SENSUIKAN!

(Type B2 submarine)

IJN Submarine I-45:
Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2019 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 7


15 July 1942:
Laid down at Sasebo Navy Yard as Submarine No. 375.

5 February 1943:
Renumbered I-45. Provisionally attached to Yokosuka Naval District.

6 March 1943:
Launched as I-45.

15 October 1943:
Cdr (later Captain) Tagami Meiji (51)(former CO of I-11) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

28 December 1943:
Sasebo Navy Yard. I-45 is completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Yokosuka Naval District. Cdr Tagami Meiji is the Commanding Officer. Assigned to SubRon 11 for working-up and battle training in the Iyo Nada Sea.

31 January 1944: American Operation "Flintlock" - The Invasion of the Marshall Islands:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 58 lands the 4th Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division that capture Kwajalein, Roi-Namur and Majuro.

22 February 1944:
Arrives at Tokuyama Fuel Depot. Refuels.

23 February 1944:
Departs Tokuyama.

25 March 1944:
Reassigned to SubDiv 15, Sixth Fleet. Departs Kure on her first war patrol to harass American supply lanes in an area E of the Marshall Islands.

30 March 1944:
Alerted by "Ultra" decrypts, the Pacific Fleet HQ decides to dispatch a hunter-killer unit designated as Task Group 11.1 to destroy the Japanese submarines operating between Hawaii and the Marshalls. Commanded by Captain Alfred C. Olney, skipper of USS ALTAMAHA (CVE-18), TG 11.1 also includes destroyer escorts USS CABANA (DE-260), ELDEN (DE-264), HAROLD C. THOMAS (DE-21) and WILEMAN (DE-22).

4 April 1944:
650 miles NE of Majuro, Marshalls. After 1408 a Grumman TBM-1C "Avenger" torpedo bomber and a General Motors FM-2 "Wildcat" fighter from ALTAMAHA's VC-66 spot a surfaced submarine 108 miles west of the carrier. Lt(jg) Joseph N. Polski's "Avenger" attacks the diving I-45 with rockets and depth bombs while Ens. Charles T. Edwards' "Wildcat" strafes it. The target is observed settling down with no forward motion in the midst of an oil slick. VC-66 is credited with the sinking of a Japanese submarine.

I-45, caught while recharging the batteries, receives a direct hit to her stern and develops a serious leak. To evade the strafing attacks, Cdr Tagami orders to reverse course and dive, making full speed. Once submerged, he orders to make full speed forward. The submarine cannot be stabilized and starts a rotating dive. At 490 ft Tagami regains control of the submarine, finally stabilizing it at 330 ft.

As a result of the attacks I-45 receives heavy damage and is forced to abort her patrol.

15 April 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

Late April-Late May 1944:
Kure Navy Yard. Undergoes battle damage repairs.

10 June 1944:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral, JMSDF) Sekido Yoshimitsu (57)(former CO of I-185) is appointed the CO.

12 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.

13 June 1944: Operation "A-Go" - The Defense of the Marianas:
In Tokyo, the CinC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu (former CO of HYUGA), activates "A-Go".

28 June 1944:
Departs Yokosuka with I-55 for Tinian, Marianas carrying an "Unkato" supply container loaded with weapons and ammunition. En route I-45 reports encountering heavy seas. She is redirected to Guam to pick up stranded IJNAF carrier pilots.

14 July 1944:
Cdr Sekido attempts to deliver the container and pick up his passengers, but fails to contact the shore troops as a result of a communications mix-up.

16 July 1944:
After a second failure to contact the aircrews ashore, LtCdr Sekido orders the container dumped and heads back towards Yokosuka.

27 July 1944:
Returns to Yokosuka, later transferred to Kure.

5 September 1944:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 15 October; Cdr, posthumously) Kawashima Mamoru (64)(former CO of I-162) is appointed the CO.

13 October 1944: Operation "Sho-1-Go" - The Defense of the Philippines:
Admiral Toyoda Soemu, CinC, Combined Fleet, orders the "Sho-1-Go" plan activated. That day, I-45 departs Kure for the Philippine Sea on her second war patrol.

20 October 1944: American Operation "King Two" - The Invasion of Leyte, Philippines:
Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. 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 (24th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions) and the XXIV Corps (7th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions) that begins the campaign to retake Leyte.

24 October 1944:
I-45 is redirected to take up station "RE" off the NE coast of Mindanao. I-45, I-26, I-37, I-53 and I-54 and I-56 are designated "Group A", personally led by the CinC, Sixth Fleet, Vice Admiral Miwa Shigeyoshi.

29 October 1944:
60 miles E of Dinagat Island, Philippines. LtCdr George E. Marix's USS EVERSOLE (DE-404) and RICHARD S. BULL (DE-402) of Task Unit 77.7.1 are returning from San Pedro Bay to rejoin their unit.

At 0210, EVERSOLE obtains a doubtful sound contact with a submerged target, lost soon thereafter. At 0228 another contact is made, but a half minute later EVERSOLE receives two successive torpedo hits causing immediate loss of power and a 30 degree list. At 0240 LtCdr Marix orders Abandon Ship. In less than 15 minutes EVERSOLE sinks, stern first, at 10-18N, 127-37E.

Around 0300, I-45 surfaces to circle the area, briefly firing her 25-mm AA gun and diving 20 minutes later. At 0325, a massive underwater explosion follows, killing about 30 sailors, injuring others and rupturing their life preservers.

Alerted by the explosion, Lt. Alfred W. Gardes' RICHARD S. BULL arrives at the scene of sinking while Lt Jack C. Horton's USS WHITEHURST (DE-634), detached from a passing oiler unit screen, provides anti-submarine cover. By 0630 BULL rescues 139 officers and men out of 213 (three of the survivors die later).

At 0545 WHITEHURST, conducting a beam to beam search, picks up a contact 85 miles NE of Siargao Island, about 50 miles from the location where EVERSOLE was lost. Lt Horton makes three unsuccessful attacks with barrages of 7.2-in Mk.10 "Hedgehog" projector charges. While demonstrating "excellent evasive tactics and maneuverability", the target (in all likelihood I-45), attempts to escape at the depth of 225 ft, constantly turning away from the attacks and presenting her stern and wake.

At 0648 WHITEHURST commences her fourth "Hedgehog" run at 10-10N, 127-28E, resulting in 5-6 minor explosions. A violent underwater explosion is heard next, followed by heavy rumbling noises. The blast knocks out the destroyer escort's sound gear. At 0720 WHITEHURST resumes the search. A considerable amount of oil is observed on the surface, along with pieces of wood and other debris. The motor whaleboat from WHITEHURST retrieves pieces of deck planking, a damage control plug with Japanese markings, pieces of wood painted red and rags soaked in oil. The search is abandoned at 1215.

5 November 1944:
The Sixth Fleet HQ redirects I-45 to a new patrol area E of Lamon Bay. LtCdr Kawashima does not acknowledge the receipt of that message.

2 December 1944:
I-45 is presumed lost with all 104 hands off the Philippines.

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
Special thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.

Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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