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46 Tons (surfaced)
47 Tons (submerged)
78.5' x 6' x 10.2'
2 x Type 97 torpedo
140kg scuttling charge
On November 2, 1942 at Shortland HA-11 was secured to the deck of I-20 while other midget subs were loaded aboard I-16 and I-24 at Shortland. Loading by November 5, 1942 the three submarines departed that evening under the command of Captain Ota Nobunosuke to patrol Indispensable Strait.
At 4:30am, this midget submarine begins reconnoiter the Lunga anchorage for targets. At 7:00am spots a destroyer and dives to 66' depth, changes course then at 7:25am resurfaces and spots two destroyers unloading supplies and fires one torpedo from 1,300 yards at the nearest target and dives to 100'.
Meanwhile at 7:27am USS Lansdowne DD-486 spotted a periscope and makes a sharp turn as the torpedo fired passes the stern but instead hits USS Majaba AG-43 that is damaged, beached and later salvaged. Afterwards, USS Lansdowne DD-486 and USS Lardner DD-487 search for the submarine. At 7:36am USS Lansdowne makes sonar contact and at 7:41 drops eleven depth charges then at 7:48 another eleven but the midget submarine escapes undamaged.
At 8:50am, commander Kunihiro notes his gyrocompass is malfunctioning then takes a course of 270°. At 11:00am surfaces 5,500 yards off Savo Island then dives on a course bound for Cape Esperence. At noon, changes course for Marovovo but at 12:45pm two aircraft are spotted and the submarine dives to 100'. At 1:45 the gyrocompass fails and the submarine surfaces. At 2:30pm run aground at Marovovo on Guadalcanal. Afterwards, the crew destroy secret materials then scuttled the submarine.
Fates of the Crew
Ewan Stevenson adds:
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