(Type KD7 submarine scanned from "Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy" by Polmar and Carpenter)

IJN Submarine I-176: Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2016 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 6

22 June 1940:
Laid down at Kure Navy Yard as Submarine No. 154.

7 June 1941:

25 March 1942:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Nakajima Kiyoji (54) (former CO of I-55) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

20 May 1942:
Renumbered I-176.

30 June 1942:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Tanabe Yahachi (56)(former CO of I-168 and victor of YORKTOWN) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer. During his absence Lt Araki Asakichi (64), the future torpedo officer of I-176, acts as the CEO.

4 August 1942:
Completed, commissioned in the IJN and attached to Kure Naval District. Assigned to SubDiv 11. LtCdr Tanabe is the Commanding Officer.

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Amphibious Force 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 the campaign to take the island.

10 September 1942:
Departs Kure for Truk.

15 September 1942:
Reassigned to the 1st Picket Unit with I-7.

16 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

18 September 1942:
Departs Truk on her first war patrol in an area S of Guadalcanal.

5 October 1942:
Reassigned to A Patrol Unit, joins the patrol line S of Guadalcanal. Participates in the search for USS HORNET (CV-8) and delivers supplies to an IJN coastwatcher unit on 13 October.

20 October 1942:
Coral Sea, "Torpedo Junction" (between San Cristobal and Espiritu Santo). Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Willis A. Lee's Task Force 64 is steaming between Espiritu Santo and San Cristobal. TF 64 includes new battleship USS WASHINGTON (BB-56), cruisers CHESTER (CA-27), SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), HELENA (CL-50) and ATLANTA (CL-51) and eight destroyers.

At 1930, Lee splits TF 64 into two groups. Three of his cruisers and four destroyers move 15 miles eastward. CHESTER, zigzagging at 19 knots, takes up position at the rear of a cruiser column. Both of her Curtiss SOC "Seagull" floatplanes are fully fueled and trained outboard on their catapults, wings folded.

At 2040, I-176 sights a column of American warships. LtCdr Tanabe identifies two battleships, two cruisers and several destroyers steaming at 20 knots on a course of 170 degrees. At 2115, Tanabe fires six torpedoes at a "TEXAS-class battleship". At 2120, CHESTER is hit starboard side in her No. 1 engine room below her armor belt. The second torpedo passes ahead and misses.

CHESTER loses power, sheers to starboard and stops. The portside SOC drops and breaks up, then falls overboard. CHESTER's crew lashes the starboard SOC's damaged wings back to its fuselage and then jettisons the "Seagull" by catapulting it. By 2245, steam pressure is brought back up, power restored and CHESTER is able to make eight knots. Flooding is brought under control and her list corrected.

At 0230, after a three-hour chase by enemy destroyers, Tanabe surfaces. He finds the sea empty. Tanabe assumes correctly that his target escaped with heavy damage.[1]

21 October 1942:
I-176 departs her patrol sector.

29 October 1942:
Returns to Truk.

16 November 1942:
Truk. Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa, (former CO of NACHI) Commander, Sixth Fleet, convenes a meeting of his submarine captains. He announces that the submarine force has been ordered by Admiral Yamamoto, CINC, Combined Fleet to organize a supply system for the IJA's 17th Army garrison on Guadalcanal.

19 November 1942:
Reassigned to C Patrol Unit. Receives an order to participate in the supply operation for Buna. [2]

20 November 1942:
Departs Truk for Rabaul.

4 December 1942:
Reassigned to B Patrol Unit.

12 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

14 December 1942:
Departs Rabaul on her first supply run to Buna, New Guinea, carrying a cargo of rubber containers and supply drums.

16 December 1942:
Arrives at Buna but fails to contact the ground troops. While proceeding in uncharted waters, I-176 is temporarily grounded off the estuary of the Mambare River.

17 December 1942:
In the evening, I-176 establishes contact with the IJA troops and unloads 14 tons of cargo. She finally departs, having charted the landing area.

20 December 1942:
Returns to Rabaul.

21 December 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Truk.

24 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

14 January 1943:
Departs Truk for Shortland, Bougainville.

17 January 1943:
Arrives at Shortland to embark supply drums strapped to her afterdeck.

18 January 1943:
Departs Shortland on her first supply run to Kamimbo Bay, NW Guadalcanal.

20 January 1943:
Arrives off Guadalcanal and releases its cargo from periscope depth. Due to the presence of enemy patrol boats, all the drums are lost.

On that same day, I-176 is reassigned to A Patrol Unit and heads to the area S of Guadalcanal to join a patrol line there.

