HIJMS Submarine I-26: Tabular Record of
© 2002 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
6 November 1941:
The I-26 is completed at the Kure Dockyard, commissioned in the IJN and based in the Yokosuka Naval District. She is assigned to the Sixth Fleet's SubRon 1 in Captain Oda Tamekiyo's SubDiv 4. That same day, her Equipping Officer, Cdr Yokota Minoru, is assigned as the Commanding Officer.
12 November 1941:
The I-26 arrives at Yokosuka.
15 November 1941: Operation "Z":
Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi (former CO of ISE), Commander, Sixth Fleet (Submarines) convenes a meeting of his commanders aboard his flagship, the light cruiser KATORI. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mito Hisashi, Chief of Staff, Sixth Fleet briefs the assembled commanders on the planned attack on Pearl Harbor.
16 November 1941:
With the beginning of "naval maneuvers" off Yokosuka, the first vessels of SubRons 1 and 2 depart secretly for Hawaii.
19 November 1941:
The I-26 and the I-10 are assigned to the Sixth Fleet's Reconnaissance Unit to cover the Aleutians area. At 1500, the I-26 departs Yokosuka for the Aleutians alone on her first war patrol.. The mission calls for the I-26 to operate at her maximum endurance. There is a lack of space and the hangar is crammed full of food. Since her primary mission is reconnaissance and there is a shortage of modern torpedoes, she is armed with only 10 old 6th Year Type torpedoes of the 17 torpedoes that she is capable of carrying.
When he is 600 miles from the Aleutians, Cdr Yokota submerges. From here on, he runs on the surface only at night. His orders are to reconnoiter American bases in the Aleutians and report on American naval forces in that area to C-in-C Sixth Fleet by 5 December. He is then to proceed to an area midway between Hawaii and San Francisco and report on American fleet units heading for Hawaii with reinforcements. Lastly, Yokota is to destroy enemy merchant shipping.
26-28 November 1941:
The I-26 makes periscopic observations of the harbors at Attu, Kiska and Adak, Aleutians.
29 November 1941:
The I-26 carries out periscopic observations of the American base at Dutch Harbor, Aleutians. No enemy warships are detected. Yokota heads for a point between Hawaii and San Francisco.
2 December 1941:
The I-26 receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208". The signal means that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), is then the highest point in the Japanese Empire.
6 December 1941:
300 miles off San Francisco. The I-26 spots the 2,140-ton Army-chartered steam schooner CYNTHIA OLSON with a cargo of Army supplies enroute at 10 knots from Tacoma, Washington to Honolulu, Hawaii. Cdr Yokota establishes the schooner's course and gives chase. After dark, the I-26 surfaces and outflanks the schooner so as to be in position to attack her simultaneously with the start of hostilities.
7 December 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At dawn, the CYNTHIA OLSON is exactly on the projected point of interception. Cdr Yokota establishes her nationality, surfaces and fires a warning shot. The schooner sends a SOS signal and lowers her two lifeboats. The I-26 fires 18 shells from her 140-mm aft gun at a range of 1,000 meters, but the schooner refuses to sink. Twenty minutes after the first shot the I-26 receives the signal "Tora, tora, tora!" Cdr Yokota submerges and fires a torpedo from 450 yards. It passes astern because the burning schooner is still making headway.
Yokota fires 29 more shells and the OLSON starts to settle. Two hours later, concerned about a possible American air attack, Cdr Yokota decides that the OLSON is sinking and departs. Later, the OLSON does sink at 33-42N, 145-29W. She is the first American merchant to be sunk by a Japanese submarine in World War II.
10 December 1941:
The I-26 receives a report that the I-6 sighted a LEXINGTON-class aircraft carrier and two cruisers heading NE. Vice Admiral Shimizu in the KATORI at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands orders all of SubRon 1 boats stationed N of Hawaii, except the Special Attack Force, to pursue and sink the carrier.
14 December 1941:
After the unsuccessful pursuit of the carrier, the I-26 joins other submarines and heads to the West Coast of the United States to attack shipping. The I-26 is assigned to patrol off Cape Flattery, Washington in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Seattle.
The Imperial General Headquarters orders the IJN to shell the U.S. West Coast. Vice Admiral Shimizu issues a detailed order on the targets. The I-15, -9, -10, -17, -19, -21, -23, -25 and the I-26 are each to fire 30 shells on the night of 25 December. Rear Admiral Sato, aboard the I-9, is charged to execute the order.
