To the south-east is Kuop Atoll and Kuop Lagoon. Truk Lagoon is a 40 mile wide lagoon surrounded by a fringing coral reef.
On November 15, 1939, Admiral Katagiri Eikichi's Fourth Fleet is established at Truk. Chitose is assigned as flagship with tenders Kamoi and Kinugasa Maru of the 17th Sentai for the new fleet. During December, 24 H6K Mavis flying boats of the Yokohama Kokutai are also stationed at Truk Lagoon.
On the morning of February 17, 1944 US Navy carrier aircraft from USS Intrepid CV-11 and USS Essex conductd a surprise attack against Japanese ships anchored in Truk Lagoon, dropping 400 tons of bombs and torpedo. Attacks continued February 18, 1944. In total, forty ships were sunk and
thousands of Japanese died. Ten weeks later, a second
raid sank more ships.
Shipwrecks of Truk
than two years after the war, oil from the sunken ships covered
the beaches and reefs. Truk is best wreck diving in the world overall because of the numerous
wrecks and their preservation and beauty. Depths vary from the surface
in excess of 200 feet. You can penetrate into the wrecks but you can't
remove any artifacts. Caustic substances like high octane aviation
fuel, oils, gasoline and acid exist on many of the wrecks. Explosives,
mines, munitions, detonators, torpedoes and shells are still "live".
The wrecks of Truk Lagoon are war graves. Strict policies exist that
prevent the removal of any artifacts or marine life from the wrecks.
Fines and a possible jail sentence await those who disobey. The Trukese
hope preserve their lagoon as an underwater living monument and museum
of the war.
and MIA Shipwrecks
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March 19, 2013