(Type J1 submarine - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN Submarine I-3:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2012 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 7

1 November 1923:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki 's Yard as SS-76.

1 November 1924:
Renumbered I-3.

8 June 1925:

1 May 1926:
LtCdr Ogino Nakaichiro (37) is assigned as Chief Equipping Officer.

30 November 1926:
Completed and attached to Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to SubDiv 7, SubRon 2 at Second Fleet. LtCdr Ogino is appointed the Commanding Officer.

12 July 1928:
Inland Sea, off Omishima Island. At 1011, when entering Moroshima Bay at 4 knots, the surfaced I-3 suffers a rudder failure and is briefly grounded. Refloated at 1622, she proceeds to Kure Navy Yard, where the damaged bow fuel tank is repaired.

15 January 1928:
LtCdr Sekino Akira (38) assumes command.

15 December 1928:
LtCdr Michino Kiyoshi (41) assumes command.

1 June 1929:
LtCdr (later Vice Admiral, posthumously) Harada Kaku (41) (former CEO/CO of SS-60 (I-124)) assumes command.

1 December 1932:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Ishizaki Noboru (42) (former CO of I-53) assumes command. LtCdr Harada is promoted Commander and reassigned as ComSubDiv 6.

15 November 1933:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Uozumi Jisaku (42) (former CEO/CO of I-62) assumes command. Cdr Ishizaki is reassigned as ComSubDiv 27, with additional duty as ComSubDiv 25.

1 November 1934:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Matsumura Midori (48)(former CO of I-66) assumes command. Cdr Uozumi is later assigned as XO of fleet oiler ONDO.

10 January 1935:
Yokosuka, Hemi pier. Between 1450 and 1540, I-2 is inspected by German Naval Attaché Captain (later Admiral) Paul Wenneker (future CO of panzerschiff DEUTSCHLAND/later LUTZOW). His visit to I-3 is canceled because of bad weather.

15 November 1935:
Placed in reserve for modernization until 1 December 1936. During a rebuild the conning tower receives a more streamlined shape. The American-built K-tube sonar is replaced with a domestic set. LtCdrMatsumura is reassigned to the Naval Affairs Bureau of the Navy Ministry.

6 January 1936:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kobayashi Hajime (48) (current CO of I-2) assumes command as an additional duty.

1 December 1936:
Cdr (later Captain) Matsuo Yoshiyasu (47) is appointed the CO.

18 May 1937:
Sukumo Bay, Shikoku. At 1045, during a scheduled upkeep, I-3 suffers an explosion in lube oil sump tank, killing one sailor and wounding seventeen. The damage is repaired at Kure Navy Yard.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The "First China Incident"):
Hun River, Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops on night maneuvers fire blank cartridges. Nearby Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. They demand entry to a Peking suburb to look for the soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city and an undeclared war on China begins.

28 July 1937:
In SubDiv 7, SubRon 1, First Fleet, with I-1 and I-2.

21-23 August 1937:
East China Sea. Submarines I-3, I-1, I-2, I-4, I-5 and I-6 provide distant cover for BatDiv 1's NAGATO, MUTSU, BatDiv3's HARUNA and KIRISHIMA and light cruiser ISUZU ferrying troops from Tadotsu, Shikoku, to the Shanghai area.

1 December 1937:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Ishikawa Nobuo (49) (former CO of RO-33) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1938:
Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kobayashi (48) (former CO of I-4) assumes command for the third time.

24 April 1939:
LtCdr (later Captain) Iura Shojiro (51) (former CO of I-69) assumes command.

20 October 1939:
Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Fujii Akiyoshi (49) (current CO of I-2) assumes command as an additional duty.

20 November 1939:
The CO of I-2, Cdr Fujii Akiyoshi (49) (RAdm, posthumously) assumes the command of I-3 as an additional duty.

26 July 1940:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kinashi Takakazu (51)(former CO of RO-59) is appointed the CO.

5 November 1940:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Tonozuka Kinzo (50) (former CO of I-122) assumes command. LtCdr Kinashi is reassigned as CO of RO-34.

10 November 1941: Operation "Z":
Saeki Bay. I-3 in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Yamazaki Shigeaki's (former CO of old CA YAKUMO) SubRon 2 that is a part of Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's (former CO of ISE) Sixth Fleet. I-3 is in Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shimamoto Hisagoro's SubDiv 7 with I-1and I-2. LtCdr (later Cdr) Tonozuka Kinzo is the Commanding Officer.

