Monday, November 27, 2006

Found at last


National 9 News
By Dr Robert Nichols
November 27, 2006

For more than 60 years, the fate of Midget A (aka M24) and its two-man crew has been a mystery.

Despite many searches, the third Japanese Type A midget submarine used in the night raid on Sydney on May 31 to 1 June 1942 has never been found — until now.

As reported on 60 Minutes on Sunday, seven amateur divers discovered the wreck of a midget submarine lying off the coast, and there appears little reason to doubt it is M24.

It has always been known what happened to the other two midget submarines and their crews: they perished in the harbour during the raid.

The submarine of Lieutenant Chuma (M27), the mission commander, became entangled in a partially finished defensive boom net strung across the harbour, and its crew probably detonated the craft's scuttling charge when they realised they could not escape; the crew of the second midget (M22) crew shot themselves when they were finally run to ground in Taylors Bay.

Successful attack
But in large measure the story of the Sydney raid is the story of M24's commander, Sub-Lieutenant Ban — his was the only submarine to go any way at all towards fulfilling the Japanese mission.

Unlike the other two midget submarines, Ban successfully entered the harbour on the first try. Unlike them, Ban fired both his torpedoes. Unlike them, M24 actually did some damage, sinking the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, at the cost of 21 lives (though far less than Ban intended, his target being the heavy cruiser USS Chicago). And unlike them, Ban and his crewman, Petty Officer Ashibe, got away.

Of course, no one has ever seriously believed they survived. And as the decades passed and the submarine failed to turn up in the harbour, it became more and more likely that they had made it outside the heads. A 1.58am reading on an electronic warning loop has often been taken to be M24 leaving the harbour. But it never did rendezvous with the mother submarines lying off Port Hacking.

The report suggested that shell and small arms fire, the effects of which it is claimed are visible on the hull, might explain what crippled the submarine. But had the pressure hull been breached, the submarine would have found just getting out of the harbour difficult if not impossible.

Lingering danger
Even undamaged, M24 would probably have been hard-pressed to reach the rendezvous point. The Type A was a battery-powered craft, and in all likelihood Ban simply ran out of power. As with any battery-powered device, the harder you run it, the faster the charge is depleted — and Ban had been chased around the harbour and fired upon before he got off his two shots.

The wreck off Sydney is clearly a Type A, and apparently both its torpedoes have been fired. But what of the crew? The divers who found the submarine believe the bodies are still inside the craft. If they are, and if there is evidence that they also killed themselves, will this fuel the belief that it was a suicide mission?

Officially, the men were expected to return if possible. Indeed the mother submarines waited off the coast for days after the attack, at some risk to themselves. It seems clear, however, that at least some of the men who set off never expected (or intended) to return.

The 60 Minutes report warned people off approaching the wreck, alluding to the threat of "million-dollar fines and jail terms". But there is an even more compelling reason for the curious to stay well clear: each Type A submarine carried two 35kg scuttling charges (fore and aft). A similar charge had destroyed M27. Who knows how volatile the charges in M24 might still be, even after all these years.

Mystery solved?
Not knowing is always frustrating for historians. So it's immensely satisfying to discover, finally, what became of M24 — and perhaps now we will be able to give this craft its proper designation, "M24" simply being shorthand for "the midget from I-24". While there are few if any outstanding technical questions about the Type A — the other two wrecks have already offered up answers to those — various specific details about what happened that night might now emerge. What is most intriguing is whether Ban was deliberately taking his craft up the coast under power, possibly against the prevailing current, and if so, why?

What then of the historical significance of the find? This is likely to prove more symbolic than substantive. As weapons, the midget submarines had a negligible effect on the course of the war. They never achieved much, and after their failure in Sydney they were hardly ever used again. A few days after the raid, the tide of war in the Pacific changed irrevocably with the American victory at Midway. And the attack on Sydney turned out not to be the precursor of an invasion of the mainland. Nevertheless, the "last" midget is likely to remain a potent reminder of a time when the war came to Australia's largest city.


Wreck of Japanese wartime submarine found


Yahoo News!
By Rob Taylor
November 27, 2006

Reuters Photo: A view of Japanese midget submarines
in a dry dock at Kure in 1946.

