(Sen Taka Type submarine scanned from Polmar and Carpenter's "Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy")

IJN Submarine I-201: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2011 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 4

1 August 1944:
Kure Navy Yard. LtCdr Sakamoto Kaneyoshi (former CO of RO-100, RO-41) is posted as the Chief Equipping Officer for the "Sen-Taka" (submarine, high speed) class attack submarine I-201 that is under construction.

2 February 1945:
I-201 is completed and commissioned in the IJN. The Sen-Taka submarines are capable of bursts of underwater speeds up to 19 knots for almost an hour. I-201 is assigned to SubDiv 33, Kure SubRon for performance tests. LtCdr Sakamoto is the Commanding Officer.

15 April 1945:
I-201 is reassigned to Rear Admiral Nishina Kozo's (former ComSubDivs 9, 18) SubRon 11 in Vice Admiral Miwa Shigeyoshi's (former CO of CL KINU) Sixth Fleet (Submarines).

1 May 1945:
Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige (former CO of ASHIGARA) relieves Vice Admiral Miwa of command of the Sixth Fleet.

15 June 1945:
Reassigned to SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet.

15 August 1945:
Maizuru. I-201 is at the Navy Base with I-202 and I-203. SubDiv 34 is disbanded. I-201 is reassigned to SubDiv 15, Sixth Fleet.

That same day Emperor Hirohito (Showa) broadcasts an Imperial Rescript from the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Emperor calls for an end to the hostilities.

2 September 1945:
Tokyo Bay. Formal surrender ceremonies, presided over by the Supreme Allied Commander Pacific, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (MOH), are held aboard the USS MISSOURI (BB-63).

September 1945:
The Fifth Marine Division occupies Sasebo.

13 October 1945:
I-201 is at Maizuru with I-121.

November 1945:
I-201 proceeds from Maizuru to Sasebo.

25 November 1945:
Sasebo. LtCdr John P. Currie, USN, is posted as OIC of the I-201. Currie is ordered to sail I-201 to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the Imperial Japanese Navy List.

11 December 1945:
Sasebo. A fire breaks out on I-201 and destroys 14 cells in her forward battery compartment.*

28 December 1945-8 January 1946:
Sasebo. Supported by submarine tender USS EURYALE (AS-22), I-201 and I-203, under American crews, conduct a series of short sea trails.

13 January 1946:
At 0730, I-201, under LtCdr Currie, departs Sasebo for Guam with I-203 accompanied by EURYALE and salvage ship CURRENT (ARS-22).

The ships assume a formation led by Captain Ralph R. Gurley's EURYALE with I-201 following 1,500 yards astern, I-203, 3,000 yards astern and CURRENT 4,500 yards astern of EURYALE. The formation sets an initial course of 180° true to Guam. Later, the formation is forced to ride out a severe typhoon and make engine repairs on both submarines and to correct the loss of steering on the I-201.

21 January 1946:
At 1615, the formation arrives at Apra harbor, Guam, Mariana Islands to a loud welcome and remains there for liberty.

25 January 1946:
Departs Guam for Eniwetok, Marshall Islands.

26 January 1946:
At 0900, I-201 again has an engine failure. CURRENT takes I-201 in tow.

31 January 1946:
Arrives at Eniwetok.

2 February 1946:
The next planned leg of the voyage is to Johnston Island, but the formation's Commodore, Captain Stanley P. Moseley (former CO of USS POLLOCK (SS-180) decides to skip the stop at Johnston Island and head straight for Pearl Harbor. Since the direct route from Eniwetok to Hawaii is beyond the cruising range of the two submarines, he decides that both subs should be towed.

At 0700, the formation departs Eniwetok. CURRENT resumes towing I-201 for the final leg of the voyage to Pearl Harbor.

13 February 1946:
The formation arrives at Pearl Harbor and solemnly dips their ensigns in salute as they pass Battleship Row and the gutted hulk of USS ARIZONA (BB-39) on their way to the Submarine Base. Both Japanese submarines are placed in caretaker status with skeleton crews where they are studied.

26 March 1946: Submarine Officers Conference, Washington, DC:
The attendees, including former ComSubPac Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, are told that "orders are being issued to dispose of all Japanese submarines by sinking. Those in Japan will be sunk at once, those in Pearl Harbor when authorized by SCAP and at the discretion if CinCPAC dispose of all captured Japanese submarines by sinking."

23 May 1946:
I-201 is a target ship in the Pacific off Pearl Harbor for tests of the Mark 9 exploder. At 1058, she is torpedoed and sunk by a Mark 18-2 electric torpedo fired by LtCdr Frank N. Shamer's USS QUEENFISH (SS-393) at 21-13N, 158-08W.

15 February 2009:
Off Barber's Point. The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory's (HURL) deep-diving submersibles Pisces IV and Pisces V locate the bow section of I-14; a short time later the main body is located. All the wreck portions lay at a depth of about 800 meters. While Pisces V is being recovered and Pisces IV is preparing to leave bottom, her crew notices another hot contact on sonar. Further investigation reveals the bow section of a much smaller, narrower, submarine.

16 February 2009:
The two submersibles extensively search the area for the missing portion of the smaller submarine. Pisces V leaves bottom. As Pisces IV begins preparations to leave bottom a hot target once again shows itself on sonar. A quick investigation finds the severed end of the main body and “I-201” clearly visible on the sides of the conning tower with an IJN battle flag painted on the side. A chrysanthemum is painted on the side of the periscope mast.

17 February 2009:
Pisces IV & V conduct extensive surveys of all four pieces of I-14 and I-201. Cameramen for WildLife productions are in each sub filming for a National Geographic documentary. The debris field is littered with batteries. Almost the same distance from the bow to the main body of I-14 in the opposite direction lays the bow of I-201. It is on its port side, cleanly sheared off. It is parted about 15 feet aft of its retractable capstans. A similar distance away is the main body of I-201, keeled over at about a 45 degree angle. The aft retractable deck gun is visible, although somewhat bent. The forward deck gun can be seen through its opening in the deck. Much of the wood planking on the top deck still exists unlike the larger I-boats.

Conning tower with "I-201" character and numerals
Conning tower with Chrysanthemum emblem and retractable 25-mm AAA
(Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory)

Author's Notes:
[1] I-201's batteries had 4,192 cells compared to 252 cells in American submarines' batteries.

Thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.

Special thanks go to Steve Price of HURL for his assistance with revisions 2 and 3. Thanks also go to Derek Waller of UK for info about the Submarine Officers Conference.

– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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