Posts Tagged ‘longlost’

Watch: footage shows wreck of long-lost WWII Japanese battleship

March 8th, 2015

Mr Allen’s publicity agency Edelman said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr Allen and his research team aboard his superyacht M/Y Octopus found the ship over the weekend in the Sibuyan Sea, more than eight years after their search began.

The Musashi sank in October 1944 in the Sibuyan Sea during the battle of Leyte, losing half of its 2,400 crew members.

Japanese battleship Musashi leaving Brunei in 1944 for the Battle of Leyte Gulf

An organisation that supports Japanese navy veterans and conducts research on maritime defence said that if the discovery is confirmed, a memorial service could be held at the site.

Mr Allen said he respects the sunken area as a war grave and plans to work with Japan’s government to make sure the site is treated respectfully in line with Japanese traditions.


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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen: ‘I’ve found wreck of long-lost WWII Japanese battleship’

March 7th, 2015


Japanese battleship Musashi leaving Brunei in 1944 for the Battle of Leyte Gulf

In another Twitter message, Mr Allen wrote, “RIP crew of Musashi, approximately 1,023 lost”.

The second ship in the Yamato-class vessel built for the Imperial Japanese Navy, the Musashi was launched in November 1940 and weighed 72,800 tons when full laden.

At more than 800 feet from bow to stern and with a beam of 121 feet, the vessel was capable of more than 27 knots and had a range of 8,300 miles.

But it was her impressive array of armament – including three turrets each fitted with three 18-inch guns capable of firing a 3,220lb armour-piercing shell more than 46,000 yards – that most worried the Allies.

The wreck of the Musashi is claimed to have been located off the Philippines

Japan originally planned to construct 13 Yamato-class battleships but only the Yamato and Musashi were completed before a shortage of raw materials forced the military to curtail the programme.

A third vessel, the Shinano, was being built but was converted into an aircraft carrier when it became apparent that the era of battleships had been surpassed by naval air power.

Assigned to the Combined Fleet, the Musashi was deployed in early 1943 to Japan’s Pacific base of Truk – known as Japan’s “Gibraltar in the Pacific” due to its defences and strategic importance.


A girder that looks like a catapult used to launched float planes (AFP/Getty)

In October, the Musashi was dispatched with a fleet of 67 vessels to throw back the American landings on the Philippine island of Leyte. Spotted by reconnaissance aircraft from the US fleet on October 24, the Musashi was hit early in the encounter by a torpedo that reduced her speed and manoeuverabilty.

Waves of attacks by US aircraft caused damage the length of the warship – US records state that the Musashi was hit by 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs – until she capsized and sank.

Of the 2,399-man crew, just 1,376 were recovered. Captain Toshihira Inoguchi chose to go down with his vessel.

A wheel on a valve believed to be from a lower engineering area of World War II battleship Musashi (AFP/Getty)

The loss of the Musashi was a serious blow to the power and prestige of the Japanese navy, although historians agree that she would not have been able to alter the outcome of the war in the Pacific, which was already dominated by aircraft carriers.

And to the Japanese public the loss of her sister ship, the Yamato, on a kamikaze mission against the US invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, was a far more dramatic blow to morale. Again hit by torpedoes and bombs dropped by US aircraft, the forward magazine exploded and left a mushroom cloud that rose nearly 4 miles high in the 3,055 of her 3,332 crew perished.

The wreck of the Yamato was located in 1982 in 1,120 feet of water some 180 miles south-west of the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Seattle-born Allen, 62, is the 51st richest man in the world, according to Forbes Magazine, with a net worth of $ 17.5 billion, and has long been interested in discovering wrecks of historical importance, as well as space exploration.

His search for the Musashi began more than eight years ago and drew on historical records from four countries, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology aboard his yacht, the 414-foot M/Y Octopus.

Despite numerous eyewitness accounts of the engagement, the exact location of the ship has remained unknown for 71 years.

The Musashi was launched in 1940

Mr Allen’s team combined historical data with advanced technology to narrow the search area, with a hypsometric bathymetric survey of the ocean floor commissioned to determine the terrain. This data was used to eliminate large areas for the search team and also resulted in the discovery of five new geographic features on the floor of the Sibuyan Sea.

In February, the team set out to conduct the final phase of the search using a BlueFin-12 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Because the search area had been so narrowly defined by the previous survey, the AUV was able to detect the wreckage of the Musashi on only its third dive. A remote operated vehicle with a high-definition camera confirmed the identity of the wreckage as being that of the Musashi.

“Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army”, said Mr. Allen. “The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction.

“I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honouring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her”, he added.

In a statement, Mr Allen said the research team is “mindful of the responsibility related to the wreckage of the Musashi as a war grave and intend to work with the Japanese government to ensure the site is treated respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions”.

In 2012, he loaned the M/Y Octopus to the British government to search for the bell of HMS Hood, which was sunk by the Bismark in May 1941. The search of the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland was unsuccessful, however, because of poor weather and powerful currents at depths of 9,200 feet around the wreck.


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