KD6A Class, Japanese Submarines

IJN I-68, a KD6a-class submarine

Naval Historical Center #NH 73054



1400 tons standard
1785 tons surfaced
2440 tons submerged


336'7" by 26'11" by 15'0"
102.59m by 8.20m by 4.57m

Maximum speed      

23 knots (surfaced)
8.2 knots (submerged)
Dive to nearly 250 feet (76 meters)




1 4.7"/45 dual-purpose gun
1 13mm/76 machine gun
6 21" torpedo tubes (14 torpedoes)
2-shaft diesel (9000 hp) or electric (1800 hp)
Bunkerage 341 tons diesel oil
Range 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km) at 10 knots surfaced
65 nautical miles (120km) at 3 knots submerged
Late 1942: I-171 and I-174 were converted to transport submarines by removing the 4.7" gun and some torpedoes and adding a Daihatsu landing craft.

The KD6As were completed between 1934 and 1938 and were the first Japanese submarines designed outside the limitations of the naval treaties. Designated as large fleet submarines (Kaigun-dai), they had stonger pressure hulls and better engines than earlier Japanese submarine classes. They also had the highest surface speed of any submarines built to that time. They were renumbered by adding 100 to the original number (so that I-68, for example, became I-168) in May 1942.

Units in the Pacific:


Southwest of Oahu      

Torpedoed 1943-7-23 off New Hanover by Scamp


Southwest of Oahu      

Sunk by aircraft 1944-4-4 at Truk
I-70 Southwest of Oahu       Sunk 1941-12-10 off Oahu by aircraft from Enterprise
I-71 Southwest of Oahu       Sunk 1944-2-1 off Buka by Guest and Hudson
I-72 Southwest of Oahu       Sunk 1942-11-10 near 161.2E 10.2S by Southard
I-73 Southwest of Oahu       Torpedoed 1942-1-27 off Midway by Gudgeon


Boyd and Yoshida (1995)

Carpenter and Polmar (1986)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977) (accessed 2 January 2007)

Worth (2001)

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