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World War II submarine USS Grenadier awaiting rediscovery off Phuket


ARCHEOLOGY - The ship, missing for 77 years, had been scuttled by its crew to avoid falling into Japanese hands. The sailors then spent two terrible years in the camps.

History resurfaces off the coast of Thailand.

Divers have reportedly found the wreckage of a US Navy submarine that disappeared 77 years ago in Southeast Asia during World War II.

The wreck lies 82 meters underwater in the Strait of Malacca, about 150 kilometers south of Phuket, Thailand.

The wreck of the USS Grenadier was discovered by the French Jean-Luc Rivoire and Benoit Laborie, by the Australian Lance Horowitz and the Belgian Ben Reymenant.

The wreck rests 82 meters underwater somewhere in the Strait of Malacca, about 150 kilometers south of Phuket, Thailand.

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Between October 2019 and March 2020, six dives were carried out to collect photos and other evidence to identify the wreck.

The exhibits were sent to the United States Naval History and Heritage Command, responsible for the preservation and analysis of the history and heritage of the United States Navy.

According to divers, it was the USS Grenadier, one of the 52 American submarines lost in World War II.

Read also: Greece inaugurates its first underwater museum, a "Parthenon of shipwrecks"


was an important ship during the war and was very important to all the crew that served on board,

” Australian diver Lance Horowitz told The Associated Press.

The USS Grenadier is a submarine with a dramatic history.

On April 22, 1943, the 1475-ton, 94-meter machine was scuttled by its crew after being damaged by bombs from a Japanese plane.

Commander John A. Fitzgerald and the 75 crew members are taken prisoner.

They are tortured and beaten by their Japanese captors who hardly feed them for more than two years.

“The slightest sign of rebellion resulted in a rifle butt, kick, donuts in the face or a bayonet strike,

” the commander wrote in a report.

In the interrogation room, they were trying to get us to talk about our submarine and locating other ships through torture, using clubs the size of baseball batons, pencils placed between them. fingers or penknife blades slipped under the fingernails.

Four Americans lost their lives during those two long years.

The others were freed in 1945 when the war ended.

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When you read the Survivors' Book


you know what they went through,”

says one of the discoverers, Lance Horowitz


I am convinced that knowing where their submarine finally rests is a relief for them and their families.

This allows them to turn the page


The small group of divers carried out a real investigation to reach this discovery.

Identification of the possible places of the shipwreck, analysis of information related to the loss of nets by fishing vessels, use of a side-view sonar to scan the seabed in search of distinct shapes.

These numerous methods finally bear fruit after several years of research.

Read also: The wreck of a ship sunk in 1942 was found in Australia

While diving on this last site, they discover a wreck, much larger than expected.

So we went back looking for clues, identification plates, but we couldn't find any

,” recalls Lance Horowitz.

And finally, we took some very precise measurements of the submarine and compared them with those in the Navy records.

They correspond exactly, to the drawings of the USS Grenadier.


The operation remains difficult and dangerous all the same.

Jean-Luc Rivoire, French diver

Since their discovery, the underwater archeology branch of Naval History & Heritage Command has taken up the case.

According to Robert Neyland, its manager, "

the review, analysis and production of complete documentation can take between two months and a year


For their part, the divers are also continuing their investigation by collecting clues from families.

The name of the submarine would have been“ welded ”on the bow of the ship just before leaving Australia for its last patrol

, says Jean-Luc Rivoire.

But that doesn't appear to be the case in photos found in the archives that date from the construction site.

Entering the submarine requires authorization from the Navy and "

the operation remains difficult and dangerous with our bulky equipment

", explains the French diver.

We plan to examine the bow in more detail for the name, the tubes to see if they contain any torpedoes, which the families say would have been loaded before sinking.

The Navy is examining whether there are any characteristic or even unique elements of the


that we can look for on the wreck,

”he adds.

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The next dives will therefore aim to recover new evidence on the identity of the submarine.

But Jean-Luc Rivoire is very confident: “

We have already taken precise measurements which leave no doubt as to the nationality and class of the submarine.

In addition, we found an electrical part (a rheostat with the name of the American manufacturer Ohmite).


Of the 52 American submarines lost in World War II, only the Grenadier sank in the Straits of Malacca.

A place where ten ships have been lost since World War I.

To date, seven have been found, three of them remain: the Grenadier and two English submarines.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2020-09-27

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