Japanese submarine I-178

Japanese Submarine I-178 (I-78, until 20 May 1942) was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine that saw service during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Commissioned on December 26, 1942, I-178 was a KD7 sub-class boat that sailed on just two patrols off the east coast of Australia during 1943, going missing sometime after 17 June 1943.

I-176, lead submarine of the class that includes I-178
Empire of Japan
Name: I-178
Ordered: 1939
Builder: Kure Naval Arsenal
Laid down: May 21, 1941
Launched: February 24, 1942
Commissioned: December 26, 1942
In service: 1942–43
Out of service: after June 17, 1943
Status: Declared lost August 4, 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Kaidai type, KD7-class
Length: 105.5 m (346 ft)
Beam: 8.25 m (27.1 ft)
Draft: 4.6 m (15 ft)
  • 2 × Kampon Mk.1B Model 8 diesels, 2 shafts; 8,000 bhp
  • Electric motors: 1,800 shp
  • 23.1 knots (42.8 km/h; 26.6 mph) surfaced
  • 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
  • 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced
  • 50 nmi (93 km; 58 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 86

Design and construction

The KD7 type Kaidais were 346 feet (105 m) long and displaced 1,833 tonnes (1,804 long tons; 2,021 short tons) when surfaced. The diesel-electric propulsion system provided a maximum speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) when surfaced or 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) when submerged. The boats could operate for 75 days before resupply. Armament consisted of six forward-facing torpedo tubes firing Long Lance torpedoes (with 14 carried), a 4.7-inch deck gun, and a 25-millimetre anti-aircraft gun.[1]

The submarine was built at the Mitsubishi Yard. She was completed in 1942.[1]

Operational history

Assigned to Submarine Squadron Three of the Sixth Fleet, I-178 sailed from Japan on 30 March 1943, and reached Truk on 7 April. Three days later, the submarine left to commence a patrol off the eastern coast of Australia, supporting sister boat I-177. At 18:45 on 27 April 1943, the submarine torpedoed the Liberty ship Lydia M. Child 90 miles off the coast of Newcastle, New South Wales. There were allegedly no casualties among the freighter's 62 crew, who were all rescued the next day. I-178 escaped despite multiple attempted bombing runs by a Catalina from No. 11 Squadron RAAF.[1]

She returned to Truk on 18 May, but was ordered to sail again two days later, returning to the Australian coast. The patrol was initially uneventful, but after sending a routine radio signal on 17 June, I-178 was never heard from again.[1]


On 4 August 1943, the submarine was declared lost with all hands. She was struck from the Navy List on 1 September.[1]

Claims for sinking the submarine vary, with different sources identifying the responsible party as the U.S. Navy submarine chasers SC-669 or SC-699 off Espirito Santo on 29 May 1943 (this claim is discounted, as I-178 was still in radio contact until 17 June),[2] three Bristol Beauforts of No. 32 Squadron RAAF off Coffs Harbour, New South Wales on 17 June, or the destroyer USS Patterson near the Solomon Islands on 25 August 1943.[3]


  1. Crowhurst, Who sank I-178?, p. 27
  2. Hackett, Bob; Kingsepp, Sander (2014). "IJN Submarine I-178: Tabular Record of Movement". combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  3. Crowhurst, Who sank I-178?, pp. 28–29


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