(Type C-1 submarine-colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)
HIJMS Submarine I-18: Tabular Record of
© 2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander KingseppRevision 3
25 August 1937:
Laid down at Sasebo Navy Yard as
C-1 class submarine
19 July 1939:
1 July 1940:
Cdr (later Captain) Hatanaka Sumihiko (49)(former CO
of I-57) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).
31 January 1941:
Sasebo. I-18 is completed, commissioned and
attached to Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to SubRon 1's SubDiv 2, Sixth
Fleet. Cdr Hatanaka Sumihiko is the Commanding Officer.
25 August 1941:
Cdr (later Captain) Otani Kiyonori (49)(former CO
of I-1) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1941:
I-18 is in Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's (former
CO of ISE) Sixth Fleet's Submarine Advance Force in Rear Admiral Sato
Tsutomu's SubRon 1 in Captain Imiazumi Yoshijiro's SubDiv 2 with I-19 and I-20.
17 November 1941: Operation "Z": The Hawaii Operation:
Club. The officers of Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sasaki Hankyu's Special
Attack Unit are briefed on the Hawaii Operation. For Operation "Z", I-16 is
assigned to the Special Attack Unit with I-18, I-20, I-24 and flagship I-22.
18 November 1941:
The Special Attack Unit departs Kure for the
Kamegakubi Naval Proving Ground. At Kamegakubi each of submarines embarks a top
secret 46-ton 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:
At 0215, I-18 is about
13 miles from the harbor entrance. She launches her midget submarine under
Lt(j.g.) Furuno Shigemi (67) and PO1C Yokoyama Shigenori. Each of the Special
Attack Unit's "mother" submarines also launches their midget.
Furuno and Yokoyama's midget is depth charged and sinks in the Keehi
Lagoon just off Pearl Harbor. 
All five of the Special Attack Unit's midgets fail to return to their
mother submarines. 
12 December 1941:
Departs the Hawaii area.
22 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.
4 January 1942:
I-18, with Captain Imiazumi embarked, departs
Kwajalein for Hawaiian waters with I-22 and I-24.
9 January 1942:
550 miles W of Hawaii. At 0630, Cdr Otani reports
sighting Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr's (later President Roosevelt's Naval
Aide) Task Force 11's USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).
10 January 1942:
130 miles NE of Johnston Island. I-18 sights two SBD
"Dauntless" dive-bombers heading west. Cdr Otani calculates the approximate
location of their carrier and forwards the information to ComSubRon 1.
24 January 1942:
Cdr Otani carries out a periscope observation of
25 January 1942:
I-18 and I-24 surface off Midway Island to shell U.S.
Marine positions. I-24 fires six shells, but the Marines return the fire and
force I-24 to abandon shelling and submerge. I-18 is taken under fire before she
can open fire and forced to submerge.
27 January 1942:
240 miles W of Midway. LtCdr (later Vice Admiral)
Elton W. Grenfell's USS GUDGEON (SS-211) receives an "Ultra" special
intelligence message advising of the approach of I-18, I-22 and I-24. Instead,
Grenfell torpedoes and sinks I-73 that is on the same route, but he does not see
or engage the others.
2 February 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka with I-18 and I-24.
16 March 1942:
Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa (former CO
of CA NACHI) assumes command of the Sixth Fleet (Submarines). I-18 departs
27 March 1942:
The German naval staff requests the IJN to launch
operations against Allied convoys in the Indian Ocean.
8 April 1942:
The Japanese formally agree to dispatch submarines to
the East Coast of Africa. The 1st Division of SubRon 8 is withdrawn from its
base at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.
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 and HOKOKU MARUs.
At Hashirajima, Hiroshima Bay. Vice Admiral Komatsu, Captain Ishizaki
their staffs and midget submarine crews pay a courtesy call on the CinC,
Combined Fleet, Admiral Yamamoto aboard his flagship, 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 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 the I-18, I-16, I-10, I-20 and I-30 to
proceed NE, passing N of the Bonin Islands to intercept TF 16, but they are
27 April 1942:
I-18 arrives at Penang with the "A" detachment. I-16,
I-18 and I-20 are joined by 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-18 departs with the "A" detachment (less I-30) and
sorties westward in the Indian Ocean under the command of Captain Ishizaki in
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
5, 10 and 15 May 1942:
The "A" Detachment refuels at sea from AIKOKU
and HOKOKU MARUs.
17 May 1942:
I-18's port diesel is flooded in heavy seas and four
cylinders seize. As a result, she fails to reach the launch area in time.
20 May 1942:
The I-10 catapults her Yokosuka E14Y1
"Glen" floatplane to reconnoiter Durban, South Africa. During the week, the
"Glen" reconnoiters East London, Port Elizabeth and Simonstown.
29 May 1942:
At night, I-10's floatplane reconnoiters the harbor at
Diego Suarez. The plane sights HMS RAMILLIES, an old 29,150-ton ROYAL
SOVEREIGN-class battleship, at anchor in the bay. Also in the harbor are
destroyers HMS DUNCAN and ACTIVE, corvettes HMS GENISTA and THYME, troopship
HMS KARANJA, hospital ship ATLANTIS, tanker BRITISH LOYALTY, the 10,799-ton
merchant LLANDAFF CASTLE and an ammunition ship.
Captain Ishizaki orders a midget submarine attack for the next night.
30 May 1942:The Attack on Diego Suarez:
10 miles from Diego Suarez.
I-16 and I-20 launch their midget submarines to attack RAMILLIES, but I-18's
midget under Lt(j.g.) Ota Masaharu (68) with PO1C Tsubokura Daiseiki suffers
engine failure and cannot be launched.
