SENSUIKAN!

(Type B1 submarine - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN Submarine I-26: Tabular Record of Movement

2002-2013 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 2


7 June 1939:
Laid down at Kure Navy Yard as Submarine No. 139.

10 April 1940:
Launched and provisionally numbered I-27.

July 1941:
Cdr (later Captain) Yokota Minoru (51)(former CO of I-54) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer.

1 November 1941:
Renumbered I-26.

6 November 1941:
Kure Navy Yard. I-26 is completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to the Sixth Fleet's SubRon 1 in Capt Oda Tamekiyo's SubDiv 4. Cdr Yokota is the Commanding Officer. Departs Kure to work up in the Inland Sea.

10 November 1941:
I-26 and I-10 are assigned to the Sixth Fleet's Reconnaissance Unit under Cdr Kayabara. I-26 is assigned to reconnoiter the Aleutians area.

12 November 1941:
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, 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.

19 November 1941:
At 1500, I-26 departs Yokosuka for the Aleutians alone on her first war patrol.. The mission calls for I-26 to operate at her maximum endurance. There is a lack of space and the hangar is crammed full of food. As a result of shortage of modern torpedoes, she is armed with only ten 6th Year Type steam torpedoes.

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.

26-28 November 1941:
I-26 makes periscopic observations of the harbors at Attu, Kiska and Adak, Aleutians.

29 November 1941:
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:
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. -26 heads toward her patrol area at 28-00N, 141-30E.

6 December 1941:
300 miles off San Francisco. I-26 spots 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, 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, CYNTHIA OLSON is exactly on the projected point of interception. At 0330 (JST). Cdr Yokota establishes her nationality, surfaces and fires a warning shot. The schooner sends a SOS signal and lowers her two lifeboats. 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 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 OLSON starts to settle. Two hours later, concerned about a possible American air attack, Cdr Yokota decides that OLSON is sinking and departs. Later, 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.

9 December 1941:
I-6 reports sighting a LEXINGTON-class aircraft carrier and two cruisers off Oahu heading ENE. Vice Admiral Shimizu in KATORI at Kwajalein orders all of SubRon 1's boats, except the Special Attack Force, to pursue and sink the carrier.

14 December 1941:
After the unsuccessful pursuit of the carrier, I-26 joins other submarines and heads to the West Coast of the United States to attack shipping. 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. I-15, I-9, I-10, I-17, I-19, I-21, I-23, I-25 and I-26 are each to fire 30 shells on the night of 25 December. Rear Admiral Sato, aboard I-9, is charged to execute the order.

20 December 1941:
I-26 arrives at her assigned area off Seattle. Several merchants are sighted, but rough seas and limited visibility foil all further attacks.

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 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 I-15, I-17 and I-23. She also embarks Type 95 oxygen torpedoes. 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. Halsey Jr's Task Force 8 (USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) raids Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. Forty-six aircraft from ENTERPRISE (SBDs of VB-6 and VS-6 and TBD of VT-6) sink a transport and damage light cruiser KATORI, flagship of the Sixth Fleet's (Submarines) and wound its commander, Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi (former CO of ISE). I-23, the 11,930-ton 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 weapon malfunctions. Cdr Yokota submerges until the planes are gone. Two hours after the raid, Sixth Fleet HQ orders SubRon 1's I-9, I-15, I-17, I-19, I-23, I-25, I-26 and RO-61-62 to put to sea and intercept the enemy carriers.

3 February 1942:
I-15, I-19, I-23 and 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. 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. I-26, I-15 and I-19 are to refuel the flying boats at the Shoals. 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:
I-26's empty hangar space is fitted with six fuel tanks each to store aviation fuel as are I-15 and I-19's hangars.

20 February 1942:
I-26, I-15 and I-19 sortie from Kwajalein to French Frigate Shoal.

4 March 1942:
The I-26 is in reserve and I-9 is at Wotje as a radio beacon. I-15 and 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:
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 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.

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 carrier RYUHO while she is dry-docked undergoing conversion from former submarine depot ship TAIGEI.

16 May 1942:
At 1300, departs Yokosuka on her second war patrol to reconnoiter the Kodiak Island area and raid the enemy communications off Seattle thereafter.

20 May 1942: (add new entry) Reassigned to Northern Force. 24 May 1942:
I-26 reconnoiters Kodiak Island, Alaska.

26 May 1942:
I-26 reconnoiters Chirikof and Sitkanak Islands.

27 May 1942: Operation "AL" - The Invasion of the Western Aleutian Islands:
I-26's sister, I-25 launches her Yokosuka E14Y "Glen" floatplane to reconnoiter Dutch Harbor. The plane sights three American cruisers and eight 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 I-26, with its hangar empty, is positioned to recover the aircraft should something happen to I-25.

