- Bogart, Charles H.
- Ship histories and stories, WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Yarroma, HMAS Sea Mist, HMAS Kuttabul
- June 1985 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
While I27 was at Penang in April, the Japanese submarine force was reorganized. All of the Japanese submarines engaged in the Indian Ocean fight were assigned to Sub Ron 8 under the command of Rear Admiral Ishizaki Noborn at Penang. The squadron was to consist of I27 and I29 reinforced by I8, I10 and I37. I10 was nominally the flagship but Admiral Ishizaki remained ashore at Penang to exercise administrative control. Upkeep of the submarines was provided by the 11th Submarine Base Unit.
Sailing in early April 1943 from Penang, I27 set course for the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. On 7 May I27 found her fourth victim, the 6,608 ton Dutch merchantman Berakit which she sank with a spread of torpedoes 400 miles SW of Ceylon. Berokit had been on a voyage from Colombo to Durban.
The next ship to fall before I27 was the 4,649 ton tanker British Venture of the British Tanker Company, sunk at 0500 on 24 June, 300 miles south of Reunion Island. Killed in the attack was Captain D.C. Barton and 41 of the crew.
Four days later on 28 June at 0405 I27 struck again, sinking the Norwegian 1,974 ton Wallem and Company cargo ship Dah Pu off Muscat. Lost with the ship were 15 of the crew. I27 struck again at 0610 on 5 July, hitting the American cargo ship Alcoa Prospector of 6,797 tons in the Gulf of Oman. The Alcoa Prospector was seriously damaged, but remained afloat.
Unable to steam, she was taken in tow back to Baltimore, Maryland. Here a survey declared her to be a total constructive loss and she was broken up. I27 claimed to have sunk four merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman and one converted gunboat off the Maldive Islands. Postwar records only confirm three of these sinkings and the damage of one ship.
Alcoa Prospector was I27′s last attack of this war patrol. Also sunk during this period were two ships by I37, one by I29 and one by I70. I27 returned to Penang in late July and remained there until late August undergoing upkeep.
Putting to sea at the end of August 1943, I27 sailed for the West Indian Ocean. Her first attack was a torpedo and gun engagement with the American liberty ship Lyman Stewart on 7 September, 300 miles south of the Maldive Islands. Though five torpedoes plus numerous shells were fired by I27 at her, Lyman Stewart was able to make her escape from I27 with only minor damage. A torpedo attack three days later on 10 September, however, was successful. Sunk 250 miles SW of Cape Comiron was the 5,151 ton Bank Line motor vessel Larchbank. Lost from a crew of 58, 12 gunners and 5 passengers were 33 crew members, 7 gunners and 2 passengers. Shortly after this sinking I27 sailed for Penang. At Penang I27 was taken in hand for a one month overhaul. During September and October 1943 the other boats of Sub Ron 8 were not idle. I10 under Commander Tonozuka sank 5 ships in this period and I37 got one.
With her crew refreshed I27 put back to sea at the end of October bound for the Indian Ocean. Her first kill was on 10 November 1943 when she hit with torpedoes the British liberty ship Sambo on her maiden cruise from Iquique, Chile via New Zealand to England. Lost, when their ship went down in the Gulf of Aden, were three of the crew and nine gunners. Striking again on 18 November I27 sank with her torpedoes the British liberty ship Sambridge in the Arabian Sea. Sambridge was on the return portion of her maiden voyage bound from Madras to the United States. The afternoon of 29 November saw I27 claiming another victim when at 1630 she sank the Greek cargo ship Athina Livanos of 4,824 tons in the Gulf of Aden. Lost with Athina Livanos were 9 of her crew and 2 passengers.
The month of December started off right with a target passing in front of I27 on 2 December. This was the Greek steamship Nitsa of 4,732 tons of the Kassos Steam Navigation Company. Sunk in the Gulf of Aden on a voyage from Calcutta to Aden, she lost 11 of her crew. The next day it was the turn of the British cargo ship Fort Camosum to be hit by I27’s torpedoes. Though hit by a torpedo, Fort Camosum refused to sink and made it to port at Aden. This was not the first time Fort Camosum felt a Japanese torpedo, for on 20 June 1942 I25 hit her on her maiden voyage out of Esquimalt, British Columbia. Heavily damaged, she was towed to Seattle, Washington, where the damage was made good on 7 September 1942. Fort Camosum survived the war and was finally scrapped in 1960.