23 January 1943:
At 0530 I-176 sights two heavy cruisers and two destroyers heading north and commences an approach, but fails to overtake them. [3]

29 January 1943: The Battle of Rennel Island:
At 1930, I-176's sound operator reports multiple propeller noises in the vicinity. Battle stations are ordered, but in the dark I-176 fails to attain a favorable firing position.

30 January 1943:
I-176 is redirected to intercept a crippled "battleship" off Rennel Island, but fails to locate it.

31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - the Evacuation of Guadalcanal.
The I-176 is deployed N of Rennel Island with the I-11, I-16, I-17, I-18, I-25, I-26 and I-32.

1 February 1943:
I-176 is reassigned to Southeast Area Fleet.

17 February 1943:
Returns to Truk.

12 March 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul.

14 March 1943:
While proceeding surfaced, I-176 is sighted by a solitary Japanese transport heading in the same direction. The transport misidentifies I-176 as an American submarine and fires three shells at it before I-176 hoists a Japanese flag.

15 March 1943:
Reassigned to SubDiv 12.

16 March 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. Embarks supplies for the garrison of Lae.

17 March 1943:
Departs in evening on her first supply run to Lae, New Guinea, carrying 90 supply drums strapped to her afterdeck, weapons, ammunition and 20 IJA passengers.

19 March 1943:
Lae harbor. At 1905, while unloading supplies, I-176 is attacked and strafed by five North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers (probably from the 90th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group). LtCdr Tanabe attempts to avoid being hit, conning the surfaced submarine towards the open sea. A bomb hits I-176 on her aft deck cargo of rice drums. LtCdr Tanabe is severely wounded by a metal splinter; two helmsmen are killed. [4]

I-176 submerges, but cannot maintain her buoyancy due to damage to her port ballast tanks, so her torpedo officer grounds her in shallow water to carry out emergency repairs. Daihatsu landing craft from Lae arrive, finish unloading their supplies and evacuate the wounded.

The crew carries out repairs, plugging bullet holes with wooden plugs and rags. I-176 makes a test dive and then heads for Rabaul. That night, running on the surface at 18 knots, she is attacked by a radar-equipped flying boat that drops two bombs, but misses. I-176 returns fire from twin 13.2-mm machine-guns until the plane departs.

20 March 1943:
Lt (later Cdr) Itakura Mitsuma (61)(former torpedo officer of I-169) is appointed CO.

21 March 1943:
I-176 makes a test dive and later heads for Rabaul. That night, running on the surface, she is attacked by a radar-equipped flying boat that drops a bomb but misses. I-176's twin 13.2-mm machine-guns return fire and the plane departs.

22 March 1943:
In the morning I-176 is met by patrol planes from Rabaul and escorted until her arrival there at 1140. The C-in-C, Southeast Area Fleet, Vice Admiral Kusaka Jinichi and ComSubRon 7, Rear Admiral Harada Kaku inspect the submarine upon its arrival.

27 March 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Truk.

30 March 1943:
Arrives at Truk for makeshift repairs.

1 April 1943:
Departs Truk for Kure.

7 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure but is subsequently transferred to Mitsui Tamano Yard in Okayama for battle damage repairs.

15-20 April 1943:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Shimose Kichiro (58) (current CO of I-162) is appointed CO of I-176 as an additional duty. The repairs at Tamano yard commence on that same day.

20 April 1943:
Lt (later LtCdr) Yamaguchi Kazuo (61)(former CO of RO-67) is appointed CO.

20 May 1943:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Yamaguchi Kozaburo (59)(former CO of I-154) is appointed CO.

8 June 1943:
The repairs are complete. Departs for Kure to commence working-up in Inland Sea.

2 July 1943:
Departs Kure for Truk.

10 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

11 July 1943:
Reassigned to Southeast Area Fleet.

16 July 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her second supply run to Lae.

23 July 1943:
Arrives at Lae, unloads her cargo, then departs for Rabaul, carrying 40 IJN passengers.

25 July 1943:
54 miles SW of Cape Orford, New Britain. At 0316 (K), when proceeding surfaced to Rabaul in the midst of a rain squall, I-176 is attacked by a RAAF patrol bomber that first drops a flare. The crash-diving submarine is already partly submerged when the bomber releases two depth charges. At the depth of 60 feet, a weak explosion is heard, followed by another one at 80 feet.

After surfacing at 0600 the crew discovers a depth charge wedged between the periscope shears on the bridge. The falling depth charge had caused minor damage to the conning tower roof and crushed the bridge gyrocompass housing, but failed to function properly after seawater had soaked up its explosive filling.

