IJN Submarine I-351: Tabular Record of
© 2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
1 May 1943:
Laid down at Kure Navy Yard as Submarine
No. 655, the first unit of the planned class of the "Sen-ho" avgas
22 December 1943:
Renumbered I-351 and provisionally attached to
Kure Naval District.
24 February 1944:
Launched and officially attached to Kure Naval
25 August 1944:
Cdr (later Captain) Tagami Meiji (51)(currently
serving at the submarine section of Kure Navy Yard) is appointed the Chief
Equipping Officer (CEO) as additional duty.
10 October 1944:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral, JMSDF) Nanbu Nobukiyo
(61)(former CO of I-362) is appointed the CEO.
11 December 1944:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Okayama Noboru
(64)(former CO of I-361) is appointed the CEO.
28 January 1945:
I-351 is completed and commissioned in the IJN.
She is equipped with a Type 22 surface-search radar and E27 Type 3 radar
detectors. A Type 13 air-search radar is installed after the initial tests.
Assigned to SubRon 11 for working-up. LtCdr Okayama Noboru is the
Late January-early April 1945:
Works up in Iyo Nada, Inland Sea.
4 April 1945:
Assigned to SubDiv 15, Sixth Fleet. Continues battle
training in Inland Sea until mid-April.
1 May 1945:
The I-351 departs Kure for Singapore, carrying clothing,
ammunition and aircraft parts.
15 May 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.
18 May 1945:
On that day, the USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne,
Australia (FRUMEL) decodes the following message from I-351, timed 171026:
"Arrived Singapore on 15th. Entered dock on 17th. Will change ballast and undock
on 20th. Due to leave on 21st after loading aviation spirit and..."
20 May 1945:
Departs Singapore, carrying 132,000 gallons of
31 May 1945:
On that day, FRUMEL provides the following information:
"Submarine I-351, on passage from Singapore to Sasebo expects to arrive at 1300
on 3rd June. Her noon position on 2nd will be 31-00N, 126-00E."
3 June 1945
I-351 arrives at Sasebo. Most of the fuel she carried is
later used for kamikaze training. Vice Admiral Daigo Tadashige, CinC, Sixth
Fleet (Submarines), receives a special commendation from Vice Admiral Ozawa
Jisaburo, CinC, Combined Fleet, for I-351's successful mission.
14 June 1945:
On that day, CincPac's ULTRA Bulletin provides the
following information: "Sub I-351 scheduled depart Sasebo about 19 June en route
Singapore transporting AA ammo and cryptographic publications. Estimate will
transport Avgas and other strategic materials on return trip to Japan."
22 June 1945:
At 1400, departs Sasebo on her second supply run to
Singapore, carrying the Japanese commanding personnel for ex-Kriegsmarine
submarines U-181 and U-862 (renamed I-501 and I-502), as well as a total of 60
boxes of new code books for the Tenth Area Fleet.
That same day, CincPac's ULTRA Bulletin provides the following
information: "I-351 departed Sasebo 221400 for Singapore. May be off China
Coast 28-20N at noon 25th."
5 July 1945:
I-351's Type 13 air-search radar breaks down.
6 July 1945:
Arrives at Singapore, embarks 132,100 gallons of
7-10 July 1945:
Dry-docked at Singapore.
11 July 1945:
Departs Singapore for Sasebo, carrying 42 flyers of the
936th Kokutai (E13A1 "Jakes"), an ASW and convoy patrol unit of the 13th Air
14 July 1945:
South China Sea, ENE of Natuna Besar, Borneo. At 2356,
I-351, zig-zagging on base course 035 at 14 kts, is picked up on radar by LtCdr
J. H. Campbell's USS BLOWER (SS-325).
15 July 1945:
At 0030, BLOWER picks up radar impulses from the I-class
submarine and dives. At 0211 Campbell launches four Mk.18-2 torpedoes in two
spreads in 05-36N, 109-37E. The first two hit the target, but do not explode.
I-351 dives away and Campbell alerts the nearby USS BLUEFISH (SS-222).
100 miles ENE of Natuna Besar. At 0314, I-351, running on the surface, is
picked up on radar by Cdr George W. Forbes, Jr.'s BLUEFISH. Forbes tracks and
closes on the target for almost an hour. At 0411 he fires four Mk.14-3A
torpedoes at a range of 1,850 yds and scores two hits. I-351 explodes and breaks
in two, then sinks by the stern at 04-30N, 110-00E.
In the morning, BLUEFISH picks up three survivors. A total of 110 sailors
and flyers are KIA. 
31 July 1945:
I-351 is presumed lost with all hands in the South China
15 September 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
 USS BLUEFISH recovered three survivors who identified
her target as I-351. They stated the submarine left Singapore of 12 July
[actually 11 July] and on 15 July were torpedoed while the submarine was
proceeding on surface at a speed of about 10 knots. All three prisoners were
lookouts at the time. One of them saw four torpedoes approaching, one was wide
of the target forward, one was aft and the other two struck; one amidship and
the other aft. One survivor claimed it happened too quickly for him to give
warning. One torpedo struck the aviation gasoline tank and a tremendous
explosion followed. All three survivors were thrown clear and rendered
unconscious. They came to in the water and swam for four hours before being
Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and to John Whitman
of the USA. Special thanks go to Hans Mcilveen of the Netherlands for info on
– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
Back to Submarine