Built at Kawasaki's Kobe yard. Commissioned on December 28, 1942. Assigned to the Sasebo Naval District to Kure SubRon with LtCdr Nakagawa Hajime (former CO of I-4) as the captain.
On May 14, 1943 cruising on the surface east of Brisbane, 24 miles ENE of the Point Lookout lighthouse on Stradbroke Island, Cape Moreton. At 4:10am fires a torpedo at Australian Hospital Ship Centaur. The ship is set on fire and sinks in only three minutes. Afterwards I-177 surfaces nearby, but takes no action for or against the survivors. Only 64 survived from 332 people on board. Her sinking was
the worst merchant ship tragedy on the Australian coast during the war.
On November 26, 1943 I-177 rescued 278
survivors of Yugiri.
On October 3, 1944 the submarine was north-north-east of Angaur. Spotted by radar aboard USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75), the destroyer USS Samuel S. Miles is sent to investigate. At 4:40am the destroyer sites the submarine surfaced, and speeds towards it. Seeing the attacker, I-177 attempts to crash dive but is sighted on sonar and fires 24 Mark 10 "hedgehog" projector charges, followed by a second salvo that sinks the submarine with the entire crew of 101 aboard.
The next day, the Navy fails to get a planned radio message. Officially on November 18, 1944 the submarine was presumed lost in the Palau area.
War Crimes Trial
Nakagawa denied sinking the Centaur, but serves four years in the Sugamo Prison after pleading guilty to the machine-gunning of merchant crew survivors in the Indian Ocean while captain of I-37.
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February 4, 2018