Seven decades after World War Two ended, artifacts from this period are still being discovered around the globe. These range from fighter airplanes in the desert to almost complete aircraft carriers and battleships, lost on the ocean floor for decades.
We are going to look at 10 of the most astonishing discoveries that have turned up in the last 10 years.
Japanese WWII battleship HIJMS Musashi
In March 2015, almost 70 years after the end of World War Two, the sunken Japanese battleship Musashi has been located in the Sibuyan Sea off the coast of the Philippines. Researchers believe they have located the ship after identifying a type 89 gun turret, which was a feature of the Musashi – one of the biggest battleships ever built.
The Japanese ship was the second of the country’s Yamato-class ships, which were built by the Japanese Imperial Navy and were the heaviest and most powerfully armed ships of World War Two.
The Musashi was sunk in a battle with US forces towards the end of 1944.
P-40 Kittyhawk And Pilot
After more than seven decades, the body of a missing RAF pilot was discovered in the Egyptian desert. In 1942, an RAF pilot was reported missing when he failed to return to his base. He was flying Curtiss Kittyhawk fighter, and it was said that the aircraft crashed in the desert. It was initially believed that Flight Sgt. Copping’s fighter aircraft was shot down by Luftwaffe near the Libya-Egypt border. However, it was later revealed that Copping got lost in a massive sandstorm, and after flying disoriented over featureless desert Sgt. Copping’s plane crashed.
A group of Polish Oil workers discovered Copping’s Curtiss in 2012. They quickly reported to the authorities, who found a partially destroyed aircraft along with a parachute. This meant that Sgt. Copping somehow survived the crash and attempted to make it on foot. They also concluded that Copping was killed by the smoldering heat of the desert and not by the Luftwaffe.
Aircraft Carrier USS Independence
The Independence (CVL 22) was one of 90 ships assigned to Operation Crossroads, the atomic bomb tests conducted at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It was scuttled in 1951. Little was known about its use after the tests.
The location of the shipwreck was found last year and researchers began comparing sonar images of the wreck with the declassified documents to determine the vessel had been used as a radiological laboratory and nuclear waste receptacle from 1946 to 1950.
One of the first vessels to be converted to a light aircraft carrier following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Independence operated in the central and western Pacific from November 1943 through to August 1945. After the war, it was assigned to Operation Crossroads as part of a fleet positioned within about 1700 feet of the “ground zero” blast from the bomb tests carried out to examine the effects of shock waves, heat, and radiation.
Twenty-one ships sunk during the tests, but the Independence survived, although it was heavily damaged when it returned to the U.S. Two precisely placed torpedoes, close to the keel and away from where extra waste was stored, sank the ship in January 1951.
I-400 class Japanese mega-submarine
In 2013 in the waters off the Hawaiian island of Oahu a Japanese mega-submarine was discovered. The I-400 class Japanese mega-sub was the largest submarine of WWII. It had a hangar in which it could carry three Aichi M6A1 Seiran floatplanes.
The I-400 was completed on 30th December 1944. In April 1945, it was prepared for the Panama Canal Strike, a Japanese attack plan to destroy the locks of Panama Canal. But after Okinawa fell, the plan was canceled and the fleet planned to attack 15 U.S. aircraft carriers assembled at Ulithi atoll. However before the Ulithi attack was launched, Japan surrendered on 15th August 1945, following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and of Nagasaki on 9th August 1945.
The crew of the U.S. destroyer, to which I-400 surrendered, was astounded at the sheer size of the sub. The I-400 was taken to Hawaii by U.S. Navy for further inspection. After examining, U.S. submarine USS Trumpetfish scuttled the Japanese sub in the waters near Oahu in Hawaii with torpedoes on 4th June, 1946, where it lay undiscovered for almost 70 years.
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