Japanese submarine I-21

Japanese submarine I-21

nihongo|"I-21"|伊号第二一潜水艦|I-gō Dai Nijū-ichi sensui-kan was a Japanese submarine which saw service during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Navy. She displaced 1,950 tons and had a speed of 24 knots. "I-21" was the most successful Japanese submarine to operate in Australian waters, participating in the Attack on Sydney Harbour in 1942 and sinking 44,000 tons of Allied shipping during her two deployments off the east coast of Australia. [cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor=Stevens, David |others= |title=The Royal Australian Navy |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series=The Australian Centenary History of Defence (Vol. III) |date= |year=2001 |month= |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=South Melbourne, VIC |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=opp. p 112 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= ]

inking of the Kalingo

In January 1943, off the east coast of Australia, the I-21 sank the ship "Kalingo", with the loss of two of the "Kalingo"'s crew.

inking of SS "Iron Knight"

The BHP iron ore carrier SS "Iron Knight" was part of a convoy of ships travelling up the east coast of New South Wales on February 8, 1943. Under cover of darkness at approximately 2:30 am, the I-21 fired a torpedo at the naval ships flanking the "Iron Knight" at the head of the flotilla; however, the torpedo passed under the bow of the "Bathurst"-class corvette HMAS "Townsville" and struck the "Iron Knight", sinking her with the loss of 36 crewmen in less than two minutes. Most of the ship's crew were below decks and were unable to escape the ship as she went down. Only 14 survived, clambering on board a single lifeboat until they were picked up by the French destroyer "Le Triomphant". HMAS "Mildura", the other corvette guarding the convoy, pursued the I-21 for several days.

On 4 June 2006, the wreck of the "Iron Knight" was discovered in waters off the New South Wales town of Bermagui at a depth of approximately 125 metres. Local fishermen had snagged their nets on the wreck over the years, unaware of the ship lying deep in the waters. Families and descendants of the crew traveled to the site and laid a wreath and poppies on the waters above the wreck. The sole remaining survivor of the sinking, John Stone, was unable to make the journey from his home in Southern Victoria.

inking of the "Starr King"

Just two days after the "Iron Knight" was sunk, the I-21 sank the liberty ship "Starr King".

Other ships damaged along the Australian east coast

During January 1943, the I-21 also torpedoed the tanker "Mobilube", with the loss of 3 lives, and the liberty ship "Peter H. Burnett", which was towed back to Sydney by HMAS "Mildura".


On 4th February 1944 the I-21 was intercepted and sunk by US destroyer USS "Charrette" near the Marshall Islands.


* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-civil/civsh-c/cp-sn-jn.htm Sinking of the SS Cape San Juan]
* [http://home.vicnet.net.au/~mildura/war_years.htm An account of the HMAS Mildura] , including the sinking of the Iron Knight and other vessels attacked by I-21.
* [http://www.cdnn.info/news/industry/i060604.html Cyber Diver News Network] , account of the discovery of the Iron Knight
* [http://www.abc.net.au/stateline/act/content/2006/s1707613.htm ABC Stateline ACT] , transcript of the Iron Knight documentary, researched and written by Craig Allen, and aired by ABC Canberra on Friday 4 August 2006.
* [http://www.abc.net.au/tv/australiawide/stories/s1709298.htm ABC Australia Wide] , the video of the Iron Knight news story that aired on ABC Television and ABC Australia Wide on the discovery of the Iron Knight.

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