HIJMS Submarine I-158: Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2010 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 2

15 May 1928:
I-58 is completed at the Yokosuka Navy Yard, commissioned in the IJN and based in the Kure Naval District.

26 August 1940:
S of Tokyo Bay. During night maneuvers, I-58 with her ballast tanks partially flooded, participates in simulated attacks against some of the Combined Fleet's capital ships. After completing her last attack, she begins to crash-dive but her bridge party fails to clear the bridge in time. Signalman Hirose Masao, the last man on the bridge, realizes that the boat may be flooded. He closes the bridge hatch from the outside, but perishes.

November 1941:
1-58 is Rear Admiral Yoshitomi Setsuzo's SubRon 4 under Captain Ota Nobunosuke's SubDiv 19 with I-56 and I-57. LtCdr Kitamura Soshichi is the Commanding Officer.

1 December 1941:
SubDiv 19 departs Samah, Hainan Island, China.

8 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya:
South China Sea. I-58 forms a patrol line with I-57, I-62, I-64 and I-66 in the area of Trengganu, Malaya.

9 December 1941: Pursuit of the Royal Navy's Force "Z":
I-58 receives a report of a sighting by I-65 of a British force steaming NNW at 14 knots. This is Vice Admiral Sir Tom Phillips who sorties from Singapore to find and attack the Malaya invasion transports with his Force Z: the new battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES, old battlecruiser HMS REPULSE, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, EXPRESS, TENEDOS and Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE. The report of Force Z's position is received inaccurately because of faulty communications.

10 December 1941:
140 miles east of Kuantan, Malaya. I-58 is stationed farther N than the I-65. Shortly after midnight, I-58 is running on the surface when her lookouts spot the approaching British ships 656 yards (600 m) off the starboard bow. I-58 dives immediately.

Kitamura attempts to fire a full six-torpedo salvo on the leading PRINCE OF WALES, but his first torpedo tube's outer door jams. POW passes by. [1]

REPULSE comes by next. Kitamura fires all his remaining torpedoes, but misses. He reports Force Z proceeding SSW at 24 knots. The report is received by light cruiser SENDAI that relays it to Vice Admiral Ozawa's flagship, cruiser CHOKAI. At 0615, I-58 loses contact with Force Z.

That afternoon, Force Z is overwhelmed by torpedo-bombers of the 22nd Air Flotilla from bases in Indochina. Both British capital ships are sunk.

20 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.

28 December 1941:
Departs Camranh with I-56 to raid enemy communications off Surabaya, Java.

3 January 1942:
Java Sea. Dutch merchant LANGKOEAS (captured in May 1940 as German freighter STRASSFURT) departs Surabaya on 1 January for the Middle East.

NW of Bawean Island. At 0145, LANGKOEAS is hit in the engine room by a torpedo and sunk by gunfire at 05S, 112E. The surviving crew of about 90 men abandons ship. Some whaleboats make it safely to sea, but are machine-gunned by I-58. Three survivors are hauled aboard the submarine, interrogated by LtCdr Kitamura and then thrown back into the sea. They spend four or five days on a raft they find and wash ashore on Bawean Island. Later, a Dutch PBY "Catalina" flying boat picks them up and returns them to Surabaya.

5 January 1942:
Early in the morning while running surfaced, I-58 is attacked by an unidentified submarine, but the torpedo just grazes her side.

9 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of the Celebes:
Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Second Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force lands invasion forces on Mendado and Kema (11 January), Kendari (24 January), Ambon (30 January) and Makassar (9 February).

Java Sea. W of Bawean Island. That same day, I-58 first shells and then torpedoes and sinks Dutch merchant CAMPHUYS at 04-30S, 111-47E. American PAUL JONES (DD-230) rescues her survivors.

16 January 1942:
Returns to Camranh.

7 February 1942:
Departs Camranh to patrol S of Java.

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).

20 February 1942:
Transits the Lombok Strait, Java.

22 February 1942:
Java Sea between Tjilatjap and Padang. I-58 torpedoes, first shells and then torpedoes and sinks Dutch passenger ship PIJNACKER HORDIJK. Her skipper is questioned briefly and then released.

