(Type C-1 submarine-colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)
HIJMS Submarine I-16: Tabular Record of
© 2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp Revision 3
15 September 1937:
Laid down at Mitsubishi's Kobe Yard as
submarine No. 44, the lead boat of the C-1 class.
1 June 1938:
8 July 1938:
Launched and towed to Kure Navy Yard for completion.
24 April 1939:
Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kobayashi Hitoshi
(48)(former CO of I-3) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).
30 March 1940:
Kure. I-16 is completed and commissioned. Attached to
Yokosuka Naval District. Cdr Kobayashi Hitoshi is the Commanding Officer.
31 July 1941:
LtCdr (promoted Cdr 1 November 1942; later Captain)
Yamada Kaoru (50)(former CO of I-56) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1941:
I-16 is in Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's
(former CO of ISE) Advance Expeditionary Fleet (Sixth Fleet) under Rear Admiral
Sato Tsutomu's SubRon 1 in Captain Imazato Hiroshi's SubDiv 1. LtCdr Yamada
Kaoru is the Commanding Officer.
17 November 1941: Operation "Z":
For Operation "Z", I-16 is assigned
to Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sasaki Hankyu's Special Attack Unit with I-18,
-20, -24 and the flagship, I-22. The officers of the Special Attack Unit are
briefed on the Hawaii Operation at the Kure Naval Club.
18 November 1941:
The Special Attack Unit departs Kure for the
Kamegakubi Naval Proving Ground. At Kamegakubi each of the unit's submarines
embarks a top-secret two-man Type A midget submarine.
19 November 1941:
At 0215, all five of the Special Attack Unit's
submarines depart for the Hawaiian Islands. They use a direct route, passing S
2 December 1941:
The coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt.
Niitaka) 1208" is received from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that
hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). 
7 December 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
Seven miles SSW of the
harbor entrance. At 0042, I-16 launches a Type A midget submarine under Lt
(j.g.) Yokoyama Masaji (67) with PO2C Ueda Sadamu, the first of five midgets
released by the Special Attack Unit. 
I-16 patrols west of Lanai, Hawaii. At 2241, she receives a message
from Lt(jg) Yokoyama about the successful air attack.
8 December 1941:
At 0051, I-16 receives another message from her
midget that says "unable to navigate." All five of the Special Attack Unit's
midgets fail to return to their "mother" submarines.
12 December 1941:
Departs her patrol area for Kwajalein.
20 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein in company of I-20. I-16 is
recalled to Kure to participate in tests of an access tube enabling to launch
the midgets underwater.
25 December 1941:
Departs Kwajalein for Yokosuka.
3 January 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka, later transfers to Kure.
16 April 1942:
I-16 is in Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishizaki
Noboru's (former CO of HYUGA) SubRon 8, in the KO ("A") Detachment with
I-10, I-18, I-20, I-30 and their support ships, the auxiliary cruisers/supply
ships AIKOKU MARU and HOKOKU MARU.
Hashirajima, Hiroshima Bay. Vice Admiral Komatsu, Captain Ishizaki their
staffs and midget submarine crews pay a courtesy call on the CinC, Combined
Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku aboard his
flagship, the new battleship YAMATO. At 1100, the "A" Detachment departs for
Penang, Occupied British Malaya.
18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet
Admiral) William F. ("Bull") Halsey's Task Force 16 USS HORNET (CV-8), cruisers,
destroyers and an oiler accompanied by the ENTERPRISE, cruisers, destroyers and
another oiler approach Japan. The cruisers and the carriers come to within 668
nautical miles of Japan.
Led by LtCol (later Gen/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 North
American B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group take off
from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike
targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe.
Vice Admiral Komatsu orders I-16, -10, -18, -20 and I-30 to proceed NE,
passing N of the Bonin Islands to intercept TF 16, but they are unsuccessful.
27 April 1942:
I-16 arrives at Penang with the "A" detachment.
