(Colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN Submarine I-165:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2016 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 9

19 December 1929:
Laid down at Kure Navy Yard.

2 June 1931:
Launched and designated I-65.

1 December 1931:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Sasaki Hankyu (45) (former CO of RO-64) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer.

1 December 1932:
Kure Navy Yard. I-65 is completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Sasebo Naval District. Assigned to SubDiv 30. LtCdr Sasaki Hankyu is the CO.

15 November 1934:
Placed in reserve at Sasebo. LtCdr (later Captain) Matsuo Yoshiyasu (47)(current CO of I-66) is appointed CO as an additional duty.

25 November 1936:
LtCdr (later Captain) Uchino Shinji (49) (former CO of I-124) is appointed CO.

1 December 1937:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Izu Juichi (51) (former CO of RO-68) is appointed CO.

19 March 1938:
Placed in reserve at Sasebo. Lt (later Cdr) Kono Masamichi (52)(former torpedo officer of I-55) is appointed CO.

10 June 1938:
LtCdr (later Captain) Yokota Minoru (51)(current CO of I-66 and I-67) is appointed CO as an additional duty.

4 July 1938:
LtCdr Yokota assumes full-time duty as the CO of I-65.

30 July 1938:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Yamada Kaoru (50)(former CO of I-121) is appointed CO.

15 November 1938:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Togami Ichiro (51)(current CO of I-66) is appointed CO of I-65 as an additional duty.

15 December 1938:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Muraoka Tomiichi (52)(former navigating officer of JINGEI) is appointed CO.

20 March 1939:
LtCdr Kono Masamichi (52) is appointed CO of I-65 (his second tour as the CO of that boat), I-66 (until 28 March) and I-67 (until 28 March) as an additional duty.

1 May 1939:
LtCdr Kono Masamichi is appointed CO of I-69 (until 1 June) as an additional duty.

1 June 1939:
LtCdr Kono Masamichi is appointed CO of I-66 as an additional duty.

5 July 1939:
Placed in third reserve at Sasebo. Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Taoka Kiyoshi (55)(current CO of RO-66) is appointed CO of I-65 and I-66 as an additional duty.

27 July 1939:
LtCdr Togami Ichiro (51) is appointed CO of I-65 (his second tour as the CO of that boat) and I-66 as an additional duty.

11 September 1939:
LtCdr Togami Ichiro is appointed CO of RO-64 (until 1 November) as an additional duty.

20 August 1941:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Harada Hakue (52) (former CO of RO-65) is appointed CO.

26 November 1941:
I-65 is in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral), the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige's SubRon 5 in Captain Teraoka Masao's (later CO of CA SUZUYA) SubDiv 30 with I-66. LtCdr Harada Hakue is the Commanding Officer.

I-65 departs Sasebo for Palau with Admiral Daigo's flagship, light cruiser YURA, and SubDivs 29 and 30. Enroute, SubRon 5 is diverted to Samah, Hainan Island, China.

5 December 1941:
Departs Samah, with ComSubDiv 30 Captain Teraoka aboard, on her first war patrol to cover the invasion transports.

8 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya:
South China Sea. I-65 and I-66 are assigned to patrol about 50 miles east of Trengganu, Malaya.

9 December 1941:
SE of Indochina near Poulo Condore Island (05-00N, 105-30E). At 1415 (local), I-65 reports sighting "two enemy battleships, course 340, speed 14 knots" to SubRon 5 aboard YURA. This is Vice Admiral Sir Tom Phillips' Force "Z" with the new battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES, old battlecruiser HMS REPULSE, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, EXPRESS, TENEDOS and Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE. Phillips had sortied from Singapore to find and attack the Malaya invasion transports.

LtCdr Harada's report is received by YURA, light cruiser KINU and the 81th Naval Communications Unit in Saigon. The reception is poor and YURA needs another 1.5 hours to decode and relay the message to Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo aboard flagship CHOKAI.

I-65 surfaces and starts a tail chase but a sudden squall cloaks the British ships. While Harada continues the chase, a Kawanishi E7K "Alf" from the KINU buzzes I-65, mistaking it for an enemy submarine. Harada crash-dives. When he surfaces 30 minutes later, the contact with Phillips' force is lost.

