The wreckage of a Navy submarine, which sank at least 10 enemy ships during World War II, has been discovered off the coast of Japan, the Navy announced Thursday.
Naval History and Heritage Command’s underwater archaeology branch confirmed the identity of the Gato-class submarine Albacore II as the wreck site near Hokkaido, Japan, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands.
Dr. Tamaki Ura, from the University of Tokyo, and his team assisted in locating the long missing vessel, which was lost at sea in late 1944.
“As the final resting place for sailors who gave their life in defense of our nation, we sincerely thank and congratulate Dr. Ura and his team for their efforts in locating the wreck of Albacore,” retired Navy Rear Adm. Samuel J. Cox, the sea service’s heritage command director, said in the release.
Last seen on Oct. 28, 1944, at Midway during a refueling stop ahead of its 11th combat patrol, it is believed the Albacore sank in an explosion on Nov. 7, 1944, after striking an underwater mine in the waters off northern Japan, according to Naval History and Heritage Command.
The Navy lost at least 52 submarines during WWII, according to the National Parks Service.
The Albacore II sub was commissioned on June 1, 1942. Over the course of its career in the Pacific, the boat earned nine battle stars, among other decorations.
In addition to its 10 confirmed kills, the submarine reported sinking three vessels that were unconfirmed. Among the vessels the sub did sink was the Japanese aircraft carrier Taiho — at the time the newest and largest floating air base in the Japanese fleet — during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media