The first ever underwater images of a sunken Navy warship which is believed to have fired America’s first shot of World War Two were revealed on Wednesday

Stunning photos of ship which fired first US shots of WWII

The first ever underwater images of a sunken Navy warship which is believed to have fired America’s first shot of World War Two were revealed on Wednesday.

Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, sent his team of deep-sea explorers to far beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines.

It was there, on the seafloor of Ormoc Bay, that they used maritime drones and a research vessel to photograph the wreckage of the USS Ward.

The Ward was a Wickes-class destroyer that patrolled the entrance to Pearl Harbor nearly 76 years to the day – December 7, 1941 – that Japanese aircraft launched a surprise attack on the Hawaiian base.

The first ever underwater images of a sunken Navy warship which is believed to have fired America’s first shot of World War Two were revealed on Wednesday

The first ever underwater images of a sunken Navy warship which is believed to have fired America’s first shot of World War Two were revealed on Wednesday

Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, sent his team of deep-sea explorers to far beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines

Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, sent his team of deep-sea explorers to far beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines

It was there, on the seafloor of Ormoc Bay, that they used maritime drones and a research vessel to photograph the wreckage of the USS Ward

It was there, on the seafloor of Ormoc Bay, that they used maritime drones and a research vessel to photograph the wreckage of the USS Ward

The Ward was a Wickes-class destroyer that patrolled the entrance to Pearl Harbor nearly 76 years to the day – December 7, 1941 – that Japanese aircraft launched a surprise attack on the Hawaiian base

The Ward was a Wickes-class destroyer that patrolled the entrance to Pearl Harbor nearly 76 years to the day – December 7, 1941 – that Japanese aircraft launched a surprise attack on the Hawaiian base

An hour before the attack, the Ward noticed an 80-foot-long midget submarine that was trailing the USS Antares into the harbor

An hour before the attack, the Ward noticed an 80-foot-long midget submarine that was trailing the USS Antares into the harbor

The Ward accelerated to bear down on the submarine. Within three minutes of first spotting the sub, it opened fire

The Ward accelerated to bear down on the submarine. Within three minutes of first spotting the sub, it opened fire

An hour before the attack, the Ward noticed an 80-foot-long midget submarine that was trailing the USS Antares into the harbor.

The Ward accelerated to bear down on the submarine. Within three minutes of first spotting the sub, it opened fire.

This was believed to have been the first time that American military personnel fired a shot during World War Two.

‘We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges on a [Japanese] submarine operating in defensive sea areas,’ Lieutenant William Outerbridge told the dispatch to the Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District in Pearl Harbor.

This was believed to have been the first time that American military personnel fired a shot during World War Two

The USS Ward's number three gun and its crew were cited for firing the first shot the day of Japan's raid on Hawaii in 1941

The USS Ward’s number three gun and its crew were cited for firing the first shot the day of Japan’s raid on Hawaii in 1941

Three years to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Ward was patrolling the waters off the Phillippines when it was hit by several Japanese kamikazes

Three years to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Ward was patrolling the waters off the Phillippines when it was hit by several Japanese kamikazes

Allen and his crew explored the Ward to pay tribute to American soldiers killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor

Allen and his crew explored the Ward to pay tribute to American soldiers killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor

Three years to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Ward was patrolling the waters off the Phillippines when it was hit by several Japanese kamikazes.

‘Ward’s gunners opened fire with 3-inch and 20-millimeter batteries, hitting the center plane that wavered and crashed the ship at the waterline at 0956, entering the forward part of the boiler room and the after part of the lower troop space,’ the Naval History and Heritage Command said.

‘Men in the forward part of Ward could not contact those in the aft, since the fires amidships had severed all communications.’

The ship was soon engulfed by fire.

Crews were told to abandon ship less than 30 minutes after it was hit.

One crew member suffered injuries. All of the men on board managed to reach other ships nearby.

Before it was sunk, the Ward did a variety of tasks in the Pacific theater.