I-16, I-18 and I-20 are joined by the seaplane tender NISSHIN that had been
converted to carry Type A midget submarines. Each of the three "mother"
submarines embarks a midget
30 April 1942:
I-16 departs with the "A" Detachment (less I-30)
and sorties westward in the Indian Ocean under the command of Captain Ishizaki
in the flagship I-10. I-10 is to reconnoiter selected points on the East
African coast for possible attack. I-30 is assigned a similar reconnaissance
mission and departs in advance.
5, 10 and 15 May 1942:
The "A" Detachment refuels at sea from AIKOKU
MARU and HOKOKU MARU.
17 May 1942:
SE of Madagascar, Indian Ocean. I-16's port diesel is
flooded in heavy seas but she is able to continue her mission.
20 May 1942:
I-10 catapults her Yokosuka E14Y1 "Glen" floatplane
to reconnoiter Durban, South Africa.
29 May 1942:
About 2230, the I-10's floatplane reconnoiters the
harbor at Diego Suarez (now Antseranana). The plane sights HMS RAMILLIES, an
old 29,150-ton ROYAL SOVEREIGN-class battleship, at anchor in the bay. Also in
the harbor are the destroyers HMS DUNCAN and ACTIVE, corvettes HMS GENISTA and
THYME, troopship HMS KARANJA, hospital ship ATLANTIS, tanker BRITISH LOYALTY,
merchant LLANDAFF CASTLE and an ammunition ship.
Captain Ishizaki orders a midget submarine attack for the next night.
30 May 1942:
10 miles E of Diego Suarez. At 1740 (JST), I-16
launches her midget submarine under Ens Iwase Katsusuke (69) with PO2C Takada
Kozo to penetrate the harbor. At 2025, the midget from I-20 torpedoes and
heavily damages the RAMILLIES. British corvettes drop depth charges, but at
2120 the same midget torpedoes and sinks the 6,993-ton BRITISH LOYALTY in
shallow water. Ens Iwase and PO2C Takada are MIA.
Ten days later, the RAMILLIES makes for Durban, Union of South Africa.
2 June 1942:
The body of an unidentified IJN sailor (presumably Iwase
or Takada) is found on a beach off Diego Suarez.
6 June 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-16 torpedoes, shells and sinks the
3,889-ton Yugoslav merchant SUSAK at 15-42S, 40-58E.
8 June 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-16 shells and sinks the 4,847-ton
Greek merchant AGHIOS GEORGIOS IV at 16-12S, 41-00E.
12 June 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-16 torpedoes and sinks the 3,748-ton
Yugoslav merchant SUPETAR at 21-49S, 35-50E.
1 July 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-16 torpedoes and sinks the 5,243-ton
Swedish merchant EKNAREN at 17-00S, 40-00E.
26 July 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-16 reconnoiters Diego Garcia.
10 August 1942:
Arrives at Penang, then departs for Japan.
26 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka for an overhaul.
7 October 1942:
A midget submarine base is established at Marovovo,
17 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Shortland.
2 November 1942:
Arrives at the Shortland Islands anchorage.
4 November 1942:
At 1300 the I-16 embarks the midget submarine HA-30
that was brought down from the Empire aboard the tender (later carrier) CHIYODA.
I-16, I-20 and I-24 form an attack group under Captain Ota Nobunosuke. 
I-16 departs Shortland with I-24 for Indispensable Strait,
7 November 1942:
At 0600, I-16 arrives at her midget launch area
11 November 1942:
At 0200, Lt(j.g.) Yamaki Teiji (68) and PO1C
Hashimoto Ryoichi embark their midget.
At 0349, the surfaced I-16 sights a PT-boat and dives.
At 0421, the HA-30 is launched 10.8 miles from Cape Esperance. During the
launch her rudder is damaged and three minutes later the craft loses steering.
Lt(j.g.) Yamaki surfaces and aborts the mission. En route to Kamimbo Bay, the
crew sights two enemy aircraft and then scuttles their midget. Around 1900,
both sailors reach the shore at Marovovo. 
