Seven decades after World War Two ended artifacts from this period are still being discovered around the globe. These range from fighter airplanes in the desert to almost complete Aircraft carriers and battleships lost on the ocean floor for decades.
We are going to look at 9 of the most astonishing discoveries that have turned up in the last 4 years.
Japanese WWII battleship HIJMS Musashi
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In March 2015, almost 70 years after the end of World War Two sunken Japanese battleship the Musashi has been located in the Sibuyan Sea off the coast of the Philippines. Researchers believe they have located the ship after identifying a type 89 gun turret, which was a feature of the Musashi – one of the biggest battleships ever built.
The Japanese ship was the second of the country’s Yamato-class ships, which were built by the Japanese Imperial Navy and were the heaviest and most powerfully armed ships of World War Two.
The Musashi was sunk in a battle with US forces towards the end of 1944.
P-40 Kittyhawk And Pilot
After more than seven decades, the body of a missing RAF pilot was discovered in the Egyptian desert. In 1942, an RAF pilot was reported missing when he failed to return back to his base. He was flying Curtiss Kittyhawk fighter, and it was said that the aircraft crashed in the desert. It was initially believed that Flight Sgt. Copping’s fighter aircraft was shot down by Luftwaffe near the Libya-Egypt border. However, it was later revealed that Copping got lost in a massive sand storm, and after flying disoriented over featureless desert Sgt. Copping’s plane crashed.
A group of Polish Oil workers discovered Copping’s Curtiss in 2012. They quickly reported to the authorities, who found a partially destroyed aircraft along with a parachute. This meant that Sgt. Copping somehow survived the crash and attempted to make it on foot. They also concluded that Copping was killed by the smoldering heat of the desert and not by the Luftwaffe.
Aircraft Carrier USS Independence
In April 2015 a World War II-era aircraft carrier was found on the ocean floor near California’s Farallon Islands and it’s looking great. Despite being underwater since 1951, the USS Independence CVL-22 is “amazingly intact,” said officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Sonar images even show what could be an airplane sitting in the carrier’s hangar bay.
“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” James Delgado, maritime heritage director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said in a statement. “This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship.”
A team from NOAA and Boeing investigated a site 30 miles off the Northern California coast where an earlier survey indicated the ship could be located. The Independence was there, 2,600 feet below the surface of ocean in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary near San Francisco.
I-400 class Japanese mega submarine
In 2013 in the waters off the Hawaiian island of Oahu a Japanese mega submarine was discovered. The I-400 class Japanese mega submarines were the largest subs of WWII. It had a hangar in which it could carry three Aichi M6A1 Seiran floatplanes.
The I-400 was completed on 30th December 1944. In April 1945, and was prepared for the Panama Canal Strike, a Japanese attack plan to destroy the locks of Panama Canal. But after Okinawa fell, the plan was cancelled and the fleet planned to attack 15 U.S. aircraft carriers assembled at Ulithi atoll. However before the Ulithi attack was launched, Japan surrendered on 15th August 1945, following atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and of Nagasaki on 9th August 1945.
The crew of the U.S. destroyer, to which I-400 surrendered, was astounded at the sheer size of the sub. The I-400 was taken to Hawaii by U.S. Navy for further inspection. After examining, U.S. submarine USS Trumpetfish scuttled the Japanese subs in the waters near Oahu in Hawaii with torpedoes on 4th June 1946 where it lay undiscovered for almost 70 years.
Carrier Pigeon in Chimney
In 2012 the remains of a carrier pigeon still carrying a coded message was discovered in a chimney, in Surrey, having been there for decades. It is thought the contents of the note, once decoded, could provide fresh information from World War II.
During World War II, the United Kingdom used about 250,000 homing pigeons. The Dickin Medal, the highest possible decoration for valor given to animals, was awarded to 32 pigeons, including the United States Army Pigeon Service’s G.I. Joe and the Irish pigeon Paddy.
Unfortunately the code was never cracked so what the message said will forever remain a mystery.
Nazi ‘Nuclear Weapons’ Complex In Austria
Suspiciously high radiation levels around the Austrian town of St. Georgen an der Gusen had long fueled theories that there was a buried bunker nearby where Nazis had tested nuclear weapons during WWII.
Those suspicions came one step closer to being confirmed in December 2014 after the opening of a 75-acre underground complex was dug out from below the earth and granite used to seal off the entrance had been removed.
The weapons facility was believed to have been manned by SS General Hans Kammler and situated near the B8 Bergkristall factory, where the first working jet-powered fighter was created, Sulzer first got wind of the site after seeing references to it in an Austrian physicist’s diary. “Up to 320,000 inmates are said to have died because of the brutal conditions in the subterranean labyrinth,” Sulzer tells the Sunday Times. Those inmates were chosen for skills in physics, chemistry, or other sciences that would advance the Nazis’ quest for WMD, Sulzer says.
Excavation and exploration of this site is still ongoing.
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Millions of Silver Coins From Torpedoed ship
A hoard of silver coins worth £34 million that was sunk by the Germans on board a steamship has been salvaged by a British-led team at a record depth of 5,150m (17,000ft).
The SS City of Cairo (Captain William Rogerson) was a mixed cargo and passenger ship belonging to Ellerman Lines and was on a voyage from Bombay to England, via Cape Town and Recife, Brazil, unescorted, in late 1942. She carried 296 souls of which 136 were passengers and a mixed cargo including some 100 tons of silver coins belonging to the UK Treasury.
She was spotted by U-68 on the 6th of November 1942 and torpedoed at 2030 hrs. The engines were stopped and preparations made to abandon ship. A second torpedo was fired 10 minutes after the first and the ship sank a few minutes later.
DOS decided to look for the wreck of the SS City of Cairo and in November 2011 started operations. This was to be a difficult search as the water depth would exceed 5000m, the weather, swell and currents were known to be challenging and the presumed site was some 1000 miles from the nearest land in the foothills of the mid-Atlantic ridge.
The salvage was completed in September 2013, but DOS had only been given permission by the Ministry of Transport to announce it in December 2014
Panther Tank in Basement Garage
In June 2015, when a Kiel prosecutor suspected the existence of war relics in a villa in the town of Heikendrof, the only way to find out was the police raid. Possession of war relics, or weaponry is banned in Germany and is a prosecutable offence. The raiding party and prosecutors were in awe to find a fully intact panther tank in an underground garage as well as a number of other weapons from the Nazi era.
The villa is owned by a 70 years old man with an interest in war relics. Local people regard him as a quiet and conservative citizen. Authorities have long suspected the presence of suspicious items under his possession, especially after the reports that the owner of the villa was seen driving his WW2 tank in 1978.
The tank is now in the procession of the German Federal Police.
UPDATE: ME 262 Jet Fighter In Bomb Crater
As a bonus we’ve added a number 9 to the list!
In October 2014 members of the Museum Deelen Airbase near Arnhem found a Messerschmitt 262 in a farm field near Deelen `airbase, Arnhem in the Netherlands. This 262 was shot down on the 12 of September 1944 near the village Elden. The pilot Uffz. Schauder was killed. `the `Germans took the wreckage to Deelen. The dumped the plane in an bomb crater to hide it. This 262 was the first jet ever to crash in the Netherlands.