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Wreck of USS JOHNSTON DD 557 discovered at 20,000 feet underwater by RV PETREL

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posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 02:37 AM
The research vessel RV PETREL has discovered the wreck of what they believe is that of USS JOHNSTON (DD 557) lying at over 20,000 ft (6200 meters) on the bottom of the Pacific

It is the deepest wreck discovered to date. The PETREL was funded by late Microsoft founder Paul Allen. who died last year from cancer

Allen had funded the project to discover the underwater graves of World War ii wrecks as a means of honoring his father who served in the Pacific during the war

It was 75 years ago this past week that the Battle of Leyte was fought by US and Japanese air and naval forces in the waters of the Philippines

In an epic fight, known as Battle Off Samar, Task Unit 77.4.3, radio call sign TAFFY 3 composed of 6 small escort or "Jeep" carriers, 3 Fletcher class
destroyers and 4 destroyer escorts was ambushed by Japanese force of 4 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, and 11 destroyers

In an epic fight Taffy 3 massively out gunned and slower than the Japanese fought them off sinking or badly damaging several of the Japanese ships
while losing 1 escort carrier to gunfire (another was sunk by a kamikaze) 2 destroyers and 1 destroyers escort

JOHNSTON, in thick of the fight, took on the Japanese fleet before being sunk

Her captain, A Cherokee from Oklahoma , Earnest E Evans was awarded the NEDAL OF HONOR for his courage

The book, THE LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS by Hames Hornfischer goes into detail of the battle

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 04:07 AM
a reply to: firerescue

Great post! S&F.

I am always amazed at how well some of these ships are preserved in the depths of the ocean, virtually no corrosion at all. It could have sank last month. Instead it was 75 years ago. Also notice, there was nary a single fish nor any sign of other sea creatures. The depths are just too punishing.

Fantastic video! They were brave men.

That ship was blown completely to pieces, just ripped apart like a broken toy. Just imagine the power and fury it took to do this! That's not cheap thin aluminum we are looking at, but rather hardened steel armored plate...just shredded like a cheesy aluminum can.

One of the comments was telling; it said the naval gun on the Japanese battleship which this ship took on was heavier than the entire ship, just one gun. Imagine those odds for a moment.

And to the owners and crew of the R/V PETREL, thank you for what you do. You are truly an inspiration.

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 05:33 AM
Hey man awesome post, I love the work the Petrel is doing now and RIP Microsoft guy that did this to honor his dad, awesome!

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 05:33 AM

edit on 1-11-2019 by Brotherman because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 05:51 AM

originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
That ship was blown completely to pieces, just ripped apart like a broken toy. Just imagine the power and fury it took to do this!

It was hit by multiple 14" shells and at least one 18" shell from a Kongo class battleship and the Yamato respectively,

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 07:42 AM
a reply to: firerescue

Was this the ship that headed full speed towards the battleships to get within torpedo range and give the carriers some time to escape?

Chasing splashes from the shells landing in the water if I remember correctly.

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 07:55 AM
a reply to: Bluntone22

One of them, once the Johnston went in the other DDs followed suit.

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 07:58 AM
a reply to: Bluntone22

For the first 20 minutes, Johnston could not return fire as the enemy cruisers and battleships' heavy guns outranged Johnston's 5-inch (127 mm) guns. Not waiting for orders, Commander Evans broke formation and went on the offensive by ordering Johnston to speed directly toward the enemy—first a line of seven destroyers, next one light and three heavy cruisers, then the four battleships. To the east appeared three other cruisers and several destroyers.[1]

As soon as range closed to within ten miles, Johnston fired on the heavy cruiser Kumano—the nearest ship—and scored several damaging hits. During her five-minute sprint into torpedo range, Johnston fired over 200 rounds at the enemy, then under the direction of torpedo officer Lieutenant Jack K. Bechdel, made her torpedo attack. She got off all 10 torpedoes, and turned to retire behind a heavy smoke screen. When she came out of the smoke a minute later, the Kumano could be seen burning furiously from a torpedo hit. Her bow had been blown completely off, and she was forced to withdraw. Around this time, Johnston took three 14 in (356 mm) shell hits from Kongō, followed closely by three 6 in (152 mm) shells—either from a light cruiser or Yamato—which hit the bridge. The shells resulted in the loss of all power to the steering engine and all power to the three 5 in (127 mm) guns in the aft of the ship, and rendered the gyrocompass useless. A low-lying squall came up, and Johnston "ducked into it" for a few minutes of rapid repairs and salvage work.[1] The bridge was abandoned and Commander Evans, who had lost two fingers on his left hand, went to the aft steering column to conn the ship.

Wiki Source

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 08:05 AM
a reply to: Bluntone22

just imagine the thoughts going through all those sailors minds. had to be some tuff a@@ men on that boat.

From Johnston's complement of 327 officers and men, only 141 were saved. Of the 186 men lost, about 50 were killed by enemy action, 45 died later on rafts from wounds, and 92 men—including Cmdr. Evans—got off before she sank, but were never seen again.[1]

USS Johnston (DD-557)

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 08:06 AM
a reply to: firerescue

1.1 leagues under the sea...

I wonder if it will be explored or if it can...

ETA: After watching the video, looks like it can't. Too many pieces.
edit on 1-11-2019 by LSU2018 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 08:53 AM
Their courage was amazing .

Captain Evans courage was amazing . He was on the attack before the order was given .

He told his crew before he deployed .

“ we will go into harms way . If you’re not ready leave the ship “

( paraphrased )

The rumor is he drowned .

His 10 pound balls dragged him to the bottom .

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 09:07 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Despite maneuvering on one engine, with speed cut in half, Cmdr Evans ordered JOHNSTON to turn around, missing collision with HEERMAN by mere feet, to give support to the USS HOEL, HEERMAN and destroyer escort SAMUEL B ROBERTS

Later took on entire squadron of Japanese destroyers making torpedo attack on fleeing escort carriers forcing them to launch from too long a range and poor angle

JOHNSTON was riddled by numerous hits from the Japanese formation and sank

As she sank the crew in the water saw a Japanese destroyer captain come to attention and salute as tribute to the ship and crew

141 men from the crew of over 300 survived to be rescued 2 days later Cmdr Evans was not among the survivors

Equally courageous were the air crew of the carriers who launched with bombs. depth charges, rockets and bullets
to swarm over the Japanese fleet.

Scored hits on several Japanese cruisers knocking them out of fight . When bombs were gone, strafed and rocketed the Japanese ships. When out of ammunition made dummy runs to bluff the Japanese to make evasive turns

With support from sister formation TAFFY 2 to the south were able to sink 3 Japanese cruisers SUZAYA< CHOKAI and
CHIKUMA and force the Japanese commander Kurita to order retreat

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 09:09 AM
a reply to: firerescue

Thanks for this OP. I don't remember ever hearing of this battle before. Sadly, the number of surviving WWII vets is dwindling now. So many stories that haven't been told, so many sacrifices made.

I just downloaded the book on Kindle and Audible and will be reading/listening this weekend.

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 10:20 AM
a reply to: elkabong57

Sadly, the number of surviving WWII vets is dwindling now. So many stories that haven't been told, so many sacrifices made.

Fortunately, I was able to get Dad to tell me many of the heroic exploits they experienced in WWII in Europe over Nazi Germany before he passed. He was USAAF, B-17's 318st Bombardment Group Heavy, 532nd Squadron, 8th AF. (Engineer, Comms, Navigator and Top Gunner as required). This, when he would not utter a word to anyone else.

I have nothing but profound respect for these men, all of them, Navy, Army, Marines and Air Force.

edit on 11/1/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 12:32 PM
a reply to: Bluntone22

The Combined Fleet website, NIHON KAIGUN, gives detailed information of movements and outcomes for all Japanese ships (TROM Tabular Records Of Movement)

Go to JUNYOKAN page for actions of Japanese cruisers during battle





TROM for Battleships can be found here

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 12:36 PM
a reply to: firerescue

Thanks for posting!

Great stuff. That ship really took a beating.

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 02:25 PM
one of my favorite naval battles , you can find a book about it called the last stand of the tin can sailors on amazon
and one of my favorite retelling of the event

United States Navy Task Group Taffy-3 was not designed to engage enemy warships in combat. Comprised of just six carrier escorts (basically just ordinary merchant ships, each equipped with a flight deck and a complement of thirty aircraft), three destroyers, and four destroyer escorts, Taffy-3’s primary mission during the American operation to retake the Philippines was to hang around off the coast of Leyte Island and launch ground attack aircraft to support the infantry assault. If a submarine or two came knocking on the door looking for a nice meaty carrier to deep-six, or some stray squadron of Japanese fighter-bombers stuck its nose where it didn’t belong, the destroyers were equipped to handle it. So, naturally, when Rear Admiral Clifton “Ziggy” Sprague, Taffy-3’s commander, received a frantic radio call from one of his reconnaissance pilots reporting that the largest and most heavily armed assortment of surface-sailing battle cruisers ever assembled was bearing down on a collision course with Taffy-3, he was a little concerned. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it—the Japanese superbattleship Yamato was out there, accompanied by three massive battleships, eight cruisers, and eleven destroyers, bearing three-four-zero, range twenty miles, closing fast on his position at thirty knots. Huh?
so not exactly planned but some of the most epic stuff ends up this way

Five minutes later, a trio of armor-piercing shells eighteen inches in diameter threw up a towering wall of water just off the bow of Sprague’s flagship. It had been launched by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built in the history of naval warfare—seventy-two thousand tons of steel-plated intimidation equipped with massive cannons that could launch a bullet the size of a Volkswagen over fifteen miles. This heavily armored, virtually indestructible behemoth of imperial justice outweighed the entire Taffy-3 task force by itself, and those planet-killing guns it was popping off like bottle rockets were more than baller enough to completely vaporize any ship in the American task force with a single round. Meanwhile, the biggest guns in Taffy-3 were the Mark 12 5-inch/38-caliber guns mounted on the decks of the destroyers and destroyer escorts—midsized crew-operated cannons designed for use against aircraft and lightly armored targets like surfaced submarines. A direct hit from one of those things couldn’t have even dented the cooking utensils on the Yamato. Of course, it’s not as if that was going to stop the Americans from giving this massive Japanese battleship fleet a hell of a fight.
oddly enough the Johnston took such a hit and fought on for a while

ill only post two more snippits though

It should be mentioned here that there was a hell of a lot more at stake here than just those six carrier escorts (although these were to be defended at all costs). Earlier in the day a masterful Japanese feint had succeeded in drawing the entire U.S. Third Fleet away from the Philippines on some wild-goose chase snipe hunt into the middle of nowhere, and with Third Fleet’s unexpected departure the only thing keeping this gigantic Japanese armada from donkey-punching the two hundred thousand American soldiers and marines fighting on Leyte Island in the kidneys with artillery shells the size of refrigerators were the tiny antisubmarine warships of Taffy-3. Defeat here would give Japanese admiral Takeo Kurita’s battleships a free run to annihilate the landing craft and troop transports currently ferrying reinforcements and supplies to the island, massacring an entire division of U.S. Marines in their ships, crippling the operation to retake the Philippines and quite possibly turning the tide of the war in the Pacific back against the Allies. The men of Taffy-3 weren’t about to let that happen.
the real meat of the article is in the rest at source

and the end of the article which sums up the situation perfectly

In a two-and-a-half hour melee off the coast of Samar Island, the Americans lost four ships—the destroyers Johnston and Hoel, the destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts, and the escort carrier Gambier Bay. The Japanese, who had gone into the battle with an unimaginably more powerful force, suffered similar losses—two heavy cruisers were dead (Chokai and Chikuma) two more were badly damaged (Kumano and Suzuya), and the battleship Haruma sustained severe damage to her superstructure and hull. Deciding that his attack wasn’t worth the losses he was taking—and realizing that reinforcements were rapidly approaching in the form of fresh American fighter aircraft and warships—Admiral Kurita called off the attack. Taffy-3 had somehow held off the largest gunship fleet ever assembled, and they’d done it with just six escort carriers and seven destroyers. Taffy-3 suffered 792 men dead and 768 wounded, and those men who had abandoned ship were stuck spending seventy hours in shark-infested waters before being rescued. But, against all odds, they had accomplished their mission—the carriers and the Leyte landing craft were safe, and the Japanese Center Force had been turned back in one of the most heroic naval battles ever fought. The entire unit received the Presidential Unit Citation, and Captain Ernest E. Evans of the USS Johnston was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Throughout the Battle off Samar, Admiral Kurita had thought he’d been fighting fleet carriers escorted by American heavy cruisers. He had no idea he was actually fighting units half that size.
the whole its not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog saying comes to mind and any of taffy 3s dead have been dining with honors in Poseidon's great hall and are up there with the all time greats of the US navy in the annals of US navy history and lore

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 02:34 PM

originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: elkabong57

Fortunately, I was able to get Dad to tell me many of the heroic exploits they experienced in WWII in Europe over Nazi Germany before he passed. He was USAAF, B-17's 318st Bombardment Group Heavy, 532nd Squadron, 8th AF. (Engineer, Comms, Navigator and Top Gunner as required). This, when he would not utter a word to anyone else.

I have nothing but profound respect for these men, all of them, Navy, Army, Marines and Air Force.

Wow. Some hard, painful memories there. I'm glad he opened up to you. Those guys went through hell--over and over.

My dad came in late to the party--by the time he was trained up on the B-24, everything was winding down. He ended his service by piloting a crew for the Consolidated B-32 program (I think that's the right designation, I'll have to check). The B-32 was the backup program for the B-29 in case that program ran into difficulty. My dad hated that he didn't get a chance to fly combat.
edit on 1-11-2019 by elkabong57 because: fibberdegibits

posted on Nov, 1 2019 @ 07:23 PM
a reply to: elkabong57

88 Missions over Germany for my father. It took 25 missions to come home. He did three+ tours, and not a single person form his training squadron came home alive. They said he was crazy, but toward the end there were people lining up to fly on whatever B-17 he flew on. Had four B-17's shot out from under him. He'd been shot down twice, once over occupied France. Crashed twice at Ridgewell, England. The thought was, if the Germans couldn't kill him, then they couldn't be killed either.

He was legend.

I miss him. He was an inspiration.

ETA - His missions beyond the 75th mission were missions up to Poland to fly refugees and POW's back to the western world. It was all volunteer, and they still had people shooting at them, but not like the Luftwaffe.

edit on 11/1/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

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