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Japanese submarine I-19
Career Japanese Navy Ensign Imperial Japanese Navy
Name: I-19
Builder: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kobe
Laid down: March 1938
Launched: September 16, 1939
Completed: April 28, 1941
Struck: April 1, 1944
Fate: Depth charged and sunk November 25, 1943 by USS Radford.
General characteristics
Displacement: 2,584 tons surfaced
3,654 tons submerged
Length: 356.5 ft (108.7 m)
Beam: 30.5 ft (9.3 m)
Draught: 16.8 ft (5.1 m)
Propulsion: 2 diesels: 12,400 hp (9,250 kW)
Electric motors: 2,000 hp (1,500 kW)
Speed: 23.5 knots (44 km/h) surfaced
8 knots (15 km/h) submerged
Range: 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Test depth: 100 m (330 ft)
Complement: 94 officers and men
Armament: 6 × 533 mm forward torpedo tubes
17 torpedoes
1 × 14 cm/40 11th Year Type naval gun[1]
Aircraft carried: 1 Yokosuka E14Y seaplane

I-19 was a Japanese Type B1 submarine which saw service during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was responsible for sinking the USS Wasp (CV-7) and USS O'Brien (DD-415), and damaging the USS North Carolina (BB-55) during the Guadalcanal campaign.

Operation K-1

On February 23, 1942, I-19's floatplane made a night reconnaissance over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in support of Operation K-1, a second attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Navy. On March 4, she arrived at the French Frigate Shoals to serve as a radio beacon for the "Emily" floatplanes that were to attack Pearl Harbor. The "Emily" attack was canceled.

Sinking of USS Wasp and USS O'Brien

USS O'Brien hit by torpedo as USS Wasp burns. Both ship were torpedoed and sunk by I-19.

On September 15, 1942, while patrolling south of the Solomon Islands during the Guadalcanal campaign, I-19 sighted and attacked the U.S. carrier Wasp, firing six torpedoes. Three of the torpedoes hit Wasp, causing heavy damage. With power knocked out due to damage from the torpedo explosions, Wasp’s damage-control teams were unable to contain the ensuing fires, she was abandoned and scuttled. The remaining three torpedoes from the same spread (torpedo salvo), often incorrectly attributed to a second Japanese submarine, hit the U.S. battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55) and the destroyer USS O'Brien (DD-415), which later sank en route for repairs on October 19, 1942. Significant damage had been sustained by the North Carolina, which was under repair at Pearl Harbor until November 16, 1942. This single torpedo salvo thus sank one aircraft carrier, one destroyer and severely damaged one battleship, making it one of the most damaging torpedo salvoes in history.[2]

"Tokyo Express"

From November, 1942, until February, 1943, I-19 assisted with the nocturnal supply and reinforcement deliveries, and later, evacuations for Japanese forces on Guadalcanal. These missions were labeled the "Tokyo Express" by Allied forces.


Between April and September, 1943, I-19 was stationed off Fiji. During this time, the submarine sank two and heavily damaged one Allied cargo ship. After sinking one of the ships SS William K. Vanderbilt on May 16, 1943, I-19 surfaced and machine-gunned the surviving crew members in their lifeboats, killing one of them.


On November 25, 1943, at 20:49, 50 nautical miles (93 km) west of Makin Island, destroyer USS Radford detected I-19 on the surface with radar. After I-19 submerged, Radford attacked her with depth charges. I-19 was lost with all hands in this attack.

I-19 in fiction

I-19 was the number of the submarine, commanded by Toshiro Mifune, in the Steven Spielberg movie, 1941. However, I-19 was off the Southern California coast in late 1941, along with a wolf pack of three other IJN submarines. On 25 December 1941, I-19 torpedoed the US freighter Absaroka off of Point Fermin, and the Asaroka was subsequently towed to and beached near Fort MacArthur. <>


  1. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 p.191
  2. "type b1". Retrieved 2012-05-05. 

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