Japanese submarine I-165

The Japanese submarine I-165 (I-65, until 20 May 1942) was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine active in World War II. A KD5 sub-class boat, I-165 was built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the early 1930s.

I-65 in 1932
Empire of Japan
Name: I-65
Builder: Kure Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 19 December 1929
Launched: 2 June 1931
Completed: 1 December 1932
Renamed: I-165, 20 May 1942
Reclassified: Training ship, December 1944
Fate: Sunk by US aircraft, 27 June 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: Kaidai-class submarine (KD5 Type)
  • 1,732 tonnes (1,705 long tons) surfaced
  • 2,367 tonnes (2,330 long tons) submerged
Length: 97.7 m (320 ft 6 in)
Beam: 8.2 m (26 ft 11 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Installed power:
  • 6,000 bhp (4,500 kW) (diesels)
  • 1,800 hp (1,300 kW) (electric motors)
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) surfaced
  • 8.25 knots (15.28 km/h; 9.49 mph) submerged
  • 10,800 nmi (20,000 km; 12,400 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 60 nmi (110 km; 69 mi) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) submerged
Test depth: 70 m (230 ft)
Complement: 75

Design and description

The submarines of the KD5 sub-class were improved versions of the preceding KD4 sub-class. They displaced 1,732 tonnes (1,705 long tons) surfaced and 2,367 tonnes (2,330 long tons) submerged. The submarines were 97.7 meters (320 ft 6 in) long, had a beam of 8.2 meters (26 ft 11 in) and a draft of 4.7 meters (15 ft 5 in). The boats had a diving depth of 75 m (246 ft)[1]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 3,400-brake-horsepower (2,535 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 900-horsepower (671 kW) electric motor. They could reach 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) on the surface and 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) underwater. On the surface, the KD5s had a range of 10,800 nautical miles (20,000 km; 12,400 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph); submerged, they had a range of 60 nmi (110 km; 69 mi) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph).[2]

The boats were armed with six internal 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes, four in the bow and two in the stern. They carried a total of 14 torpedoes. They were also armed with one 100 mm (3.9 in) deck gun for combat on the surface,[2] as well as a 13.2 mm (0.52 in) anti-aircraft machinegun.[1]

Construction and career

Built at the Kure Naval Arsenal, laid down as I-65 on 19 December 1929, launched on 2 June 1931 and completed on 1 December 1932. Lt Cdr Hankyu Sasaki was her first commanding officer and she was assigned to Submarine Division 30.[3] On 20 August 1941, just prior to the outbreak of the war in the Pacific, Lt Cdr Harada Hakue is appointed commanding officer. She was part of the 5th Submarine Squadron.


Her first mission was on 8 December 1941 as part of Operation "E" – the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Together with I-165 she was assigned to patrol the South China Sea about 50 miles (80 km) east of Trengganu, Malaya. The following day at 1415 hours (local) near Poulo Condore Island (05-00N, 105-30E) I-65 reported sighting Force Zs battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse.

On 13 December 1941 she provided cover for Japanese landings on North Borneo.


On 9 January 1942 while on patrol in the Java Sea she torpedoed, shelled and sank the 1,003-ton Dutch steamship Benkoelen that was en route from Soemenep to Cheribon at 04-50S, 112-50E. On 14 January 1942 at 0217 (JST) in the Indian Ocean west of the Mentawai Islands at 00-12S, 97-00E she torpedoed and sank the 5,102-ton British-Indian armed merchant Jalarahan which was en route from Singapore to Calcutta. She then returned to Penang on 20 January 1942 becoming the first Japanese submarine to arrive there.

On her third patrol between 5 February and 28 February she torpedoed and damaged the British converted boom carrier Laomedon 45 miles SE of Ceylon. In the Arabian Sea on 15 February she torpedoed and sank the 4,681-ton Johanne Justesen and on 20 February in the Indian Ocean, torpedoed and sank the 5,280-ton British merchant Bhima. She attacked another merchant ship on 21 February, but missed with her torpedoes.