20 December 1941:
The I-26 arrives at her assigned area off Seattle.
22 December 1941:
Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (former CO of AKAGI), CINC, Combined Fleet, postpones the Christmas Eve attack until 27 December.
27 December 1941:
Most of the I-boats off the coast have depleted their fuel reserves. Vice Admiral Shimizu cancels the shelling.
11 January 1942:
The I-26 arrives at Kwajalein to refuel and take on provisions in company with the I-15, I-17 and the I-23. That same day, LtCdr J. H. Willingham's USS TAUTOG (SS-191) spots three IJN subs going into Kwajalein, one of which may have been the I-26.
January 1942: "Operation K-1" - Flying Boat Attack on Pearl Harbor:
The Naval General Staff develops a plan to raid Pearl Harbor using two large Type 2 four-engined H8K1 "Emily" flying boats. The plan calls for the planes to depart Wotje in the Marshalls and fly to the French Frigate Shoal in the Hawaiian Islands (500 miles WNW of Pearl Harbor) where they are to be refueled by I-class submarines.
1 February 1942: American Air Raid on Kwajalein:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. ("Bull") Halsey Jr's Task Force 8
(USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) raids Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. The ENTERPRISE's SBD Douglas "Dauntlesses" of VB 6 and VS 6 and Douglas TBD "Devastators" of VT 6 sink a transport and damage the light cruiser KATORI, flagship of the Sixth Fleet (Submarines) and wound its commander, Vice Admiral Shimizu. The I-23, the submarine depot ship YASUKUNI MARU, and several other important ships are also damaged in the raid.
Moored alongside the I-23 at Kwajalein, the I-26 prepares to fire her 25-mm twin AA gun at the attacking planes, but the gun malfunctions, LtCdr Yokota submerges until the planes are gone. Two hours later, Headquarters, Sixth Fleet orders SubRon 1's I-9, -15, -17, -19, -23, -25 -I-26, RO-61 and the RO-62 to put to sea and intercept the enemy carriers.
3 February 1942:
The I-15, -19, -23 and the I-26 are recalled to participate in Operation K-1.
5 February 1942: "Operation K-1" - The Second Air Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At Kwajalein. Five submarines are selected to participate in Operation K-1. The I-9 is assigned to take up station midway between Wotje and the Shoals and act as a radio beacon for two Kawanishi H8K1 "Emily" flying boat bombers. The objective of the attack is to bomb Pearl's "Ten-Ten Dock" and disrupt ship repair activities. The I-26, I-15 and the I-19 are to refuel the flying boats at the Shoals. The I-23 is to standby 10 miles south of Pearl Harbor, provide weather reports and act in an air-sea rescue capacity.
14 February 1942:
The I-26's empty hangar space is fitted with six fuel tanks each to store aviation fuel as are the I-15 and the I-19's hangars.
20 February 1942:
The I-26, in company with the I-15 and I-19, sorties from Kwajalein to the French Frigate Shoal.
4 March 1942:
The I-26 is in reserve and the I-9 is at Wotje as a radio beacon. The I-15 and the I-19 arrive at the Shoals. After dark the "Emilys" arrive, refuel and take off for Pearl Harbor.
5 March 1942:
Seven hours after departing the French Frigate Shoal, the flying boats bomb Honolulu, but achieve no significant results and return to the Marshall Islands.
16 March 1942:
Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa (former CO of CA NACHI) assumes command of the Sixth Fleet (Submarines) replacing Vice Admiral Shimizu who was wounded in the raid on Kwajalein and returned to Japan to covalesce.
21 March 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka for an overhaul.
10 April 1942:
The I-26, still under Cdr Yokota, is reassigned to Captain Nagai Mitsuru's SubDiv 4 of Rear Admiral Sato Tsutomu's SubRon 1, Sixth Fleet.
15 April 1942:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Yamazaki Shigeaki (former CO of old CA YAKUMO) assumes command of SubRon 1.
18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Vice Admiral Halsey's Task Force 16 USS HORNET (CV-8), cruisers, destroyers and an oiler accompanied by the ENTERPRISE (CV-6), cruisers, destroyers and another oiler approach to within 668 nautical miles of Japan. Led by Lt Col (later Gen/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army 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.
The I-26 is in Yokosuka's dry dock No. 5. Some of her crewmen on deck and ashore witness the raid. A B-25 damages the carrier RYUHO while she is dry-docked undergoing conversion from the former submarine depot ship TAIGEI.
