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Type C I-16 Class
358' 7" x 29' 10" x 17' 6"
2,184 Tons (surfaced)
3,561 Tons (submerged)
6 × 21" Torpedo tubes with 20 Type 95 Torpedoes
1 × 140mm deck gun
2 x 25mm Type 96 AA guns
Built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding in Kobe. Laid down November 16, 1937. Launched January 25, 1939. Commissioned on September 26, 1940 into the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) under the command of Commander Yamada Takashi and based in the Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to SubRon 1's SubDiv 2, Sixth Fleet on January 31, 1941.
On November 17, 1941 at the Kure Naval Club, officers are briefed on "Operation Z" the Hawaii Operation. I-20 is assigned to the Special Attack Unit along with I-16, I-18, I-24 and flagship I-22.
On November 18, 1941 departs Kure as part of the Special Attack Unit for Kamegakubi Naval Proving Ground where each submarines embarks a Type A midget submarine code named "Mato", I-20 embarks her first HA-20 Type A Midget Submarine (Midget A). On November 19, 1941 at 2:15am departs Kamegakubi across the Pacific Ocean passing Midway bound for Oahu. On December 2, 1941 the submarine receives the coded signal to proceed with the attack.
On December 7, 1941 at 2:57am I-20 launches HA-20 Type A Midget Submarine (Midget A) roughly 5.3 miles off the entrance to Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Afterwards, I-20 proceeds to the recovery area south of Lanai. None of the midget submarines arrive and all are presumed lost. On December 8, 1941 in the morning departs for Kwajalein arriving with I-16 on December 20, 1942.
On January 4, 1942 departs Kwajalein to conduct a war patrol in the Samoa-Fiji area. On January 11, 1942 surfaces and shells Pago Pago.
On January 16, 1942 off Suva fires two torpedoes at HMNZS Monowai but both explode prematurely. As I-20 surfaces, she is fired on by the vessel's 6" guns but her deck gun fires and claims a hit on the bridge before the sumarine crash dives when straddled by shells. Both are undamaged, HMNZS Monowai sends a submarine altert signal reporting the contact. On January 24, 1942 returns to Kwajalein then departs for Yokosuka arriving February 1, 1942.
On April 16, 1942 part of the KO ("A") detachment with the I-10, I-18, I-20, I-30 and their support ships, the auxiliary cruisers/supply ships Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru. At Hiroshima Bay, Vice Admiral Komatsu, Captain Ishizaki their staffs and midget submarine crews pay a courtesy visit to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto aboard his flagship Yamato. At 11:00, KO ("A") detachment departs for Penang.
On April 27, 1942 arrives at Penang as part of "A detachment" including I-16, I-18 and I-20 with Nisshin transporting Type A midget submarines. At Penang, each mother submarines is loaded with a Type A midget submarine, the second midget submarine embarked (the first was during "Operation Z" for the Hawaii Operation).
On April 30, 1942 departs Penang with "A detachment" bound for the Indian Ocean and to launch a midget submarine attack. Between May 5-15, 1942 the submarines are refuel at sea by Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru.
On May 17, 1942 while surfaced in the Indian Ocean southest of Madagascar heavy seas cause flooding in the engine room through the main induction valve. When the damage is repaired, the same compartment is flooded again and repaired. Despite the damage, the submarine continues the mission. On May 24, 1942 heavy shipping traffic is reported en route to the target area.
On May 29, 1942 Japanese submarines I-10, I-16 and I-20 are in position to attack Diego-Suarez Bay (Antsiranana Bay) on Madagascar. To perform a reconnaissance over the target area, I-10 launches her floatplane at 10:30pm spots HMS Ramillies, destroyers HMS Duncan, HMS Active, corvettes HMS Genista and HMS Thyme, troopship HMS Karanja, hospital ship HMS Atlantis, MV British Loyalty, merchant MV Llandaff Castle and an ammunition ship. Based on this report, Captain Ishizaki orders a midget submarine attack the next night.
On May 30, 1942 launches HA-20 Type A Midget Submarine (No.20b) under the command of Lt Saburo Akieda with crew PO1C Masami Takemoto to attack Allied ships in Diego-Suarez Bay (Antsiranana Bay). At 8:25pm, their midget submarine fires her first torpedo at HMS Ramillies that hits and causes damage. Afterwards, depth charged but at 9:20pm managed to fire her second torpedo at MV British Loyalty and sinks her in shallow water. Afterwards, this midget submarine beached at Nosy Antalikely and the crew were aided ashore by natives and attempt to reach the recovery area near Cape Amber (Cape d'Ambre). When they purchased food, their presence was reported to the British and both were killed in a firefight with Royal Marines three days later.
On May 31, 1942 in an attempt to locate any surviving midget submarine crew members and assess damage, I-10 launched her E14Y1 Glen floatplane piloted by piloted by Lt(jg) Shunshi Araki on another reconnaissance over Diego-Suarez Bay (Antsiranana Bay). On June 1, 1942 at 11:00pm
On June 3, 1942 at the recovery area near Cape Amber (Cape d'Ambre) I-20 surfaces and unsucessfully attempts to locate any surviving midget submarine crews by firing flares and sending radio transmissions without result and by 6:00pm departs the area.
5 June 1942: Commerce Raiding in the Indian Ocean:
8 June 1942:
11 June 1942:
12 June 1942:
19 June 1942:
29 June 1942:
30 June 1942:
5 July 1942:
21 July 1942:
5 August 1942:
14 August 1942:
On August 23, 1942 arrives at Yokosuka for repairs and overhaul. On September 15, 1942 assigned to commander LtCdr Yoshimura Iwao. On October 24, 1942 departs Yokosuka bound for Shortland.
On November 2, 1942 at Shortland I-20 joins I-16 and I-24 to form an attack group under the command of Captain Ota Nobunosuke that will transport a midget submarine from Chiyoda to operate off Guadalcanal. On November 5, 1942 embarks her third midget HA-11 Type A midget submarine and departs Shortland that evening bound for Guadalcanal.
On November 7, 1942 at 5:20am launches HA-11 Type A Midget Submarine four miles north of Cape Esperence off Guadalcanal. Aboard is commander Lt(jg) Nobuharu Kunihiro and and crew member PO1C Goro Inoue. Afterwards, I-20 returns to Truk.
On November 19, 1942 at 3:00am launches HA-37 Type A Midget Submarine roughly six miles off Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal. Aboard is commander Lt(jg) Miyoshi Yoshiaki with crew member PO1C Umeda Kiyoshi.
On December 18, 1942 assigned to Lt. Cdr Kudo Kaneo.
On January 1, 1943 assigned to SubDiv 1, SubRon 8 along with I-16, I-18, I-21 and I-24.
Damaged HMS Ramillies on 09-05-1942 by Kō-hyōteki.
Fates of the Crew
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