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IJN I-351

Imperial Japan (1945)
Picture of IJN I-351 Ocean-Going Tanker / Resupply Diesel-Electric Submarine

Of the proposed six I-351-class, only I-351 was completed before the end of the war in 1945 and eventually sunk by the USS Bluefish.


Detailing the development and operational history of the IJN I-351 Ocean-Going Tanker / Resupply Diesel-Electric Submarine.  Entry last updated on 5/30/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

During 1943 to 1945 - what would become the latter half of World War (1939-1945) - the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) put effort into construction of six projected, special-purpose "tanker/resupply" submarines as the I351-class. Born from a 1942 initiative, the class was led by I-351 herself, becoming the only completed vessel of the group before the end of the war in August 1945. A second vessel was destroyed while under construction while four of the group were cancelled outright when the need for such specialized boats was no more - by this time the IJN had lost more of its important forward-operating bases to the Allied advance.

As designed, the I351-class was intended to ferry up nearly 400 tons of wet or dry supplies to awaiting flying boats and floatplane aircraft operating in forward positions all over the Pacific. As a transport system, I-351 was rigged to carry fuel stores, fresh water and munitions - from conventional drop bombs to torpedoes. Beyond her hauling role, the I-351 was also outfitted for potential trouble with 4 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes of her own though she carried only four reloads resulting in a limited offensive punch. The boat also retained useable surface armament consisting of 3 x 81mm Type 3 mortars and 7 x 25mm Type 96 Anti-Aircraft (AA) cannons.
As built, I-351 displaced at 3,570 tons when surfaced and 4,560 tons when submerged. She featured a running length of 364.1 feet with a beam of 33.5 feet and a draught of 20 feet. Power was from 2 x diesel engines outputting at 3,700 horsepower and 2 x Electric motors governed the vessel at 1,200 horsepower when submerged. Both arrangements drove 2 x shafts at the stern. Maximum speeds reached 16 knots when surfaced and 6 knots when under water. Range was an impressive 15,000 miles while the hull was tested at depths of 300 feet, comparable with submarines of the period. Her entire crew complement numbered 77 officers and enlisted with an additional thirteen men serving as part of the onboard aircrew.

I-351 became the only completed vessel of the class, launched in 1944 from the Kure Naval Arsenal shipyard. She was eventually (and officially) completed on January 28th, 1945 though her ocean-going career would last only until July 14th, 1945 when she was successfully engaged by the USS Bluefish (SS-222) submarine and sunk. Her sister, I-352, was lost in an American-led air raid a month earlier on June 22nd, 1945 while still held at the Kure Naval Arsenal. At the time of her sinking, I-352 remained nearly 90 percent complete. I-353's hull was never laid down and the remaining three, proposed boats only ever received their construction numbers as #730, #731 and #732.


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National Origin: Imperial Japan
Service Year / Commissioned: 1945
Classification Type: Ocean-Going Tanker / Resupply Diesel-Electric Submarine
Ship Class: I351-class
Number-in-Class: 6
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Operating Weights:

Operational
CREW


Personnel
90

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Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
364.1 ft


Meters
110.98 m


Dimension
BEAM


Feet
33.5 ft


Meters
10.21 m


Dimension
DRAUGHT


Feet
20 ft


Meters
6.10 m


Displacement
SURFACE


Tons
3,570 t


Displacement
SUBMERGED


Tons
4,360 t

Installed Power / Machinery - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Diesel engines developing 3,700 horsepower; 2 x Electric motors developing 1,200 horsepower; 2 x shafts.

Performance
SPEED


Knots
16 kts


Miles-per-Hour
18 mph


Performance
SUBMERGED


Knots
6 kts


Miles-per-Hour
7 mph


Performance
RANGE


Nautical Miles
13,035 nm


Miles
15,000 mi


Miles
24,140 km

Armament / Air Wing:

4 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes (bow-facing) (4 x torpedo reloads).
3 x 81mm Type 3 mortars
7 x 25mm Type 96 anti-aircraft cannons.

Aircraft:
None.
Ships-in-Class (6):

I-351; I-352; I-353 (cancelled); #730 (cancelled); #731 (cancelled); #732 (cancelled)
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