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  I-124 Japanese Submarine (SS-60)

Ship History
Japanese submarine built by Kawasaki at Kobe. Completed December 10, 1928. Commissioned in Japanese Navy as SS-60. During June 1938, renumbered I-124.

Wartime History
Under the command of Lt. Commander Kisagami. Participated in the attack on the Philippines, laying mines in Manila Bay that sink the British freighter Hareldawins. Next, participates in the attack on Celebes then patrols off Darwin.

Sinking History
On January 21, 1942 while patrolling off Darwin during the early morning USS Alden (DD-211) made contact with the submarine and dropped six depth charges, without result. Also, a plane from USS Langley reported attacking a submarine. The Alden steams to the reported position, sees an oil slick and drops more depth charges then returns to port.

That afternoon, while taking on fuel, the Alden is ordered to accompany USS Edsall DD-219 to the location of the earlier attack with HMAS Deloraine, HMAS Lithgow and HMAS Katoomba. The first to arrive was HMAS Deloraine commanded by LtCdr Desmond A. Menlove.

LtCdr Kisagami sets up on this new threat and fires a torpedo with a shallow depth setting at the Deloraine. At 1335, the corvette's starboard lookout reports "torpedo approaching, Green 100". The Deloraine turns hard starboard at full speed and the torpedo passes ten feet astern. The corvette's ASDIC locates the I-124 about 2,500 yards ahead and creeping south. The Deloraine drops pattern after pattern of depth charges. Then the bridge lookout reports a conning tower breaking surface. Deloraine rolls a depth charge close alongside I-124 as the submarine submerges, but air bubbles and oil rise to the surface.

The Alden and Edsall arrived, accompanied by a PBY Catalina and two American floatplanes, to find the Deloraine dropping depth charges. The Americans patrol near the submarine contact but are unable to locate the oil slick because of a heavy rainsquall. The LITHGOW and the KATOOMBA patrol another area. After the action, the DELORAINE claims two, and the KATOOMBA one, submarine sunk.

Aboard the I-124, the overpressure created during the depth charge attacks deform the thin seals of the submarine's hatch gaskets and took un water, sinking with the crew of 80 in the western entrance of the Clarence Strait at roughly 12° 05N 130° 06E. I-124 is the first Japanese warship sunk by the Royal Australian Navy.

Three weeks later, on February 11, 1942 four Japanese mines, possibly laid by I-124, wash ashore near Darwin.

During the war, divers from submarine tender USS Holland (AS-3) dive the submarine. The I-124 rests upright at a depth of 140'. Her conning tower is largely disintegrated.

Today, the wreck is declared a war grave and is also protected under the Australian Historic Shipwrecks Act. Vessels are prohibited from anchoring within 500 meters of the submarine.

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Last Updated
February 2, 2016



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