Nobukiyo Nambu file photo [19637]

Nobukiyo Nambu

Given NameNobukiyo


ww2dbaseNobukiyo Nambu was born in 1911 into a poor family, but studied hard for the entrance exam for the Japanese Naval Academy. Somewhat uncharacteristic for someone with tall height, he ultimately entered the submarine service. In Jan 1945, he was named the commanding officer of I-401, a secret aircraft carrier submarine originally developed to launch attacks on US cities or the Panama Canal, but by the time I-401 sortied, the target had been shifted to Ulithi in the Caroline Islands much closer to Japan. En route to Ulithi, Japan surrendered, but conflicting orders from Japanese Navy officers who refused to give up gave Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, Nambu's commanding officer who was also aboard I-401, the excuse to carry on the war for two more days before allowing Nambu to set sail for home. I-401 formally surrendered to the Americans in Sagami Wan in Japanese home waters on 31 Aug 1945, and Nambu burned the submarine's ensign to avoid it becoming an American trophy. After the war he served in the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, reaching the rank of rear admiral.

John Geoghegan, Operation Storm

Nobukiyo Nambu Timeline

1 Nov 1944 Nobukiyo Nambu arrived at the headquarters of the 6th Fleet at the Sasebo Submarine Base, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.
25 Apr 1945 At 0900 hours, officers of Japanese Submarine Squadron 1 (Nobukiyo Nambu, Toshio Kusaka, Tsuruzo Shimizu, and Katsuo Ohashi) and 631st Naval Air Group (Lieutenant Commander Masayoshi Fukunaga, Atsugi Asamura, and Kazuo Takahashi) met to discuss plans for an attack on the Panama Canal. They were joined by officers from the Naval General Staff from Tokyo, Japan (Commander Shojiro Iura and Commander Yasuo Fujimori).
18 Jul 1945 The air groups of submarines I-400 and I-401 held a farewell dinner in Maizuru, Japan before their planned suicide mission against Ulithi, Caroline Islands. Lieutenant Commander Nobukiyo Nambu, commanding officer of I-401, secretly invited some of the airmen's family members as a nice gesture.


Portrait of Nobukiyo Nambu, date unknown

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Ship(s) Served:
» I-401

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» Operation Storm

Nobukiyo Nambu Photo Gallery
Portrait of Nobukiyo Nambu, date unknown

Famous WW2 Quote
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Winston Churchill, on the RAF