JAPANESE SUBMARINE I-25
IN AUSTRALIAN WATERS DURING WW2
Japanese submarine I-25 was under the command of Lieutenant Commander Meiji Tagami who had graduated from Class 51 at Etajima. 26 year old Lieutenant Tatsuo Tsukudo was the Executive Officer on I-25.
I-25 of 2,600 tons was 108 metres long, with a range of 14,000 miles, a maximum surface speed of 23.5 knots and a maximum submerged speed of 8 knots.
Submarine I-25 carried a 2 seater Yokosuka E14Y reconnaissance floatplane know as a "Glen". It was disassembled and stowed in the front of I-25.
I-25 and 3 other submarines had patrolled a line 120 miles north of Oahu during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. After the Japanese aircraft carriers sailed west after Pearl Harbour, I-25 and 8 other submarines sailed eastwards to patrol the west coast of the United States. I-25 attacked a cargo ship 10 miles of the US coast. The ship managed to escape but ran around at the mouth of the Columbia River. I-25 then returned to Kwajalein atoll, arriving on 11 January 1942 to refuel and be refurbished.
Submarine I-25 left Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands on 5 February 1942 for its next operational patrol in the south Pacific. Lt. Commander Tagami's orders were to reconnoitre the Australian harbours of Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart followed by the New Zealand harbours of Wellington and Auckland.
I-25 travelled on the surface for 9 days, but as it approached the Australian coastline, it only travelled on the surface under the cover of night.
On 13 February 1942, I-25 sunk the UK merchant ship "Derrymore" at 05° 18' S, 166° 20' E. On Saturday 14 February 1942, I-25 was within a few miles of the coast near Sydney. The searchlights in Sydney could clearly be seen from the bridge of I-25. Tagami then took I-25 to a position 100 miles south east of Sydney.
A number of days of rough swell prevented an immediate launch of the "Glen" floatplane. They stayed submerged during the day and back to the surface at night.
Finally on Tuesday 17 February 1942 Warrant Flying Officer Nobuo Fujita took off in the "Glen" for a recce flight over Sydney Harbour. The purpose was to look at Sydney's airbase.
By 7.30 am they had returned to I-25 and disassembled the "Glen" and stowed it in the water tight hangar. Commander Tagami then pointed I-25 southwards on the surface at 14 knots.
By midday on Wednesday 18 February 1942 they were nearly 400 miles south east of Sydney still heading southwards.
Their next mission was a similar flight over Melbourne. Tagami decided to launch the aircraft from Cape Wickham at the northern end of King Island at the western end of Bass Strait about half way between Victoria and Tasmania.
The float plane was launched on 26 February 1942 for its recce flight to Melbourne over Port Phillip Bay.
Fujita's next reconnaissance flight in Australia was over Hobart on 1 March 1942.
I-25 Then headed for New Zealand where Fujita flew another reconnaissance flight over Wellington on 8 March 1942.
Fujita then flew over Auckland, New Zealand on 13 March 1942, followed by Fiji on 17 March 1942.
Submarine I-25 returned to its base at Kwajalein on 31 March 1942.
I'd like to thank Peter Wills for his assistance with this web page.
Jenkins, David, "Battle Surface - Japan's Submarine War against Australia 1942 - 44", Random House Australia, 1992
Can anyone help me with more information?
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 29 October 2000
This page last updated 14 January 2020