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I-52, Type C3
Length 356.5 feet
6 torpedo tubes, 2-14cm cannon, twin 25mm AA
Boats: I-52, I-53, I-55
The Type C3 was developed from the Type C1 and C2, with less powerful engines, fewer torpedo tubes, an extra main gun, and increased range. Some of these boats were later fitted with snorkels, and I-53 was also modified to carry six Kaiten.
Seventeen further Type C3 units were cancelled, as were 25 units of a subsequent Type C4.
Designed and built by Mitsubishi Corporation between 1943 and 1944 as cargo carriers, the Type C3 carried a crew of up to 94 officers and men. Able to cruise at a speed of 12 knots and with a very long range, they were used as supply ships.
I-52 was selected for a Yanagi (exchange) mission to Germany. She was sunk on June 24th, 1944 by aircraft from CVE-9 USS Bogue 800 miles south-west of the Azores. Her cargo consisted of rubber, gold, quinine, and Japanese engineers to German-occupied France.
I-53 survived the war, only to be scuttled off Goto Island in 1946.
I-55 had been in commission only 3 months when escorts DD-233 USS Gilmer and DE-259 USS William C. Miller put an end to her off Saipan on July 14th, 1944.
The Imperial Japanese Navy's doctrine of fleet warfare, and the concept of fighting a single decisive battle - as they had done at Tsushima forty years earlier, resulted in its submarines seldom posing a threat to allied merchant convoys and shipping lanes to the degree that the Kriegsmarine's U-boats did as they pursued commerce raiding against Allied and neutral merchant ships.
During the last two years of the War in the Pacific, many IJN submarines were often used to transport supplies to isolated island garrisons -- ones deliberately by-passed by the Americans and the Australians.
With the improvements in technology - especially radar and sonar - and ever increasing strength of American naval and air power, nearly all IJN submarines operating in the Pacific found themselves targeted and sunk.
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