SENSUIKAN!

(Type B2 submarine)

IJN Submarine I-41:
Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 4


18 March 1942:
Kure Navy Yard. Laid down as Type B2 submarine No. 371.

20 August 1942:
Renumbered I-41 and provisionally attached to Yokosuka Naval District.

10 November 1942:
Launched.

28 June 1943:
LtCdr (later Cdr/Vice Admiral, JMSDF) Yoshimatsu Tamori (55)(former CO of I-159) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

18 September 1943:
Completed and attached to Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to SubRon 11. LtCdr (promoted Cdr 1 November 1943) Yoshimatsu Tamori is the Commanding Officer.

15 December 1943:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Itakura Mitsuma (61)(former CO of I-2/CEO of I-44) is appointed the CO.

20 December 1943:
Assigned to the Sixth Fleet in SubRon 1's SubDiv 15.

29 December 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk. Her floatplane, deck gun and all reserve torpedoes are landed to prepare her for the future transport missions.

5 January 1944:
Reassigned to the Southeast Area Fleet.

10 January 1944:
Designated the flagship of SubDiv 15.

15 January 1944:
Departs Truk for Rabaul via the South Pass. On that same day SubRon 1 is disbanded. I-41 is attached directly to the Sixth Fleet HQ.

19 January 1944:
Arrives at Rabaul.

23 January 1944:
Departs Rabaul on her first supply run to Sarmi, New Guinea.

25 January 1944:
After 1900 arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo to a Daihatsu barge sent from ashore, departs for Rabaul after embarking 8 Army passengers.

27 January 1944:
Arrives at Rabaul.

31 January 1944:
Departs Rabaul on a supply mission to Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, carrying three Army officers.

4 February 1944:
Evades minefields and enemy patrols and arrives safely at Buin. Unloads supplies and passengers, then departs for Rabaul.

7 February 1944:
Returns to Rabaul.

12 February 1944:
Departs Rabaul on her second supply run to Buin.

20 February 1944:
Arrives at Buin after a four-day delay; unloads her cargo and departs for Rabaul on that same day.

24 February 1944:
Returns to Rabaul.

27 February 1944:
Departs Rabaul for Truk, carrying 98 naval pilots and staff officers, including the CO of the 501st Naval Air Group and his 6-strong staff.

2 March 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

7 March 1944:
Departs Truk for Rabaul; recalled to Truk on the 9th.

19 March 1944:
Returns to Truk.

15 March 1944:
Departs Truk for Rabaul.

19 March 1944:
One hour before the sunup when I-41 is running surfaced in the area N of Rabaul, she is attacked by an unidentified submarine that fires two torpedoes. LtCdr Itakura, alerted by the lookouts, evades the attack with a sharp turn to port. The nearest torpedo passes 55 yards ahead of I-41.

20 March 1944:
Arrives at Rabaul. Reassigned to SubRon 7. On that same day USN Fleet Radio Unit Melbourne (FRUMEL) decodes the following message from an unidentified unit: "Submarine I-41 is to leave Rabaul at 0300 on 21st, pass through 3-08S, 149-21E at 0200 on 23rd, and arrive Truk at 1330 on 25th."

21 March 1944:
Departs Rabaul for Truk, carrying carrying 98 passengers including ComSubRon 7 Rear Admiral Owada Noboru (former CO of YAMASHIRO), his staff and many airmen.

24 March 1944:
On that day, FRUMEL decodes the following message from Truk Base Force: "Expect submarine I-41 to arrive South Channel about 0900 tomorrow 25th."

25 March 1944:
I-41 arrives at Truk. Escorted through the South Channel by the 139-ton auxiliary picket vessel KINPO MARU No. 1.

April 1944: Operation "Tatsumaki" (Tornado) - Amphibious Tank Attack at Majuro, Marshall Islands:
Inland Sea. I-41 participates in training with I-36, I-38, I-44 and I-53. The operation calls for the submarines to carry amphibious tanks armed with torpedoes from Kure to Majuro. There they are to be put ashore, make their way overland, enter the water again and make a torpedo attack on American ships. Later, the plan is cancelled.

1 April 1944:
Departs Truk on her third supply run to Buin, carrying 50 tons of food and supplies.

7 April 1944:
Arrives at Buin and unloads her cargo. Embarks 73 passengers, then departs for Truk.

13 April 1944:
Returns to Truk. The deck gun is remounted. For his successful transport runs LtCdr Itakura receives a gift of the government-produced cigarettes (the so-called "onshi no tabako") from Vice Admiral Takagi Takeo (former CO of MUTSU), CINC, Sixth Fleet.

19 April 1944:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka.

25 April 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Later transferred to Kure.

15 May 1944:
Departs Kure to patrol between Admiralty Islands and Wewak, New Guinea on her first war patrol.

13 June 1944: Operation "A-Go": The Defense of the Marianas:
Admiral Toyoda Soemu (former CO of HYUGA), CINC, Combined Fleet, receives a report that the American fleet anchorage at Majuro is empty. Toyoda orders Vice Admiral Takagi to redeploy his boats to the Marianas.