In the afternoon I-176 is met by patrol planes from Rabaul and proceeds to the harbor surfaced, making 20 knots.

6 August 1943:
Arrives at Lae on her third supply run.

12 August 1943:
Arrives at Lae on her fourth supply run.

22 August 1943:
Arrives at Lae on her fifth supply run.

29 August 1943:
Arrives at Lae on her sixth supply run.

3 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Lae on her seventh supply run to that location.

6 September 1943:
Arrives at Lae, unloads her cargo, then departs for Rabaul.

9 September 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

15 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her first supply run to Finschafen, northeast New Guinea.

17 September 1943:
Arrives off Finschafen, observes several PT boats patrolling in the vicinity. Departs for Rabaul after unloading her cargo.

19 September 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

22 September 1943: The Invasion of Finschafen, New Guinea:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Daniel E. Barbey's Task Force 76 lands Brigadier J. V. Windeyer's 20th Australian Brigade near Finschafen that captures the town within 10 days.

That same day, I-176 departs Rabaul on her second supply run to Finschafen.

24 September 1943:
Arrives at Finschafen but fails to contact ground troops there. I-176 remains in the vicinity for the next five days despite an ongoing battle on the shore.

1 October 1943:
LtCdr Yamaguchi finally establishes contact with the ground troops, unloads his cargo and departs for Rabaul.

2 October 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

12 October 1943: American Air Raid on Rabaul:
LtGen (later General) George C. Kenney's 5th Air Force hits Rabaul with the biggest raid yet made in the Pacific war. Three hundred-forty nine aircraft, including 87 B-17 and B-24 bombers, 114 B-25 strafers, 12 RAAF "Beaufighters", 125 P-38 "Lightning" fighters and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul's airfields and Simpson harbor.

I-176, I-36, I-38, I-177, RO-105 and RO-108 are moored in deep water. USAAF and RAAF aircraft bomb the harbor. When the attack begins I-176 and the other submarines submerge to safety.

17 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her first supply run to Sio, New Guinea.

19 October 1943:
Arrives at Sio, unloads her cargo, then departs for Rabaul.

22 October 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

27 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul, returns that same evening.

28 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her second supply run to Sio.

30 October 1943:
Arrives at Sio, unloads her cargo, then departs for Rabaul, returning on 1 November.

1 November 1943: American Operation "Shoestring II": The Invasion of Bougainville:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Theodore S. Wilkinson's Third Amphibious Force, TF 31, lands LtGen (later General/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Amphibious Corps at Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, Solomons.

2 November 1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay:
Vice Admiral Omori Sentaro (former CO of ISE) departs Rabaul to escort 1,000 IJA troops to Empress Augusta Bay to oppose the American invasion at Cape Torokina, Bougainville. Omori's force includes heavy cruisers MYOKO and HAGURO and light cruisers SENDAI and AGANO with six destroyers. The Japanese force is intercepted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) A. S. Merrill's (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) Task Force 39 with four radar-equipped light cruisers and eight destroyers. At 0150, all four of Merrill's cruisers take SENDAI under 6-inch fire and set her afire. Admiral Omori withdraws with the remaining Japanese forces. SENDAI sinks with most of her crew.

That night LtCdr Yamaguchi receives an order to sortie to rescue the survivors of SENDAI. While proceeding surfaced off Gasmata, I-176 is suddenly attacked by a PBY "Catalina" flying boat (probably from VP-11), that drops several depth charges. Her port side hull is damaged as a result of near misses. Yamaguchi aborts the rescue mission; RO-104 and RO-105 are dispatched to the area of SENDAI's loss instead.

3 November 1943:
Returns to Rabaul for makeshift repairs.

13 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Truk.

16 November 1943:
Cdr Roderick S. Rooney's USS CORVINA (SS-226), on her first war patrol, DRUM (SS-228) and BLACKFISH (SS-221) receive an ULTRA message about the arrival of I-176 and are sent to intercept her.

300 miles S of Truk. At 2312 (K), when heading N at 16 knots, the lookouts on partially flooded I-176 sight a dark object in northeasterly direction, 8,800 yards away, illuminated by the bright moonlight. LtCdr Yamaguchi orders to prepare for diving and turns toward the target. Four minutes later it is identified as a "PERCH-class" submarine, evidently in the process of recharging her batteries.

17 November 1943:
I-176 crash-dives, goes to silent running and by 0057 reaches the position on CORVINA's starboard quarter, distance 2,700 yards. LtCdr Yamaguchi considers the firing angle excessive and orders to battle-surface in 15 minutes.

