Scuba diving in history

– February.2016 | Micronesia, diving the “Operation Hailstone” japanese WWII Truk Lagoon wrecks

“Operation Hailstone” トラック島空襲 Torakku-tō Kūshū, lit. “the airstrike on Truk Island” ) was a massive naval air and surface attack launched on February 16–17, 1944, during World War II by the United States Navy against the Japanese naval and air base at Truk.

Truk was a major Japanese logistical base as well as the operating “home” base for the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet. Some have described it as the Japanese equivalent of the U.S. Navy’s Pearl Harbor. The atoll was the only major Japanese airbase within range of the Marshall Islands and was a significant source of support for Japanese garrisons located on islands and atolls throughout the central and south Pacific. The base was the key logistical and operational hub supporting Japan’s perimeter defenses in the central and south Pacific.

To ensure air and naval superiority for the upcoming invasion of Eniwetok, Admiral Raymond Spruance ordered an attack on Truk. Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher’s Task Force 58 had five fleet carriers (EnterpriseYorktownEssexIntrepid, and Bunker Hill) and four light carriers (Belleau WoodCabotMonterey, and Cowpens), embarking more than 500 planes. Supporting the carriers was a large fleet of seven battleships, and numerous cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and other support ships.

Fearing that the base was becoming too vulnerable, the Japanese had relocated the aircraft carriers, battleships, and heavy cruisers of the Combined Fleet to Palau a week earlier. However, numerous smaller warships and merchant ships remained in and around the anchorage and several hundred aircraft were stationed at the atoll’s airfields.

Dives taken:

Censo Maru – Kiyosumi Maru – Nippo Maru – Gosei Maru – Unkai Maru – Fujisawa Maru – Hoki Maru – Emily Aircraft – San Francisco Maru – Heian Maru – Seiko Maru – Fujisawa Maru – I169 Submarine – Rio De Janeiro Maru – Shinkoku Maru – Rio De Janeiro Maru


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