11 May 1942:
The I-26, in company with the I-25, departs Yokosuka for her assigned area off Seattle on her second war patrol .
24 May 1942:
The I-26 reconnoiters Kodiak Island, Alaska.
26 May 1942:
The I-26 reconnoiters Chirikof and Sitkanak Islands.
27 May 1942: Operation "AL" - The Invasion of the Western Aleutian Islands:
The I-26's sister, the I-25 launches her Yokosuka E14Y "Glen" floatplane to reconnoiter Kodiak. The plane sights an American cruiser and two destroyers. The intelligence derived from this flight is to support planning for an attack on Dutch Harbor to divert attention from the attack on Midway Island.
Information from the reconnaissance flights is considered so important that the I-26, with its hangar empty, is positioned to recover the aircraft should something happen to the I-25.
1 June 1942:
Patrols off Seattle, Washington.
5 June 1942: Operation "AL"- The Invasion of the Western Aleutians:
Twenty ships of the Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro's (former CO of MUTSU) Fifth Fleet, including the light cruisers KISO and the TAMA, three destroyers, three corvettes, three minesweepers and four transports land Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's Occupation Force on Attu, Aleutians without opposition.
7 June 1942:
35 miles SW of Cape Flattery in the Juan De Fuca Straits. The I-26 torpedoes, shells and sinks the 3, 286-ton American cargo ship COAST TRADER at 48-19N, 125-40W. Later, the survivors are rescued by the Flower-class corvette HMCS EDMUNSTON and a fishing vessel.
20 June 1942:
After sunset, the I-26 shells the Estevan Point lighthouse and radio station on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is the first attack on Canadian soil since 1812.
7 July 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka.
7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Amphibious 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. Vandergrift's 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal opening a seven-month campaign to take the island.
10 August 1942:
SubDiv 4 is deactivated. The I-26 is reassigned to Captain Ono Ryojiro's SubDiv 2 in Rear Admiral Yamazaki's SubRon 1, Sixth Fleet.
15 August 1942:
The I-26 departs Yokosuka for Truk on her third war patrol with the I-9, -15, -17 and the I-19.
The I-26 is in Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa's Advance Expeditionary Force (Sixth Fleet) in Subron 1 with the I-15, -16, -17, -18, -19, -20, -21, -22, -24 and the I-25.
20 August 1942:
250 miles SE of Guadalcanal. Early in the morning, a Shortland-based Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boat from the Yokohama NAG sights an American Task Force formed around the USS LONG ISLAND (AVG-1, later CVE-1) steaming towards Guadalcanal at 14 knots. Vice Admiral Komatsu orders ComSubRon 1, Rear Admiral Yamazaki to deploy the I-26 and his other submarines E of San Cristobal to intercept the enemy carriers. (They are too late. The LONG ISLAND catapults 19 Grumman F4F Marine "Wildcat" fighters and 12 Douglas SBD Marine "Dauntless" dive-bombers. They are the first aircraft to land on "Henderson" Field, Guadalcanal, home of the soon-to-be named "Cactus Air Force").
23 August 1942:
SE of the Solomon Islands. The I-26 arrives in her assigned area to form a picket line.
After her arrival, she surfaces only at night.
24 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 61: USS SARATOGA (CV-3) and the ENTERPRISE (CV-6) launches aircraft that find and sink the light carrier RYUJO. In turn, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and the ZUIKAKU launch aircraft that find and damage the ENTERPRISE. That evening, aircraft from the SARATOGA damage the seaplane carrier CHITOSE.
31 August 1942:
NW of Espiritu Santo, Solomon Islands. After midnight, the I-26 is running on the surface, charging her batteries when her bridge lookout spots several distant lights. LtCdr Yokota identifies the target as an American task force and calls for battle stations. The I-26 dives to 80 meters (265 ft).
About 0330, the I-26 is picked up by the USS NORTH CAROLINA's (BB-55) SG radar. The USS FARRAGUT (DD-348) is dispatched to investigate, but contact is lost.
Three hours later, the I-26 again surfaces, but the task force is gone. After a fruitless search, Yokota decides to return to his assigned area 140 miles E of San Cristobal. Just then, a vessel resembling a large tanker is picked up by the I-26's night binoculars at 23,000 meters (25,155 yards). Yokota identifies the target as a LEXINGTON-class carrier. Actually, it is Captain DeWitt C. Ramsey's USS SARATOGA (CV-3).
