J3 Class, Japanese Submarines

Photograph of J3-class submarine

Wikipedia Commons



2231 tons standard
2525 tons surfaced
3583 tons submerged


355'4" by 29'10" by 17'3"
108.31m by 9.09m by 5.26m

Maximum speed      

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


Aircraft 1 seaplane


2 5.5"/50 gun
2x2, 1x1 13mm/76 machine guns
6 21" torpedo tubes (20 torpedoes)
2-shaft diesel (11,200 hp) or electric (2800 hp)
Bunkerage 800 tons diesel oil
Range 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km) at 16 knots surfaced
60 nautical miles (110 km) at 3 knots submerged
Modifications 1943: Light antiaircraft modified by replacing one 13mm machine gun mount with a twin 25mm/76 AA gun. I-8 fitted with a twin 5.5" gun for her trip to Germany.
1945: I-8 converted to a Kaiten carrier (capacity 4 Kaiten) by removing the 5.5" guns and aircraft handling facilities.

The J3s were a purely Japanese design incorporating a seaplane hangar sunk into the deck casing. Though designated as long-range cruising submarines (Junyo sensuikan), they were based less on the J2 class than on the KD series of classes. Their design included facilities allowing them to operate as flagships for squadron commanders. Completed in 1937-1938, they were the largest and most capable submarines developed by the Japanese prior to war.

Units in the Pacific:


North of Kauai      

Crippled and run aground on 1943-6-22 off Kiska by Monaghan
Destroyed by aircraft 1943-7-5
I-8 South of Oahu Sunk 1945-3-31 off Okinawa by Morrison and Stockton.


Carpenter and Polmar (1986) (accessed 2007-12-17)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)

Worth (2001)

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