World War II-era sub found ‘intact’ off Luzon

US VESSEL SANK THE MOST JAPANESE WARSHIPS

World War II-era sub found ‘intact’ off Luzon

By: - Reporter /
/ 05:27 AM May 27, 2024

World War II-era sub found ‘intact’ off Luzon

‘STATE OF PRESERVATION’ A 1944 photograph of the sunken USS Harder. The World War II-era submarine was found at an unspecified location off the coast of Luzon, the US Navy’s History and Heritage Command (NHHC) said last week. —photos courtesy of Tim Taylor and the Lost 52 Project, NHHC website

MANILA, Philippines — The wreck of a legendary United States Navy submarine renowned for sinking the most Japanese warships during World War II has been found in the depths of the South China Sea, off the coast of the Philippines’ main northern island of Luzon, after being missing for 80 years.

The USS Harder (SS-257)—with the motto “Hit ’em HARDER”—was discovered some 914 meters (3,000 feet) below the surface of Luzon, sitting upright and relatively intact, the US Navy’s History and Heritage Command (NHHC) said in a statement last week.

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“Resting at a depth of more than 3,000 feet, the vessel sits upright on her keel relatively intact except for the depth-charge damage aft of the conning tower,” it said.

The USS Harder went missing during her sixth and final war patrol with 79 crew members onboard on Aug. 24, 1944.

Its last known location was in the South China Sea off Luzon.

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‘War grave’

The location of the shipwreck was found using data collected and provided by Tim Taylor, CEO of Tiburon Subsea and the Lost 52 Project, an organization dedicated to searching for and memorializing the 52 submarines lost during World War II. It has discovered at least six other lost submarines from the war.

“Submarines by their very design can be a challenge to identify, but the excellent state of preservation of the site and the quality of the data collected by Lost 52 allowed for NHHC to confirm the identity of the wreck as Harder,” the NHHC said.

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The NHHC said the wreck is protected under US law and serves as “the final resting place of Sailors that gave their life in defense of the nation and should be respected by all parties as a war grave.”

“Harder was lost in the course of victory. We must not forget that victory has a price, as does freedom,” said NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, a retired US Navy rear admiral.

“We are grateful that Lost 52 has given us the opportunity to once again honor the valor of the crew of the ‘Hit ’em HARDER’ submarine that sank the most Japanese warships—in particular … audacious attacks—under her legendary skipper, Cmdr Sam Dealey,” he said.

Dealey was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor—the United States’ highest award for military valor in combat—for his outstanding contribution to the war effort on Harder’s fifth patrol.

He also received a Navy Cross, two Gold Stars, and the Distinguished Service Cross, according to the NHHC.

World War II-era sub found ‘intact’ off Luzon

‘STATE OF PRESERVATION’ A computer image of the sunken USS Harder. The World War II-era submarine was found at an unspecified location off the coast of Luzon, the US Navy’s History and Heritage Command (NHHC) said last week.

Several shipwrecks

Harder, meanwhile, received the Presidential Unit Citation for its first five patrols, six battle stars for World War II service.

The submarine’s fifth war patrol was its “most successful,” after it depleted the critical supply of Japanese destroyers by sinking three of them and heavily damaging two others in four days, the NHHC said.

Its frequent attacks resulted in Adm. Jisaburo Ozawa’s Mobile Fleet departing Tawi-Tawi a day ahead of schedule, affecting their battle plans and “contributing to the defeat suffered by the Japanese in the ensuing battle.”

The Philippines was a major battleground between the United States and Japan during World War II, the deadliest war in history. Thus, several war shipwrecks are believed to be in waters around the archipelago.

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In 2015, one of the largest Japanese battleships ever built that was sunk in World War II, the Musashi, was found in the Philippines’ Sibuyan Sea.

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TAGS: South China Sea, USS Harder, World War II

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