31 May 1942:
Arrives in the area 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 light cruisers KISO and 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, off the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At 1410 (local), I-26 fires a single Type 89 torpedo at the 3,286-ton armed American cargo steamer COAST TRADER (ex-POINT REYES), carrying 1,250 tons of newsprint. After a hit to the starboard side, the freighter sinks, stern first, at 48-19N, 125-40W. The survivors are later rescued by the fishing schooner VIRGINIA I and the Flower-class corvette HMCS EDMUNSTON (K-106). [1]

20 June 1942:
West coast of Vancover Island, British Columbia. Around 2217 (local), I-26 surfaces five miles off the coast and fires 17 shells (including two exercise rounds filled with sand) from her deck gun at the Hesquiat radio direction finding station. As a result of limited visibility and rough sea, none of the targets is hit. Most 5.5-in shells fall short of the Estevan Point lighthouse or explode nearby; one unexploded round is recovered after the attack and another in June 1973.

Cdr Yokota first heads west and then turns north, towards Unimak Pass. Five Canadian vessels and a RCAF Supermarine "Stranraer" flying boat are dispatched to intercept the attacker, but fail to locate the submarine. [2] Following that attack, a number of lighthouses along the West Coast are extinguished.

30 June 1942:
Departs her patrol area. Reassigned to Advance Force.

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. I-26 is reassigned to Captain Ono Ryojiro's SubDiv 2 in Rear Admiral Yamazaki's SubRon 1, Sixth Fleet.

15 August 1942:
I-26 departs Yokosuka for Truk on her third war patrol with I-9, I-15, I-17 and I-19.

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 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. 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. 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's 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 ZUIKAKU launch aircraft that find and damage ENTERPRISE. That evening, aircraft from SARATOGA damage the seaplane carrier CHITOSE.

31 August 1942:
NW of Espiritu Santo, Solomon Islands. After midnight, I-26 is running on the surface, charging her batteries when her bridge lookout spots several distant lights. Cdr Yokota identifies the target as an American task force and calls for battle stations. I-26 dives to 80 meters (265 ft).

About 0330, I-26 is picked up by USS NORTH CAROLINA's (BB-55) SG radar. USS FARRAGUT (DD-348) is dispatched to investigate, but contact is lost.

Three hours later, 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 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).

I-26 dives to periscope depth, but her trailing speed is only 4 knots and Cdr Yokota cannot gain an attack position. Then the task force changes course, reducing the distance to 1,000 meters (1,095 yards). 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, 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.

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 MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36) tows SARATOGA into the wind and she is able to fly off her aircraft to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. SARATOGA then makes Tongatabu, Fiji for temporary repairs. Later, she returns to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

USS PHELPS (DD-360) and MACDONOUGH establish a sound contact and drop depth charges. 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 I-31 are near the area, but I-26, I-15, I-17, I-21, I-24 and I-33 are also directed to form a patrol line in the area.

15 September 1942:
Reassigned to the 2nd Picket Unit.

25 September 1942:
I-26 arrives at Truk.

5 October 1942:
I-26 departs Truk with with I-15 and 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 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, I-26 sights an American "cruiser" heading north. Cdr Yokota dives but is unable to gain an attack position. At 2341, I-26 surfaces. Cdr 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, BOISE and SALT LAKE CITY are damaged, but they cripple FURUTAKA. American gunfire also sinks FUBUKI and damages AOBA and HATSUYUKI. Admiral Goto is killed on the bridge of AOBA. Japanese gunfire damages DUNCAN (DD-485) and FARENHOLT (DD-491).

18 October 1942:
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, I-26 refuels three E13A1 "Jakes". One of the planes later sights USS WASHINGTON (BB-56) heading north.

23 October 1942:
Indispensable Reef. Early in the morning 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:
I-26 departs the area. She is to be replaced by I-122.

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 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 destroyers AKATSUKI and YUDACHI and damage HIEI and destroyers AMATSUKAZE, IKAZUCHI and MURASAME.

Abe's force sinks USS ATLANTA (CL-51), LAFFEY (DD-459), CUSHING (DD-376), MONSSEN, (DD-436) and BARTON (DD-599) and damages SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), PORTLAND (CA-33) and 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, JUNEAU down by the bow about 12 feet, rejoins the surviving American warships and zigzags SE with SAN FRANCISCO and two destroyers.

