The Action of 17 July 1944 was a submarine engagement of World War II. It resulted in the sinking of the Japanese Navy's Kadai class submarine I-166 in the Strait of Malacca by the British Royal Navy submarine Telemachus.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 until 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was formed after the dissolution of the IJN.
The Strait of Malacca or Straits of Malacca is a narrow, 550 mi (890 km) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. As the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, it is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. It is named after the Malacca Sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511.
Operating for the first time with the Eastern Fleet at Colombo in Ceylon, Commander Bill King on 13 July had put himself in a position known as One Fathom bank in order to intercept Japanese traffic between Penang and Singapore. They waited until the 17th when submerged, the ASDIC operator alerted King to the sound of propellers, and the watch soon spotted a Japanese submarine; that being I-166.
Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka by population. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the city proper. It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a suburb of, Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of the Western Province and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins.
Commander William Donald Aelian King, DSO & Bar, DSC was a British naval officer, yachtsman and author. He was the oldest participant in the first solo non-stop, around-the-world yacht race, the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, and the only person to command a British submarine on both the first and last days of World War II.
Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula. The second smallest Malaysian state by land mass, Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and the east, and Perak to the south. Penang Island is connected to the rest of the state by Malaysia's two longest road bridges, the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge; the latter is also as of May 2019 the longest oversea bridge in Southeast Asia.
Despite limited visibility because of mist, Telemachus tracked I-166 for 30 minutes, waited until it was less than a mile distant and reached the firing point beam on.At 07:20 King fired a spread of six Torpex warhead torpedoes at 1,500 yards, and then tried to swing the boat to fire her stern torpedoes. This manoeuvre however, failed and Telemachus lost control and briefly broke surface. Ninety-two seconds after the launch however, one torpedo managed to hit the stern of I-166. The Japanese boat sank immediately and eighty-eight men were killed. Lt Suwa and the navigating officer were blown overboard. Seven hours later they were picked up by Malayan fishermen.
Torpex is a secondary explosive, 50% more powerful than TNT by mass. Torpex comprises 42% RDX, 40% TNT and 18% powdered aluminium. It was used in the Second World War from late 1942, at which time some used the names Torpex and RDX interchangeably, much to the confusion of today's historical researchers. The name is short for torpedo explosive, having been originally developed for use in torpedoes. Torpex proved to be particularly useful in underwater munitions because the aluminium component had the effect of making the explosive pulse last longer, which increased the destructive power. Torpex was used only in critical applications, e.g. torpedoes, depth charges, and the Upkeep, Tallboy, and Grand Slam bombs. It was also used in the Operation Aphrodite drones. Torpex has long been superseded by H6 and PBX compositions. It is therefore regarded as obsolete, so Torpex is unlikely to be encountered except in old munitions or unexploded ordnance.
Soon after the sinking the Japanese attempted to intercept and sink Telemachus but without success. Telemachus returned to Colombo. King was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) on 16 January 1945 "For outstanding courage, skill and determination in one of H.M. Submarines in successful patrols in Far Eastern waters"(specifically the sinking of the I-166).
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is a third level military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 ratings and other ranks, of the British Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Merchant Navy, and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, decoy vessels, special service ships, or mystery ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. The use of Q-ships contributed to the abandonment of cruiser rules restricting attacks on unarmed merchant ships and to the shift to unrestricted submarine warfare in the 20th century.
USS Thresher (SS-200), a Tambor-class submarine, was the most decorated United States Navy submarine of World War II. Her keel was laid down 27 May 1939 at the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 27 March 1940 sponsored by Mrs. Claud A. Jones and commissioned on 27 August 1940, with Lieutenant Commander William Lovett Anderson in command.
USS Bonefish (SS-223) was a Gato-class submarine, the first United States Navy ship to be named for the bonefish.
USS Triton (SS-201), a Tambor-class submarine, was the first submarine and third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Triton, a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the sea. Her keel was down on 5 July 1939 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard. She was launched on 25 March 1940 sponsored by Mrs. Martha E. King, wife of Rear Admiral Ernest J. King, and commissioned on 15 August 1940 with Lieutenant Commander Willis A. "Pilly" Lent in command.
USS Whale (SS-239), a Gato-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for a whale, an extremely large, aquatic mammal that is fishlike in form. The USS Cachalot (SS-170) commissioned on 1 December 1933 preceded the Whale.
USS Tautog (SS-199), a Tambor-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the tautog, a small edible sport fish, which is also called a blackfish.
USS Sailfish (SS-192), was a US Sargo-class submarine, originally named Squalus. As the Squalus, the submarine sank off the coast of New Hampshire during test dives on 23 May 1939. The sinking drowned 26 crew members, but an ensuing rescue operation using the McCann Rescue Chamber saved the lives of the remaining 33 aboard. The submarine was salvaged in late 1939 and decommissioned.
USS Grayback (SS-208), a Tambor-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the lake herring.
USS Sargo (SS-188), the lead ship of her class of submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the sargo.
USS Greenling (SS-213), a Gato-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the greenling.
The Japanese submarine I-158 was a Kaidai-class cruiser submarine of the KD3A sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1920s. She supported Japanese forces during the invasion of Malaya in December 1941 and was instrumental in tracking Force Z, the two British capital ships that attempted to intercept the Japanese invasion forces, so they could be sunk by torpedo bombers.
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track, and deter, damage, or destroy enemy submarines.
HMS Venturer was a Second World War British submarine of the V class. She sank two German U-boats and five merchant ships during the war. Following the war, the boat was sold to Norway and was renamed HNoMS Utstein. She was discarded in 1964.
German submarine U-66 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 20 March 1940 at the AG Weser yard at Bremen, launched on 10 October and commissioned on 2 January 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Richard Zapp as part of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla.
The Kaidai-type submarine was a type of first class submarine operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) before and during World War II. The type name was shortened to Kaigun-shiki Ōgata Sensuikan (海軍式大型潜水艦) Navy Large Type Submarine.
The second HMS Telemachus was a British submarine of the third group of the T class. She was built as P321 by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow, and launched on 19 June 1943. She served in Far Eastern waters for most of her wartime career, and was responsible for the sinking of the Japanese submarine I-166. Following the war she was deployed to Australia to operate with the Royal Australian Navy until 1959. She was scrapped in 1961.
HMS Laforey was a L-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was commissioned in and served during the Second World War, and was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat in 1944. She had been adopted by the civil community of Northampton in November 1941.
James William Blanchard was an American submarine commander during the Pacific War, who received the Navy Cross for dealing a crippling blow to the Japanese aircraft carrier Taihō on 19 June 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which led to her sinking later that day.
The Action of 11 January 1944 was a minor naval action that resulted in the sinking of the light cruiser Kuma of the Imperial Japanese Navy by the British Royal Navy submarine HMS Tally-Ho. Kuma was being escorted by the destroyer Uranami about 10 nmi north-west of Penang, Malaya.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.