(Type KD6 submarine - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN Submarine I-174: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2010 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 3

16 October 1934:
Laid down at Sasebo Navy Yard.

28 March 1937:

1 June 1938:
Numbered I-74.

15 March 1938:
Cdr (later Captain) Matsuo Yoshiyasu (47)(former CO of I-3) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

15 August 1938:
Sasebo. I-74 is completed, commissioned and attached to Kure Naval District. Assigned to SubDiv 11. Cdr Matsuo Yoshiyasu is the Commanding officer.

1 November 1938:
Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kato Ryonosuke (48)(former CO of I-62) is appointed the CO.

20 November 1939:
LtCdr (later Captain) Iura Shojiro (51)(former CO of I-3) is appointed the CO.

15 October 1940:
LtCdr (promoted Cdr 15 October 1941; later Captain) Ikezawa Masayuki (52)(former CO of HIYODORI) is appointed the CO.

November 1941: Operation "Z":
I-74 is in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Miwa Shigeyoshi's (former CO of KINU) SubRon 3 in Captain Minakuchi Hyoe's SubDiv 11 with I-75. Cdr Ikezawa Masayuki is the Commanding Officer.

Admiral Shimizu convenes a meeting of all his commanders aboard his flagship, light cruiser KATORI. Cdr Ikezawa and the other commanders are briefed on the planned attack on Pearl Harbor.

11 November 1941:
I-74 and I-75 depart Saeki.

20 November 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

23 November 1941:
Departs Kwajalein for the Hawaiian Islands on her first war patrol with ComSubDiv 11, Captain Minakuchi Hyoe embarked.

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). [1]

4 December 1941:
Arrives S of Oahu.

7 December 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
SubRon 3 is deployed S of Oahu. I-74 is stationed S of Niihau on lifeguard duty.

17 December 1941:
Departs the Hawaii area.

23-25 December 1941:
Reconnoiters Kingman Reef in search of an American naval base.

31 December 1941:
Returns to Kwajalein.

13 January 1942:
Departs Kwajalein with I-75, passing Midway.

19 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

10 March 1942:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Kusaka Toshio (53)(former CO of RO-63) is appointed the CO.

15 April 1942:
Departs Kure on her second war patrol with I-75 to form a patrol line.

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 USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), cruisers, destroyers and another oiler approach Japan. The carriers and cruisers come to within 668 nautical miles of the mainland. Discovery of his force by guardboat No. 23 NITTO MARU compels Halsey to order HORNET to launch Lt Col (later Gen/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle's 16 Army North American B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group earlier than planned from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's HORNET.

ENTERPRISE's VB-3 and VB-6's Douglas "Dauntless" SBD dive-bombers and VF 6's Grumman "Wildcat" F4F fighters attack the "picket" boats encountered near Task Force 16. They damage armed merchant cruiser AWATA MARU and guardboats IWATE MARU No. 1, CHOKYU MARU, ASAMI MARU No. 2, KAIJIN MARU, CHINYO MARU No. 3, EIKICHI MARU, KOWA MARU and NANSHIN MARU No. 26.

19 April 1942:
Guardboat IWATE MARU No. 1 sinks as the result of damage inflicted by the planes. I-74 rescues her crew.

22 April 1942:
I-74 transfers IWATE MARU No. 1's crew to light cruiser KISO.

10 May 1942:
I-74 and I-75 arrive at Kwajalein.

20 May 1942: Operation "K-2" - The Second Raid on Pearl Harbor:
I-74 is renumbered 1-174. Departs Kwajalein in company of I-175 to participate in Operation "K-2".

29 May 1942:
Arrives 20 miles SE of Oahu to perform lifeguard duty for the flying boats raiding Pearl Harbor.

20 June 1942:
Returns to Kwajalein.

9 July 1942:
Departs Kwajalein on her third war patrol to reconnoiter Port Moresby, New Guinea area. An oil leak develops soon after departure and LtCdr Kusaka aborts his mission and heads for Rabaul.

23 July 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Undergoes repairs.

24 July 1942:
LtCdr Kusaka is given a new assignment to operate off the eastern coast of Australia. Departs Rabaul on her fourth war patrol.

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal opening a seven-month campaign to take the island.

17 August 1942:
Returns to Rabaul.

23 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul on her fifth war patrol to operate SW of the Rennell Island with I-11 and I-175.

22 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

16 October 1942:
Departs Truk on her sixth war patrol with I-175 to form a patrol line in the Solomons area.

19 October 1942:
I-174 is in the "B" group with I-9, I-15, I-21, I-24 and I-175.

4 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

6 November 1942:
Departs Truk.

12 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure for an overhaul.

