The I-22 was equipped with a single Type A Midget submarine and served as the flagship of the Special Attack Unit, accompanied by submarines I-16, I-18, I-20 and I-24 and arrived off Oahu. On December 7, 1941 submarine I-22 launched a midget submarine outside Pearl Harbor.
On December 15, 1941 I-22 shelled Johnson Island.
On May 3, 1942, this submarine guarded the Japanese invasion force during the landing at Tulagi.
On May 30-31, 1942, submarine I-22 participated in the midget submarine attack against Sydney Harbor, launching Type A Midget Submarine (M22). This midget was spotted, attacked and destroyed before it could fire its torpedoes. This midget sub was salvage a week later, and today is displayed at Australian War Memorial (AWM).
Precisely where and how this submarine was sunk is unknown. Japanese records presume this submarine to be lost in the Solomons as of December 12, 1942.
Possibly, during the night of December 23-24, 1942 this submarine was sunk by PT-122 off the northern coast of New Guinea near mouth of the Kumusi River near Gona at approximate position, S 08 degrees
32', E 148 degrees 17'.
PT-122 December 23-24, 1942 report:
"2310 sighted a large enemy sub surfaced also sighted dark object to the left and beyond believed to be another sub. 2321 fired after torpedoes at approx 1000 yards range, course 216 T. Starboard torpedo hit after part of sub causing large geyser of water and small flash, sub did not sink. 2325 fired forward torpedoes at approx 500 yards range. Starboard torpedo hit amidships and exploded. This was followed almost immediately by a second violent explosion. Sub broke in half and sank. At 2334 maneuvered to avoid four torpedoes fired from second sub."
This submarine has never been found. During the 1980s, salvage diver Fritz Herscheid searched for this submarine in Holnicote Bay.
Combined Fleet - IJN Submarine I-22: Tabular Record of Movement
The Last New Guinea Salvage Pirate, pages 400 - 402
"Month after month, I would make a detour into the fringes of Holnicote Bay to check the clarity of the water. If it was dirty, as it usually was, I would just continue on my way. Then one day, the weather conditions were perfect. The water was crystal clear. From the masthead, I could see what was a hunk of iron or a semi-circular two-tiered railing that looked exactly like the conning tower of a German submarine. Bearing in mind that the report clearly states the sub broke in half, it was possible we were looking at nothing more than the mangled remains that resembled the conning tower of a German submarine."
PT-122 December 23-24, 1942 report
Japanese Submarines at Pearl Harbor notes I-22 sunk on October 5, 1942
by a PBY Catalina near Indispensable Strait, Solomons
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 173-174
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May 26, 2019