10 December 1941: The Destruction of British Force "Z":
In the afternoon, Force Z is overwhelmed by torpedo-bombers of the 22nd Air Flotilla from Indochina. Both British capital ships are sunk.

13 December 1941:
I-65, I-62, I-64 and I-66 are deployed in the passage between Natuna Besar Island and NW Borneo to provide westward cover for the Second Malaya Convoy and the Japanese landings on North Borneo.

26 December 1941:
Reassigned to Patrol Group B with I-64 and I-66.

27 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina with I-64 and I-66.

5 January 1942:
Departs Camranh on her second war patrol to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean.

9 January 1942:
Java Sea. I-65 torpedoes, shells and sinks the 1,003-ton Dutch steamship BENKOELEN, en route from Soemenep to Cheribon at 04-50S, 112-50E. USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) rescues her survivors the next day.

14 January 1942:
Indian Ocean, W of the Mentawai Islands. At 0217 (JST), I-65 torpedoes and sinks the 5,102-ton British-Indian armed merchant JALARAJAN (ex-CHULMLEIGH) en route from Singapore to Calcutta at 00-12S, 97-00E. Four sailors are lost.

20 January 1942:
I-65 is the first IJN sub to arrive at Penang, Malaya. Rear Admiral Daigo hoists his flag on I-65.

5 February 1942:
Departs Penang on her third war patrol. [1]

9 February 1942:
Indian Ocean, 45 miles SE of Ceylon. I-65 torpedoes and damages British converted boom carrier LAOMEDON (6,693 GRT) sailing in an unnumbered convoy from Colombo to Trincomalee at 06-13N, 82-25E. [2]

15 February 1942:
Arabian Sea, 40 miles W of Cochin. At 1850, I-65 torpedoes and sinks the 4,681-ton Danish/British MOWT merchant JOHANNE JUSTESEN (ex-FIONA) enroute from Akyab to Cochin in ballast, at 09N-04N, 75-58E. One sailor is lost.

20 February 1942:
Indian Ocean, W of India. I-65 torpedoes and sinks the 5,280-ton British merchant BHIMA at 07-47N, 73-31E.

21 February 1942:
Indian Ocean, E of the Eight Degree Channel. Around 0735 (GMT), I-165 attacks an Allied transport (probably the 2,902-ton Soviet cargo steamer/timber carrier ARKTIKA, en route from Karachi to Colombo), but misses her with two torpedoes.

28 February 1942:
Arrives at Penang.

15 March 1942:
Departs Penang for Sasebo with I-66.

28 March 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 April 1942:
I-65 is in the Combined Fleet's SubRon 5 in SubDiv 30 with I-64 and I-66.

14 May 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Kwajalein.

20 May 1942:
I-65 is redesignated I-165.

24 May 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

26 May 1942:
Departs Kwajalein on her fourth war patrol to participate in the Battle of Midway.

5 June 1942:
Forms a patrol line N of Kure Island with the other boats of SubRon 5.

26 June 1942:
Returns to Sasebo.

30 June 1942:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Torisu Kennosuke (58)(former CO of RO-65) is appointed CO.

10 July 1942:
SubRon 5 is disbanded. SubDiv 30 is reassigned to the Southwest Area Fleet.

22 July 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Penang with I-166, stopping at Camranh.

6 August 1942:
Arrives at Penang.

11 August 1942:
Departs Penang on her fifth war patrol with ComSubDiv 30 Captain Teraoka aboard to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean SW of Ceylon.

25 August 1942:
Indian Ocean, E of the One and Half Degree Channel. I-165 torpedoes and sinks 5,237-ton British armed merchant HARMONIDES (ex-HESIONE), en route from Calcutta and Trincomalee to Lourenço Marques and the US at 01-42N, 77-27E. Twelve sailors and two gunners are lost. Later that day a flying boat is observed to the north and after sundown a British destroyer passes through that area, firing starshells, both evidently searching for the submarine.

Late August 1942:
After receiving damage in heavy seas, I-165 is forced to terminate the patrol.

31 August 1942:
Returns to Penang.

16 September 1942:
Departs Penang on her sixth war patrol to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean. She is carrying a group of five Indian National Army insurgents to be landed on the NW coast of India.

