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  I-16 Japanese Submarine


Ship History
Built at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding at Kobe. Towed to Kure Navy Yard for completion and commissioning.

Wartime History
On November 17, 1941 officers of the Special Attack Unit are briefed on the Hawaii Operation. The I-24 is assigned to Captain Sasaki Hankyu's Special Attack Unit with the I-16, I-18, I-20 and the flagship, the I-22.

Pearl Harbor Attack
On December 7, 1941 at 12:42am I-16 was seven miles SSW of the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The I-16 launches a Type A Midget submarine piloted by Lt jg) Yokoyama Masaharu with PO2C Ueda Sadamu. Afterwards, I-16 patrols west of Lanai, Hawaii and receives the message "Tora, tora, tora!" message from Lt Yokoyama about the successful air attack.

Guadalcanal Resupply Attempts
On January 13, 1943, I-16 makes her first supply run to Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal, carrying a cargo of supply drums. Because enemy planes patrolling over the area, no Daihatsu barge is dispatched to meet her. The I-16's cargo is abandoned and the submarine returns to Rabaul.

On January 25, 1943, I-16 makes a second supply run to Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal, releasing 18 tons of supplies in an Unkato (cargo transporting tube) and evacuates some Japanese including Lieutenant Commander Kenji Mitsui.


On December 7, 1942 I-16 embarks HA-22 and departs Shortland bound for Guadalcanal.

Sinking History
On December 13, 1942 at 4:48am I-16 launches HA-22 Type A midget submarine roughly 10 miles off Savo Island. Aboard is commander Lt(jg) Yoshimi Kado and crew member PO Toshio Yahagi. At dawn, HA-22 sights hospital ship USS Solace AH-5 off Lunga Point on Guadalcanal and fires both torpedoes at a destroyer in the same area but neither hits. Afterwards, submarine reaches Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal and was scuttled by the crew.


Sinking History
On May 19, 1944 the I-16 was 140 miles northeast of Cape Alexander, Solomon Islands and was sighted on the surface by an American aircraft, The ENGLAND, RABY and the GEORGE conduct a line-abreast sonar sweep. At 1335, the ENGLAND finds the I-16 on her sonar.

At 1341, the sub was attacked five times with twenty-four throw-ahead Mark 10 "hedgehog" projector charges. The hedgehogs hit on the second and fifth attacks. At 1435, after the fifth attack, a huge underwater explosion lifts the ENGLAND's fantail out of the water by 6-inches as the I-16 explodes and sinks with all hands aboard.

The explosion must have been at 500 feet or deeper because it is 20 minutes before the first debris appears. Shreds of cork, deck planking, pieces of cabinets and other objects appear. Finally, a sealed rubber container with a bag of rice inside surfaces. Almost an hour later, a small oil slick appears. By the following day, the slick is three miles wide and six miles long. On June 25, 1944 the sub was presumed lost with all aboard.

Combined Fleet - HIJMS Submarine I-16: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019



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