The I-26 dives to periscope depth, but her trailing speed is only 4 knots and LtCdr Yokota cannot gain an attack position. Then the task force changes course, reducing the distance to 1,000 meters (1,095 yards). The I-26 is now in a perfect position for a salvo at SARATOGA's starboard beam, but the torpedo men fail to ready one torpedo and ruin the setup.
At 0746, the I-26 comes to periscope depth right next to the USS MACDONOUGH (DD-351). At 3,500 meters, (3,830 yards) with a 120 port track angle, Yokota belatedly fires a six-torpedo salvo at the carrier that he estimates is making 13 knots. Then he dives to 100 meters (330 ft).
Alerted by a destroyer's "submarine" warning flag, Captain Ramsey puts on full power and the SARATOGA begins an evasive turn. One torpedo broaches because of a steering malfunction. At 0748, four other torpedoes also miss, but one hits the carrier on her starboard side bulge aft, flooding her aftermost fireroom.
The SARATOGA is hit at 10-34S, 164-18E. This marks the second time in the war she is torpedoed; she was hit by the I-6 on 11 January 1942. The new damage is minor, but the MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36) tows the SARATOGA into the wind and she is able to fly off her aircraft to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. The SARATOGA then makes Tongatabu, Fiji for temporary repairs. Later, she returns to Pearl Harbor for repairs.
The USS PHELPS (DD-360) and the MACDONOUGH establish a sound contact and drop depth charges. The MONSSEN (DD-436) remains behind and mounts several unsuccessful depth charge attacks until contact is lost. the chase is called off at about 1200. The destroyers mistakenly claim sinking the submarine.
13 September 1942:
At 0930, a Kawanishi H8K "Emily" reconnaissance sea plane of the Yokohama NAG reports a task force 345 miles SSE of Tulagi. The I-9 and the I-31 are near the area, but the I-26, -15, -17, -21, -24 and the I-33 are also directed to form a patrol line in the area.
25 September 1942:
The I-26 arrives at Truk.
5 October 1942:
The I-26 departs Truk with with the I-15 and the I-17. Her assignment is to recharge the batteries of the midget submarines from the tender CHIYODA off Cape Esperance. Later she is to proceed to an area S of San Cristobal to replace the I-15 that is refueling floatplanes at the Indispensable Reef.
11 October 1942: The Battle of Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Jojima Takaji's (former CO of CV SHOKAKU) CarDiv 11 transport force's seaplane carriers CHITOSE and NISSHIN and six destroyers disembark elements of the IJA's 2d Infantry Division at Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal.
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA (F), FURUTAKA and the KINUGASA and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI and the HATSUYUKI steam down the "Slot" at 30 knots. Goto's mission is to provide Joshima's transports cover by shelling Henderson Field.
SW of Guadalcanal. At 2226, the I-26 sights an American "cruiser" heading north. Cdr Yokota dives but is unable to gain an attack position. At 2341, the I-26 surfaces. LtCdr Yokota reports his earlier sighting. There is a delay in decoding the message at Truk and therefore it does not reach Goto in time to alert him to the presence of the Americans.
Rear Admiral Norman Scott's (MOH, posthumously) Task Force 64's heavy cruisers SAN FRANSCISCO (CA-38) (F), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), light cruisers BOISE (CL-47), HELENA (CL-50) and five destroyers cross the Japanese "T" at 2345 and open fire. During ther ensuing action, the BOISE and the SALT LAKE CITY are damaged, but they cripple the FURUTAKA. American gunfire also sinks the FUBUKI and damages the AOBA and the HATSUYUKI. Admiral Goto is killed on the bridge of the AOBA. Japanese gunfire damages the DUNCAN (DD-485) and the FARENHOLT (DD-491).
18 October 1942:
The I-26 arrives at the Indispensable Reef. Early in the morning, two Aichi E13A1 "Jakes" arrive. After one E13A1 departs, an enemy patrol aircraft flies over the reef. The second Jake takes off immediately. The I-26 crash-dives. She damages her three lower torpedo tubes on a reef, but manages to float free.
22 October 1942:
Indispensable Reef. Early in the morning, the I-26 refuels three E13A1 "Jakes". One of the planes later sights the USS WASHINGTON (BB-56) heading north.
23 October 1942:
Indispensable Reef. Early in the morning the I-26 refuels another "Jake" which manages to locate an enemy convoy.
