80 years after being swallowed up by the waves, this World War II destroyer tells us more about the battle that caused its loss, and at the same time beats the record for the ‘deepest shipwreck’.
The Battle of Samar
It is October 25 1944. The war was coming to an end, but neither the Axis nor the Allies knew it. On that day, Japan and the United States fiercely fought in the Philippines Sea in a confrontation that history will know as the Battle of Samar.
Cruisers against cruisers, destroyers against destroyers. Outnumbered, the US managed to gain the upper hand. Not without loss. Many soldiers died and vehicles were destroyed, including the USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Robert, known as the ‘Sammy B’.
According to Victor Vescovo, the explorer who discovered the shipwreck:
(This warship) fought ferociously even though she was completely outclassed by the Japanese battleships and heavy cruisers she went up against.
And so it was her wreck that was located at the very end of June.
‘Steel does not lie’
For Vescovo, finding such a carcass is a victory, both for history and for the descendants of the survivors (89 of the 224 crew members perished during the sinking). Interviewed by CNN, the explorer declared:
Finding the wrecks can help bring closure, and also bring details about the battle that perhaps we didn't know before. As we say, 'Steel doesn't lie.'
Moreover, as Vescovo and sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet skirted the shipwreck, they noted that it was cut in two.
Sammy B was found at a depth of 6,895 metres (22,621ft). No wreck has ever been found in such deep waters. By way of comparison, Mont Blanc has an altitude of 4,696 metres.
Before the discovery of Sammy B, the deepest shipwreck was the destroyer, USS Johnston, at a depth of 6,460 metres (21,180ft) as reported by the BBC.
This article was translated from Gentside FR.