14 June 1944:
I-41 is ordered to proceed to the S of Guam at best possible speed.

15 June 1944: American Operation "Forager" - The Invasion of Saipan:
Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner's Task Force 52 lands Marine Lt Gen Holland M. Smith's V Amphibious Corps and the invasion begins. Communications between Takagi's Advance Expeditionary Force (Sixth Fleet) are disrupted by the invasion. Command of the Sixth Fleet's submarines passes to Rear Admiral Owada, ComSubRon 7 at Truk. In his last message sent from the island, Takagi announces that he and his staff officers are going to join a banzai charge at any minute. He is promoted Admiral, posthumously

16 June 1944:
Reassigned to the "C" patrol unit with RO-113, RO-114, RO-115, and RO-117. Redirected to the new area SE of the Marianas.

21 June 1944:
CINC, Combined Fleet orders ComSubRon 7, Rear Admiral Owada to dispatch one fleet submarine to Guam to rescue the IJNAF pilots stranded there.

22 June 1944:
Owada orders I-41 to proceed to Guam and evacuate IJN pilots.

24 June 1944:
Guam. After 1100 (local), I-41 arrives off Apra harbor and conducts a periscope reconnaissance in search of a suitable point of embarkation.

After sunset the submarine surfaces within 1100 yds off the coast and contacts the shore units. Two "Daihatsu" barges manage to transfer a total of 106 naval pilots (most from the 705th NAG), when an approaching Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bomber is sighted. The embarkation is aborted and I-41 dives away.

30 June 1944:
I-41 disembarks the pilots at Oita on Kyushu.

1 July 1944:
Arrives at Kure, conducts battle training thereafter.

5 August 1944:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Kondo Fumitake (62)(former CO of RO-112) is appointed the CO.

9 October 1944:
Temporarily transferred to Otsujima kaiten base in the Inland Sea (Yamaguchi Prefecture) to train the human torpedo crews.

13 October 1944: Operation "Sho-1-Go" - The Defense of the Philippines:
Admiral Toyoda orders the Sho-1-Go plan activated.

19 October 1944:
Reassigned to patrol unit "C". Departs Kure in company of I-38 on her second war patrol to operate east of the Philippines.

20 October 1944: American Operation "King Two" - The Invasion of Leyte, Philippines:
Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey's (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3) 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, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions) that begins an 8 month campaign to retake Leyte.

24 October 1944:
I-41 is ordered to proceed at flank speed to the east of Leyte.

31 October 1944:
At 2400 (JST), LtCdr Kondo reports the sighting of a task force with 3 carriers in the area 220 miles ENE of Suluan Island.

3 November 1944:
Off San Bernardino Strait, Philippines. I-41's lookouts sight the carriers of TG 38.3. A 2330 (local), LtCdr Kondo sets up and fires a salvo of Type 95 torpedoes. Two hit the light cruiser USS RENO (CL-96) in the port side at 13-46N, 131-27E. One torpedo, lodged in the cruiser's hull, does not explode. RENO goes dead in the water and takes on a 16-degree list, but is later pumped out and towed by tug USS ZUNI (ATF-95) 700 miles to Ulithi for temporary repairs.

LtCdr Kondo reports sinking an ESSEX-class carrier. A Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga ("Frances") attack bomber of the 763rd Naval Air Group based at Clark Field "confirms" I-41's claim. Kondo receives a special citation from the Emperor.

12 November 1944:
LtCdr Kondo reports a sound contact with an enemy task force in his patrol area. This is the last message received from I-41.

18 November 1944:
250 miles E of Samar. During an ASW patrol in the Philippine Sea, Task Group 30.7's USS ANZIO (CVE-57) is alerted to the presence of a Japanese submarine in her operating area by an "Ultra" signals-intelligence message. ANZIO's aircraft conduct an ASW sweep. Around 0330 VC-82's CO, LtCdr Charles H. Holt's TBM-1C "Avenger" makes a radar contact on a submarine in a rain squall and drops several flares, after which the contact is lost. Unable to release his Mk.24 "Fido" homing anti-submarine torpedo, Holt contacts Lt(jg) William J. Wilson's "Avenger", patrolling in vicinity, drops float lights and sonobuoys and starts to track the submarine.

Lt(jg) Wilson drops his Mk.24 anti-submarine torpedo which fails to explode. At 0417 the flagship of ComCortDiv 72, LtCdr R. Cullinan Jr.'s LAWRENCE C. TAYLOR (DE-415 and her sister-ship MELVIN R. NAWMAN (DE-416) arrive where the two "Avengers" are circling. After 0605, LAWRENCE C. TAYLOR makes two "Hedgehog" attacks, missing the target. At 0616, MELVIN R. NAWMAN conducts another attack, again without success. At 0630, LAWRENCE C. TAYLOR conducts her third "Hedgehog" attack; three small explosions reverberate through the water, followed by a tremendous blast.

Shortly thereafter a large mass of diesel oil comes to the surface along with pieces of deck planking, cork and other debris. The submarine in all likelihood I-41 sinks at 12-44N, 130-42E. [1]

2 December 1944:
Presumed lost with all 111 hands off the Philippines.

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:

[1] Theodor Roscoe (1960) and William T. Y'Blood (1987) credit LAWRENCE C. TAYLOR with the destruction of I-26, which was probably lost earlier that month or in late October.

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 FRUMEL intercepts.

Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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