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

IJN Submarine I-180: Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 2

17 April 1941:
Laid down at Yokosuka Navy Yard as Submarine No. 158.

1 November 1942:
Renumbered I-80.

7 February 1942:
Launched and provisionally attached to Sasebo Naval District.

20 May 1942:
Renumbered I-180.

25 August 1942:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Nakamura Shozo (54)(current CO of I-6) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO) of I-180 as additional duty.

1 December 1942:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Kusaka Toshio (53)(former CO of I-174) is appointed the CEO.

15 January 1943:
I-180 is completed, commissioned in the IJN and attached to Sasebo Naval District. Assigned to SubDiv 22 in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral), the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige's (former CO of ASHIGARA) Kure SubRon. LtCdr Kusaka Toshio is the Commanding Officer.

15 March 1943:
Reassigned to SubRon 3's SubDiv 22 with I-177 and I-178.

30 March 1943:
Departs Kure in company of I-177 and I-178.

7 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

10 April 1943:
I-180 is assigned to patrol off the east coast of Australia. Departs Truk in company of I-177 and I-178.

26 April 1943:
E of Australia. I-180 attacks an unidentified merchant at 28S, 157E. LtCdr Kusaka fires three torpedoes, but obtains no hits.

29 April 1943:
55 miles ESE of Smokey Cape. I-180 sinks the 2,239-ton Australian merchant WOLLONGBAR at 31-17S, 153-07E. Five of her 37 crewmen survive and are later rescued by the trawler X.L.C.R.

5 May 1943:
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. I-180 attacks the 2,137-ton Norwegian merchant FINGAL that is under charter to the Australian Government. She FINGAL is en route from Sydney to Port Darwin with general cargo and ammunition, escorted by USS PATTERSON (DD-392). FINGAL is hit by one torpedo portside aft and then hit by another in the engine room. She goes down within a minute at 30-35S, 153-29E. Two hours later, PATTERSON picks up 19 survivors of her crew of 31.

12 May 1943:
NE of Coffs Harbour. The 5,832-ton Australian merchant ORMISTON, designated Commodore of the 15-ship Allied convoy P.G. 50, is on the last leg of a voyage with a cargo of bagged sugar from Cairns. The convoy is proceeding from Brisbane to Sydney.

I-180 fires a torpedo that hits the ORMISTON on her port side. The Australian merchant CARADALE is also hit but the torpedo fails to explode and does no damage. ORMISTON, escorted by HMAS BALLARAT, HMAS KYBRA and the USS HENLEY (DD-391), successfully reaches Coffs Harbour. After temporary repairs, she eventually reaches Sydney.

25 May 1943:
Returns to Truk.

20 June 1943:
Departs Truk in company of I-177 to operate off the east coast of Australia on her second war patrol.

30 June 1943:
Redirected with I-177 to an area between New Georgia and Santa Isabel to attack enemy landing forces off Rendova.

6 July 1943:
Arrives at her assigned patrol area.

13 July 1943: The Battle of Kolombangara:
At 0330, the light cruiser JINTSU departs Rabaul, flying the flag of ComDesRon 2's Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Isaki Shunji (former CO of MAYA) with DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 27's YUGURE, DesDiv 30's MIKAZUKI and DesDiv 31's KIYONAMI and the destroyer-transports SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, YUNAGI and MATSUKAZE carrying 1,200 troops to be landed at Vila on Kolombangara Island, New Georgia.

Kula Gulf, Solomon Islands. The JINTSU and the YUKIKAZE's E27 radar detectors detect the presence of enemy vessels 30 minutes before visual contact is made. This is Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Walden L. Ainsworth's Task Group 36.1 with the light cruisers USS HONOLULU (CL-48)(F), SAINT LOUIS (CL-49) and the HMNZS LEANDER and 10 destroyers makes radar contact.

At 2308, Rear Admiral Isaki orders a torpedo attack on the American force. At 2310, TG 36.1 takes the JINTSU and her consorts under radar-directed gunfire and salvoes torpedoes at them. The JINTSU is smothered in 6-inch shells and hit a by a torpedo abaft her number 2 stack. She goes down with Admiral Izaki and 482 men. No other IJN ships are damaged and all the IJA troops are landed at Vila.

On the Allied side, all three of the light cruisers are damaged in the battle - LEANDER so severely that she is out of commission for the rest of the war.

USS GWIN (DD-433) is hit by a Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo and has to be scuttled by RALPH TALBOT (DD-390) in the morning. BUCHANAN (DD-484) glances off WOODWORTH's (DD-460) stern during the engagement and both are damaged.

I-180 arrives on the scene at 07-38S, 157-06E and rescues 21 of the JINTSU's crew.

