions of Sumatra and Java, Netherlands East Indies:
Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Second Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Eastern Force invades Bali (19 February) and the Western Force under Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA), together with an airborne assault, captures the oil refineries at Palembang, Sumatra (14 February), then lands troops at Bantam Bay, Merak and Eretenwetan and takes the capital of Batavia (5 March).

13 February 1942:
Java Sea, N of the Sunda Strait. I-55 torpedoes the 4,799-ton British armed ammunition ship DERRYMORE en route from Singapore to Jakarta, Batavia. At 2102 (local), she receives two hits and sinks 90 minutes later about five miles N of Jason Rock and 12 nautical miles SW of Noordwachter at 05-18S, 106-20E. Her 7,000-ton cargo of military stores, including explosives and six crated Hawker Hurricane Mk. II fighters is lost. Also on board were 209 RAAF evacuees from Singapore. No casualties occur to her crew of 36 including four gunners because of a quick rescue by HMAS BALLARAT, but 9 RAAF personnel are MIA.

17 February 1942:
I-55 and I-56 are ordered to proceed to Staring Bay, Celebes.

18 February 1942:
LtCdr Nakajima reports sinking an Allied armed merchant with gunfire. In all likelihood it was the 5,804-ton Norwegian steam tanker MADRONO, which received no damage.

21 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.

10 March 1942:
SubRon 4 is disbanded, I-55 is reassigned to the Kure Guard Unit of the Kure Naval District.

16 March 1942:
Departs Staring Bay for Kure with I-53 and I-54.

25 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure. LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Kudo Kaneo (56)(former CO of RO-65) is appointed the CO.

20 May 1942:
I-55 is renumbered I-155.

5 June 1942: Operation "AL"- The Invasion of the Western Aleutians:
Twenty ships of the Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro's (former CO of MUTSU) Fifth Fleet, including light cruisers KISO and TAMA, three destroyers, three corvettes, three minesweepers and four transports land Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (former CO of ISE) Occupation Force on Attu, Aleutians without opposition.

7 June 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ono Takeji's Occupation Force occupies Kiska, also without opposition.

15 September-1 November 1942:
LtCdr Kudo is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer of I-178 as additional duty.

10 December 1942:
ComSubDiv 18, Capt Hamano Motoichi (47) is appointed the CO of I-155 as additional duty.

10 January 1943:
LtCdr (promoted Cdr 1 June 1943) Kono Masamichi (52) (former CO of I-30) is appointed the CO.

1 April 1943:
I-55 is reassigned to SubDiv 18 of the Kure Naval District.

20 April 1943:
Reassigned to SubDiv 33, Kure SubRon.

21 May 1943: Operation "KE" - The Evacuation of Kiska:
The Imperial General Headquarters decides to abandon Attu and evacuate the garrison at Kiska Island, Aleutians.

22 May 1943:
Departs Kure for Yokosuka.

23 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

26 May 1943:
I-155 departs Yokosuka for Paramushiro, Kuriles.

29 May 1943:
I-155 is temporarily attached to the Kiska Evacuation Force with the Northern District Force, Fifth Fleet's SubRon 1: I-2, I-7, I-21, I-24, I-34, I-36, I-156, I-157, I-168, I-169 and I-171.

2 June 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro, Kataoka Bay. Refuels from TEIYO MARU, receives 95 tons of fuel.

4 June 1943:
Departs Paramushiro with supplies for Kiska.

5 June 1943:
I-155 is damaged in heavy seas and is forced to return to Paramushiro.

7 June 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

14 June 1943:
Departs Paramushiro for repairs.

20 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure; used as a training ship thereafter.

28 July 1943:
The Japanese complete the evacuation of Kiska.

I-55 is reassigned to the Kure Guard Unit.

1 December 1943:
Reassigned to SubDiv 18 of the Kure SubRon.

5 January 1944:
Iyo Nada, Inland Sea. I-155 participates in the first stage of submarine camouflage pattern experiments (Gaigen Toshoku Jikken) conducted by the Naval Submarine School. She receives a light grey scheme, based on RO-500's (ex-German U-511), applied to the hull and conning tower sides.

31 January 1944:
I-155 is removed from the active force and laid up without a crew. Reassigned to SubDiv 19, Kure SubRon.

23-25 February 1944:
Iyo Nada. I-155 participates in the second stage of submarine camouflage pattern experiments conducted by the Naval Submarine School, featuring a bluish grey/black scheme.

20 April 1945:
Reassigned to SubDiv 33 with I-122. By late April converted to ferry Kaiten human torpedoes to bases on Shikoku.

30 April 1944:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 15 October 1944) Hayakawa Hiromasa (64)(former torpedo officer of I-162) is appointed the CO.

5 May 1944:
Hiroshima Bay, Iyo Nada, off Kabuto Jima Island. At 1150, I-155 is damaged in a collision with the fleet oiler/seaplane carrier HAYASUI.

At 1730, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: "I-155 while carrying out ----- operations at [Hirejima Wan?] collided while submerged with Special Service Vessel Hayasui at 1150. Position 140 degrees ---- from ----. [hole ?] about two meters by one meter ----."

12 June 1945:
LtCdr Hayakawa is appointed the CO of RO-62 as additional duty.

20 July 1945:
Redesignated as a reserve vessel and moored near the Kure Submarine School.

Early August 1945:
I-155 is recommissioned and fitted with two Kaiten human torpedoes at Otsujima naval base.

25 August 1945:
I-155 and I-156 are scheduled to depart Hirao with the "Shinshu-tai" (Land of Gods Unit) Kaiten group. Their sortie is canceled and the boats return to Kure.

September 1945:
At Kure. I-155 is surrendered.

20 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

May 1946: British Operation "BOTTOM":
Iyo Nada. Australian destroyer HMAS QUIBERON and Indian sloop HMIS SUTLEJ scuttle I-155 and several other IJN submarines with gunfire.

Authors' Notes:
[1] I-55 has been credited with sinking the 1,937-ton Dutch steamer VAN LANSBERGE on 4 February 1942; in reality the latter was sunk as a result of an air attack.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and Jan Visser of the Netherlands. Thanks also to Steve Eckhardt of Australia for assistance in Revision 2 and John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages.

Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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