24 September 1942:
Indian Ocean, E of the Nine Degree Channel. I-165 torpedoes and sinks the 5,549-ton American armed freighter LOSMAR (ex-CLAUSEUS) en route from Port Said to Colombo at 08-06N, 74-23E. A total of twenty-seven sailors are lost, including 3 killed in torpedo explosion. [3]

25 September 1942:
LtCdr Torisu attacks another transport in the same area and claims a sinking.

27 September 1942:
I-165 makes another torpedo attack on an unidentified merchant, without obtaining a hit.

28 September 1942:
Arabian Sea, W of Junagadh. After sundown, I-165 surfaces 5 miles off the coast of Gujarat and lands the Indian National Army party in an inflatable without being observed.

9 October 1942:
Returns to Penang.

November-December 1942:
I-165, I-162 and I-166 are transferred from Penang to Surabaya in anticipation of a American-Australian landing on Timor in December. (These actions are based on a false intelligence report that was received from the Italians. The C-in-C, SW Fleet, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro also prepares ASHIGARA, KINU and NATORI to intercept the troopships).

5 November 1942:
Departs Penang on her seventh war patrol to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean with I-166.

26 November 1942:
Returns to Penang.

5 December 1942:
I-165 is in the Southwest Area Fleet's SubDiv 30 with I-162 and I-166. I-165 departs Surabaya, Java on her eighth war patrol to raid commerce in the Arafura Sea.

22 December 1942:
Returns to Surabaya.

21 January 1943:
I-165 departs Surabaya on her ninth war patrol, following I-162, for Western Australia to create a diversion for the evacuation of Guadalcanal.

January 1943:
Western Australia. Off Jurian Bay. LtCdr Torisu receives orders to bombard Geraldton. This bombardment is a diversional tactic to allow Japanese troop evacuation through the Sunda Stait. On approaching Geraldton the original mission is aborted after I-165 sights aircraft lights and a destroyer. Torisu proceeds north.

27 January 1943:
After sundown, I-165 arrives at the area N of Geraldton, but then three aircraft and a destroyer are observed in that area and LtCdr Torisu decides to postpone the mission. While retiring on the surface, the submarine passes another destroyer in less than 2 miles without being noticed.

28 January 1943:
Western Australia. Shortly after midnight, I-165 surfaces 4 miles from Port Gregory, N of Geraldton. From a range of 7000 meters, shed fires about ten 100-mm (3.9-inch) shells from her Type 88 deck gun at the local fish cannery, mistaking it for an ammunition factory.

16 February 1943:
Returns to Surabaya.

5 March 1943:
Departs Surabaya for Sasebo for an overhaul.

16 March 1943:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Nakayama Denshichi (61)(former CO of RO-67) is appointed CO of I-166 and I-165 as an additional duty. During the repairs and overhaul at Sasebo Navy Yard the batteries are replaced.

Late April 1943:
The overhaul at Sasebo is complete. I-165 starts working up in Inland Sea.

25 May 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral, JMSDF) Shimizu Tsuruzo (58)(former CO of I-153) is appointed CO.

26 August 1943:
Departs Kure for Penang.

14 September 1943:
Departs Penang on her tenth war patrol for the NW coast of Australia.

8 October 1943:
Returns to Penang.

9 October 1943:
Reassigned to SubRon 8.

24 October 1943:
Departs Penang on her eleventh war patrol to operate in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.

1 December 1943:
Departs Penang for Singapore.

3 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore for repairs.

16 December 1943:
Departs Singapore for Penang. En route I-165 is attacked by an Allied submarine, which misses her with three torpedoes.

18 December 1943:
Arrives at Penang.

7 January 1944:
Departs Penang on her twelfth war patrol to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean.

16 January 1944:
Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal. The 10,286-ton British armed merchant PERSEUS is making an independent voyage from Liverpool to Trincomalee and Calcutta, with a cargo of 2,800 tons of government stores, including 500 tons of munitions. At 1145 (local), I-165 hits her with a torpedo portside, in vicinity of the No. 9 hold. She starts to sink by the stern. Ten minutes later LtCdr Shimizu fires a second torpedo and at 1205, a third. PERSEUS sinks at 12-00N, 80-14E with no loss of life. Her radio operator gets off an SOS before she sinks and a PBY "Catalina" arrives soon thereafter. Later, the entire crew is rescued by a Royal Indian Navy corvette.