15 November 1942:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Nagai Katsuhiko (57)(former CO of RO-63) is appointed the CO.

20 December 1942-16 March 1943:
LtCdr Nagai is appointed the CO of RO-62 as an additional duty.

1 January 1943:
I-174 is in SubRon 3's SubDiv 11 with I-175 and I-176.

15 March 1943:
SubDiv 11 is disbanded. I-174 is reassigned to SubDiv 12.

16 March 1943:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 1 November; later Rear Admiral, JMSDF) Nanbu Nobukiyo (61)(former CO of RO-63) is appointed the CO.

5 May 1943:
I-174 departs Kure.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

16 May 1943:
Departs Truk at 1700 on her seventh war patrol to operate off the eastern coast of Australia.

27 May 1943:
Arrives at a point 30 miles off Sandy Cape.

28 May 1943:
At 0320, a RAAF No 32 Squadron Bristol "Beaufort", on an anti-submarine patrol from Bundaberg, makes a radar contact at 4 ½ miles. The "Beaufort's" crew closes to a half mile of the contact. At 1,800 ft they sight I-174, but the submarine crash-dives and escapes.

1 June 1943:
70 miles east of Brisbane. Just before midday, I-174 detects a merchant vessel estimated at about 6,000-tons. As I-174 approaches, the merchant zig-zags, forcing the submarine to turn hard to starboard to maintain an attack position. The target is the 3,303-ton American POINT SAN PEDRO, en route from Balboa, Canal Zone to Brisbane. At 1136, Lt Nanbu fires four torpedoes at the merchant. Two minutes later, lookouts on POINT SAN PEDRO sight the wakes of two torpedoes, but they pass clear. The other two torpedoes also miss. Within an hour of the attack, No. 71 Squadron at Lowood launches an Avro "Anson" bomber on a search for the submarine.

2 June 1943:
Six "Ansons" from Lowood and four others from Coffs Harbour continue the search for the submarine but all are unsuccessful.

3 June 1943:
Brisbane. In mid-afternoon, I-174 sights a convoy of three destroyers and six or more transports heading N at 16,250 yards. At 1800, I-174 surfaces and commences chasing the convoy. Suddenly, the corvettes at the rear of the convoy turn and head towards I-174. Lt Nanbu orders a crash-dive and the convoy escapes.

4 June 1943:
Off Cape Moreton. At 0845, I-174 sights the 4,113-ton US Army Transport EDWARD CHAMBERS, also en route from Balboa to Brisbane. Nanbu attempts to gain an attack position but is unable to close the bearing and range while submerged. He decides to engage the target with his deck gun. At 0948, I-174 surfaces and fires nine rounds, but they all miss. The CHAMBERS returns fire with twelve rounds from her aft 3-inch gun, forcing Nanbu to break off the engagement and submerge. Later, another "Beaufort" of No. 32 Squadron is launched to attack the submarine, but fails to find her.

At the time of the engagement, convoy P.G.53 is only 11 miles away to the NE. On receiving the distress call, corvette HMAS BENDIGO is detached to investigate and the convoy is diverted 15 miles to seaward of the position of the attack. Five "Anson" bombers from Lowood are also dispatched on a line-ahead search during daylight. I-174 is forced to spend the day submerged. In the late afternoon, Lt Nanbu decides to head south.

5 June 1943:
60 miles NE of Coffs Harbour. At 1025, I-174's soundman reports multiple propeller noises at 13,000 yards. Nanbu attempts to fall in astern of the convoy P.G.53. The weather is poor with low visibility, so at 1255, I-174 surfaces only 1,600 yards from the trailing ships. Lt Nanbu begins to slowly close. Twice his approach is thwarted by a patrol aircraft. Each time the submarine is forced to dive and wait 20-25 minutes before it could return to the surface and continue the pursuit. By sunset the submarine had regained position 6,000 metres astern of the convoy.

At 2022, I-174 closes to about 5,000 yards from the convoy's starboard side. Nanbu parallels the convoy at a distance of 4,000 yards on its beam. He is about to give the order to fire when an escorting destroyer at the front of the convoy turns about directly at the submarine. Lt Nanbu orders a crash-dive. No depth charge attack follows, so at 2145, I-174 surfaces and Nanbu attempts to regain an attack position, but he is forced to dive by another escort. Nanbu then plans to attack at first light, so he resurfaces, increases speed and moves ahead to where he estimates the convoy will be at dawn. Then he submerges and waits.