CANBERRA - Divers have found the wreck of a Japanese midget submarine that attacked Sydney Harbour in 1942 and brought World War Two to Australia's biggest city, ending a 64-year mystery over its fate.
The missing two-man submarine M24 was one of a trio that slipped in darkness past protective nets stretched across the harbour entrance on May 31, 1942, with a plan to attack shipping, including the American battle cruiser USS Chicago.

Two of the 46-tonne subs were sunk. But the M24 fired two torpedoes, one of which sank the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 19 Australian sailors and two Britons before vanishing under heavy fire. The other torpedo failed to explode.

The wreck of the long-sought submarine was found by recreational divers in deep water 3 nautical miles (5.5 km) off Sydney's north coast.

"We just saw this long shape with a little lump sticking out of it and the heart, you know, started going and you think 'No, it couldn't be'," diver Tony Hay told Australian television.

Television footage showed the weed- and barnacle-encrusted wreck of the 24-metre (78-foot) sub sitting upright on its keel, its propeller and punctured hull clearly visible.

Australia's government on Monday placed a protective heritage order over the still-secret site to guard against looting and ensure any crew remains were not disturbed.

"It was a very brave, a brazen, incursion right into the heart of one of the biggest harbours in the world. For the secret and the sub to have been lost for over 50 years is quite phenomenal," Environment Minister Ian Campbell told reporters.

The wreck was yet to be officially identified, but Australian navy divers were inspecting the site on Monday and navy heritage chief Shane Moore was convinced the M24 had at last been found.
The Japanese government, Campbell said, had been informed and the wreck would stay in place pending a decision on whether the sub would be raised or stay where it was as a war grave.

"I think we have to respect the sensitivities of the families of those who've been lost," he said.

A Japanese embassy spokesman said the mission was awaiting official confirmation.

One of the wreck's discoverers, diver Alan Simon, said a wreath had been placed over the site as a mark of respect to the missing Japanese sailors.

Parts of the two other submarines sunk in the raid were raised and have been on display in Australia's National War Memorial in Canberra since 1943.

One was destroyed by its crew after becoming entangled in anti-submarine netting, while the other was sunk with depth charges and its crew committed suicide.

The crews of both vessels were buried with military honours.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Undersea wrecks of 2 WWI German U boats found

November 24, 2006

Marine archaeologists have discovered the wrecks of two WWI era German U-boats of the coast of Orkney.

Orkney consists of about 20 inhabited islands plus 50 others, and is about 10 miles north of Caithness in northern mainland Scotland.

The two U boasts were reported missing in the area in 1918.

According to historians and experts at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), one of the U boats was commanded by Commander Kurt Beitzen, who had mined and sunk HMS Hampshire carrying Lord Kitchener in 1916.

"One of the subs it seems was commanded by quite a famous commander - the man who sunk the ship that Lord Kitchener was on - so this is his watery grave so to speak," BBC quoted Rob Spillard, hydrography manager for the MCA as saying.

He said plans of the two U-boats have also been examined by experts, and have been identified as the wrecks of U-92 and U-102, commanded by Commander Beitzen. Both were believed to have been sunk by a series of mines, he added.

He said after sinking HMS Hampshire, Commander Beitzen transferred to U-102, which sank with all 42 hands on board in the autumn of 1918, while on its way back to Germany.

According to archival records, on May 23, 1916, U-75 laid mines under the control of Commander Beitzen after travelling around the west coast of Orkney undetected. Less than a month later the head of the war ministry, Lord Kitchener, was lost at sea together with many of the crew of the cruiser HMS Hampshire after striking mines.

Spillard said the MCA discovered the wrecks about 70 miles off Sanday Sound by chance during a routine sonar survey.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

U-boat could solve Kitchener mystery


The Herald
By Ian Bruce
November 23, 2006

The chance discovery of the wreck of a First World War German U-boat could help solve the 90-year mystery of the death of Lord Kitchener, the most senior British field marshal and diplomat of his day, while on a secret mission to Russia.

The hulk of what has now been identified as the U-102 was found 70 miles east of Sanday Sound in Orkney during a routine survey by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency earlier this year.

The stricken submarine was commanded by Kurt Beitzen, a legendary North Sea raider and the man who laid a belt of floating mines which sank the cruiser HMS Hampshire with Field Marshal Kitchener and his staff aboard in 1916.

The warship went down in minutes with the loss of 643 of its 655 crew and passengers shortly after setting out from Scapa Flow.

