In late November, a previously unknown wreck was discovered about seven miles north of Guadalcanal by an Tokyo-based nonprofit organization, which has been searching for the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Hiei.
The Hiei was sunk off Guadalcanal Island, one of the fiercest battlefields of the Pacific War and was the first Japanese battleship to be lost in the conflict.
During the Battle of Midway, she sailed in the Invasion Force under Admiral Nobutake Kondo, before being redeployed to the Solomon Islands during the Battle of Guadalcanal. During the Third Battle of the Solomon Sea in November 1942, the Hiei was extensively damaged in an exchange of fire with US warships, including cruisers. The Hiei was under tow when it was subsequently attacked by US bombers and the order was given to abandon ship. Based on last known location of the battleship and tides in the area, it is estimated that the sinking point was in an area about 10km north of Guadalcanal.
A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization, Asian-Pacific Remembrance Honouring Association, had been searching the seabed around the Solomons using sonar to identify anomalies, and in late November, a previously unknown wreck was discovered about seven miles north of Guadalcanal. The wreckage is at a depth of more than 1,300ft and partly covered in sand and debris, the group said. Sonar images show a vessel approximately 490ft long, 130ft wide and standing 16ft proud of the seabed. Due to the shape, it appears that the ship had sunk with its bridge still upright, and one side of the vessel may be buried under earth and sand.
So many battleships were sunk in the area that it has became known as “Iron Bottom Sound.”