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I-52 file photo [10443]


Ship ClassC3-class Submarine
Laid Down18 Mar 1942
Commissioned28 Dec 1943
Sunk24 Jun 1944
Displacement2,095 tons standard; 3,644 tons submerged
Length356 feet
Beam31 feet
Draft17 feet
Machinery2-shaft diesel engine rated at 4,700bhp; electric motor rated at 1,200shp
Speed18 knots
Range21,000nm at 16 knots
Armament6x53cm torpedo tubes, 2x14cm guns, 2x25mm anti-aircraft guns
Submerged Speed6.5 knots
Cargo Space300 tons of cargo, 18 passengers


ww2dbaseJapanese submarine I-52 was assigned to the 11th Submarine Squadron when she was commissioned on 28 Dec 1943. Upon completion of a training mission with her crew, on 10 Mar 1944, she was sent on a journey to Germany with 2.2 tons of gold as payment for German military equipment and war matériel; other cargo included 11 tons of tungsten, 3 tons of opium, 54 kilograms of caffeine, and 14 Japanese technicians to be trained by Germans in anti-aircraft weaponry and torpedo boat engines. In addition to the equipment and knowledge, Germany also had 800 kilograms of uranium oxide to deliver to Japan for Japan to build a dirty bomb. From Kure, Japan, Commander Kameo Uno steered her for Singapore, where she picked up 120 tons of tin, 59.8 tons of raw rubber, and 3.3 tons of quinine. On 6 Jun 1944, the Japanese naval attaché in Berlin Rear Admiral Hideo Kojima radioed I-52 to warn her that the Allies had landed in Normandy, France, thus threatening Lorient, I-52's planned destination. Shortly after, she was informed that instead of sailing for Lorient, she was to meet with a German submarine on 22 Jun 1944 at 2115 hours. The Allies intercepted a message from I-52 that contained her coordinates; on 15 Jun, the Americans dispatched a submarine hunter-killer group consisted of an escort carrier and five destroyers from Casablanca, French Morocco to search for her. During the night of 22 Jun, 1,574 kilometers west of the Cape Verde Islands, she successfully made rendezvous with German submarine U-530. U-530 exchanged cargo with I-52; among the cargo that transferred aboard I-52 were fuel, a Naxos FuMB 7 radar detector, an Enigma coding machine, two German radar operators (Petty Officers Schulze and Behrendt), and a German liaison officer. At 2340 hours on 23 Jun, she was discovered by the American hunter-killer group and was attacked by depth charges from an Avenger aircraft. Although she was able to dive, she was hit by the newly developed Mark 24 torpedo, code named Fido, that tracked her by the sound that she emitted. At 0100 hours on 24 Jun, another Fido torpedo was launched, but no detonation was detected. After sunrise, debris, raw rubber, a piece of silk, and human flesh were found floating on the water.

ww2dbaseThe Japanese Navy listed I-52 as missing on 2 Aug. The German Navy officially declared her sunk in the Bay of Biscay as of 25 Jul on 30 Aug. Her wreck was discovered in the mid-1990s.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Jul 2010

Submarine I-52 Interactive Map


Japanese submarine I-52, 1940s

I-52 Operational Timeline

28 Dec 1943 I-52 was commissioned into service.
24 Jun 1944 Acting on intelligence intercepts, Hunter-Killer carrier USS Bogue attempted to intercept the meeting between German submarine U-530 and Japanese submarine I-52 in the mid-Atlantic as I-52 was transiting to Germany with 21,000kg of precious metals and other intelligence cargo. A TBM Avenger from Bogue located I-52 on the surface but not U-530. Launching Mark 24 FIDO acoustic homing torpedoes against the submarine, I-52 was sunk with all 109 aboard.

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Japanese submarine I-52, 1940s

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