Biggest World War Two battleship, the sunken Musashi, located near Philippines

70 years after the end of World War Two sunken Japanese battleship the 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.

Veteran crew members from the Musashi have been shown underwater footage of the sunken vessel, and have been emotional and surprised by the discovery, since many believed she would never been found again.

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.

One veteran crew member, Chigira, joined the Musashi when he was 18 the year before it sank. He recalls that when he saw it for the first time, he couldn’t believe how big it was and he never imagined that it would ever sink.

By 1944, both the fortunes of the Nazis and Japanese were turning. With Allied and Soviet forces across Europe and the Pacific, the Musashi was sent to a location off the island of Leyte to fend off advancing US troops.

The US conducted a massive air raid on the ship, and Chigira remembers how the entire crew were sent flying as bomb after bomb was dropped on the battleship.

The attack last for around five hours, with the US using bombs and torpedoes on the Musashi. By the time the attack had finished the ship was floating at an angle of around 90 degrees. It sank that evening.

Hundreds of crew members died, many being sucked under the water when she sank. While others jumped overboard and swam as far away as they could get. Chigira remembers drifting for about four hours, after which he was rescued.

The Musashi had a crew of almost 2500 people and just under half of those were killed in the attack, the Asiaone reports.

Chigira says he has wondered his entire life, he is now 93, where the Musashi had made its final resting place. He hopes that the researchers will be able to investigate further and recover some of the belongings and remains of those who were killed.

The ship has been located by a team led and funded by Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE