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  I-16 Japanese Submarine
Type C1 Submarine

2,595 Tons (Sufaced)
3,618 Tons (Submerged)
358' 7" x 29' 10" x 17' 5"
8 x 21" torpedo tubes
1 x 14cm deck gun
2 x 25mm AA guns
Type A midget submarine

Sub History
Built at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding at Kobe with yard number 44. Laid down September 15, 1937 as Type C cruiser submarines of C1 sub-class. Launched July 8, 1938 as I-16 towed to Kure Navy Yard for completion. Commissioned March 30, 1940 in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

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

Pearl Harbor Attack
On December 7, 1941 at 12:42am I-16 was of the entrance to Pearl Harbor and launches HA-16 Type A Midget Submarine (Midget E) piloted by Lt(jg) Yokoyama Masaharu with PO2C Ueda Sadamu. Afterwards, I-16 patrols west of Lanai 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 carrying a cargo of supply drums makes her first supply run to Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal. Because enemy planes were patrolling over the area, no Daihatsu barges were dispatched to meet the submarine. Instead, I-16 abandons her cargo and the submarine departs for 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 spotted on the surface by U. S. aircraft 140 miles northeast of Cape Alexander on Choiseul Island. Afterwards, USS England, USS Raby and USS George onduct a line-abreast sonar sweep. At 1:35pm USS England spots I-16 on sonar and at starting at 1:41pm attacked five times with twenty-four 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 fantail out of the water by 6" as the I-16 explodes and sinks with all hands aboard.

The explosion must have been 500' or deeper because was 20 minutes before the first debris appeared at the surface. Shreds of cork, deck planking, pieces of cabinets and other objects appear. Finally, a sealed rubber container with a bag of rice inside surfaced. Almost an hour later, a small oil slick appears. The next day, a 3 by 6 mile oil slick was observed on the surface at the sinking location.

On June 25, 1944 the sub was officially presumed lost with all aboard.

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

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Last Updated
November 24, 2020


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