Junsen Type J1
319' x 30' x 16.5'
2 x 140mm guns, fore and aft (in January 1943 the aft gun was replaced with a Daihatsu barge)
6x 533mm torpedo tubes
20 x Type 95 Torpedoes
Russell Clark c1943
USN Feb 11, 1943
Justin Taylan 2003
Tom McLeod 2005
The submarine was forced to the surface and made a run at ship, while exchanging gunfire. The submarine altered course to starboard just before HMNZS Kiwi rammed it on the port side aft of the conning tower. Numerous gunfire hits also impacted the submarine. HMNZS Kiwi again rammed the submarine and aboard an officer, was seen to be hit by machine gun fire. A third ramming damaged both vessels and HMNZS Moa took up the chase, following the submarine and continually firing its 4" gun at the target. More than two hours after the first attack, the I-1 hit the reef near Kamimbo Bay and was disabled.
Immediately after the sinking, this shallow shipwreck was intensively investigated by the Allies. From inside the submarine code books containing updated Japanese Navy codes were captured, and sent to American intelligence at Pearl Harbor. Also, the 140mm deck gun was removed plus many other artifacts and souvenirs.
During the late 1960s or early 1970s, Australian Wally Gibbons blew up the bow section of the submarine in search of booty. Although this caused a great deal of damage (there was still one or two live torpedoes inside), the bow sections of the sub are still on-site, but opened up. The front one-third is basically destroyed with the remaining section still virtually intact.
Ewan Stevenson adds:
On the sand adjacent to the vessel's port side near the 15 meter level is a huge battery compartment with hundreds of wet-cell batteries in and around it. Other interesting objects to be seen include air-bank cylinders (used for discharging ballast tanks) and the huge electric motors that powered the vessel underwater. It is a simple matter to follow the debris to the main part of the wreck. At about the 18 meter level you can enter the submarine and penetrate right through to the stern. At the stern you can see the submarine's dive planes, rudder and propeller shafts. The return dive can be done on the outside. This is an excellent dive and like most of the wrecks around Honiara, the coral and fish life in the shallower sections are very good.