The mines ruptured its hull and a 55mph gale which the navy had exploited to conceal the cruiser's departure did the rest. Many of those who managed to abandon ship died from exposure in the water.

Kitchener's body was never recovered, spawning scores of conspiracy and assassination theories.

One led to Winston Churchill suing Lord Alfred Douglas successfully for libel after the being accused of collusion in the field marshal's death. Kitchener had been critical of the disastrous allied landings at Gallipoli championed by Churchill.

Another claimed that the Hampshire had been sunk by IRA explosive charges.
A third cited the fact that David Lloyd George, then minister of munitions, was supposed to have accompanied Kitchener but cancelled at the last minute as proof of a government-level plot.

No plans have yet been made to dive on the U-boat, which is an official war grave. But naval sources said yesterday that the possibility that Kapitan Beitzen's waterproofed logbook might have survived made it "almost certain" that an effort would be made to search the wreck.

His operational account of the mission might finally put the conspiracy rumour-mill out of business.

Beitzen was skipper of the U-75 when it laid the fatal chain of mines designed to hamstring the Royal Navy's movement out of Scapa Flow.

He later transferred to the U-102 and was sunk in his turn two months before the war ended by a British defensive minefield known as the "northern barrage", an area between Ronaldsay and Shetland, on his way back to Germany.

A second submarine, the U-92, was also located and identified by the sonar survey in the same area. It, too, had been sunk by British mines.




November 23, 2006

A U-BOAT commanded by a famous German officer who killed Lord Kitchener in the First World War has been found on the sea-bed off Scotland.

The submarine U102 was lost in 1918 as Commander Kurt Beitzen and his crew of 47 made their way back to Germany.

Earlier in the war, Beitzen had laid mines that caused the sinking of a Royal Navy ship carrying Lord Kitchener, whose image was immortalised in Your Country Needs You recruiting posters.

Ironically, U102 and another sunken U-boat found nearby during a sonar survey off Orkney, were both thought to have been destroyed by mines.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Breadth, depth of diesel sub's career recalled


Sign On San Diego
By Steve Liewer
November 22, 2006

JOHN GASTALDO / Union-Tribune
Chief of the boat Joseph Eller, right, leads off

the last of the boat's crew. Following him are
Petty Officer Douglas Sharp, Lt. Commander
Edison Henry, Lt. Michael Church and Chief
Petty Officer Tony Endquist.

SAN DIEGO – With the tolling of bells and the boom of a cannon, the Navy bid farewell Friday to its last remaining diesel submarine, the Dolphin.

About 400 people, most of them crew members or civilians who worked with the Dolphin during its 38-year career, stood under cloudy skies in a stiff breeze to salute the sub as at rocked gently pierside at Point Loma Submarine Base.

“The USS Dolphin means a lot to a lot of people,” said Cmdr. Andrew Wilde, who took command of the ship last December. “It is more than just the last vestige of the once-robust diesel fleet.”

The science and research vessel compiled a long list of landmark accomplishments since its commissioning at Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Shipyard in 1968. Early in its life, the Dolphin set a record for the deepest dive by a conventional submarine of more than 3,000 feet. It also is credited with the first two-way laser communication between a submarine and an aircraft and the deepest launch of a torpedo.

The Dolphin nearly sank in May 2002 when seawater poured through the hatch and damaged the electrical system as the ship's crew tested acoustic torpedoes about 100 miles southwest of San Diego. Two surface ships rescued the 43 sailors on board, and the Dolphin was towed to port.

The Navy spent $50 million and 3½ years repairing and upgrading the ship, and it returned to service in the fall of 2005. But barely three months later, its crew learned the ship would be retired in a budget-cutting move that will save about $14 million a year.

Navy officials said in an administrative message Sept. 6 the ship would be sunk as part of a military exercise.

But Capt. Zoltan Kelety, current chief of staff for the Naval Mine and Antisubmarine Warfare Command and a former Dolphin skipper, said in an interview at least two groups have expressed interest in preserving the ship as a museum piece. He said he would like to see it on the San Diego waterfront near the retired aircraft carrier that's already there.
“If I could think of a perfect spot, it would be right over next to the Midway,” Kelety said.

There's a little time to figure that out; the Dolphin isn't scheduled to be stricken from the Navy's rolls until Dec. 8.


