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

IJN Submarine I-203: Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2011 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 2

29 May 1945:
Kure Navy Yard. The "sen-taka" (submarine, high speed) class attack submarine I-203 is completed and commissioned in the IJN. LtCdr Uesugi Kazou (former CO of RO-109 and RO-112) is the Commanding Officer.

25 June 1945:
Kure. I-203 is assigned to Rear Admiral Nishina Kozo's (former ComSubDivs 9, 18) SubRon 11 in Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige's (former CO of ASHIGARA) Sixth Fleet.

15 August 1945:
Maizuru. I-203, I-201 and I-202 are reassigned to SubDiv 15. That same day, the 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 Supreme Allied Commander Pacific, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (MOH), are held on board the USS MISSOURI (BB-63).

September 1945:
The Fifth Marine Division occupies Sasebo.

November 1945:
I-203 proceeds to Sasebo.

25 November 1945:
Sasebo. LtCdr John D. Mason, USN, is posted as OIC of I-203. Mason is ordered to sail I-203 to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii.

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

That same day, LtCdr Mason is reassigned to duty in Washington, DC. LtCdr Paul R. Schratz, USN is detailed as OIC of I-203.

12 December 1945:
Sasebo. An American Navy crew, with a skeleton Japanese crew aboard, takes I-203 on a sea trial.

28 December 1945-8 January 1946:
Sasebo. Supported by Captain Ralph R. Gurley's submarine tender USS EURYALE (AS-22), I-203 and I-201 conduct a series of short sea trails.

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

The ships assume a formation led by 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. The formation is forced to ride out a severe typhoon and make engine repairs on both submarines.

21 January 1946:
Guam, Mariana Islands. At 1615, the formation is welcomed upon its arrival at Apra harbor. They remain at Guam for liberty.

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

29 January 1946:
The day before her planned arrival at Eniwetok, I-203 has a major engine failure that forces her to spend an additional night at sea.

31 January 1946:
Arrives at Eniwetok.

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

At 0700, the formation departs Eniwetok. EURYALE tows I-201 for the final leg of the voyage to Pearl.

13 February 1946:
Pearl Harbor. The formation arrives and dips their ensigns in salute as they pass Battleship Row and the sunken 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 of CinCPAC dispose of all captured Japanese submarines by sinking."

21 May 1946:
Pacific Ocean, off the Hawaiian Islands. I-203 is a target ship for operational tests of the Mark 9 torpedo exploder. At 1143, she is torpedoed and sunk by a Mark 18-2 electric torpedo fired by Cdr N. D. Gage's USS CAIMAN (SS-323) at 21-13N, 158-08W.

Authors' Note:
Thanks to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and to Derek Waller of UK for info about the Submarine Officers Conference. Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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