At 0112, CORVINA suddenly turns towards I-176. Yamaguchi orders to belay the order to surface and makes a turn himself, keeping the target on his port beam. At 0120 Yamaguchi fires three torpedoes from bow tubes. Twenty-five seconds later two heavy explosions are heard and the boat is shaken considerably. CORVINA blows up and sinks with all 82 hands at 05-50N, 151-10E. [5]

At 0130, after making a periscope search, I-176 surfaces and heads for the site of attack. An oil slick and various debris are sighted. .

18 November 1943:
At 1300, I-176 arrives at Truk. Her crew receives a heroes' welcome and C-in-C, Sixth Fleet invites all officers and enlisted ranks to a banquet at his HQ.

20 November 1943:
Departs Truk for Kure.

26 November 1943:
Arrives at Kure for an overhaul.

26 December 1943: American Operation "Backhandler" - The Invasion of Cape Gloucester, New Britain:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Daniel E. Barbey's Seventh Amphibious Force lands MajGen William H. Rupertus' 1st Marine Division after heavy preinvasion bombardment and bombings.

2 January 1944: American Operation "Michaelmas"- The Invasion of Saidor, New Guinea:
Rear Admiral Barbey's Task Force 76 lands the Sixth Army's 126th Regimental Combat Team of the 32d Division at Saidor and by-passes the Japanese garrison at Sio, 75 miles east.

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 the Kwajalein, Roi-Namur and Majuro atolls.

1 February 1944:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Okada Hideo (61)(former CO of RO-36) is appointed CO.

19 March 1944:
Reassigned to SubDiv 12.

20 March 1944:
Departs Kure on a supply mission to Mili, Marshall Islands.

27 March 1944:
Receives the order to patrol in Mili area, later redirected to an area E of Jaluit.

12 April 1944:
Receives the order to proceed to Truk.

20 April 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

30 April 1944:
Departs Truk in an attempt to intercept Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitcher's Task Force 58.

3 May 1944:
Returns to Truk.

10 May 1944:
Departs Truk on her first supply run to Buka Island. Her ETA is 18 May.

12 May 1944:
N of Buka Island. I-176 is spotted by an American patrol plane and her position is signaled to DesDiv 94 in the Treasury Islands. Cdr J. A. Nevins, ComDesDiv 94, steams out of the Treasuries to hunt the submarine with Cdr Nicholas A. Lidstone's USS FRANKS (DD-554), Cdr David A. Harris' HAGGARD (DD-555), Cdr Parke H. Brady's HAILEY (DD-556) and Cdr Ernest E. Evans' (later MOH/P) JOHNSTON (DD-557).

16 May 1944:
125 miles E by N of Green Island. DesDiv 94 is steaming in scouting line. At 2145, HAGGARD makes a sonar contact on her starboard bow at a range of 2,800 yards. After 2213, HAGGARD and FRANKS make five separate attacks; HAGGARD suffers slight damage from exploding depth charges, when her gyrocompass is knocked out. Then, between the last two attacks, a heavy underwater ripple explosion is heard.

17 May 1944:
At 0015 FRANKS drops a pattern of 13 depth charges and sinks the submarine probably the I-176 at 04-01S, 156-27E. An oil slick covers seven miles of ocean and various debris, including splintered sandalwood, cork and a geta sandal are sighted. The attack is initially assessed as a "probable kill". [6]

11 June 1944:
Presumed lost with all 103 hands NW of Buka.

10 July 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] CHESTER, escorted by four destroyers, moved southward and made Espiritu Santo safely. Later, she arrived at Sydney for extensive repairs. On 27 January 1943, she made Norfolk where she completed permanent repairs and returned to service on 15 August 1943.

[2] According to older sources, I-176 underwent a special conversion to transport boat somewhere in 1942-43, when her forward deck gun was removed and the fittings for a Daihatsu barge were added. This is not confirmed by wartime records.

[3] In all likelihood, I-176 sighted Rear Admiral Walden L. Ainsworth's Bombardment Group of destroyers which shelled Japanese fuel and munitions dumps in the Stanmore area, Kolombangara.

[4] LtCdr Tanabe returned home aboard HIKAWA MARU, recovered in Yokosuka Naval Hospital and survived the war. He died in April 1990.

[5] CORVINA is the only American submarine known to be sunk by a Japanese submarine in the war.

[6] An IJN radio unit followed the DD attack on I-176 on 16-17 May '44.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.

Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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