25 February 1942:
Java Sea S of the Sunda Strait. Dutch merchant BOEROE (confiscated former French DUPLEIX) is en route to Perth, Australia. At 1015, I-58 surfaces and fires a few shells but she is forced to submerge by a passing Dutch destroyer escorting two oilers. At 1130, I-58 fires two torpedoes, both hit and the BOEROE goes down slowly. All of her 70-man crew escape.

28 February 1942:
Java Sea. I-58 torpedoes and damages British oiler BRITISH JUDGE in the 10 miles S of the Sunda Strait.

8 March 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay, Celebes.

10 March 1942:
SubDiv 19 is reassigned to SubRon 5.

13 March 1942:
Departs Staring Bay.

20 March 1942:
Returns to Kure.

14 May 1942:
Departs Kure.

20 May 1942:
The I-58 is renumbered as I-158.

24 May 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

26 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
The I-158 is Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa's Advance Expeditionary Force (Sixth Fleet) in Rear Admiral Daigo Tadashige's SubRon 5 with I-156, I-157, I-159, I-162, I-165 and I-166.

I-158 departs Kwajalein. SubRon 5 is deployed between 28-20N, 162-20W and 26-00 N, 165W.

19 June 1942:
Returns to Kwajalein.

22 June 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

30 June 1942:
Returns to Kure.

10 July 1942:
SubRon 5 is disbanded. LtCdr Kitamura is later reassigned as Commanding Officer of I-27.

I-158 is reassigned to the Kure Naval District Guard Unit in SubDiv 19 with I-156, I-157 and I-159. I-158 is used as a training ship at the Kure submarine school thereafter.

1 December 1943:
SubDiv 19 is reassigned to Kure SubRon.

December 1943:
Kure Navy Yard. The Submarine School carries out Sensuikan Gaigen Toshoku Jikken experiments on camouflage painting of I-boats based on RO-500's (ex-German U-boat U 511) camouflage. I-158 is painted Haihakushoku (Light Grey).

5 January 1944:
Iyo Nada. An experiment is carried to determine the camouflage's horizontal visibility, its visibility from aircraft, the appropriateness of the color for the surrounding sea area, its ability to confuse determining the I-boat's speed and direction and the durability of the paint.

The experiment is deemed a failure.

20 April 1944:
I-158 is reassigned to SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet.

17 March 1945:
Kobe. I-158 receives minor damage in a Boeing B-29 "Super Fortress" bombing raid on the Mitsubishi Dock Yard. She is repaired and converted to a "kaiten" (Heavens Shaker) human-torpedo carrier.

20 April 1945:
I-158 is returned to service. She is configured to carry two kaitens.

July 1945:
The crews of I-156, I-157, I-158, I-159 and I-162 are trained to launch kaitens in combat against the anticipated American invasion fleet.

15 August 1945:
I-158 is reassigned to SubRon 15, Sixth Fleet. That day the Emperor Hirohito (Showa) broadcasts an Imperial Rescript calling for an end to the hostilities.

2 September 1945:
Kure. I-158 surrenders with I-36, I-47, I-157, I-159 and two I-361 class boats.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

March 1946: Sasebo. I-158 is stripped of all usable equipment and material. Vice Admiral Robert H. Griffin, Commander Naval Activities Japan, comes aboard and inspects I-158.

26 March 1946: Submarine Officers Conference, Washington, DC:
The attendees, including former ComSubPac Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, are told that "orders are being issued to dispose of all Japanese submarines by sinking. Those in Japan will be sunk at once, those in Pearl Harbor when authorized by SCAP and at the discretion of CinCPAC dispose of all captured Japanese submarines by sinking."

1 April 1946: Operation "Roads End":
Sasebo. I-158 is towed to an area off Goto Retto by submarine tender USS NEREUS (AS- 17). I-158 is bombed and scuttled at 32-37N, 129-17E.

Authors' Notes:
[1] This would have been the first IJN submarine torpedo attack ever against an enemy battleship.

Special thanks for help in preparing this TROM go to Mr. Jan Visser of the Netherlands and Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

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