The deepest wreck ever found has been discovered, 7,000 meters deep off the coast of the Philippines. The wreck is said to be of a US Navy ship that sank during World War II. The previous record belonged to the USS Johnston, a destroyer that sank on 25 October 1944, also off the coast of the Philippines.
Her wreck was found in 2021 at 6,500 meters by the same team of explorers. The discovery was made by billionaire Victor Vescovo's Caladan Oceanic underwater expedition team of Texas, of the 2018-2019 Five Deeps expedition.
In the images it is possible to see the hull, the 40 mm gun, the stern turret, bullets in the racks and depth charges.
USS Johnston was sunk off Samar Island in the Philippine Sea during the Battle of the Gulf of Leyte between US and Japanese forces. The Philippines was a colony of the USA, occupied by the Japanese, the scene of bloody clashes.
Several sailors were devoured by the sharks.
Some additional pictures from the Sammy B, highlighting the caution needed when diving military wrecks. You can spot the white-tipped rounds in the loading rack of the forward 40mm gun, as well as a depth charge still in its rolling launcher.
Another video from the survey dive on the Sammy B. This one is from the starboard side near the bridge and forward gun mounts.
We kept our distance because we spotted potentially live shells in the 40mm gun, and later towards the stern, depth charges still in their racks. pic.twitter.com/DY54o6Prpx — Victor Vescovo (@VictorVescovo) June 26, 2022
Some information on the Philippines in World War II
A US colony since 1898, the Philippines had been attacked by the Japanese in December 1941, shortly after the start of war operations on the Pacific front, and fully occupied by April 1942.
The campaign for the reconquest of the archipelago began. on October 20, 1944 with the landing of the American forces at Leyte, and continued with ups and downs until the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. General MacArthur had left the Philippines by pronouncing the phrase I will return, which he had remembered with leaflets during the Japanese occupation .
The Philippines represented for Japan the last shield of the vital route that brought the precious fuel from Indonesia to the homeland and to other areas of the Empire: if the Philippine archipelago fell, the supplies by sea would cease and the entire machine war would have stopped.
Therefore Admiral Toyoda conceived starting from June 1944 the plan for the defense of the Philippines (Sho-go, or Operation of victory). The essential part was supported by the navy, which fielded practically all the units it still owned.
The United States had assembled the largest fleet ever seen in the Pacific, namely Vice Admiral William Halsey's Task Force 38, a huge complex of warships and landing ships: in total 28 aircraft carriers, 20 battleships, 30 cruisers, 108 destroyers , 22 submarines and dozens of auxiliary units.
The landing corps was divided into the 3rd and 7th amphibious forces and numbered about 130,000 men. The battle for Leyte dragged on violently until the end of December, when the last Japanese resistance was crushed. At the beginning of January 1945 the Americans landed in the Lingayen Gulf, freeing Manila the following month at the cost of bloody fighting; two weeks later Corregidor and the Bataan Peninsula were also conquered.
Although the big cities and strategic areas were in their hands, the Americans decided to continue to reconquer the remaining islands: between February and March Palawan and Zamboanga were liberated, while Mindanao rose up and forced the Japanese into a few coastal centers, then taken by the Americans.
In the middle of the month, the north-eastern area of Luzòn, which had resisted the January landing, was also the scene of an American breakthrough: the Japanese troops, short of all resources, materials and supplies, took refuge in the north, where hunger , diseases and episodes of cannibalism caused thousands of deaths.
Following further landings, General MacArthur announced on July 5 that the Philippine campaign was over, but skirmishes and small fighting continued until surrender and beyond.