Redesignated I-165 on 20 May, she was moved to Kwajalein on 24 May and was put on patrol during the Battle of Midway north of Kure Island. On 30 June Commander Torisu Kennosuke (鳥巣 建之助) (may also be known as Tatenosuke Tosu) became the commanding officer and on 10 July she was reassigned to the Southwest Area Fleet.

Returning to Penang on 6 August she began a new patrol of the Indian Ocean on 11 August. On 25 August torpedoed and sank the 5,237-ton British armed merchant Harmonides. A short time later she suffered storm damage and was forced to return to Penang having avoided a searching flying boat and British destroyer. She arrived at Penang on 31 August.

With the damage repaired she left Penang on 16 September with five Indian National Army insurgents on board. They were to be landed on the north-west coast of India. On the way torpedoed and sank the American armed freighter Losmar and claimed to have sunk another merchant ship the following day. She reached her destination 5 miles (8.0 km) off the coast of Gujarat and west of Junagadh after sunset on 28 September. The insurgents were landed in an inflatable without being observed. She then returned to Penang.

In November and December she was based in Surabaya to counter a rumoured American landing on Timor. The landing did not eventuate and she returned to Penang.


In January she was sent to bombard Geraldton, Western Australia as a diversionary raid to assist with the evacuation of Japanese troops through the Sunda Strait. After narrowly avoiding patrolling destroyers and aircraft Kennosuke decided to attack nearby Port Gregory instead. He mistook the local fish cannery for an ammunition plant and bombarded it with 10 shells from the submarines Type 88 4.7-inch (119 mm) deck gun. The gun had a 16 km (9.9 mi) range. She returned to Surabaya on 16 February.

On 25 May Lt Cdr Shimizu Tsuruzo becomes its commanding officer and on 9 October she reassigned to 8th Submarine Squadron. On 16 December, while sailing from Singapore to Penang she was attacked by an Allied submarine. The submarines torpedoes missed and she arrived safely on 18 December.


On 18 March she torpedoed and sank the 3,916-ton British armed merchant Nancy Moller at 02-14N, 78-25E. She surfaced, Able Seaman Gunlayer Dennis Fryer prisoner, while killing two Chinese seamen and releasing three other seamen. Before departing I-165 machine gunned the lifeboats killing 32. The British light cruiser HMS Emerald rescued 32 of the crew who had survived the attacks.

On 12 August she was sent from Surabaya on a rescue and resupply mission to Korim Bay. She arrived on 18 August and after unsuccessfully attempting to contact the troops at Korim Point came under attack by three subchasers. She was heavily depth-charged and developed a major leak to her engine room. Ten hours after the attack began she surfaced and headed to Ambon for temporary repairs arriving there on 23 August. She then returned to the Sasebo Naval Arsenal for repair and an overhaul. Lt Cdr Ono Yasushi took over command and she was reassigned to Submarine Division 19 as training ship.


Converted to a Kaiten mother ship and fitted with Type 3 Mark 1 Model 3 "13-Go" air search radar she was returned to active service with the 6th Fleet's Submarine Division 34. She was sunk by a United States Navy patrol bomber of VPB-142 on 27 June 1945 in the Mariana Islands at 15°28′N 153°39′E.


  • Sank Dutch merchant ship Benkoelen on 9 January 1942
  • Sank Indian merchant ship Jalarajan on 15 January 1942
  • Sank Netherlands merchant Johanne Justesen on 15 February 1942
  • Sank RMS Bhima on 20 February 1942
  • Sank SS Harmonides on 25 August 1942
  • Sank SS Losmar on 24 September 1942
  • Shelled Port Gregory on 28 January 1943
  • Sank RMS Perseus on 16 January 1944
  • Sank SS Nancy Moller on 18 March 1944


  1. Carpenter & Polmar, p. 93
  2. Bagnasco, p. 183
  3. Hackett, Bob; Kingsepp, Sander (2012). "IJN Submarine I-165: Tabular Record of Movement". combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 13 June 2013.


  • Bagnasco, Erminio (1977). Submarines of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-962-6.
  • Carpenter, Dorr B. & Polmar, Norman (1986). Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1904–1945. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-396-6.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • Hackett, Bob & Kingsepp, Sander (2012). "IJN Submarine I-165: Tabular Record of Movement". combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
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