5 February 1944:
Returns to Penang.

27 February 1944:
Departs Penang on her thirteenth war patrol to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean.

18 March 1944:
Indian Ocean, SW of Colombo. I-165 torpedoes the 3,916-ton British armed merchant NANCY MOLLER (ex-ROWENA, ex-NORFOLK) en route from Durban with a cargo of coal to Colombo, Ceylon. She goes down rapidly after two hits to port side at 02-14N, 78-25E. I-165 surfaces about 50 yards from the lifeboats and attempts to establish the identity of the ship. Six men from one boat ared ordered aboard the submarine; Able Seaman Gunlayer Dennis Fryer is taken POW.

Two Chinese sailors are shot, but three Lascars from the same boat are released. Before departure, I-165 circles the wreckage of NANCY MOLLER, spraying it and the survivors with machine-gun fire. A total of 30 sailors and two gunners are killed. Four days later, the ship's master, 27 sailors and four gunners are rescued by British light cruiser HMS EMERALD. [4]

25 March 1944:
SubDiv 30 is disbanded. I-165 is directly attached to SubRon 8 HQ.

30 March 1944:
Returns to Penang.

4 May 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya.

15 May 1944:
Departs Singapore for Surabaya, Java.

27 May 1944: American Operation "Horlicks" - The Invasion of Biak:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) William M. Fechteler's Task Force 77 lands Maj Gen Horace H. Fuller's 41st Division on Biak off New Guinea.

31 May 1944:
Departs Surabaya on her fourteenth war patrol to the SW coast of Australia, passing Fremantle, Perth and Shark Bay.

24 June 1944:
Biak is defended by a regiment of the IJA's 36th Division and the IJN's 28th Base Force. After Operation "Kon" is cancelled, the C-in-C of the 4th Southern Expeditionary Fleet, Vice Admiral Yamagata Seigo (former CO of CV HOSHO) requests that three submarines be sent to evacuate the staff officers. I-165 is the only one available at that time.

5 July 1944:
Returns to Surabaya, where some officers and sailors are rotated.

24 July 1944:
Departs Surabaya for a rescue mission to Biak but has to return because of mechanical troubles.

12 August 1944:
I-165 departs Surabaya for a rescue-supply mission to Korim Bay, Biak, via Ambon Island, Netherlands East Indies, carrying supplies and ammunition including 80 supply drums, of which 60 are lashed to her afterdeck.

18 August 1944:
LtCdr Shimizu attempts to contact the troops at Korim Point, but there is no answer. He proceeds to the reserve area N of Wardo Bay where three "subchasers" (probably Fairmile B motor launches from the RAN New Guinea Motor Launch Flotilla based at Mios Woendi) attempt to contact her with blinker signals around 1630 (JST). LtCdr Shimizu crash-dives to 200 ft (60 m) immediately.

I-165 is heavily depth-charged and soon develops a major leak to her engine room, resulting in a 23-degree upward angle. The temperature within the boat rises to 70° F. Eventually the submarine is pushed to the depth of 360 ft (110 m). The explosions loosen the fastenings for the supply drums which float to the surface. LtCdr Shimizu orders the remaining drums released from inside of the sub and some rubbish and oil ejected through a torpedo tube. All machinery is shut down. For the next four hours the submarine hovers at 360 ft, using the automatic trim system.

After surfacing ten hours after the start of the attack, the crew discovers that one of I-165's aft diving planes has been lost and the vertical rudder control shaft is bent. The entire stern area has been heavily washboarded by the explosions. [5]

23 August 1944:
The battered I-165 arrives at Ambon, Netherlands East Indies in the Banda Sea for temporary repairs.

27 August 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya.

10 September 1944:
Departs Surabaya for Singapore.

13 September 1944:
American codebreakers intercept an IJN message that reads: "I-165 was depth-charged off Biak. Inspection in drydock reveals ----- extensive repairs required beyond local facilities. Major overhaul in Empire recommended (four months estimated)."

