Truk Lagoon in Micronesia is home to a spectacular wealth of sunken military treasures, courtesy of Operation Hailstone, a massive US Navy assault launched against the Japanese fleet based there on February 17-18 1944. Almost 50 Japanese vessels were sunk and 270 aircraft destroyed, some of which still litter the seabed amid the incredible submerged ship graveyard. Now, more than 65 years later, Flickr user gh0stdot has documented a selection of the Lagoon’s most impressive shipwrecks and other wartime artifacts.
Built in 1919, the cargo ship San Francisco Maru served as a transport between Japan and the “Inner South Seas” before arriving in Truk Lagoon on February 5, 1944. Two weeks later, a Grumman TBF Avenger operating from USS Essex scored a direct hit, killing five crew and sending the stricken ship to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Rediscovered by Jaques Cousteau in 1969, San Francisco Maru is known as the “Million Dollar Wreck” due to the value of its military cargo, including three Type 95 Ha Go tanks.
“Escort carrier USS Anzio (CVE-57) rolling in heavy seas of the Pacific Ocean, probably in 1945. Note the casual attitude of the deck crew. A Grumman TBF (or TBM) Avenger is visible on the left, a Grumman F4F (or FM) Wildcat is tied to far end of the deck.”