Cdr Yokota raises I-26's periscope. Suddenly, SAN FRANCISCO enters his sights. At 1101, he "snap-shoots" three torpedoes at her from his intact tubes. They miss SAN FRANCISCO but one continues on to narrowly miss the HELENA. Another continues on to hit JUNEAU port side amidships near where she was hit the previous night.* A minute later, a magazine explosion blows JUNEAU in half and kills most of her crew. 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 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 INDIANAPOLIS). Eight days later, only 10 men are rescued not including all five of the Sullivan brothers assigned to JUNEAU.

14 November 1942:
In the morning, Cdr Yokota reports the sighting of two destroyers. An enemy aircraft appears at 0654, forcing him to dive away. Later that day, I-26 is briefly chased by an American destroyer, in all likelihood USS FLETCHER (DD-445).

29 November 1942:
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.

3 December 1942: (add new entry) Departs Truk for Yokosuka. 9 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

20 January 1943:
I-26 arrives at Truk. She is fitted with a mounting to carry a supply container on her afterdeck.

23 January 1943:
) Departs Truk on her first supply run to Guadalcanal, carrying a self-propelled Toku-Unto supply container.Attached to Submarine Force "B" on that same day.

28 January 1943:
After sundown arrives off Cape Esperance. Cdr Yokota positions I-26 with her stern directly towards the shoreline to facilitate navigation for the container pilot. Then he dives away to proceed to the area N of Rennel Island. Thirty minutes later two enemy patrol boats arrive, but fail to spot the departing submarine

31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - The Evacuation of Guadalcanal:
A task force of units of the Second and Third Fleets from Truk including carriers ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, JUNYO, Bat Div 3's KONGO, HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, CruDiv 5's 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.

3 February 1943: (add new entry) I-26 sights an enemy destroyer. 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 I-26 and the other submarines to proceed to this location. I-18 and another submarine discover and engage the Americans, but then Force "A" loses contact. Komazawa orders I-26 and his other submarines, except his 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:
Returns to Truk.

25 February 1943:
Admiral Yamamoto, C-in-C, Combined fleet, orders I-26 and I-6 to advance to the Sydney area and to conduct communications destruction warfare in the eastern coastal waters of Australia.

1 March 1943:
Departs Truk on her fifth war patrol to operate off the east coast of Australia.

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:
I-26 rescues 20 soldiers from a collapsible lifeboat.

7 March 1943:
Arrives at Lae, where the rescued soldiers are debarked, then returns to the Bismarck Sea..

28 March 1943:
Sgt. Ronald N. Walesby's Avro "Anson" from the RAAF No. 71 Squadron, carrying out an anti-submarine patrol off Brisbane, sights a surfaced submarine (probably I-26), which opens machine gun fire at his patrol bomber. Shortly thereafter the visual contact is lost in the evening darkness. In an attempt to provoke the submarine to reveal its location, Walesby orders to switch on the landing flights of his plane. Nevertheless, the contact cannot be reestablished.

8 March 1943:
Rescues 54 soldiers stranded on an uncharted coral island W of Goodenough Island and delivers them to Lae on the following day. Departs Lae en route to her designated patrol area.

11 April 1943:
19 miles SE of Cape Howe, Victoria. I-26 attacks convoy Q.C. 86, firing a total of three torpedoes. The Australian Government chartered 4,732-ton Yugoslavian armed merchant RECINA bound from Whyalla to Newcastle with a cargo of iron ore at 37-24S, 150-19E. After a hit to starboard at 1401, the steamer sinks in less than a minute, taking 32 men with her. Ten survivors are rescued by the Australian sloop HMAS MORESBY, which commences a counterattack, dropping a total of seven depth charges. HMAS TOWNSVILLE and HMAS BENDIGO join the hunt, but fail to locate the attacker.

24 April 1943:
35 miles NE of Sandy Cape, Queensland. After 1900, I-26 launches three torpedoes at the 2,125-ton Australian armed merchant KOWARRA, proceeding independently from Bowen to Brisbane with a load of sugar. She sinks about 1900 (local) at 24-26S, 153-44E. Following a boiler explosion the steamer breaks in two and sinks within 45 seconds after the hit. Her master, 19 sailors and one gunner are lost. Eleven survivors are rescued by the submarine chaser USS SC-747.

10 May 1943:
I-26 returns to Truk.

14 June 1943:
Departs Truk on a diversionary raid to the Fiji area on her sixth war patrol

25 June 1943:
180 miles SW of Suva. While approaching a convoy, 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 (later Cdr) Kusaka Toshio (53)(former CO of I-180) is appointed the Commanding Officer.

1 November 1943:
I-26 is assigned to SubRon 8 at Penang, Malaya.

21 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:
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. I-26 rescues all ten fliers and sinks the wreck with 25-mm AA gunfire.