13 November 1942:The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
En route to
Shortland, Cdr Yamada receives an order to locate and scuttle the battleship
HIEI if she is still afloat. I-16 reaches the area, but fails to find the HIEI.
16 November 1942:
Truk. Vice Admiral Komatsu convenes a meeting of his
submarine captains. He announces that the submarine force has been ordered by
Admiral Yamamoto to organize a supply system for the IJA's 17th Army garrison on
At Shortland, I-16 embarks HA-10 and then departs for a midget
attack at Lunga Point, Guadalcanal.
28 November 1942:
21 miles from Savo Island. At 0255, I-16 launches her
midget piloted by Lt(j.g.) Hoka Hiroshi (69) and PO2C Inokuma Shinsaku.
3,000 yards NE from Lunga Point. At 0816, HA-10 torpedoes and damages
the 6,198-ton American freighter ALCHIBA (AK-23), after penetrating the screen
of destroyers. The ALCHIBA is beached to avoid sinking and continues to burn for
four days. Lt(j.g.) Hoka and PO2C Inokuma remain MIA. Cdr Yamada returns to
At Shortland, I-16 embarks HA-22 and then departs for
another attack off Guadalcanal.
3 December 1942:
10 miles off Savo island. At 0448, I-16 launches
HA-22 piloted by Lt(j.g.) Kado Yoshimi (68) and PO Yahagi Toshio.
At dawn, Lt(j.g.) Kado sights the hospital ship USS SOLACE (AH-5) off
Lunga Point. Next he fires both torpedoes at a destroyer heading for the same
area but fails to score. HA-22 is scuttled and her crew escapes to Cape
18 December 1942:
LtCdr (promoted Cdr 1 November 1943) Nakamura Shozo
(former CO of I-6) is appointed the CO.
6 January 1943:
Departs Truk to participate in supply missions to
Guadalcanal and Lae.
13 January 1943:
Arrives at Cape Esperance, carrying a cargo of supply
drums. Because enemy planes patrol over the area, no Daihatsu barge is
dispatched to meet her. All cargo is abandoned and I-16 departs for Rabaul.
25 January 1943:
Arrives at Cape Esperance on her second supply run to
Guadalcanal, carrying 18 tons in supply containers.
31 January 1943: Operation "KE-Go" - The Evacuation of Guadalcanal:
task force of units of the Second and Third Fleets from Truk including the
carriers ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO and the JUNYO, Bat Div 3's KONGO and the HARUNA, CruDiv
4's ATAGO and the TAKAO, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and the MYOKO, DesRon 4's light
cruiser NAGARA, DesRon 10's light cruiser AGANO and destroyers steams north of
the Solomons as a feint to cover Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto
Shintaro's (former CO of HYUGA) destroyer force from Rabaul.
During the operation, I-16 patrols SE of Guadalcanal with I-11, I-25 and
9 February 1943:
Operation KE-Go is completed. The Japanese
successfully evacuate 11,700 troops from Guadalcanal.
1 April 1943:
Arrives at Lae, carrying 40 tons of cargo (including 30
2 April 1943:
Returning from Lae, I-16 is damaged in an
underwater collision with the I-20.
Early April 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul, then departs for Yokosuka.
16 April 1943:
Returns to Yokosuka for repairs and refit.
21 September 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.
17 October 1943:
Arrves at Sio, New Guinea on a supply mission.
17 October 1943: Arrves at Sio, New Guinea on a supply mission.
25 October 1943:
Arrives at Sio on her second supply run to New
2 November 1943:
Arrives at Sio, carrying 30 soldiers of the 85th
Guard Unit on her third supply run to New Guinea.
9 November 1943:
Arrives at Sio on her fourth supply run to New
20 November 1943:
Arrives at Sio on her fifth supply run to New
24 November 1943:
At Rabaul. I-16 embarks the newly-appointed
CinC, Ninth Fleet Vice Admiral Endo Yoshikazu (former CO of CL KINU) with his
staff and cargo.
27 November 1943:
Arrives at Sio on her sixth supply run to New
Guinea, unloads her cargo.
