Japanese submarine I-12

The submarine I-12 was a Japanese A2 type long-range fleet submarine. She was built at the Kawasaki's shipyard in Kobe.

Imperial Japanese NavyJapan
Name: I-12
General characteristics
Class and type: A2 (I-12) class
  • 2,920 tons surfaced
  • 4,150 tons submerged
Length: 113.70 m
Beam: 11.70 m
Draft: 5.89 m
  • 2 diesels: 4,700 hp (3,500 kW)
  • Electric motors: 1,200 hp (890 kW)
  • 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h) surfaced
  • 6.2 knots (11 km/h) submerged
Range: 22,000 nm at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Test depth: 100 m
Complement: 114
Aircraft carried: 1 × Yokosuka E14Y seaplane

Wartime service

The I-12 sailed from the Inland Sea on 4 October 1944 to disrupt American shipping between the west coast and the Hawaiian Islands.

The I-12 torpedoed and sank the Liberty ship SS John A. Johnson, on 30 October 1944. I-12, after ramming and sinking the lifeboats and rafts, then machine-gunned the 70 survivors in the water, killing 10. A Pan American Airways plane spotted the John A. Johnson's remaining men soon thereafter, and the USS Argus recovered them at 21:35 on 30 October. The Argus disembarked the men at San Francisco on 3 November.


I-12 was sunk by the US minesweeper Ardent and the USCG cutter Rockford on 13 November 1944, 10 days after the sinking of the SS John A. Johnson, near Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands.[2]

The Ardent and the frigate Rockford were escorting a six-ship convoy midway between Honolulu and the United States. At 12:32, Ardent's sonar picked up a submarine contact. Ardent attacked first at 12:41, firing a 24-charge "hedgehog" pattern, and again at 12:46 with a second "hedgehog" pattern. Rockford left her escort station to assist, and fired her first barrage of mortars from her "hedgehog" at 13:08; two explosions followed, before an underwater detonation rocked the ship. Ardent carried out two more attacks and the frigate dropped 13 depth charges to administer the coup de grace. The resulting explosions caused a loss of all contact with the I-12.

Wreckage recovered on the scene—deck planks, ground cork covered with diesel oil, a wooden slat from a vegetable crate with Japanese writing and advertisements on it, pieces of varnished mahogany inscribed in Japanese, and a piece of deck planking containing Japanese builders' inscriptions—indicated a definite "kill".


  • Boyd, C, Yoshida, A. The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II (1995) Naval Institute Press.


  1. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 p.191
  2. Boyd, Yoshida p209

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