20 July 1943:
SubRon 3 is reassigned to the Southeast Area Fleet.

21 July 1943:
Arrives at Buin, departs that day.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

2 August 1943:
Departs Rabaul on a supply run to Lae.

4 August 1943:
Arrives at Lae. Unloads her cargo.

10 August 1943:
Returns to Truk.

1 September 1943:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 1 May 1944; Cdr, posthumously) Fujita Hidenori (former CO of RO-103) is appointed the CO.

4 September 1943: Allied Operation "Postern" - The Invasion of Lae, New Guinea:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Daniel E. Barbey's Task Force 76 lands the Australian 9th Division on the Huon Peninsula near Lae. That day, I-180 departs Truk.

8 September 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

17 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul to participate in supply missions to Finschafen, New Guinea.

19 September 1943:
Arrives at Finschafen on her first supply run there. Unloads her cargo.

21 September 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

24 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her third supply run to Finschafen.

27 September 1943:
Arrives off Finschafen and establishes contact with ground troops. Before she can unload her cargo, I-180 is attacked by enemy vessels and depth-charged. She submerges and releases her deck cargo in rubber containers. After the attack I-180 remains in the vicinity.

29 September 1943:
Off Finschafen. I-180 again establishes contact with the ground troops and unloads the rest of her cargo.

7 October 1943:
Arrives at Sio on her first supply run there. Unloads her cargo.

10 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 made up to this time in the Pacific war.

349 aircraft, including 87 B-17 and B-24 bombers, 114 B-25 strafers, 12 RAAF "Beaufighters" and 125 P-38 "Lightnings" and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul's town, airfields and Simpson harbor. Over 50 Japanese aircraft are destroyed.

I-36, I-38, I-176, I-177, RO-105 and RO-108 are moored in deep water. When the harbor is bombed, most of the submarines submerge to safety, but the transports KEISHO MARU, KOSEI MARU, lighters WAKAMATSU MARU No. 1 and KUROGANE MARU and guardboat MISHIMA MARU are sunk. Destroyers MOCHIZUKI, MINAZUKI and TACHIKAZE are damaged as is the special service ship TSUKUSHI, oiler NARUTO and smaller vessels.

I-180, moored at a pier undergoing repairs, receives a direct bomb hit that causes heavy damage to her conning tower. Torpedo officer Lt Higuchi Toshio and three crewmen on the bridge are injured. As a result of her damage, I-180 can not dive. [1]

21 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul after conducting makeshift repairs.

26 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk; departs the same day. Reassigned to SubRon 1.

2 November 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo. Undergoes battle damage repairs at Sasebo Navy Yard.

1 January 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

8 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

19 January 1944:
Departs Truk but suffers a mechanical failure and turns back.

21 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk. Undergoes repairs.

22 January 1944:
Departs Truk.

30 January 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

16 March 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

19 March 1944:
Arrives at Ominato.

20 March 1944:
Departs Ominato to patrol E of Unalaska and S of Kodiak in the Aleutians. Her estimated date of return to Ominato is 13 May.

19 April 1944:
20 miles SE of Sanak Island, Alaska. I-180 torpedoes and sinks the 7,176-ton American "Liberty" ship JOHN STRAUB en route from Port Townsend to Dutch Harbor. After receiving two hits to the port side JOHN STRAUB sinks by the bow at 54-23N, 162-35W. [2]

25 April 1944:
50 miles SW of Cherikof Island, Aleutians. Lt Walter D. Jenckes' USS GILMORE (DE-18) and EDWARD C. DALEY (DE-17) are escorting tanker FRANK G. DRUM and the converted Liberty-ship CHRISTOPHER GREENUP from Dutch Harbor to Kodiak, Alaska. At 2230, GILMORE's SG radar picks up a surfaced submarine at 8,000 yards and she detaches to investigate the contact. At 4,000 yards, after being challenged with blinker, the "pip" disappears. GILMORE soon acquires a sound contact at 2,600 yards. In the next hour, Jenckes lays down three separate barrages of Mark 10 "Hedgehogs", each of twenty-four projector charges, but without result.

26 April 1944:
At 0027, GILMORE drops a pattern of 13 depth charges, but again without result. At 0107, Jenckes drops another pattern of 13 projectiles. At 0112, GILMORE's efforts are rewarded by a heavy underwater explosion that rocks the destroyer escort. The submarine - probably I-180 - sinks at 55-10N, 155-40W.

At daybreak, four Vought OS2U-3 "Kingfisher" floatplanes from Kodiak Naval Air Station observe a thick oil slick measuring about one square mile in that area.

20 May 1944:
Presumed lost with all hands in the Kodiak area.

10 July 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Orita and Harrington (1976) suggest that Lt Higuchi Toshio (66) was killed in that attack. In reality he died in the hospital three days later.

[2] I-180 is sometimes credited with sinking the Soviet steamer PAVLIN VINOGRADOV, en route from Vancouver to Vladivostok on 22 April. This is not confirmed by existing Japanese records; in fact several contemporary sources suggest that the steamer was lost to an onboard acetone explosion.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.

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