C1 Class, Japanese Submarines

Photograph of C1-class submarine

Imperial War Museum. Via



2184 tons standard
2554 tons surfaced
3561 tons submerged


350'10" by 29'10" by 17'6"
106.93m by 9.09m by 5.33m

Maximum speed      

23.6 knots (surfaced)
8 knots (submerged)
Dive to 330 feet (100 meters)


1 5.5"/50 gun
2 25mm/60 machine gun
8 21" torpedo tubes (20 torpedoes)
2-shaft diesel (12,400 hp) or electric (2000 hp)
Range 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km) at 16 knots surfaced
60 nautical miles (110km) at 3 knots submerged
Modifications Fitted for midget submarines for the Pearl Harbor attack.

The C1s (Hei-gata) were based on the K6As and were similar to the A and B series except for the absence of a float plane. All were deployed off Pearl Harbor to launch midget submarines on the morning of the fateful attack. The C1s later served as mother ships for midget submarines off Diego Suarez (Madagascar), Sydney, and Guadalcanal.

The C1s were part of a balanced fleet of submarines to be completed by October 1941. The A1s were intended to direct scouting operations by B1 and C1 class submarines, the former specialized to locate targets and the latter to carry out attacks. However, the only time the boats operated in a manner that much resembled this prewar plan was in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Five C1s were ordered and completed on schedule.

In addition to the midget submarine docking collar, the boats were unusual in having two forward torpedo rooms, one above the other.

Units in the Pacific:


Southwest of Pearl Harbor      

Sunk 1944-5-19 off Solomons by England
I-18 South-southwest of Pearl Harbor       Sunk 1943-2-11 off San Cristobal by Fletcher
I-20 South of Pearl Harbor       Sunk 1944-9-3 off Espiritu Santo by Ellett
I-22 Southeast of Pearl Harbor     Missing from 1942-10-5 off Malaita
I-24 East-southeast of Pearl Harbor     Sunk 1943-6-10 off Attu by PC-487


Carpenter and Polmar (1986) (accessed 2009-11-6)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)

Worth (2001)

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