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  I-180 Japanese Submarine

Sub History
Completed on January 15, 1943 at Yokosuka Navy Yard. Commissioned and based in the Sasebo Naval District. Assigned to SubDiv 22 in Rear Admiral Daigo Tadashige Kure SubRon. LtCdr Kusaka Toshio (former CO of I-174) is assigned as captain.

On March 15, 1943, reassigned to SubRon 3's SubDiv 22 with the I-177 and I-178. Departs Kure with the I-177 and the I-178, on March 30, 1943. Arrives at Truk on April 7, 1943.

First War Patrol
Three days later, I-180 is assigned to patrol off the east coast of Australia, and departs Truk with the I-177 and the I-178.

On April 26, 1943, off Eastern Australia, I-180 attacks an unidentified merchant at 28S, 157E firing three torpedoes, but obtains no hits.

On April 29, 1943, located 55 miles ESE of Smokey Cape, I-180 sinks Wollongbar a 2,239-ton Australian merchant shit at 31-17S, 153-07E. Five of her 37 crewmen survive and are later rescued by the trawler X.L.C.R.

On May 5, 1943 off Coffs Harbor, New South Wales I-180 attacks Fingal a 2,137-ton Norwegian merchant, under charter to the Australian Government. The Fingal is enroute from Sydney to Port Darwin with general cargo and ammunition, escorted by the USS Patterson (DD-392). FINGAL is hit by one torpedo portside aft and then hit by another in the engine room. She goes down within a minute at 30-35S, 153-29E. Two hours later, the Patterson picks up 19 survivors of her crew of 31.

On May 12, 1943, north-east of Coffs Harbour. The 5,832-ton Australian merchant Ormiston, Commodore of the 15-ship Allied convoy P.G. 50, is on the last leg of a voyage with a cargo of bagged sugar from Cairns via Brisbane to Sydney.

I-180 fires a torpedo that hits the Ormiston on her port side. The Australian merchant Caradale is also hit but the torpedo fails to explode and does no damage. The Ormiston, escorted by HMAS Ballarat, HMAS Kybra and the USS Henley (DD-391), successfully reach Coffs Harbour, has temporary repairs and eventually reaches Sydney. Afterwards, I-180 departs for Truk arriving on May 25, 1943.

Second War Patrol
On June 20, 1943, departs Truk with I-177 to operate off the eastern coast of Australia. On June 1943, both submarines were instead directed to an area between New Georgia and Santa Isabel to attack enemy landing forces off Rendova, and arrives at this patrol area on July 6, 1943.

After The Battle of Kolombangara on July 13, 1943, I-180 arrives in the area of the battle at 07-38S, 157-06E and rescues 21 crew members from Jintsu.

On July 20, 1943, SubRon 3 is reassigned to the Southeast Area Fleet.

On July 21, 1943, the submarine arrives at Buin (Kahili) and departs that same day, returning to Rabaul the next day. On August 2, 1943 departs Rabaul on a supply run to Lae, arriving two days later at Lae, unloads cargo, and departs for Truk, returning on August 10, 1943 to Truk.

On September 8, 1943, arrives at Rabaul. There, on September 14, LtCdr Fujita Hidenori (former CO of RO-103) assumes command. Cdr Kusaka becomes the CO of the I-26.

Next, on September 17, 1943, departs Rabaul for a supply missions to Finschafen, arriving two days later, unloads cargo, departs and returns to Rabaul on September 21.

On September 24, 1943, departs Rabaul on her third supply run to Finschafen, arriving three days later. After establishes contact with ground troops, but before she can unload her cargo, the I-180 is attacked by enemy vessels and depth-charged. She submerges and releases her deck cargo in rubber containers. After the attack the I-180 remains in the vicinity. Still off Finschafen on September 29, 1943, I-180 again establishes contact with the ground troops and unloads the rest of her cargo.

Next on October 7, 1943, arrives at Sio, unloads cargo and departs, returning to Rabaul on October 10, 1943.

12 October 1943: American Air Raid on Rabaul: 5th Air Force hits Rabaul with the biggest raid made up to this time in the Pacific war. 349 aircraft, including 87 B-17 and B-24 bombers, 114 B-25 strafers, 12 RAAF "Beaufighters" and 125 P-38 "Lightning's" and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul town, airfields and Simpson Harbor. Over 50 Japanese aircraft are destroyed and several ships sunk and damaged.

The I-180, moored at a pier undergoing repairs, is the only submarine damaged in the attack. Unable to move, she is hit by a bomb that destroys her superstructure and wounds her torpedo officer Lt Higuchi Toshio (he dies three days later) and three crewmen on the bridge. As a result of her damage, the I-180 can not dive.

On October 21, departs Rabaul and five days later, arrives at Truk and departs the same day and is reassigned to SubRon 1.

On November 2, 1943 arrives at Sasebo, and remains until January 1, 1944, when the submarine departs for Truk, arriving January 8. On January 19 1944, departs Truk but suffers a mechanical failure and turns back, returning on January 21 and undergoes repairs, departing the next day.

Arrived Sasebo on January 30, 1944 and remains until March 16, 1944, arriving at Ominato three days later. On March 20, 1944 departs Ominato to patrol east of Unalaska and south of Kodiak, and is scheduled to return to Ominato on May 13.

On April 19, 1944, south of Alaska. The I-180 torpedoes and sinks the 7,176-ton American Liberty ship John Straub, sinking by the bow at 54-22N, 163-24E.

On April 25, 1944, while south-west of Cherikof Island, in the Aleutians. Lt W. D. Jenckes' USS GILMORE (DE-18) and the EDWARD C. DALEY (DE-17) are escorting a convoy from Dutch Harbor to Kodiak.

At 2230, USS Gilmore SG radar picks up a surfaced submarine at 8,000 yards. At 4,000 yards, the "pip" disappears and contact is broken. The Gilmore acquires a sound contact at 2,600 yards. In the next hour, Jenckes lays down three separate barrages of Mark 10 "hedgehogs" of twenty-four projector charges without result.

Sinking History
On April 26, 1944 at 0027 USS Gilmore drops a pattern of 13 depth charges without result. At 1:07am, Jenckes drops another pattern of 13 depth charges. At 0112, the Gilmore's efforts are rewarded by a heavy underwater explosion that rocks the destroyer escort. The submarine, probably I-180 was sunk at roughly 55-10N, 155-40W. Officially, on May 20, 1944, the sub is presumed lost with all hands in the Kodiak area. Officially removed from the Navy list on July 10, 1944.

Combined Fleet - IJN Submarine I-180: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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