I-52 was one of only three Mitsubishi C-3 submarines ever built.
On June 23rd, 1944 about 850 miles W. of the Cape Verde Islands, the I-52 was running on
the surface at night in bad weather at 12 knots. This is only a
couple hours after her rendevouz with the German U-boat, the U-530.
At about 23:40, a Grumman TBF "Avenger" torpedo bomber
of VC-69 from escort carrier USS BOGUE (CVE-9) picks up a radar
contact. Ed Whitlock, the radar operator in Lieutenant Commander
Jesse D. Taylor's Avenger, detected a surface contact on his malfunctioning
radar (only the right half of its sweep was working). Taylor drops
flares that illuminate the huge 2,564-ton Type C3 submarine. He drops two 354-pound Mark 54 depth
bombs, but the I-52 crash dives and successfully evades his attack.
After his first pass, he saw the depth charge explosions hit just
to starboard of the submarine a very near miss. Taylor and
his crew lay sonobuoys over a square mile of sea and track the submarine.
Within minutes, the Avenger's crew can hear clearly I-52's propellers
in their headsets. Taylor maneuvers into position and drops a new
top secret Mark 24 "Fido" acoustic homing torpedo. It
was nick-named "Fido", because like a stray dog it would
follow you around. Fido was designed to be a "mission kill"
weapon it would damage the submarine so badly it would have
to surface, rather than destroying it completely. Within minutes,
the sonobuoys transmitted the sounds of an explosion and mechanical
break-up noises. The I-52 was gone, taking with her the lives of
94 officers and men, and 18 civillian engineers.
I-55 was assigned to the defense of the Marianas, and during a mission
to rescue staff of the 1st Air Fleet on Tinian, she was found and
sunk by the USS Gilmer and USS William C. Miller on 14 July 1944.
the three 356' submarines, the I-53 survived the War only to
be sunk outside of Japan by the US Navy on April 1st,1946as part
of Operation "Roads End:" The I-53 is stripped of all
usable equipment and material and towed from Sasebo to an area off
Goto Retto by the submarine tender USS NEREUS (AS-17). The NEREUS
then scuttled the I-53 by gunfire at 32-37N, 129-17E. Pictures of
this C-3 type of submarine are extremely rare.