World War II-Era Sub Found

The wreck of the USS Harder (SS-257), a U.S. Navy submarine known for sinking the most Japanese warships during World War II, has been found in the South China Sea off the coast of Luzon, Philippines, after being missing for 80 years.

The USS Harder, with the motto “Hit ’em HARDER,” was located at a depth of 914 meters (3,000 feet) and is relatively intact, according to the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage Command (NHHC). “The vessel sits upright on her keel relatively intact except for the depth-charge damage aft of the conning tower,” the NHHC stated.

The submarine went missing on August 24, 1944, during its sixth and final patrol with 79 crew members onboard.

Tim Taylor, CEO of Tiburon Subsea and the Lost 52 Project, provided the data that led to the discovery. The Lost 52 Project focuses on finding and memorializing the 52 submarines lost during World War II and has found at least six others.

“Submarines by their very design can be a challenge to identify, but the excellent state of preservation and the quality of the data collected by Lost 52 allowed for NHHC to confirm the identity of the wreck as Harder,” the NHHC said.

‘STATE OF PRESERVATION’ A computer image of the sunken USS Harder. The World War II-era submarine was found at an unspecified location off the coast of Luzon, the US Navy’s History and Heritage Command (NHHC) said last week.

The wreck is protected under U.S. law and is considered a war grave. NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral, emphasized the importance of remembering the sacrifice of the Harder’s crew.

The Harder received the Presidential Unit Citation for its first five patrols and six battle stars for World War II service. Its fifth patrol was particularly successful, depleting the Japanese destroyer supply by sinking three and heavily damaging two others in four days. This led to Adm. Jisaburo Ozawa’s Mobile Fleet departing Tawi-Tawi ahead of schedule, affecting Japanese battle plans and contributing to their defeat in the ensuing battle.

The Philippines was a major battleground between the U.S. and Japan during World War II, and several shipwrecks are believed to be in the waters around the archipelago.

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