(Type B1 submarine - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)
IJN Submarine I-26: Tabular Record of
© 2002-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
7 June 1939:
Laid down at Kure Navy Yard as Submarine No. 139.
10 April 1940:
Launched and provisionally numbered I-27.
1 July 1941:
Cdr (later Captain) Yokota Minoru (51)(former CO of
I-54) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO) of I-27.
1 November 1941:
I-27 is 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 Captain Oda Tamekiyo's SubDiv 4. Cdr Yokota Minoru is the
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
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.
I-26 heads toward her patrol area at 28-00N, 141-30E.
6 December 1941:
300 miles off San Francisco. I-26 spots the 2,140-ton
Army-chartered steam schooner CYNTHIA OLSON (ex-COQUINA) 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-9, I-10,
I-15, 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
20 December 1941:
I-26 arrives at her assigned area off Seattle.
Several merchants are sighted, but rough seas and limited visibility foil all
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
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 Shoals 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 AA guns 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
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
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 Shoals,
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 convalesce.
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
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
20 May 1942:
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
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). 
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. 
Following that attack, a number of lighthouses along the West Coast are
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:
at 0930, I-26 departs Yokosuka for Truk on her third
war patrol in company of 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
24 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
(later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 61's USS SARATOGA (CV-3) and the
ENTERPRISE (CV-6) launch 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
25 August 1942:
SE of the Solomon Islands. Around 1600, the submerged
I-26 briefly sights an enemy task force with one carrier and ten destroyers. At
2000 she sights another task force with one carrier and one heavy cruiser in
the same area.
26 August 1942:
At 0020, I-26 observes another task force comprising
one carrier, two battleships, three destroyers and several destroyers.
30 August 1942:
At 0240, I-26 sights a task force with one battleship,
one battleship and several destroyers.
31 August 1942:
NW of Espiritu Santo, Solomon Islands. After midnight,
I-26 is charging her batteries on the surface 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 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 25,200 yards. Yokota identifies the target as a
SARATOGA-class carrier. Actually, it is Captain DeWitt C. Ramsey's USS SARATOGA
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 1,100 yards. I-26 is now in a perfect position for a
salvo at SARATOGA's starboard beam, but the torpedomen 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 3,830 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 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
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
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 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 I-15 that is refueling floatplanes at the Indispensable
11 October 1942: The Battle of Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Joshima Takatsugu's 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.
I-26 crash-dives, damaging her three lower torpedo tubes on a reef.
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. I-26 dives and cannot refuel aircraft that day.
26 October 1942:
I-26 departs the area. She is to be replaced by
13 November 1942: The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
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 ft, 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. The 8,473-ton JUNEAU sinks in about 20 seconds at
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:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka.
9 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
15 January 1943:
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 "Tokugata-Unkato" 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:
task force of units of the Second and Third Fleets from Truk including carriers
ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, JUNYO, BatDiv 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:
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 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:
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.
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 off the east coast of
28 March 1943:
Sgt. Ronald N. Walesby's Avro "Anson" from the RAAF
No. 71 Squadron, carrying out an anti-submarine patrol off Brisbane, Australia
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.
11 April 1943:
19 miles SE of Cape Howe, Victoria, Australia. I-26
attacks the convoy Q.C. 86, firing a total of three torpedoes. The Australian
Government chartered 4,732-ton Yugoslavian armed cargo steamer RECINA (ex-LADY
PLYMOUTH), en route from Whyalla to Newcastle with a cargo of iron ore. After a
hit to starboard at 1401, the steamer sinks in less than a minute at 37-24S,
150-19E, 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, Australia. 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.
Following a boiler explosion the steamer breaks in two and sinks within 45
seconds after the hit at 24-26S, 153-44E. 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 CO.
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
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 the 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 the 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 the 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 drops 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.
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 the 8,117-ton Norwegian
tanker GRENA en route 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.
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:
CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, (former CO of HYUGA), activates
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.
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 LtGen 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 CO.
13 October 1944: Operation "Sho-1-Go" - The Defense of the
Admiral Toyoda orders the "Sho-1-Go" plan activated.
I-26 departs Kure for the Philippine Sea on her ninth war patrol in
company of I-45.
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 Task Force 38.
18 October 1944:
At 1700, LtCdr Nishiuchi reports to the Sixth Fleet
that 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,
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.
24 October 1944:
I-26 is redirected to an area SE of Leyte Gulf.
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
Off Leyte. I-26 reports sighting four enemy carriers. This is the last
message received from LtCdr Nishiuchi. 
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
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.
 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.
 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.
 The "Tokugata-Unkato" self-propelled supply container was converted
from a Type A "Ko-hyoteki" midget submarine, fitted with an elevated conning tower.
 The "Unpoto" was a 70-ft sled that could carry up to 15 tons of cargo,
usually three 15 cm Type 96 howitzers with some ammunition.
 There are several theories regarding the loss of I-26. While Carpenter
and Polmar (1986) support the operational loss version, Cdr H. A. Barnard's USS
RICHARD M. ROWELL's (DE-403) "Hedgehog" attack on 26 October at 09-45N, 126-45E
might have been the real cause.
Special thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan, Jean-Francois
Masson of Canada, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Steve Eckardt of Australia.
Thanks also go to reader Gus Mellon for catching a chrono error.
- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
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