An unmanned submarine has been surveying two American ships that sank off of the coast of England during the Second World War. The sub has captured very detailed images of the wreckage, according to the Massachusetts company who is in charge of the job. Bourne, Massachusetts based Hyroid states they are the first high-definition sonar images of the two sunken by German forces during Exercise Tiger which was a rehearsal for the D-Day invasion. The attack on April 28th, 1944 resulted in the deaths of 749 American soldiers and sailors.
Richard “Bungy” Williams was a regional manager for Hyroid Europe. He stated the company was interested in exploring the area for the upcoming 70th anniversary. He said they intend on donating the images to the United Kingdom’s National Archive and it’s local memorials. The unmanned sub recorded images of the wreckage which lay 50 meters below the surface of the English Channel. Williams told ABC News divers have visited the site before, however the images captured by the sub were the highest quality images taken and they even include the upturned stern of one of the boats.
Williams said that by using the AUV, they were able to get vey close to the wreckage. The casualties from Exercise tiger were one of the least known disasters the Allied forces endured during the Second World War. Because of the fast-moving torpedo boats the Germans used, the Germans were able to quickly sink two ships and severely damaging a third during a practice run for the invasion.
The survivors were warned to keep the attack a secret and the number of casualties weren’t announced until two months after the invasion on Normandy. The full extent of the disaster weren’t know until 1974 when the records were finally declassified.
The annual wreath-laying to honor those casualties is scheduled for Monday at the US Coast Guard Station at the Barnegat Lighthouse in New Jersey.