HIJMS Submarine I-159: Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2011 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 4

31 March 1930:
1-59 is completed at the Yokosuka Navy Yard, commissioned in the IJN and based in the Kure Naval District.

6 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Southern Philippines:
Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Second Fleet, Southern Force, Philippines Seizure Force departs Palau. Takahashi's force makes invasion landings at Legaspi (11 December), Davao (19-20 December) and Jolo (24 December).

8 December 1941:
1-59 is at Kobe undergoing overhaul with I-60 in Captain Kato Yoshinosuke's SubDiv 28 of Rear Admiral, the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige's SubRon 5. LtCdr (later Vice Admiral, JMSDF) Yoshimatsu Tamori is the Commanding Officer.

31 December 1941:
Departs Kobe.

5 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Philippines.

9 January 1942:
The I-59 departs Davao on her first war patrol with I-60. They sail S of the Sunda Islands through the Banda Sea to the Celebes, Netherlands East Indies (NEI). I-59 patrols in the Molucca Sea and on the north coast of Australia.

7-13 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of the Celebes, NEI:
Vice Admiral Takahashi's invasion forces land on Mendado and Kema covered by Subron 5's, I-59, I-60, I-62, I-64, I-65 and I-66. After this action is completed, I-59 is ordered to detach for Penang, Malaya via Christmas Island. I-60 is also to proceed to Penang via the western coast of Sumatra after patrolling the southern entrance to the Sunda Strait.

20 January 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-59 torpedoes 4, 184-ton Norwegian freighter EIDSVOLD standing off Flying Fish Cove at Christmas Island. LtCdr Yoshimatsu hits and sinks her with his sixth torpedo.

25 January 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-59 carries out a periscopic observation and enters Sabang Roads after Yoshimatsu makes sure there are no warships. I-59 sinks an unidentified British merchant, perhaps 1811-ton GIANG SEN, and takes some of her crew as prisoners.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Penang.

21 February 1942:
Departs Penang on her second war patrol to raid enemy communications SW of Sumatra.

1 March 1942:
Indian Ocean. W of Sumatra. I-59 torpedoes and sinks 1,035-ton Dutch passenger ship ROOSEBOOM escaping from Padang, Sumatra to Colombo, Ceylon at 00-15N, 86-50E. About 250 lives are lost, mainly British military personnel and few civilians including a woman and two children from Malaya. Reportedly, four unknown survivors reach shore.

11 March 1942:
Two Javanese survivors of ROOSEBOOM are rescued by Dutch freighter PALOPO and safely reach Ceylon on 14 March.

12 March 1942:
Returns to Penang.

22 March 1942:
Departs Penang for Sasebo.

1 April 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 April 1942:
SubDiv 28 is disbanded. I-59 is transferred to SubDiv 19.

19 May 1942:
Departs Kure.

20 May 1942:
I-59 is renumbered as I-159.

26 May 1942: Operation MI - The Battle of Midway:
Arrives at Kwajalein. I-159 is in 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-158, I-159, I-162, I-165 and I-166.

30 May 1942:
Departs Kwajalein on her third war patrol. SubRon 5 is deployed between 28-20N, 162-20W and 26-00 N, 165W.

21 June 1942:
Returns to Kwajalein.

22 June 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

1 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

10 July 1942:
SubRon 5 disbanded. SubDiv 19's I-156, I-157, I-158 and I-159 are transferred to the Kure Guard Force. I-159 is used only as a training ship thereafter.

20 November 1942:
LtCdr Fukumura Toshiaki assumes command from LtCdr Yoshimatsu (later CO of I-41).

15 February 1943:
LtCdr Shoda Keiji relieves LtCdr Fukumura who is reassigned as the CO of I-27.

16 March 1943:
I-159 is withdrawn from combat and assigned to training duties. LtCdr Shoda is reassigned to command the new RO-104. He is relieved by ComSubDiv 19, Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kayabara Yasuchika's (former CO of I-10). Kayabara is the Commanding Officer of I-159 concurrent with his command of the SubDiv.

1 May 1943:
Cdr Kayabara is promoted to Captain.

17 May 1943:
Capt Kayabara is relieved of command of I-159.

1 December 1943:
1-159 is reassigned to SubDiv 19, Kure Guard Force.

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-157 is painted 5-Go shoku.

25 December 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama Fuel Depot. Refuels and departs that same day.

26 December 1943:
Arrives back at Tokuyama Fuel Depot. Refuels and departs that same day.

1 January 1944:
1-159 is in the Kure SubRon under Captain Kayabara's SubDiv 19 with 1-156, 1-157 and I-158.

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.

31 January 1944:
Captain Kayabara is relieved as ComSubDiv 19 and assumes command of SubDiv 22 until killed in action on 12 July 1944.

20 April 1944:
Reassigned to SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet.

May-August 1945:
I-159 is configured to carry two "kaiten" human-torpedoes. She is used to transport kaitens in home waters.

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.

August 1945:
I-159 is evacuated to Maizuru in anticipation of air attacks.

11 August 1945:
Maizuru. I-159 is strafed by P-51s from Iwo Jima and her main ballast tanks are punctured in three places.

15 August 1945:
The 1-159 is reassigned to SubDiv 15, Sixth Fleet with I-36, I-47, I-157, I-158 and I-361.

Emperor Hirohito (Showa) broadcasts an Imperial Rescript calling for cessation of hostilities and an end to the war.

16 August 1945:
I-159, under Lt Tateyama Takesuka, departs Hirao with two Kaitens aboard. Tateyama vows to continue the fight.

17 August 1945:
I-159 exits the Inland Sea via the Shimonoseki Strait and enters the Sea of Japan, but reverses course.

18 August 1945:
I-159 returns to Hirao.

September 1945:
I-159 is surrendered.

October 1945:
Transfers to Sasebo.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

1 April 1946: Operation "Roads End":
Sasebo. I-159 is stripped of all usable equipment and material and towed to an area off Goto Retto by the submarine tender USS NEREUS (AS- 17). NEREUS scuttles I-159 by gunfire at 32-37N, 129-17E.

Authors' Note:
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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