It was half of the two heaviest and most powerful battleships ever built.
Billionaire and philanthropist Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill gates in 1975, has located the long-lost World War II battleship, the Musashi. Allen, together with his team of researchers, found the largest battleship ever constructed in naval history in the Sibuyan Sea, Philippines on March 1, 2015.
Allen and his team’s discovery has marked a milestone in the annals of naval history, as this year is also the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The team began their expedition more than eight years ago aboard Allen’s personal yacht, the M/Y Octopus. Determined to locate the ship, they armed themselves with detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology. Allen had also commissioned a hypsometric bathymetric survey of the ocean floor to determine the underwater terrain.
The exact location of Musashi was unknown prior to this astounding discovery. No one can pinpoint where exactly the warship was submerged after being sunk by Americans in 1944.
“Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army. The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction. I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honoring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her,” Allen said in a statement.
According to the World war II database, Musahi was commissioned into service at Nagasaki, Japan and was assigned to Combined Fleet Battleship Division in Aug 1942. On Feb 11 1943, Admiral Yamamoto broke his flag aboard Musashi at Truk, Caroline Islands. The warship was then reassigned to Second Fleet on Feb 25 1944.
On May 14 1944, Musahi arrived on Tawi-Tawi, Philippines where she remained for gunnery drills at a range of nearly 22 miles with sister ship Yamato through Jun 1944. On Oct 18 1944, her deck was painted black for an intended night operation in the Dutch East Indies. On Oct 20 1944, she was refueled in Brunei Bay. On Oct 24 1944, she was defeated in the Battle of Sibuyan Sea due to powerful attacks from American air power.
Musashi as a War Grave
Allen and his team recognized and respect the responsibility that comes with the discovery of Musashi. They intend to work with the Japanese government to ensure that the wreckage of Musashi will be maintained as a war grave, in accordance with Japanese traditions.
Suikokai, an organization dedicated to retirees of the Imperial Japanese Navy Officials and Maritime Self-Defense Force, told The Japan Times they have yet to hear information about Allen’s discovery. At the same time, spokespeople for the Philippine coast guard and navy said they did not receive any information or correspondence with regards to the discovery of Musashi.