Admiral Shimizu convenes a meeting of all his commanders aboard his flagship, light cruiser KATORI. LtCdr Tonozuka and the other commanders are briefed on the planned attack on Pearl Harbor.

15 November 1940:
SubRon 2 is reassigned to Sixth Fleet.

16 November 1941:
At 1200 departs Yokosuka for Hawaiian Islands in company of I-2.

1 December 1941:
Arrives within 300 miles from Oahu.

2 December 1941:
The coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" is received from the Combined Fleet. It signifies 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.

7 December 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
Arrives at her assigned patrol area in the easternmost sector of Kauai Channel between Oahu and Kauai with I-1 and I-2. SubRon 2 is arrayed to the northeast and northwest of Oahu. Its mission is to reconnoiter and attack any ships that try to sortie from Pearl Harbor.

27 December 1941:
I-3 receives an order from ComSubRon 2 (aboard I-7) to shell Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai, on 30 December.

30 December 1941:
Arrives off Nawiliwili and conducts periscopic reconnaissance of the Wailua River estuary. After sundown I-3 surfaces and fires twenty 5.5-inch HE shells at the breakwater and a nearby building identified as a warehouse. Most projectiles fall short of the target and only one house is damaged by shell fragments. One shell perforates a large gasoline storage tank, but fails to explode. The total damage is estimated to $500.

31 December 1941:
100 miles WSW of Oahu. Around 2100 LtCdr Tonozuka sights one carrier, two cruisers and several destroyers heading 270 (T) (in all likelihood Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary’s TF 14), but fails to reach a firing position.

9 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of the Celebes, Dutch East Indies:
Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Second Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force invades Menado and Kema (11 January), Kendari (24 January), Ambon (30 January) and Makassar (9 February).

9 January 1942:
Departs her patrol area to join the hunt for USS LEXINGTON (CV-2), detected by I-18.

22 January 1942:
SubDiv 7 arrives at Kwajalein.

24 January 1942:
Departs Kwajalein for Yokosuka with I-1 and I-2.

1 February 1942:
SubRon 2 arrives at Yokosuka. Its boats are given complete a refit and overhaul.

8 February 1942:
I-3 is assigned to the Dutch East Indies Invasion Force in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Ichioka Hisashi's (former CO of YURA) SubRon 2 with I-1, I-2, I-4, I-6 and flagship I-7.

12 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Staring Bay, SE Celebes (now Sulawesi) with ComSubDiv 7 aboard.

16 February 1942:
Arrives at Palau, refuels from oiler FUJISAN MARU.

17 February 1942:
I-3 and I-2 depart Palau for Staring Bay at Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies.

22 February 1942:
At 1630(JST), departs Staring Bay in company of I-2, heading for SW coast of Australia (Cape Leeuwin-Shark Bay area) on her second war patrol. 23 February 1942:
Banda Sea. Early in the morning I-3 sights a surfaced enemy submarine, but cannot reach a firing position.

2 March 1942:
90 miles WNW of Fremantle. At 0938 the surfaced I-3 attacks the 9,540-ton New Zealand steamer NARBADA (ex-LEITRIM), but fails to score any hits. When NARBADA returns the fire, the submarine breaks off its attack and submerges in position 31-50S, 113-30E. NARBADA sustains minor damage caused by shell fragments.

3 March 1942:
90 miles SW of Rottnest Island. I-3 briefly chases the 8,719-ton New Zealand armed steamer TONGARIRO en route from Wellington to Fremantle. After the gunners from TONGARIRO open fire at the submarine, LtCdr Tonozuka breaks off the attack and submerges.

90 miles WNW of Fremantle. That same day, I-3 also shells and misses British steamer NARBADA.

6 March 1942:
While heading SSW surfaced, LtCdr Tonozuka sights LtCdr Nicholas Lucker, Jr.’s USS S-40 on a converging course and targets her with both deck guns (24-28S, 112-40E). At 1457 I-3 is spotted from S-40, who initially confuses her with USS STINGRAY (SS-186) and attempts to contact the IJN submarine. After the first shots S-40 submerges, but cannot gain a firing position due to excessive range.

