The wreckage of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier dating from the Second World War was discovered in late January 2019 by the expedition team of the research vessel and ship of Paul Allen (Research Vessel), the late founder from Microsoft.
Hornet was found nearly 17,500 feet below the surface, resting on the soil of the South Pacific Ocean around the Solomon Islands.
Hornet was best known for his role in the fatal Doolittle Raid raid launched in April 1942, which was the first airstrike of Japanese targets, including Tokyo.
Under the direction of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, of the US Army, the 16 B-25 aircraft launched since Hornet could not land on the planned landing strip in China, but the raid heightened the mood of Americans and put Japan on the alert. secret air capabilities.
In June, Hornet was one of three American carriers that surprised and sunk four Japanese carriers to Midway, reversing the course of the war in the Pacific. The ship was sunk during the exceptionally vicious battle of the island of Santa Cruz that began on October 25, 1943.
Hornet has revealed a particularly determined ship over the next 24 hours. Suffering from a coordinated and relentless onslaught of Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes, his crew was finally forced to abandon the ship due to damage and fires that resulted.
She then challenged US efforts to save her with 16 torpedoes and 369 5-inch shells. When Japanese forces approached shortly afterwards and fired four torpedoes from two Japanese destroyers late in the evening on October 26th, Hornet finally succumbed and slipped under the surface.
She lost 111 sailors on her crew of nearly 2,200.
"With the loss of Hornet and the extensive damage to Enterprise, the Battle of Santa Cruz was a Japanese victory, but at an extremely high cost," said Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Samuel Cox, Director of Naval History and Heritage Command.
"About half of the Japanese planes were shot down by a greatly improved US Navy air defense. As a result, Japanese carriers no longer engaged in combat for nearly two years. "
The discovery of Hornet was made during the first R / V Petrel mission in 2019, after being transferred from the Philippine Sea to the Solomon Islands to spend the winter months there. Operating from Guadalcanal, the region is rich in history and importance in terms of naval engagement.
"Hornet was on our list of World War II warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as an aircraft carrier that has seen many decisive moments in naval battles," Robert said. Kraft, Director of Vulcan Underwater Operations.
"Paul Allen was particularly interested in ships of historical and capital importance, so this mission and discovery pay tribute to his legacy."
The 10-person expedition crew on P / N Petrel was able to locate Hornet's position by collecting national and naval archive data, including official bridge logs and action reports. other ships engaged in the battle.
The positions and sightings of nine other US warships in the region were plotted on a graph to generate the starting point of the search grid.
In the case of Hornet, it was discovered during the first dive mission of the autonomous submarine vehicle of Petrel and was confirmed by a video sequence of the remote-controlled vehicle, both equipment can go down to 6,000 meters.