25 October 1942:
Indispensable Reef. A Boeing B-17 bomber arrives over the reef. The I-26 dives and cannot refuel aircraft that day.
26 October 1942:
The I-26 departs the area. She is to be replaced by the I-122.
The I-26 departs Rabaul. Later, she operates from the Shortland Islands. While at Shortland, she is bombed by a B-17 but is not damaged.
13 November 1942: The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
Off Savo Island, Guadalcanal. Vice Admiral Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) BatDiv 11's HIEI and the KIRISHIMA and two destroyers of DesDiv 27 are proceeding to Guadalcanal in support of a reinforcement convoy. The convoy itself is escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2's twelve destroyers. Abe's force is also joined by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and six destroyers and Rear Admiral Takama Tamotsu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 4's Sweeping Unit of five more destroyers.
At 0150, Abe's force commences a night gun battle with Rear Admiral Daniel T. Callaghan Task Group 67.4's cruisers and destroyers. During the battle, the Americans sink the destroyers AKATSUKI and the YUDACHI and damage the HIEI and the destroyers AMATSUKAZE, IKAZUCHI and the MURASAME.
Abe's force sinks the USS ATLANTA (CL-51) the LAFFEY (DD-459), CUSHING (DD-376), MONSSEN, (DD-436) and the BARTON (DD-599) and damage the SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), PORTLAND (CA-33) and the HELENA (CL-50).
Captain Lyman K. Swenson's light antiaircraft cruiser USS JUNEAU (CLAA-52) is hit by a destroyer or cruiser's torpedo port side near the forward fire room. The explosion buckles the deck, shatters the fire control computers and knocks out power. The cruiser limps away, struggling to maintain 18 knots. At dawn, the JUNEAU down by the bow about 12 feet, rejoins the surviving American warships and zigzags SE with the SAN FRANCISCO and two destroyers.
Cdr Yokota raises the I-26's periscope. Suddenly, the SAN FRANCISCO enters his sights. At 1101, he "snap-shoots" three torpedoes at her from his intact tubes. They miss the SAN FRANCISCO but one continues on to narrowly miss the HELENA. Another continues on to hit the JUNEAU port side amidships near where she was hit the previous night.* A minute later, a magazine explosion blows the JUNEAU in half and kills most of her crew. The 8, 473-ton JUNEAU sinks in about 20 seconds at 10-33S, 161-03E.
Task Group 67.4 does not stop to search for survivors because of the suddenness of the JUNEAU's sinking and the risk of another submarine attack. About 115 of the JUNEAU's crew of 600 do survive the explosion, but clumsy rescue efforts do not begin for several days (repeated two years later after the sinking of the INDIANAPOLIS). Eight days later, only 10 men are rescued not including all five of the Sullivan brothers assigned to the JUNEAU.
30 November 1942:
The I-26 arrives at Truk where her kill is not confirmed due to lack of information on her victim's identity. Earlier in the month, Vice Admiral Komatsu announces that the submarine force has been ordered by Admiral Yamamoto, CINC, Combined Fleet to organize a supply system for the IJA garrison on Guadalcanal.
9 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
5 January 1943:
The I-26 arrives at Truk. She is fitted with a mounting to carry a supply container on her afterdeck.
The I-26 is attached to Submarine Force "B" to transport supplies to Guadalcanal. Later, she is tasked to evacuate personnel from Guadalcanal.
28 January 1943:
The I-26 is tactically attached to Rear Admiral Komazawa Katsumi's (former CO of CVS NISSHIN) Submarine Force "A".
Departs Truk on a transport mission to Guadalcanal carrying a self-propelled Toku-Unto supply container. After arriving at the landing area, Cdr Yokota positions the I-26 with her stern directly towards the shoreline to facilitate navigation for the container pilot. Then he dives away. Thirty minutes later two enemy patrol boats arrive, but fail to spot the submarine.
After her run to Guadalcanal, the I-26 is deployed directly from there N of Rennel Island and S of Guadalcanal. She waits for the American Naval forces with the I-11, I-16, I-17, I-18, I-20, I-25, I-32 and the I-176.
31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - The Evacuation of Guadalcanal:
A task force of units of the Second and Third Fleets from Truk including the carriers ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, JUNYO, Bat Div 3: KONGO, HARUNA, CruDiv 4: ATAGO, TAKAO, CruDiv 5: HAGURO, 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 Hashimoto Shintaro's (former CO of HYUGA) destroyer force from Rabaul. The IJN begins to evacuate the starving IJA troops from Guadalcanal.