14 March 1942:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.

15 March 1942: Operation "C" - The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Headquarters, Combined Fleet orders that the western coast of India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) be reconnoitered before the commencement of Operation C." All of SubRon 2's boats, except the I-I, are to participate in the operation.

16 March 1942:
Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa (former CO of CA NACHI) assumes command of the Sixth Fleet (Submarines).

28 March 1942:
Departs Penang on her third war patrol in the Indian Ocean.

2 April 1942:
Arrives off Colombo, Ceylon and transmits weather reports to Vice Admiral Nagumo’s carriers. The Sixth Fleet receives a message sent by I-3 at 2200 (JST) that reads: "Since a large number of enemy vessels is maintaining vigilance outside Colombo Harbor, we have not yet had an opportunity to reconnoitre inside of the harbour. Other than a lone merchant ship sighted steaming westward 70 nautical miles from Colombo, 220 azimuth from the harbour at 0725 (JST) hours (0425 local) of the 2d, no ships were sighted leaving or entering the harbour. As for aircraft, a land plane was seen 195 miles and 135 azimuth of Colombo at 1600 hours (1300 local) of the 31st. However, since we are remaining submerged during the day, we do not know the subsequent situation regarding enemy an patrols." Sometime later, I-3 departs the area prior to the attack on Columbo.

3 April 1942:
At 2400 (JST), Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force ("Kido Butai"/KdB) reaches Point B (01N 90E). From here, the KdB is to proceed to Point C (roughly 08N 84E, about 168 NM from Trincomalee), Point D (06N 83E, 186 NM from Trincomalee and 197 NM from Colombo), or Point E (05N 82E, 173 NM from Colombo), depending on whether Trincomalee and/or Colombo is to be attacked, depending on what air and submarine recce learns about the location of Vice Admiral James Somerville's British Eastern Fleet.

5 April 1942: Operation "C":
The Carrier Striking Force attacks the British naval base on Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The KdB wrecks the base's facilities, destroys aircraft and sinks several ships. Later, a floatplane finds the Eastern Fleet's cruisers HMS CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE at sea. Nagumo's airmen sink both ships, but are unsuccessful in their search for the rest of Somerville's fleet.

7 April 1942:
150 miles SWW of Colombo. Early in the morning Tonozuka sights five Allied merchants fleeing eastward and next one merchant and an oiler on westbound course. After a fruitless chase he battle-surfaces on the 4,872-ton British armed steam merchant ELMDALE en route from Karachi to Colombo (06-52N, 78-50E). After 0240 I-3 fires a total of 39 5.5-in shells and four torpedoes, scoring 14 shell hits, but fails to finish off her target. [1]

8 April 1942:
300 miles W of Colombo. After 0150 I-3 battle-surfaces on the British armed merchant FULTALA independently on the voyage from Calcutta to Karachi with 8,000 tons of coal. After receiving one Type 89 torpedo hit the 5,051-ton merchant sinks in position 06-52N, 76-54E. Her entire crew is rescued.

9 April 1942:
I-3 returns to the area SW of Colombo.

15 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore in company of I-7.

21 April 1942:
Departs Singapore for Yokosuka.

1 May 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. That same day, LtCdr Tonozuka is promoted Commander.

20 May 1942:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Togami Ichiro (51) (former CO of I-172) assumes command. CdrTonozuka is reassigned as Chief Equipping Officer of I-34.

Probably at this time her 7.7-mm bridge-mounted machine gun is replaced with a 13.2-mm Type 93 machine gun and her Zeiss 3-meter rangefinder with a Japanese Type 97 rangefinder. Some of the armor protecting the torpedo storage compartment is removed and an automatic trim system installed. [2]

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 (former CO of ISE) Occupation Force on Attu without opposition.

7 June 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ono Takeji's Occupation Force occupies Kiska, also without opposition.

10 June 1942:
Reassigned to the Northern Unit with I-1 and I-2.

11 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for the Aleutians with I-1, I-2, I-4 and I-7 on her third war patrol.

20 June 1942:
Joins the K patrol line with I-1 and I-2, patrolling along 178W longitude, 48 to 50N latitude until 3 July.

20 July ’42:
I-3 is reassigned to the Advance Unit. On the same day she receives an order to depart her patrol area for Yokosuka.

1 August 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka for repairs.

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/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening a seven-month campaign to take the island.