30 November 1943:
Arrives at Wewak, the HQ of the Ninth Fleet. Vice
Admiral Endo and his staff leave the submarine. I-16 departs for Rabaul.
15 December 1943:
Arrives at Sio on her seventh and final supply run
to New Guinea.
25 December 1943:
At Rabaul. Sustains light damage in an air attack.
Departs for Yokosuka on the same day via Truk.
1 January 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka for repairs. Drydocked.
Early February 1944:
Repairs are completed.
15 February 1944:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Takeuchi Yoshitaka
(59)(former CO of I-158) is appointed the CO.
17 March 1944:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.
Based at Truk.
14 May 1944:
At 0800, I-16 departs Truk on a supply mission to
Buin, Bougainville, carriyng rice in 75-lb rubber bags. Takeuchi signals
ComSubRon 7 at Saipan that his ETA at Buin is 2000, 22 May. His signal is
intercepted by FRUPAC (Fleet Radio Unit, Pacific) at Honolulu and passes through
channels to Commander Escort Division 39, at Tulagi Harbor, Florida Island near
ComCortDiv 39, Commander H. Plains, issues orders to his USS GEORGE
(DE-697) and RABY (DE-698) and Escort Division 40's ENGLAND (DE-635) that is
under his tactical command.
18 May 1944:
That afternoon, LtCdr Walton B. Pendelton's USS ENGLAND
(DE-635) departs Purvis Bay, off Florida Island with the RABY and the GEORGE as
a hunter-killer group and begin heading toward 5-10S, 158-10E as designated in
the FRUPAC message to rendezvous with I-16.
That same day, the Americans intercept radio traffic that indicates the
Japanese have established a new submarine picket "NA" line between Truk and the
Admiralty Islands to intercept American carriers.
19 May 1944:
140 miles NE of Cape Alexander, Solomons. An American
patrol plane sights I-16 running on the surface and signals its position.
So alerted, ENGLAND, RABY and the GEORGE conduct a line-abreast sonar sweep.
At 1335, the ENGLAND finds the I-16 on her sonar.
At 1341, LtCdr Pendelton begins the first of five attacks - each with a
barrage of twenty-four throw-ahead Mark 10 "Hedgehog" projector charges. The
hedgehogs hit on the second and fifth attacks. At 1435, after the fifth attack,
a huge underwater explosion lifts the ENGLAND's fantail out of the water by
6-inches as I-16 explodes and sinks at 05-10S, 158-10E.
The explosion must have been at 500 feet or deeper because it is 20
minutes before the first debris appears. Shreds of cork, deck planking, pieces
of cabinets and other objects appear. Finally, a sealed rubber container with a
bag of rice inside surfaces. Almost an hour later, a small oil slick appears. By
the following day, the slick is three miles wide and six miles long.
25 June 1944:
Presumed lost with all 107 hands in the Solomons.
10 October 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.
 Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was then the
highest point in the Japanese Empire.
 Japanese submarine historian Katsume Junya has identified the craft
launched by I-16 as No. 16. While some controversy exists regarding the correct
reading of the names of its crew, the wartime obituary published in Asahi Shimbun
on 7 March 1942 identifies them as Yokoyama Masaji and Ueda Sadamu.
 The IJN did not use the HA designations in case of the
submarine-launched craft (or "midget submarines") during the Pacific War. They
are used here for convenience only.
 On 7 May 43, the submarine rescue vessel USS ORTOLAN (ASR-5) (formerly
AM-45) salvages a Japanese midget submarine off the N coast of Guadalcanal, tows
her to Kukum Bay, Guadalcanal in May and then in June '43 delivers her to
Noumea, New Caledonia. Some sources identify the midget as HA-8, others as HA-10
and still others as HA-30. Whichever she truly is, the "Guadalcanal midget" is
displayed at the Nautilus Memorial Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton,
CT, one of four such Type A midgets on display around the world.
Special thanks for help in preparing this TROM go to Dr. Higuchi
Tatsuhiro of Japan.
- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
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