24 September 1944:
I-165 departs Singapore via Hainan Island for overhaul at Sasebo.

10 October 1944:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Ono Yasushi (65)(former CO of RO-64) is appointed CO.

17 October 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo. Dry-docked for repairs.

15 December 1944:
Removed from active service and reassigned to the Kure SubRon's SubDiv 19 as a training ship.

1 April 1945:
Reassigned to SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet. I-165's deck gun is removed and she is configured to carry two "kaiten" human torpedoes. She is also fitted with a Type 13 air search radar. After conversion she is returned to active duty in the Combined Fleet.

15 June 1945: The Eighth Kaiten Mission:
I-165 is in the "Todoroki" (sound of great cannon) group with I-36, I-361 and I-363. As the last boat of the group, I-165 departs the Hikari Kaiten base for a remote area E of Saipan to attack the American fleet.

16 June 1945:
At 1600, I-165, carrying two "kaiten" torpedoes, exits the Bungo Channel.

Off Bungo Suido. In heavy seas and murky weather, LtCdr Stephen S. Mann Jr.'s USS DEVILFISH (SS-292) on her third patrol sights the outgoing I-165 and fires two torpedoes from stern tubes. Ono evades the attack and crash-dives. DEVILFISH attempts to chase the adversary on the surface, but fails to regain the contact. Later, Ono later sends a situation report (the last one received from I-165).

23 June 1945:
Minelayer USS CHAMPION (AM-314) in company with the destroyer escort USS GILLIGAN (DE-508) detects an underwater contact (probably I-165) at 14-51N, 135-50E. The ships make several depth charge runs and "Hedgehog" attacks which produce large air bubbles and diesel fuel. The contact is heard descending through 300ft after the last attack.

27 June 1945:
410 miles E of Saipan. At 1220, Lt(j.g.) R.C. Janes' Lockheed PV-2 "Harpoon" of VPB-142 is passing over a rain cloud when he makes a visual contact with a surfaced submarine heading NW at 14 knots, with what appears to be midget subs on its deck. Janes makes a sharp turn and swoops down to drop three Mk. 47 depth charges and five markers. The submarine first makes a hard starboard turn and then crash-dives. When Janes returns to the scene, an oil slick is sighted, followed by fragments of wood and two "midget submarine"s".

At 1247, Janes drops a Mk. 24 "Fido" acoustic homing torpedo, continuing the search until 1425. I-165 is lost at 15-28N, 153-39E with all 106 crewmen.[6]

28 June 1945:
Proceeding from Allied radio traffic analysis the IJN Owada Communications Unit reports that a Japanese submarine later identified as I-165 made a successful kaiten attack off Saipan. [7]

29 July 1945:
Presumed lost in the Marianas.

15 September 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:

[1] An I-165 machinist's mate came down with acute appendicitis and underwent a successful surgery aboard the submarine.

[2] Older sources identify I-65's victim as Dutch KPM merchant MEROENDOENG (2,464 tons), but she was even not at sea at the time of attack.

[3] There is some confusion regarding the location of LOSMAR's sinking. Prince Takamatsu's diary and several other wartime sources suggest that she was sunk at at 07-40N, 74-15E.

[4] Several secondary sources suggest that NANCY MOLLER's master James B. Hansen was killed either in the torpedo explosion or during the machine-gunning of the survivors. In reality, he survived the attack. Able Seaman D. Fryer likewise survived the war.

[5] Some sources identify the IJN submarine damaged off Biak as I-365, but this is obviously a typo.

[6] A postwar Japanese analysis suggests that at the time of sighting I-165 could have been in the process of dumping her kaitens, which may have been damaged enroute to her target area.

[7] This report is the reason why some postwar accounts suggest that I-165 conducted a kaiten attack prior to her loss.

Special thanks for help in preparing this TROM go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan, Mssrs. Jan Visser of the Netherlands, Steve Eckardt of Australia and Brian Viglietti. Thanks also go to John Whitman for input on the 13 Sep 1944 intercept about I-165's damage and to reader MWillman for info about USS CHAMPION (AM-314) and USS GILLIGAN (DE-508).

Special thanks go to Hans Mcilveen of the Netherlands for info on FRUMEL intercepts.

– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

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