Divers have sent photographs and other evidence from the six dives they made from October 2019 to March this year to the United States Maritime History and Heritage Command to verify that they have found the USS Grenadier, one of 52 U.S. submarines lost during conflict.
The 1,475-tonne, 307-meter-long Grenadier was destroyed by its crew after bombs from a Japanese plane nearly sent it to a water grave. All 76 of its personnel survived the bombing and sinking, but their agony to pursue would continue. After being taken prisoner, they were tortured, beaten, and nearly starved to death by their Japanese captors for more than two years, and four did not survive that ordeal.
The collapse is located 82 meters (270 feet) underwater somewhere in the Malacca Strait, about 150 kilometers (92 miles) south of Phuket, Thailand. It was discovered by Jean Luc Rivoire and Benoit Laborie from France based in Singapore, and Australian Lance Horowitz and Bel Ben Ben Reymenants, who live in Phuket, Thailand.
Reymenants was one of the divers who took part in the dramatic rescue of a dozen boys and their football coach who were trapped in a cave in northern Thailand two years ago.
The Belgian has been exploring possible sites for shipwrecks for many years, Horowitz said in an interview with The Associated Press, and the Rivoire had a suitable boat to explore the bullets it found. The Reymenants would ask the fishermen if there were any weird places where they would have lost their nets, and then the team would use side-view sonar to scan the sea floor for special shapes.
When they dived to see a promising object, it was much larger than expected, so they dug back into the archives to test which lost ship might have been, and then dived again.
And so we went back looking for data, name plates, but we couldn’t find any of them, Horowitz recalls. And finally, we took very precise measurements of the submarine and compared them with marine data. And they are exactly, according to the drawings, the exact same size. So we’re pretty sure it’s the USS Grenadier.
The Navy Underwater Archeology Branch receives an average of two to three such requests a year from researchers like divers Grenadier, said its head, Dr. Robert Neyland, in an email to the Associated Press.
A full review, analysis and documentation could take two months to a year to complete, he said, adding that it would likely take several months in the event of this potential discovery.
Grenadier left Pearl Harbor on February 4, 1942, on his initial war patrol. His first five missions took him to Japanese domestic waters, the Formosa transport lanes, the Southwest Pacific, the South China Sea, and the Japanese-occupied East Indies (now Indonesia). It sank six boats and damaged two.
Sailed on 20 March 1943, from Fremantle, Australia, on its Sixth Patrol, the Malacca Strait and north on the Andaman Sea.
Commanding Officer, Lt. Cdr. John A. Fitzgerald, recorded what happened there in a written report after being liberated from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1945.
On the night of April 20, the submarine spotted two small transport ships and set off to catch them the next morning, sailing to the surface for speed.
In the morning, an airplane was seen; an immediate collision dive was ordered, but the ship did not land properly enough, so quickly. Explosions from two bombs hit below; the main parts of the ship were manipulated; energy and lights were lost and a fire broke out. All hands desperately worked to fix what they could after Fitzgerald ordered the ship to stay at the bottom of the sea.
When he appeared after 13 hours it was clear that Grenadier was too crippled to escape or fight. An attempt was made to manipulate the makeshift sails on a periscope to reach shore before blowing up the vessel, but there was dead silence.
As it dawned, two ships on the horizon were closing. Code books and sensitive equipment were destroyed as preparations were made to sink the submarine. A Japanese plane made a run on the ship, but fought with small arms, dropping a bomb safely about 200 feet (yards) away. The crew left the ship at 0830 and an hour later retired aboard an armed merchant ship, which took them to Penang, a large port city on the Malay Peninsula.
In a Catholic school wanted by the Japanese to be used as a prison, events took an even darker turn.
The harsh treatment started the first afternoon, especially with men (registered). “They were forced to sit or remain silent in an attentive attitude,” Fitzgerald wrote.
“Any divergence resulted in a butt of a gun, a kick, a bullet in the face or a bayonet. the blade of a pen knife under fingernails, trying to get us to talk about our submarine and the location of other submarines.
After a few months, the entire crew was transferred to camps in Japan, where the abuse continued. Four died from lack of medical care.
This was an important ship during the war and was very important to the entire crew that served on it, diver Horowitz said last week. When you read the book of survivors, it was, you know, quite a big ordeal they went through and to know where it finally lies and rests, I am sure it is very gratifying that they and their families their to be able to have some closure. (AP) ABH ABH
Responsibility: – This story is not edited by Outlook staff and is automatically generated by news agency sources. Source: PTI