U-boats' last resting place found


November 22, 2006

A sonar image of one of the two
U-boats found off Orkney.

Two submarine wrecks, believed to be uncharted WWI German U-boats, have been discovered by chance off Orkney.

A team working on a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) tug made the find during a routine sonar survey.

The submarines - reported missing in the area in 1918 - were discovered about 70 miles off Sanday Sound.

One was under the control of Commander Kurt Beitzen, who had previously mined and sunk HMS Hampshire carrying Lord Kitchener in 1916.

Plans of the two U-boats have been examined by experts, who have identified the wrecks as U-102 and U-92, which may have been sunk by a series of mines.

The discoveries were made by
chance by the MCA team.

'Watery grave'
Rob Spillard, hydrography manager for the MCA, said: "One of the subs it seems was commanded by quite a famous commander - the man who sank the ship that Lord Kitchener was on - so this is his watery grave so to speak."

On 23 May, 1916, U-75 laid mines under the control of Commander Beitzen after travelling around the west coast of Orkney undetected.

Less than a month later the head of the war ministry, Lord Kitchener, was lost at sea together with many of the crew of the cruiser HMS Hampshire after striking mines.

He has been well remembered for his famous recruitment posters, bearing his heavily moustached face and pointing hand, over the legend "Your country needs you".

Beitzen later transferred to U-102, which was on its way home to Germany in autumn 1918 when it was lost with all 42 hands.

The MCA was one part of the team involved in the recent ScapaMap survey, which successfully mapped the locations of the remains of the German fleet scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919.

The discovery of these U-boats was not part of the Scapa Flow project but part of the MCA's ongoing process of undertaking hydrographic surveys in UK waters.

Mr Spillard said: "The tug's main role is to intervene when large vessels require towing away from the coast in order to protect shipping, lives and the environment.

"The MCA have fitted state-of-the-art sonar equipment to the tug. Whilst the tug is on standby for any incident that may occur, it is put to good use collecting hydrographic survey data."


'Hunley' likely to give up secret within year


Star News Online
November 22, 2006

North Charleston, S.C. In a year's time, scientists hope to solve the mystery of why the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sank, the chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission said Tuesday.

"Between the science of archaeology and the science of conservation in that laboratory, they will solve the ultimate mystery," state Sen. Glenn McConnell said after a commission meeting. "I think it's reasonable to say we're probably within a year of solving that."

The hand-cranked Hunley sank the Union blockade ship Housatonic in 1864, becoming the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship.

It was found 11 years ago and raised in 2000 from the Atlantic and is in a conservation lab. But the vessel has been slow revealing its secrets.

There are generally two theories why it sank shortly after sending the Housatonic to the bottom. One is that it was damaged and took on water after the attack. The other is that the crew suffocated when they ran out of air.

Scientists are removing the sediment that hardened on the inside of the sub. Next spring, they will begin removing the hardened sediment from the hull.

"The exterior will be the real key to the thing," said Randy Burbage, a commission member. "You will be able to tell if another ship rammed it, which is a possibility, or if any other event may have happened."

Another artifact will soon be displayed at the Hunley lab - a watch once owned by Queenie Bennett, the sweetheart of the sub's commander, Lt. George Dixon.

The watch, as ornate as one owned by Dixon and which was found on the sub four years ago, is inscribed with the words "Queenie Bennett Dec. 25, 1862."

It's not known whether the watch was a Christmas gift from Dixon "but we think that is the last Christmas he spent with her," Burbage said.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mystery submarine wrecks could be German U-boats


By Ian Johnston
November 09, 2206

ORKNEY, Scotland -- Wrecks of two mysterious submarines have been discovered off the coast of Orkney in an area where there were no reports of wartime sinkings, a coastguard official said yesterday.

A survey team examining the sea floor around the islands discovered the wrecks lying in about 70 metres of water to the east of Sanday Sound.

Grainy images of the submarines were captured using the latest three-dimensional sonar device, but their identity and nationalities are not known.

An Orkney diver speculated that the vessels might have been German U-boats sunk during the Second World War. There were reports that the Royal Navy had successfully depth-charged U-boats, but this took place several miles away.

The wrecks were found during work surveying the seabed around the islands, which also produced new images of captured German ships that were scuttled by their crews at the end of the First World War.

Rob Spillard, hydrography manager of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said the sunken submarines were something of a mystery.

