Did you know that the wreck of a long-lost World War II submarine was just identified?

Footage of the wreck, showing vent holes in the superstructure that helped identify the submarine
(Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command)
Dr. Tamaki Ura of the University of Tokyo found the remains of an American Gato-class submarine near the Japanese island of Hokkaidō in May 2022. Recently, on February 16, 2023, the Naval History and Heritage Command announced that they have identified the wreck as the USS Albacore based on certain modifications the boat underwent before her last patrol and that could be seen on Dr. Ura’s footage. The Albacore was last seen on October 28, 1944, when she refueled at Midway and then left port; she most likely struck a Japanese naval mine in early November and went down with all hands.
The USS Albacore in April 1944
(Photo: U.S. Navy)
The Albacore holds the record for highest warship tonnage sunk by any U.S. submarine. Her greatest victory was the sinking of the Taihō, the newest and largest Japanese carrier at the time, on June 19, 1944. Only one of the six torpedoes launched by the Albacore hit the ship, and the submarine dove to avoid depth charges and escaped believing they have failed to sink it. What they didn’t know was that their single hit caused aviation fuel, oil and seawater to flood the Taihō’s forward elevator shaft. A botched attempt at dispersing the gasoline fumes caused them to spread across the ship and cripple it with a fatal explosion hours later. The loss of the Taihō and the temporary absence of Vice-Admiral Jizaburo Osawa, who was travelling on board, contributed to the poor coordination among Japanese naval aviation forces during the Battle of Saipan that ended in the American liberation of the island.
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