6 June 1943:
I-174 surfaces just after sunrise, but is about 21,500 yards off the convoy's port quarter. With so great a distance to close and with daylight again bringing the threat of heavy air patrol, Lt Nanbu abandons his attack. I-174 continues south, arriving 60 miles off Newcastle by 1900 that evening.

7 June 1943:
100 miles E of Sydney. At 0450, I-174 sights the 7,176-ton American "Liberty"-ship JOHN BARTRAM, en route from San Francisco to Sydney. Nanbu again plans a dawn attack and closes the range. The vessel zig-zags, but Nanbu successfully positions the I-174 ahead of the target. At 0606, he fires four torpedoes. At 0610, two of the torpedo tracks are seen passing half a ship's length ahead. Soon, the concussion of a heavy underwater explosion is heard and felt, but JOHN BARTRAM is not damaged. Nanbu hears the explosions and mistakenly thinks he sees ship listing through his periscope. A third torpedo explodes and he takes it for a depth charge. He orders I-174 to go deep. The crew of I-174 hears the engines of the "Liberty"-ship stop and believe they have finally sunk a ship.

Imediately after the attack Lt Nanbu clears away to the east to distance himself from the scene. That evening, another vessel is detected that drops two depth charges near I-174. Nanbu decides to continue moving south.

9 June 1943:
During the evening, I-174 reaches her southernmost operating area. Despite her proximity to the busy port of Sydney, it is four days before another ship is sighted.

13 June 1943:
30 miles E of Wollongong Light. At 1400, Lt Nanbu discovers a transport convoy of at least two destroyers and six transports, but the distance is too great for a chance to attack and the convoy slips away to the north. At 1850, I-174 surfaces, but spots a warship and submerges again.

14 June 1943:
At 2250, a patrolling "Beaufort" from Coffs Harbour registers a radar blip and then sights a large wake. The "Beaufort" bombs I-174, but misses. The submarine crash-dives and stays down for 35 minutes. The aircraft is persistent and remains in the area. Within moments of surfacing, I-174 is attacked again - more bombs fall close to the port side. I-174 crash-dives for the second time and Nanbu remains down for a further 25 minutes before continuing passage on the surface.

16 June 1943:
SE of Coff's Harbor. At 0100, I-174 arrives off Smoky Cape. At 1637, she sights convoy GP 55 consisting of ten cargo vessels and three LSTs (Landing Ship Tank) escorted by RAN vessels KALGOORLIE, WARRNAMBOOL, DELORAINE, BUNDABERG and COOTAMUNDRA en route from Sydney to Brisbane. Lt Nanbu penetrates the screen of escorting corvettes.

At 1720, he fires two torpedoes at two overlapping transports. The second ship in the fourth column is 5,551-ton US Army Transport PORTMAR, fully loaded with fuel and ammunition. The 5,000-ton Landing Ship Tank LST-469 astern of PORTMAR moves aside to allow the transport room to maneuver. At the time of the submarine's firing, the LST had her stern directly in line with the PORTMAR's bow.

At 1722, the first of I-174's torpedoes hits the LST starboard side aft. The blast destroys the steering gear and kills twenty-six men. Nanbu hears the detonations. After taking a quick periscope look, he believes that he has sunk both vessels, estimated at 10,000 and 8,000-tons. Despite the severe damage LST-469 is eventually towed back to Sydney for repairs. [2]

Moments after the explosion on the LST, PORTMAR's lookouts sight torpedo tracks and she goes hard to port. Before the maneuver can take effect the ship is hit by the second torpedo starboard side in No. 1 hold. Gasoline on board explodes and the ship is ablaze fore and aft almost immediately. The ammunition explodes soon after. Seven minutes after being hit, PORTMAR is abandoned and sinks at 30-59S, 153-48E. She is the last ship sunk by IJN submarines on the eastern coast of Australia. Corvettes HMAS KALGOORLIE and HMAS WARRNAMBOOL chase and depth-charge I-174 unsuccessfully.

20 June 1943:
I-174 receives orders directing the submarine to leave the Australian waters and pass E of the Solomons on the way back to Truk. No further encounters with ships or aircraft are made

1 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

9 August 1943:
Departs Truk.

13 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul to participate in supply missions to Lae.

2 September 1943:
Arrives at Lae and unloads her cargo. On her way back, I-174 is chased by enemy aircraft.

7 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul for another supply run to Lae with the new CO of the 7th Base Unit, Rear Admiral Mori Kunizo (former CO of SATA) aboard.