21 December 1943: Operation "Yo":
Arabian Sea. 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 7,176-ton American "Liberty" ship ROBERT F. HOKE at 20-05N, 59-25E. HOKE is enroute 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. HOKE is first towed to Aden and later to Suez where she is declared a total loss and hulked.

31 December 1943:
Off Karachi. I-26 attacks 8,054-ton British motor tanker TORNUS. First, Kusaka fires three torpedoes, of which one hits. TORNUS starts to list but soon manages to counterflood. I-26 then fires two more torpedoes from the opposite side, but fails to sink the tanker. Later, the master of TORNUS, Captain Keith R.M. Kinnier is later awarded the O.B.E. for his great courage and determination.

2 January 1944:
Indian Ocean. Gulf of Oman. I-26 fires four torpedoes at 7,176-ton American Liberty ship ALBERT GALLATIN. Most of the torpedoes miss. I-26 surfaces and takes GALLATIN under fire with her deck gun. Just when GALLATIN is sinking, a Bristol "Blenheim" bomber arrives and dropped four bombs on I-26, but causes only minor damage. GALLATIN sinks 60 miles off the Arabian coast at 21-21N, 59-58E. 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.

March 1944:
I-26 lands another 10 revolutionaries from the "Hikari Kikan" W of Karachi.

13 March 1944:
300 miles SSW of Karachi, India. 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 COLLIER and she sinks at 21-30N, 66-11E.

21 March 1944:
I-26 torpedoes and sinks 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. I-26 surfaces and fires towards the survivors in the water, but does not hit them.

29 March 1944:
Arabian Sea. At 1615, I-26, under LtCdr Kusaka, torpedoes 7,176-ton American Liberty ship RICHARD HOVEY that is enroute from Bombay to the United States. Three torpedoes hit HOVEY. I-26 surfaces on the port side of HOVEY and opens fire with her deck gun. Captain Thorsen orders Abandon Ship. HOVEY sinks at 16-40N, 64-30E.

Thorsen and three crewmen are taken aboard the submarine and are eventually repatriated. LtCdr Kusaka orders I-26's gunners to open fire on the lifeboats with their 25-mm AA and light machine-guns. Four of HOVEY's seamen are killed. Four days later, British freighter SAMCALIA rescues 25 survivors. On 14 April 1944, British freighter SAMUTA rescues 38 more of HOVEY's survivors. [3]

18 April 1944:
Returns to Penang.

20 April 1944:
Reassigned to Advance Force.

3 May 1944:
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.

20 June 1944:
Reassigned to SubDiv 15.

27 June 1944:
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:
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:
I-26 arrives off Guam, surrounded by American warships. 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 (former CO of KINU) 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. Transferred to Kure thereafter.

1 August 1944: LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Nishiuchi Shoichi (60)(former CO of RO-47) is appointed the Commanding Officer.

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. I-26, I-45, I-53, I-54 and 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, I-26 is ordered to take up station SE of Leyte Gulf.

24 October 1944:
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 escort carrier GAMBIER BAY (CVE-73) and damages FANSHAW BAY (CVE-70) and KALININ BAY (CVE-68).

Off Leyte. 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 2230, 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. 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 at 09-52N, 127-30E. LtCdr Hotchkiss detaches temporarily from the task unit to obtain oil specimens.

26 October 1944:
At 0245, COOLBAUGH makes another contact. She fires several barrages of hedgehogs and drops 16 depth charges. COOLBAUGH rejoins the task unit the following morning. [4]

27 October 1944:
The I-26 is redirected to the area E of Lamon Bay but fails to acknowledge the receipt of the message.

7 November 1944:
The Sixth Fleet HQ transmit an order for the submarines in the Leyte area to return to their respective home bases. I-26 does not respond.

21 November 1944:
Presumed lost east of Leyte with all 105 hands.

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.


Authors' Notes:
[1] The Navy Board of Inquiry attributed [1] The Navy Board of Inquiry attributed COAST TRADER's loss to an internal explosion. She became the first American vessel to be sunk by the IJN off the coast of Washington State during World War II.

[2] The shelling of Estevan Point was the first attack on Canadian soil since 1870. Some of the local eyewitnesses mistakenly reported an attack by two "cruisers", giving rise to several conspiration theories.

[3] The official agent of I-26's destruction remains unclear, but it appears that I-26 may either have been sunk by COOLBAUGH or the next morning in another hedgehog attack by Cdr H. A. Barnard's USS RICHARD M. ROWELL (DE-403).

Special thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan, Jean-Francois Masson of Canada, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Steve Eckardt of Australia.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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