First WWII Destroyer Sank By Rocket Powered Super Kamikaze Discovered Off Japan

Veteran Ocean explorer/CEO of Tiburon Subsea, Tim Taylor, and his “Lost 52 Project” team have discovered 84 lost US sailors and the WWII Sumner Class Destroyer “USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733)” destroyed by Super rocket-powered kamikazes in Japanese waters. The accomplishment has just recently been authenticated by the US Navy.

This discovery is very personal to Mr. Taylor. His father served in the Navy as part of the lead invasion force in the battle of Okinawa and he witnessed the Kamikaze firsthand when one plowed into his ship the USS Telfair.

My father came close to the same fate as the crew of the Abele just days earlier.” This was a very emotive discovery for me. Connecting me to my father” states Taylor. ”

 USS Mannert
WWII Sumner Class Destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele Bow Hull Number 733. Image Credit: PR Newswire

April 12th, 1945, the same day Franklin Roosevelt passed, the Abele was attacked and lost off Okinawa in 3 Minutes. Survivors witnessing the sinking thought the destroyer was split into two pieces like the Titanic. The exploration team findings show that the Kamikazes did destroy the keel and the ship folded as she sank to the bottom in 1380 meters (4500 feet) of water in a heavily volcanically active area off Okinawa.

The USS Abele was serving as a radar ship positioned 90 miles offshore between Okinawa and mainland Japan as part of Operation Iceberg. Over 50,000 American casualties, including 12,500 soldiers and sailors were killed, and the greatest number of combat fatigue cases recorded of any single American battle in history.

WWII Sumner Class Destroyer
WWII Sumner Class Destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele multi-beam sonar 4500 feet deep offshore Okinawa Japan. Image Credit: PR Newswire

Positioned as an early warning scout for incoming Japanese ships and aircraft, the USS Mannert Abele was the first successful attack and sinking by Japan’s new Super suicide weapon the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka or “cherry blossom”. Ohka was a purpose-built, rocket-powered human-guided kamikaze attack aircraft deployed at the end of the war. It had an extremely short range and was carried into action by Mitsubishi G4M2e Model 24J “Betty” bomber. The pilot would release from the bomber and glide towards the target and when close enough fire the three solid-fuel rockets, one at a time or in unison, and fly the missile towards his target with devastating results.

The USS Mannert L. Abele was named after the commander of the US Submarine Grunion. The Grunion was lost with all hands in a battle offshore the Aleutian Island Kiska in Alaska in 1942. Initially discovered by his sons in 2006, the Grunion’s bow was discovered by the Lost 52 Project in 2018 and expansive 4D imaging was collected by Mr. Taylor and his team. It was the first US ship to be lost to a deadly new weapon born out of Japan’s desperation.

The battle of Okinawa the savagery was overshadowed by the death of Franklin Roosevelt on April 12th, and Germany’s surrender on May 8th, 1945. Only 5 weeks after “Operation Iceberg” was declared accomplished the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan.

“Lost 52 Project” has been recognized by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) as the first and most comprehensive offshore underwater archaeological expedition in Japanese waters. Tiburon Subsea, Inc specializes in building autonomous systems to empower discovery, ocean data collection, and conservation.

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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