"We have no idea which subs they are, which nationality or who died in them," he said.

"We have passed the details on to various divers and there has been a bit of interest. But the subs are in about 70 metres of water, which is really pushing it for divers to get there.

"Whenever you go surveying, you get reports of what they know has sunk in the area. There are a number of reports of subs being depth-charged [during the Second World War] but those reports don't seem to correlate with where the wrecks are.

"Whether it was a German sub that was depth-charged and then struggled off or something else is impossible to tell."

He said while Britain had been a great naval power and was a world leader in underwater survey techniques, parts of UK waters had still not been surveyed.

"It is really surprising. We have managed to survey most of New Zealand and Australia's waters, but haven't done some here," Mr Spillard said. "Probably about 90 per cent has been done, but Scotland has a large number of areas that haven't been surveyed."

Bobby Forbes, of Sula Diving, said it would be possible to attempt to identify the submarines. "You don't have to dive them, you can send an ROV [remote operated vehicle] - it's a lot safer at those depths."

Mr Forbes said he suspected the submarines were German U-boats. "Vessels and ships can be quite a distance from where they are reported to have sunk," he said. "They may have lost some material, giving an indication they had sunk, but may have just been badly damaged and glided down to the sea bed."

Mr Forbes and Mr Spillard were both involved in the ScapaMAP consortium, which included Historic Scotland and New Hampshire University in the United States, which also carried out the second major survey of the scuttled German fleet at Scapa Flow.

More than 50 ships were sunk in June 1919 on the orders of Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter to prevent the German fleet falling into Allied hands. Nine German sailors were shot by the British as troops tried to prevent the scuttling, which was highly successful with only one capital ship saved.

After numerous salvage operations and the effects of 90 years under the sea, there are only seven main wrecks left and these are now officially protected.

Mr Spillard said he was thrilled as the ghostly shapes of those wrecks began to appear on the scanner of the coastguard tug Anglian Sovereign.

"It was really impressive," he said. "Vessels are almost more exciting when they are on the seabed than when they're floating on top of it. It really was nice to see something out there, especially something with a story behind it."

It has been claimed that senior British officials had in some way colluded with the Scapa scuttling operation to avoid the ships being handed over to the US, Italy or France during peace treaty negotiations at Versailles, a claim perhaps prompted by the decision to send away most of the guarding fleet.

Mr Spillard, who has looked into the history of the scuttling, said he doubted this but added: "I believe the British may have turned a blind eye. The higher echelons probably weren't too bothered and weren't trying too hard to stop it happening."


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Legendary USS Wahoo Wrechage Found

November 01, 2006

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet declared Oct. 31 that the sunken submarine recently discovered by divers in the Western Pacific is, indeed, the World War II submarine USS Wahoo (SS 238).

"After reviewing the records and information, we are certain USS Wahoo has been located," said Adm. Gary Roughead, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander. “We are grateful for the support of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and appreciate greatly the underwater video footage of the submarine provided by our Russian navy colleagues, which allowed us to make this determination. This brings closure to the families of the men of Wahoo - one of the greatest fighting submarines in the history of the U.S. Navy."

In July, the Russian dive team “Iskra” photographed wreckage lying in about 213 feet (65 meters) of water in the La Perouse (Soya) Strait between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin. The divers were working with The Wahoo Project Group, an international team of experts coordinated by Bryan MacKinnon, a relative of Wahoo’s famed skipper, Cmdr. Dudley W. “Mush” Morton.

“I am very pleased to be part of an effort where old adversaries have joined together as friends to find the Wahoo,” said MacKinnon.

Wahoo was last heard from Sept. 13, 1943, as the Gato-class submarine departed the island of Midway en route to the “dangerous, yet important,” Sea of Japan. Under strict radio silence, Morton and his crew proceeded as ordered. Radio contact was expected to be regained with Midway in late October upon Wahoo’s departure from the Sea of Japan through the Kurile Island chain. No such contact was made. Following an aerial search of the area, Wahoo was officially reported missing Nov. 9, 1943.

At the time, the loss of Wahoo was believed due to mines or a faulty torpedo. But Japanese reports later stated that one of its planes had spotted an American submarine in the La Perouse Strait Oct. 11, 1943. These reports indicate a multi-hour combined sea and air attack involving depth charges and aerial bombs finally sunk Wahoo.