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. Admiral Komazawa orders the I-26 and the other submarines to proceed to this location. The I-18 and another submarine discover and engage the Americans, but then Force "A" loses contact. Komazawa orders the I-26 and his other submarines, except his I-11 and the I-17, to return to Truk.
9 February 1943:
The IJN completes successfully the evacuation of 11,700 troops from Guadalcanal.
Arrives at Truk. The I-26 is placed under the tactical command of Submarine Force "B" at Truk that has completed its assignment.
25 February 1943:
Admiral Yamamoto, C-in-C, Combined fleet, orders the I-26 and the I-6 to advance to the Sydney area and to conduct communications destruction warfare in the eastern coastal waters of Australia.
1 March 1943:
The I-26, still under Cdr Yokota, departs Truk.
4 March 1943: Operation "RO-81" - The Battle of the Bismarck Sea:
On 2 March, a convoy under Rear Admiral Kimura Masatomi is en route to Lae, New Guinea with troops of the IJA's 51st Division embarked. Over the next three days, the convoy is bombed and strafed repeatedly by USAAF and RAAF planes. All of the eight transports and cargo vessels in the convoy and four of the eight escorting destroyers are sunk.
6 March 1943:
The I-26 rescues 20 soldiers from a collapsible lifeboat.
7 March 1943:
The I-26 rescues 54 soldiers stranded on an uncharted coral island.
9 March 1943:
The I-26 rescues 40 soldiers floating in the sea.
11 April 1943:
19 miles off Cape Howe, Victoria. The I-26 attacks convoy Q.C. 86. She torpedoes and sinks the Australian Government chartered 4,732-ton Yugoslavian merchant RECINA bound from Whyalla to Newcastle with a cargo of iron ore at 37-24S, 150-19E.
24 April 1943:
35 miles NE of Bowen. The I-26 torpedoes the 2,125-ton Australian merchant KOWARRA that is proceeding alone from Bowen to Brisbane with a load of sugar. She sinks about 1900 (local) at 24-26S, 153-44E.
10 May 1943:
The I-26 returns to Truk.
14 June 1943:
Departs Truk on a diversionary raid to the Fiji area.
25 June 1943:
180 miles SW of Suva. While approaching a convoy, the I-26 is spotted by a Lockheed "Hudson" patrol bomber of RNZAF No. 4 Squadron that drops four depth charges. Three minutes later, the crew reports sighting oil on the water surface, but the damage to the submarine is slight.
7 August 1943:
Returns to Truk.
23 August 1943:
Returns to Yokosuka for overhaul.
18 September 1943:
LtCdr Kusaka Toshio (former CO of I-180) is assigned as the Commanding Officer.
Cdr Yokota is reassigned as senior staff officer at SubRon 1, then the Equipping Officer, and later the Commanding Officer of the new I-44 under construction at Yokosuka.
1 November 1943:
The I-26 is assigned to SubRon 8 at Penang, Malaya.
22 November 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Penang. She is temporarily attached to SubRon 8 under Rear Admiral Ichioka for the duration of the operation.
4 December 1943:
Departs Penang to raid enemy communications in the Indian Ocean and to refuel a Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boat of the 851st NAG raid that is en route to reconnoiter Goa and Cochin's harbors.
8 December 1943:
The I-26 arrives at Maldives.
16 December 1943:
At 1700 (I), a flying boat arrives from the Andaman Islands. During refueling, the weather turns bad. When attempting to take off at sunset, the H8K damages her float and crashes. The I-26 rescues all ten fliers and sinks the wreck with 25-mm AA gunfire.
21 December 1943: Operation "Yo":
Arabian Sea. The I-26 lands twelve Indian revolutionaries of the "Hikari Kikan" spy unit SE of Karachi, India to conduct insurgency operations.
28 December 1943:
Off Hadramant Coast, Indian Ocean. LtCdr Kusaka fires a spread of three torpedoes and damages the 7,176-ton American "Liberty" ship ROBERT F. HOKE at 20-05N, 59-25E. The HOKE is en route from Adadan, Iran to Mombasa, Kenya. A torpedo hit in her No. 4 hold results in irreparable damage. An RAF crash boat rescues all hands. The HOKE is first towed to Aden and later to Suez where she is declared a total loss and hulked.