At 2025, I-20's midget torpedoes and heavily damages RAMILLIES. British
corvettes drop depth charges, but at 2120 the same midget from I-20 torpedoes
and sinks the 6,993-ton BRITISH LOYALTY in shallow water. (She is later refloated
and sunk off Addu Atoll).
8 June 1942: Commerce Raiding in the Mozambique Channel, Indian
I-18 shells and sinks the 2,158-ton Norwegian merchant WILFORD at
9 June 1942:
I-18 dumps her disabled midget overboard.
1 July 1942:
I-18 shells the 1,805-ton Dutch merchant DE WEERT that
sinks two days later at 25-12S, 35-56E.
2 July 1942:
I-18 attacks the 7,406-ton British armed merchant PHEMIUS,
but her torpedoes explode prematurely. PHEMIUS fires at I-18's periscope, but
6 July 1942:
Indian Ocean. S of St. Lucia Bay, Natal, South Africa.
I-18 torpedoes, shells and sinks the 7,341-ton British India Steam Navigation
Company's merchant MUNDRA at 28-45S, 32-20E. She was carrying survivors from
other ships. 155 men survive her sinking. Despite many sorties, aircraft of the
South African Air Force and the RAF make no contact with the Japanese.
20 July 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-18 reconnoiters Rodrigues Island.
31 July 1942:
Indian Ocean. I-18 reconnoiters Diego Garcia.
2 August 1942: Off Penang, I-18 is stalked by an unknown submarine,
probably British. Arrives at Penang, then departs for Japan.
23 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka for an overhaul.
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
1 December 1942:
Cdr (Captain, posthumously) Muraoka Tomiichi
(52)(former CO of I-68) is appointed the CO.
17 December 1942:
Departs Kure for Shortland via Truk to participate
in supply missions to Guadalcanal.
3 January 1943:
SW of Rendova, Solomon Sea. In the early morning I-18
is attacked by LtCdr Edward D. Stephan's USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) at 08-49S, 157-09E.
Undamaged, I-18 dives and escapes. Stephan later claims a sinking, but his
unreliable Mark 14 torpedoes probably exploded prematurely.
5 January 1943:
Delivers 15 tons of cargo in supply drums to Cape
11 January 1943:
Delivers 25 tons of cargo in supply drums to Cape
22 January 1943:
Departs Truk on another supply mission to Cape
Esperance, carrying a 18 tons of cargo in a supply container.
26 January 1943:
Arrives at Cape Esperance and transfers the cargo.
28 January 1943:
The I-18 is tactically attached to Rear Admiral
Komazawa Katsumi's (former CO of CVS NISSHIN) Submarine Force "A". I-18
completes her supply run to Guadalcanal and is deployed directly from there N
of Rennel Island and S of Guadalcanal. She waits for the American Naval forces
with I-11, I-16, I-17, I-20, I-25, I-26, I-32 and I-176.
31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - The Evacuation of Guadalcanal:
task force of units of the Second and Third Fleets from Truk including carriers
ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO and JUNYO, Bat Div 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO,
CruDiv 5's HAGURO and 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. The IJN begins to evacuate the starving IJA troops
2 February 1943:
Rear Admiral Komazawa, after receiving the
information that an American carrier task force is at sea 100 nautical miles SE
of San Cristobal Island, orders his submarines to proceed to intercept the
carriers, but they do not make contact.
8 February 1943:
Air reconnaissance spots American Naval forces 150
miles SSE of Rennel Island. Rear Admiral Komazawa orders I-18 and the other
submarines to proceed to this location. I-18 and another submarine discover and
engage the Americans. Then, Force A loses contact. Admiral Komazawa orders all
his submarines, except his flagship I-11 and I-17 to return to Truk.
9 February 1943:
The IJN completes successfully the evacuation of
11,700 troops from Guadalcanal.
11 February 1943:
Coral Sea. 200 miles S of San Cristobal. I-18
reports sighting an American task force. An OS2U "Kingfisher" from VCS-9 of
light cruiser USS HELENA (CL-50) spots a submarine about nine miles from the
task force. The floatplane drops a smoke marker and calls the nearby USS
FLETCHER (DD-445) in to attack. FLETCHER gains sonar contact at 2,900 yards on
the bow. At 1527, she drops a pattern of depth charges At 1539, large oil and
air bubble breaks the surface. Four minutes later a heavy explosion follows.
Three additional depth charges are dropped in center of the diesel oil area.
After 1546, wreckage, cork, wood and other gear surface in very large oil
slick. I-18 sinks at 14-15S, 161-53E with all 102 hands.
On that same day, I-18 is declared MIA.
1 April 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.
 Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was then
the highest point in the Japanese Empire.
 On 13 June 1960, the I-18's midget is discovered in the Keehi Lagoon
in 75 feet of water. On 6 July 1960, she is raised by submarine rescue ship USS
CURRENT (ARS-22). No human remains are found aboard. At the request of the
Japanese Government, the midget is returned to Japan. She is now on display at
the Naval Tactical School No. 1 at Etajima, Hiroshima, one of four such Type A
midgets on display around the world. Japanese submarine historian Katsume Junya
has identified that craft as No. 17.The IJN did not use the HA designations in
case of the submarine-launched craft (or "midget submarines") during the Pacific
War. It is used here for convenience only.
 On 6 March 1942, all of the Pearl Harbor midget crews, except POW
Sakamaki, are promoted two ranks, posthumously.
 JANAC and some other sources identify the submarine sunk by FLETCHER
at this time and place as RO-102, but this is clearly incorrect since RO-102
made patrols from Rabaul and reported to that base until 9 May 1943.
Special thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Thanks also go to
Mr. Jan Visser ("Visje") of the Netherlands.
– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
Back to Submarine