Name: I-19
Builder: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kobe
Laid down: March 15, 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
Class and type: Type B1 submarine
  • 2,584 tons surfaced
  • 3,654 tons submerged
Length: 108.7 m (357 ft)
Beam: 9.3 m (31 ft)
Draught: 5.14 m (16.9 ft)
  • 2 diesels: 12,400 hp (9,250 kW)
  • Electric motors: 2,000 hp (1,500 kW)
  • 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
Aircraft carried: 1 Yokosuka E14Y floatplane

I-19 was a Japanese Type B1 submarine which damaged and destroyed several enemy ships during World War II while serving in the Imperial Japanese Navy. During the Guadalcanal Campaign, with a single torpedo salvo, the submarine sank the aircraft carrier USS Wasp and the destroyer USS O'Brien, and damaged the battleship USS North Carolina.

Service history

Operation K-1

On February 23, 1942, I-19's Yokosuka E14Y (Glen) floatplane made a night reconnaissance over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in preparation for Operation K-1, the second attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. On March 4, she arrived at the French Frigate Shoals to serve as a radio beacon for the Kawanishi H8K (Emily) flying boats that were to attack Pearl Harbor but did not otherwise participate in the attack, which was carried out effectually by two of the planned five H8Ks.

Sinking of USS Wasp and USS O'Brien

On September 15, 1942, while patrolling south of the Solomon Islands during the Guadalcanal Campaign under the command of Commander Narahara Shogo,[2] I-19 sighted and attacked the U.S. carrier Wasp, firing six torpedoes. Three of the torpedoes hit the 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.

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

The remaining three torpedoes from the same spread (torpedo salvo), often incorrectly attributed to a second Japanese submarine, hit the U.S. battleship North Carolina and the destroyer O'Brien, the latter of which later sank en route for repairs on October 19, 1942. Significant damage had been sustained by North Carolina, which underwent repairs at Pearl Harbor until November 16, 1942.

This single torpedo salvo thus sank an aircraft carrier and a destroyer, and severely damaged a battleship, making it one of the most damaging torpedo salvos in history.[3]

"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 Allied cargo ships and heavily damaged one. 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.[4]

I-19 is a submarine in the popular kanmusu games "Kantai Collection" and "Azur Lane"


  1. ^ Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 p.191
  2. ^ Rohwer/Hümmelchen: "Chronik des Seekrieges 1939-1945", Hamburg 1968, ISBN 3-88199-0097, p. 278
  3. ^ "type b1". Combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  4. ^ The Making of 1941, Universal home video DVD


  • Horn, Steve (2005). The Second Attack on Pearl Harbor: Operation K And Other Japanese Attempts to Bomb America in World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-388-8.
  • Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Dieter Jung; Peter Mickel (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
  • Parshall, Jon; Bob Hackett; Sander Kingsepp; Allyn Nevitt. "Imperial Japanese Navy Page: HIJMS Submarine I-19: Tabular Record of Movement". Retrieved 2006-07-06.