20 August 1942:
SubRon 2 is disbanded. I-3 is reassigned to SubRon 1.

8 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

15 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

17 September 1942:
Departs Truk for the Shortland anchorage off Bougainville.

24 September 1942:
Reassigned to the Outer South Seas Force (Eighth Fleet) with I-1 and I-2.

26 September 1942:
Arrives at Shortland. The skippers of I-3 and I-2 participate in a staff conference researching ways to transport heavy artillery to IJA units on Guadalcanal. By that time destroyers AMAGIRI and AYANAMI have delivered four Daihatsu landing barges, each loaded with a Type 88 75-mm AA gun, an artillery tractor and several Type 96 150-mm infantry mortars.

27 September 1942:
At 0330, departs Shortland for a supply run to Guadalcanal with I-2, towing a Daihatsu landing barge loaded with weapons; returns after having accomplished her mission.

3-5 October 1942:
I-3 makes three aborted supply runs from Shortland to Wickham Anchorage, Vangunu, and Viru Harbor, New Georgia.

10 October 1942:
I-3 is reassigned to the Advance Unit, A patrol group.

15 October 1942:
At 2040, when patrolling 110 miles SSE of San Cristobal, I-3 sights several cruisers and sends a sighting report to Truk.

1 November 1942:
LtCdr Togami is promoted to Commander.

3 November 1942:
Returns to Truk. Fitted with a mounting for a waterproofed Daihatsu barge similar to the one used in I-1 to enable a rapid transfer of her cargo.

15 November 1942:
Reassigned to B patrol unit.

16 November 1942:
Truk. Vice Admiral Komatsu convenes a meeting of his submarine captains. He announces that the submarine force has been ordered by Admiral Yamamoto, CINC, Combined Fleet to organize a supply system for the IJA's 17th Army garrison on Guadalcanal.

19 November 1942:
Departs Truk for Rabaul, carrying 20 tons of food and medicines.

22 November 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

24 November 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Shortland, arrives on the following day. Embarks a Daihatsu barge mounted abaft the conning tower.

26 November 1942:
Departs Shortland for her fourth supply run to Guadalcanal.

28 November 1942:
Arrives at Kamimbo Bay, unloads her cargo, then departs.

30 November 1942:
Returns to Shortland, embarks new cargo and a new barge.

1 December 1942:
Departs Shortland on her fifth supply run to Guadalcanal.

3 December 1942:
After sunset I-3 surfaces off Kamimbo and contacts the local garrison, but is spotted and chased away by torpedo boats before delivering her cargo.

5 December 1942:
Returns to Shortland.

7 December 1942:
Departs Shortland on her sixth supply run Guadalcanal.

9 December 1942:
Three miles NE of Kamimbo Bay. After a periscope sweep LtCdr Togami brings the I-3 to the surface. The submarine contacts the local garrison and launches her Daihatsu barge, preparing to deliver her cargo. At 0652 the lookouts on Lt John M. Searles’ PT-59 patrolling the area with the PT-44 discover a barge and next to it a surfaced submarine. At 0703 PT-59 launches two 21-in Mark 15 torpedoes from 400 yards distance, one of which hits the stern of I-3. A geyser of water spouts high in the air, followed by a tremendous explosion. The second torpedo passes under the PT-44.

I-3 sinks at 09-12S, 159-42E with 90 hands; an oil slick spreads for an hour and a half. Her gunnery officer Ensign Takeichi and three seamen are blown overboard by the explosion, swim ashore and join the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal. Cdr Togami is KIA.

6 January 1943:
Cdr Togami is honored with a posthumous 2-rank promotion to Rear Admiral.

20 January 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
[1] ELMDALE was sunk in November 1942 by German submarine U-174 in the Atlantic.

[2] Some Japanese publications, including Maru Special Vol. 31, suggest that during mid-1942 refits the entire I-1 class received a new conning tower similar to the one used for I-15 class. This theory is evidently based on a poor quality photo, which allegedly shows the grounded I-3 after her loss off Guadalcanal. In reality, that photo depicts the badly battered I-27 immediately prior to her sinking.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and Jan Visser ("Visje") of the Netherlands. Thanks also go to Rob Stuart of Canada for info about I-3's role in the attack on Colombo and to Air Commodore (Ret) Norman Ashworth of Canberra, Australia, for his input regarding IJN submarine operations in Australian waters.

– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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