It helped a number of landings, went on patrols against enemy submarines, and defended against Japanese air attacks near Guadalcanal in June 1943.

Its wreckage was found on December 1, just days before the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The centrepiece of Allen’s project is the R/V (research vessel) Petrel – a 250-foot research and exploration vessel he bought in 2016.

Last year, an underwater remote vehicle operated from the Okeanos Explorer, a ship of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, viewed the sunken Japanese mini-submarine off Pearl Harbor that was destroyed by the Ward

Last year, an underwater remote vehicle operated from the Okeanos Explorer, a ship of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, viewed the sunken Japanese mini-submarine off Pearl Harbor that was destroyed by the Ward

The Japanese Imperial Navy vessel with a two-man crew - the first casualties of shots fired by US forces in World War II - lies at 1,100 feet. The hull, a host for barnacles and coral, is coming apart in three places

The Japanese Imperial Navy vessel with a two-man crew – the first casualties of shots fired by US forces in World War II – lies at 1,100 feet. The hull, a host for barnacles and coral, is coming apart in three places

Its advanced underwater equipment and technology makes it one of the few ships in the world capable of exploring more than 3.5 miles beneath the surface of the ocean.

‘The Petrel and its capabilities, the technology it has and the research we’ve done, are the culmination of years of dedication and hard work,’ said Robert Kraft, the man tapped by Allen to head subsea operations.

‘We’ve assembled and integrated this technology, assets and unique capability into an operating platform which is now one among very few on the planet.’

So far, Allen has led expeditions that led to the discovery of the USS Indianapolis, the Japanese battleship Musahi, and the Italian destroyer Artigliere.

Allen and his crew explored the Ward to pay tribute to American soldiers killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Last year, an underwater remote vehicle operated from the Okeanos Explorer, a ship of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, viewed the sunken Japanese mini-submarine off Pearl Harbor that was destroyed by the Ward.

The Japanese Imperial Navy vessel with a two-man crew – the first casualties of shots fired by US forces in World War II – lies at 1,100 feet. The hull, a host for barnacles and coral, is coming apart in three places.

The location is maintained as a gravesite, said Hans Van Tilburg, a historian with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

The successes of Paul Allen’s deep-sea expeditions

In 2015, Allen funded the expedition that recovered the bell from the British warship HMS Hood, which is resting on the seabed of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland

In 2015, Allen funded the expedition that recovered the bell from the British warship HMS Hood, which is resting on the seabed of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland

Billionaire tech mogul Paul Allen has made underwater exploration into a passion.

He has so far led teams of scientists who have discovered the wreckage of warships and other historical artifacts.

In 2015, Allen funded the expedition that recovered the bell from the British warship HMS Hood, which is resting on the seabed of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland.

In September, PBS aired a special television event highlighting Allen’s expedition and discovery of the USS Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis was hit by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea on July 30, 1945. It had just delivered components for the first atomic bomb.

It sunk in 12 minutes and of the 1,197 men aboard, roughly 300 went down with the ship. By the time rescuers arrived, a combination of exposure, dehydration, drowning and constant shark attacks had left only 317 men alive.

In March, Allen announced that his team of scientists located the wreck of the Italian naval ship Artigliere along the Sicily-Malta escarpment during an expedition in the Mediterranean Sea.

In March, Allen announced that his team of scientists located the wreck of the Italian naval ship Artigliere along the Sicily-Malta escarpment during an expedition in the Mediterranean Sea

In March, Allen announced that his team of scientists located the wreck of the Italian naval ship Artigliere along the Sicily-Malta escarpment during an expedition in the Mediterranean Sea

The Artigliere, a Soldati-class destroyer, was sunk in October 1940 after being damaged in the Battle of Cape Passero.

The Italian government was notified of the discovery in April, but the precise location of the Artigliere will not be publically revealed in deference to its crew and surviving family members. The site was left undisturbed by the research team.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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