WW2

Second World War

WWII Wreck of USS LST 349 at Ponza, Italy

The LST (also known as “landing ship, tank” or “tank landing ship”) was integral to the fighting forces during World War II, transporting tanks, cargo and troops directly to the battlefield. They were unique in that their flat keels allowed the ships to remain upright after beaching, without the need for docks or piers. Their twin propellers and rudders were specially protected from grounding.

The sinking of USS LST 349, which was heading to Naples from Anzio, Italy, occurred in February 1944. It happened during a severe storm, in which turbulent seas pushed the ship against the cliffs at Punta Papa on Ponza Island. Even though the people of Ponza made a great effort in the rescue operations, the death toll was heavy.

Aircraft Wrecks of Papua New Guinea

World War II came to the Australian territory of Papua New Guinea in January 1942 when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Rabaul in New Britain, followed shortly after by the taking of Kavieng in New Ireland. The invasion turned Papua New Guinea into a major theatre of war in the battle for the Pacific, and there were many brutal encounters between the invading Japanese and the defending Allied forces.

Sonar scan of HMS Tarpon resting on the seabed

WW2 British sub HMS Tarpon found off Jutland

HMS Tarpon left Portsmouth on 5 April 1940 and ordered to Norway. On the 10th Tarpon was ordered to take up a new position but was never heard from again. Post War German records showed that Tarpon had attacked the Q-ship Schiff 40/Schürbek, but her first torpedoes had missed. A sustained counterattack that went on most of the morning finally brought wreckage to the surface and it became clear the submarine had been sunk.

Croatia: Stuka Bomber Wreck

Clearly visible from the front are the folding wings of the Stuka bomber

At the end of September 2014, the dive bomber Ju 87 R-2 was found by chance, during a harpoon competition near the Croatian island of Zirje. The significant discovery caused a stir at the time, since just a few of a total of 5,752 bombers produced in Germany were still in good condition.

France: Focke-Wulf 58 Wreck

Tail of Focke-Wulf 58. Photo by Severine Bar.

There are places in the world where time seems to stand still, where you will find contemporary witnesses of events that can take your breath away. I visited just such a place more than 100 meters deep in a French lake—Lac du Bourget. Here, for more than 70 years, rests a Focke-Wulf Fw 58C—a German WWII airplane. This particular aircraft is one of the last of its kind that exist in the world.

Japanese Shipwrecks of Kwajalein Atoll

Look at a map of the Pacific Ocean and follow a line southwest of Hawaii. Right after crossing the International Date Line, but just before crossing the equator sits the Republic of the Marshall Islands. What could possibly be a map maker’s accidental green spots in the vast pool of blue representing the Pacific Ocean, many have never heard of these tiny islands which are home to fantastic underwater treasures.