- 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)
Returning to Penang at the end of December 1943, I27 again entered a period of overhaul. While she had been at sea, Sub Ron 8 had been reinforced by the arrival of two submarines RO110 and RO111 plus the return of I162, I165 and I166. Sub Ron 8 was now at its greatest strength.
The Indian Ocean submarine campaign had been a battle between independently routed merchant ships and individual hunting submarines. Due to a lack of escorts, since the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific all had a higher priority, ships in the Indian Ocean sailed without an anti-submarine vessel protecting them. As the Indian Ocean area was also at the bottom of the list for allocation of merchant ship tonnage, it was believed that more cargo moving time would be lost by holding ships until a convoy could be formed, than it actually lost to marauding submarines. The Indian Ocean was thus never the scene of convoys, battling undersea wolf packs. With a new load of torpedoes Commander Fakumura took I27 back to sea at the end of January 1944. His patrol area this time was to be the Arabian Sea. Off the Maldive Islands in One and Half Degree Channel I27 on 12 February 1944 found a five ship troop convoy escorted by the light cruiser Hawkins and destroyers Petard and Paladin. The convoy had sailed from Kiwindini and was bound for Colombo. Slipping past the escorts, I27 fired a salvo of torpedoes at the 7,513 ton transport Khedive Ismail. So destructive was the attack that 1,134 of the 1,324 troops on board Khedive Ismail were lost along with 137 of 183 man crew. Lost among the troops were a number of WRENs and ‘an entire field regiment’. I27’s triumph was short lived for she was quickly taken under attack by Petard and Paladin and sunk. Thus was killed Commander Fukumura and the crew of I27 one day after RO110 was sunk in the Bay of Bengal, attacking a convoy. I27 was the 53rd submarine lost by the Imperial Navy since the start of the war.
The Japanese submarine war in the Indian Ocean was soon to die. Events in the Pacific were forcing the Imperial Navy to draw their strength homeward as the Allies advance through the Pacific began to near the Home Islands. The last Japanese submarine to sink a ship in the Indian Ocean was RO113, which sank the British steamer Marion Moller off Ceylon on 5 November 1944.
In all during her career I27 sank 12 ships of 67,595 tons and damaged 3 ships of 21,281 tons. She thus ranks as among the most successful of the Japanese submarines.