9 September 1943:
Arrives at Lae and unloads her cargo. Embarks the former CO of the 7th Base Unit Vice Admiral Fujita Ruitaro (former CO of FUSO), IJA staff officers and 30 sick soldiers. Departs Lae.

10 September 1943:
On her way back, I-174 is chased by an enemy destroyer that drops 26 depth-charges. When the air supply is almost exhausted, Lt Nanbu decides to battle surface, but no enemy vessels are in sight. I-174 continues to Rabaul.

12 September 1943:
Off Rabaul, I-174 is bombed by a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress". There are several near misses but no serious damage. Arrives at Rabaul.

15 September 1943:
SubRon 3 is disbanded. The I-174 is reassigned to Headquarters, Sixth Fleet.

21 September 1943:
Arrives at Finschafen, New Guinea on a supply run, unloads her cargo and departs for Rabaul.

That same day, an IJAAF Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah" of the 7th Hiko Shidan sights Rear Admiral Barbey's Task Force 76 heading for Finschafen.

22 September 1943:
The 20th Australian Brigade lands at Finschafen. That same day, I-174 is ordered to return and intercept TF 76.

1 October 1943:
Arrives at Sio on a supply run. She is the first IJN submarine to supply Sio.

16 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

20 November 1943: American Operation "Galvanic" - The Invasion of the Gilberts:
The Americans invade Tarawa and Makin Islands. The invasion fleet of 200 ships includes 13 battleships and 11 carriers.

Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo (former CO of MUTSU), Commander, Sixth Fleet (Submarines) orders the I-40, I-19, I-21, I-35, I-39, I-169, I-174, I-175 and RO-38 to proceed to Tarawa to attack the invasion ships.

24 November 1943:
Departs Truk on her eighth war patrol to form a patrol line NW of Makin.

1 December 1943:
An IJNAF patrol plane sights a convoy of six troop transports escorted by three battleships heading for Makin. VAdm Takagi orders I-174 and I-21 to intercept the convoy.

6 December 1943:
30 nms E of Tarawa. That night, while I-174 is charging her batteries on the surface when her lookouts spot an approaching destroyer. I-174 crash-dives, but is then depth-charged. Serious leaks appear in the diesel and electrical engine compartments and the lights are knocked out. When the air supply and battery power are almost exhausted, LtCdr Nanbu orders to battle surface. I-174 escapes into a rain squall and makes for Truk.

20 December 1943:
Truk. HEIAN MARU transfers torpedoes to I-174 and distilled water to I-36.

23 December 1943:
Departs Truk.

30 December 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

31 January 1944: American Operation "Flintlock" - The Invasion of the Marshalls:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 58 lands the 4th Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division that capture Kwajalein, Roi-Namur and Majuro.

18-21 February 1944: American Operation "Catchpole" - The Invasion of Eniwetok:
The V Amphibious Corps Reserve (22nd Marine Regiment and the Army's 106th Infantry Regiment) capture Engebi Island, Eniwetok and Parry atolls.

23 February 1944:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 1 May) Suzuki Katsuhito (63)(former CO of RO-63) is appointed the CO.

3 April 1944:
Departs Kure for the Marshall Islands on her ninth war patrol.

10 April 1944:
South of Truk. Lt Suzuki transmits a regular situation report.

11 April 1944:
Patrol Bombing Squadron VB-108 equipped with 12 Consolidated PB4Y-1 "Liberators" relocates to Eniwetok. At 1746 (JST) that same day, I-174 fails to answer a roll call.

12 April 1944:
Off Truk. While on early morning patrol, VB-108's Executive Officer, LtCdr John E. Muldrow's "Liberator" attacks a submarine with depth bombs and claims a sinking. An oil slick and debris are visible at 10-45N, 152-29E for the next two days. Postwar, Japanese records confirm that the submarine was sunk and that it was I-174.

13 April 1944:
Presumed lost with all 107 hands E of Truk.

10 June 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), is then the highest point in the Japanese Empire.

[2] LST-469 was assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Daniel E. Barbey's Seventh Amphibious Force, formed in January and short of ships. The loss of the use of this vessel forced the elimination of troops and cargo from the assault convoy destined for MacArthur's first amphibious operation, the occupation of the Kiriwina and the Woodlark Islands.

Special thanks go to Lt Leo Wetherill, USNR-Ret, of Kansas City, MO who was LtCdr Muldrow's co-pilot during the attack on the I-174.

Thanks for help in preparing this TROM go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM also go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Still more thanks go to Andrew Obluski of Poland for providing some new data for Rev 1 to this TROM.

Thanks for help with some new data on the COs for Rev 2 also go to Steve Eckhardt of Australia.

– Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

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