31 December 1943:
Indian Ocean. The I-26 attacks the 8,054-ton British tanker TORNUS. First, Kusaka fires three torpedoes, of which two hit. The TORNUS starts to list but soon manages to counterflood. The I-26 then fires two more torpedoes from the opposite side, but fails to sink the tanker.
2 January 1944:
Indian Ocean. Gulf of Oman. The I-26 fires four torpedoes at the 7,176-ton American Liberty ship ALBERT GALLATIN. Most of the torpedoes miss. The I-26 surfaces and takes the GALLATIN under fire with her deck gun. Just when the GALLATIN is sinking, a Bristol "Blenheim" bomber arrives and dropped four bombs on the I-26, but causes only minor damage. The GALLATIN sinks 60 miles off the Arabian coast at 21-21N, 59-58E. There are no casualties. The Norwegian tanker BRITANNIA rescues the survivors.
15 January 1944:
Returns to Singapore for repairs.
20 February 1944:
Arrives at Penang.
27 February 1944:
Departs Penang for the Arabian Sea to raid enemy communications on her eighth war patrol.
The I-26 lands another 10 revolutionaries from the "Hikari Kikan" W of Karachi.
13 March 1944:
300 miles SSW of Karachi, India. The I-26 torpedoes the 8,298-ton American tanker H. D. COLLIER, operated by Standard Oil of San Francisco (Chevron), enroute from Iran to Bombay with 103,000 barrels of gasoline and kerosene. The stern catches fire and the radio antennae are destroyed. The stern gun area is in flames and the forward gun cannot be aimed at the submarine that surfaces and shells the ship. Her crew abandons the COLLIER and she sinks at 21-30N, 66-11E.
21 March 1944:
The I-26 torpedoes and sinks the 8,117-ton Norwegian tanker GRENA enroute alone from Aden in ballast to Abadan. She breaks in two and sinks at 20 48N 59 38E about 30 miles off land. The I-26 surfaces and fires towards the survivors in the water, but does not hit them.
29 March 1944:
Arabian Sea. At 1615, the I-26, under LtCdr Kusaka, torpedoes the 7,176-ton American Liberty ship RICHARD HOVEY that is enroute from Bombay to the United States. Three torpedoes hit the HOVEY. The I-26 surfaces on the port side of the HOVEY and opens fire with her deck gun. Captain Thorsen orders Abandon Ship. The HOVEY sinks at 16-40N, 64-30E.
Thorsen and three crewmen are taken aboard the submarine and are eventually repatriated. LtCdr Kusaka** orders the I-26's gunners to open fire on the lifeboats with their 25-mm AA and light machine-guns. Four of the HOVEY's seamen are killed. Four days later, the British freighter SAMCALIA rescues 25 survivors. On 14 April 1944, the British freighter SAMUTA rescues 38 more of the HOVEY's survivors.
25 April 1944:
Arrives at Penang.
The I-26 departs Penang.
15 May 1944:
Arrives at Kure. Overhaul and repairs.
13 June 1944: Operation "A-Go" - The Defense of the Marianas:
The CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, (former CO of HYUGA), activates A-Go.
15 June 1944: American Operation "Forager" - The Invasion of Saipan:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Task Force 52 lands Marine LtGen Holland M. Smith's V Amphibious Corps and the invasion of Saipan begins. Communications between Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo's (former CO of MUTSU), Advance Expeditionary Force (Sixth Fleet) are disrupted by the invasion. Command of the Sixth Fleet's submarines passes to Rear Admiral Owada Noboru (former CO of YAMASHIRO), ComSubRon 7 at Truk.
27 June 1944:
The I-26, still under Cdr Kusaka, departs Kure for Saipan carrying an Unpoto supply container secured on deck with a 75-mm gun inside. She also carries "Unkato"-type supply containers with weapons and ammunition.
5 July 1944:
The I-26 is redirected to Guam.
8 July 1944: American Operation "Stevedore" -The Invasion of Guam:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) C. Turner Joy's Task Group 53.18 begins weeks of daily bombardment of Guam by cruisers and destroyers and later battleships and carrier-based air strikes.
9 July 1944:
The I-26 arrives off Guam, surrounded by American warships. The I-26 is grounded for a short while, but manages to free herself and break through to Apra harbor at Guam that night. She delivers her cargo and takes aboard 120 pilots as passengers and departs for Japan.
13 July 1944:
Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Miwa at Kure assumes command of the Sixth Fleet from Rear Admiral Owada Noboru at Truk.
