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On April 26, 1943, off Eastern Australia, I-180 attacks an unidentified merchant at 28S, 157E firing three torpedoes, but obtains no hits.
On April 29, 1943, located 55 miles ESE of Smokey Cape, I-180 sinks Wollongbar a 2,239-ton Australian merchant shit at 31-17S, 153-07E. Five of her 37 crewmen survive and are later rescued by the trawler X.L.C.R.
On May 5, 1943 off Coffs Harbor, New South Wales I-180 attacks Fingal a 2,137-ton Norwegian merchant, under charter to the Australian Government. The Fingal is enroute from Sydney to Port Darwin with general cargo and ammunition, escorted by the USS Patterson (DD-392). FINGAL is hit by one torpedo portside aft and then hit by another in the engine room. She goes down within a minute at 30-35S, 153-29E. Two hours later, the Patterson picks up 19 survivors of her crew of 31.
On May 12, 1943, north-east of Coffs Harbour. The 5,832-ton Australian merchant Ormiston, Commodore of the 15-ship Allied convoy P.G. 50, is on the last leg of a voyage with a cargo of bagged sugar from Cairns via Brisbane to Sydney.
I-180 fires a torpedo that hits the Ormiston on her port side. The Australian merchant Caradale is also hit but the torpedo fails to explode and does no damage. The Ormiston, escorted by HMAS Ballarat, HMAS Kybra and the USS Henley (DD-391), successfully reach Coffs Harbour, has temporary repairs and eventually reaches Sydney. Afterwards, I-180 departs for Truk arriving on May 25, 1943.
Second War Patrol
After The Battle of Kolombangara on July 13, 1943, I-180 arrives in the area of the battle at 07-38S, 157-06E and rescues 21 crew members from Jintsu.
On July 20, 1943, SubRon 3 is reassigned to the Southeast Area Fleet.
On July 21, 1943, the submarine arrives at Buin (Kahili) and departs that same day, returning to Rabaul the next day. On August 2, 1943 departs Rabaul on a supply run to Lae, arriving two days later at Lae, unloads cargo, and departs for Truk, returning on August 10, 1943 to Truk.
On September 8, 1943, arrives at Rabaul. There, on September 14, LtCdr Fujita Hidenori (former CO of RO-103) assumes command. Cdr Kusaka becomes the CO of the I-26.
On September 24, 1943, departs Rabaul on her third supply run to Finschafen, arriving three days later. After establishes contact with ground troops, but before she can unload her cargo, the I-180 is attacked by enemy vessels and depth-charged. She submerges and releases her deck cargo in rubber containers. After the attack the I-180 remains in the vicinity. Still off Finschafen on September 29, 1943, I-180 again establishes contact with the ground troops and unloads the rest of her cargo.
12 October 1943: American Air Raid on Rabaul: 5th Air Force hits Rabaul with the biggest raid made up to this time in the Pacific war. 349 aircraft, including 87 B-17 and B-24 bombers, 114 B-25 strafers, 12 RAAF "Beaufighters" and 125 P-38 "Lightning's" and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul town, airfields and Simpson Harbor. Over 50 Japanese aircraft are destroyed and several ships sunk and damaged.
The I-180, moored at a pier undergoing repairs, is the only submarine damaged in the attack. Unable to move, she is hit by a bomb that destroys her superstructure and wounds her torpedo officer Lt Higuchi Toshio (he dies three days later) and three crewmen on the bridge. As a result of her damage, the I-180 can not dive.
On October 21, departs Rabaul and five days later, arrives at Truk and departs the same day and is reassigned to SubRon 1.
On November 2, 1943 arrives at Sasebo, and remains until January 1, 1944, when the submarine departs for Truk, arriving January 8. On January 19 1944, departs Truk but suffers a mechanical failure and turns back, returning on January 21 and undergoes repairs, departing the next day.
Arrived Sasebo on January 30, 1944 and remains until March 16, 1944, arriving at Ominato three days later. On March 20, 1944 departs Ominato to patrol east of Unalaska and south of Kodiak, and is scheduled to return to Ominato on May 13.
On April 19, 1944, south of Alaska. The I-180 torpedoes and sinks the 7,176-ton American Liberty ship John Straub, sinking by the bow at 54-22N, 163-24E.
At 2230, USS Gilmore SG radar picks up a surfaced submarine at 8,000 yards. At 4,000 yards, the "pip" disappears and contact is broken. The Gilmore acquires a sound contact at 2,600 yards. In the next hour, Jenckes lays down three separate barrages of Mark 10 "hedgehogs" of twenty-four projector charges without result.
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