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force retired Vice Adm. Kazuo Ueda assisted the group with providing historical records from the Imperial Japanese Navy that identified the location where Wahoo was sunk.

“We, the families of Wahoo, recognize the historical scholarship and support provided by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. We would also like to send our thanks to the U.S. Navy for their diligence in finding and identifying the USS Wahoo,” said Doug Morton, son of Dudley Walker Morton.

“The Morton family is thrilled that there will be closure to the loss of our father,” added Morton, who also spoke on behalf of his sister, Edwina Thirsher and her family. “The loss of a famous submariner who was loved by his family and crew has been very difficult.”

During Wahoo’s rare foray in the Sea of Japan, Morton reportedly sunk at least four Japanese ships. For the patrol, Morton was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross – his fourth.

Morton is credited with sinking 19 ships totaling nearly 55,000 tons during his four patrols in command of Wahoo; his total was second only to his own executive officer, Richard H. O’Kane. Retired Rear Adm. O’Kane went on to command USS Tang (SS 306) and to receive the Medal of Honor.

Noted naval historian Theodore Roscoe described Morton as “an undersea ace” in his book “Submarine Operations in World War II.”

“Few skippers equaled Morton’s initiative, and none had a larger reserve of nerve,” Roscoe wrote. “Combining capability with dynamic aggressiveness, Morton feared nothing on or under the sea.”

The discovery of Wahoo is the culmination of more than a decade of work by an international team dedicated to finding the ill-fated submarine. In 2004, electronic surveys sponsored by a major international energy company (The Sakhalin Energy Investment Corporation) identified the likely site.

The Bowfin Museum in Hawaii worked with the team as an independent “scrutineer” to ensure the project was done correctly and will serve as a central repository for all the Wahoo Project’s findings, according to museum executive director, submariner, and retired Navy Capt. Jerry Hofwolt.

“This is the right thing to do for the families,” Hofwolt said. “We want to be able to tell people that this is where your loved ones are and to be a clearinghouse for all of the information about this and other lost submarines.”

Hofwolt said the museum is making plans to host a memorial ceremony to honor the crew members, most likely in October 2007.

Officials with the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force reviewed analysis and photos provided by the Bowfin Museum and agreed the wreck is Wahoo. The wreck had several characteristics consistent with Wahoo, and the submarine was found very near those reported in Imperial Japanese Navy records. Photographs are available at and General information about the USS Wahoo Project is available at

Wahoo is believed to be near the site of the Russian submarine L-19, possibly sunk by mines in late August 1945 after Japan had surrendered. Based on the information made available to them by The Wahoo Project Group, the Russian team wished to confirm the site was Wahoo and not the L-19. According to The Wahoo Project Group Web site, the group has offered continued assistance to the Russian government in finding that submarine as well.

In addition to the ceremony to be held in Pearl Harbor, U.S. Navy officials are planning an at-sea, wreath-laying service sometime next year to pay tribute to Wahoo. If it can be arranged, a combined service with the Russians and Japanese to honor Wahoo and the Russian submarine L-19, as well as the respective Japanese losses, is also a possibility.

The Navy has no plans to salvage or enter the Wahoo wreck. Naval tradition has long held that the sea is a fitting final resting place for Sailors lost at sea. The Sunken Military Craft Act protects military wrecks, such as Wahoo, from unauthorized disturbance.

Wahoo’s discovery comes on the heels of a similar discovery of USS Lagarto (SS 371), which the Navy confirmed was found in the Gulf of Thailand in June.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the brave men on Wahoo and to all of our WWII submariners who performed so magnificently during the war. Much of our submarine force heritage, and many of our traditions, can be traced back to their legacy.” said Rear Adm. Jay Donnelly, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “One of my favorite quotes is from Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz who, after the war, said: ‘We salute those gallant officers and men of our submarines who lost their lives in that long struggle. We shall never forget our submariners that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds.’”

According to Pacific Fleet submarine history, the submarine force remained intact following the attack on Pearl Harbor. It became clear at that time the submarine fleet would take the fight to the enemy. By war’s end, submarines had supported all major fleet operations and made more than 1,600 war patrols. Pacific Fleet submarines, like Wahoo, accounted for 54 percent of all enemy shipping sunk during the war. Success was costly. Fifty-two submarines were lost, and nearly 3,600 submariners remain on “Eternal Patrol.”