21 July 1944:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richard L. Conolly's Task Force 53 lands an Assault Force on Guam under the overall command of Marine Maj Gen (later Gen/Posth) Roy S. Geiger. After three weeks of hard fighting by Maj Gen (later General) Allen H. Turnage's 3rd Marine Division and Brig Gen (later Gen/Commandant) Lemuel C. Shepard Jr's 1st Provisional Brigade and Army Maj Gen (later General) Andrew Bruce's 77th Infantry Division, Guam's defenders under LtGen Takeshima Takeshi (later Lt Gen Obata Hideyoshi) are overwhelmed and the former American territorial island is retaken.
22 July 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka for for overhaul and repairs. The I-26 is assigned to SubDiv 15.
1 August 1944:
LtCdr Nishiuchi Shoichi (former CO of RO-105) is assigned as the Commanding Officer. Cdr Kusaka becomes the Equipping Officer for the I-400 that is under construction and later her CO.
13 October 1944: Operation "Sho-I-Go" - The Defense of the Philippines:
Admiral Toyoda orders the Sho-1-Go plan activated. That day, the I-26 departs Kure for the Philippine Sea with the I-45 on her ninth war patrol. The I-26, -45, -53, -54 and the I-56 are designated "Group A", personally led by Vice Admiral Miwa . Group A is originally tasked to intercept of Task Force 38.
18 October 1944:
At 1700, LtCdr Nishiuchi reports to the Sixth Fleet that the I-26 has continuously detected groups of aircraft 520 miles from Manila on a bearing of 62 degrees.
20 October 1944: American Operation "King Two" - The Invasion of Leyte, Philippines:
Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet of 738 ships including 18 aircraft carriers, six battleships, 17 cruisers, 64 destroyers and over 600 support ships land the Army's X Corps (24 th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions) and the XXIV Corps (7th, 77 th and 96th Infantry Divisions) that begins an 8-month campaign to retake Leyte.
That day, the I-26 is ordered to take up station SE of Leyte Gulf.
24 October 1944:
The I-26 is redirected to an area E of Leyte.
25 October 1944: The Battle off Samar:
Off Samar. Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) First Diversion Attack Force (YAMATO, NAGATO, HARUNA, KONGO and five heavy cruisers) surprises Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Clifton A. F. Sprague's Task Unit 77.4.3's "Taffy Three" of six escort carriers, three destroyers and four destroyer escorts. Kurita's force sinks the escort carrier GAMBIER BAY (CVE-73) and damages the FANSHAW BAY (CVE-70) and the KALININ BAY (CVE-68).
Off Leyte. The I-26 reports sighting four enemy carriers. This is the last message received from LtCdr Nishiuchi.
LtCdr S. T. Hotchkiss' USS COOLBAUGH (DE-217) is operating in the screen of Taffy One. At 2237, one of COOLBAUGH's lookouts spots a periscope's wake on her starboard side. LtCdr Hotchkiss flashes a submarine alert and the other ships begin to execute a 90-degree turn. Just as the carriers complete their evasive turn, two torpedoes narrowly miss Captain Joseph L. Kane's USS PETROF BAY (CVE 80), passing on either side. The COOLBAUGH drives in to make an attack on the submarine's last position with three depth charges and ahead-thrown Mark 10 "hedgehog" projector charges. The crew sees a submarine broach. LtCdr Hotchkiss detaches temporarily from the task unit to obtain oil specimens.
26 October 1944:
At 0245, the COOLBAUGH makes another contact. She fires several barrages of hedgehogs and drops 16 depth charges. The COOLBAUGH rejoins the task unit the following morning.
The official agent of the I-26's destruction remains unclear, but it appears that the I-26 may either have been sunk by the COOLBAUGH or the next morning in another hedgehog attack by Cdr H. A. Barnard's USS RICHARD M. ROWELL (DE-403).
27 October 1944:
The I-26 is redirected to the area E of Lamon Bay but fails to acknowledge the receipt of the message.
21 November 1944:
Presumed lost east of Leyte.
The I-26 was the IJN's third highest scoring submarine in terms of tonnage sunk, sinking more than 51,500-tons.
10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
*Japanese author Kimata Jiro credits the AMATSUKAZE with the JUNEAU's first hit.
** Postwar, a military tribunal finds LtCdr Kusaka guilty of war crimes and sentences him to five years in the Sugamo prison.
Special thanks for help in preparing this TROM go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan, Jean-Francois Masson of Canada and Steve Eckardt of Australia. - Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
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