Microsoft Billionaire Paul Allen Locates Famous WWII Shipwreck

The Musashi starboard anchor, one of two 15-ton anchors carried by the battleship. Photo: PaulAllen.com
The Musashi’s starboard anchor, one of two 15-ton anchors carried by the battleship. Photo: PaulAllen.com

A team of researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has discovered a long-lost Japanese battleship that was sunk during WWII with the loss of over 1,000 Japanese sailors.

Allen announced the finding on his website that his team discovered the wreck of the Musashi, one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced battleships in naval history. The ship was sunk by American forces off the coast of the Philippines on October 24, 1944, during WWII.

Allen said that the ship was found in Sibuyan Sea at a depth of more than 1 kilometer on March 1, 2015 by a team aboard his superyacht, MY Octopus.

Commissioned in 1942, the Musashi was part of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Yamato-class. At 73,000 tons fully loaded, the Musashi and sister-ship Yamato are among the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed. The ships were equipped with 460mm (18 inch) guns, the largest ever mounted on a warship.

It is estimated that 1,023 of the total 2,399 crew lost their lives when it capsized and sank, bow first. The exact location of her sinking has remained a mystery up until now.

Allen and his team did not come across the wreck by chance. According to his website, Allen has been searching for the Musashi for more than eight years, using historical records, detailed topographical data and advanced technology aboard his yacht to located the wreck.

The Yamato also did not survive the War. It was sunk by Allied forces on April 7, 1945 with the loss of nearly 2,500 lives. The wreck of the Yamato was first located at the bottom of the East China Sea in 1985.

Since being launched in 2003, Allen’s MY Octopus, one of the most recognizable, largest and advanced yachts in the world, has been regularly used for exploration, scientific research and rescue missions. In 2012, the Octopus was used to launch Director James Cameron’s world record solo dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest place on earth located in the Marianas Trench.

Musashi Statistics

Type: Yamato-class Battleship
Commissioned: August 5, 2942
Sunk: October 24, 1944
Displacement: 63,000 Tons
Length: 862 ft
Beam: 121 ft
Draft: 32 ft
Speed: 28 knots
Armament:

  • 9x460mm guns (largest naval guns in the world)
  • 6x155mm guns
  • 12x127mm guns
  • 35x3x25mm 25x1x25mm anti-aircraft guns
  • 4x13mm guns

Armor: 650mm front turrets, 410mmside, 200mm deck
Aircraft: 7
Catapult: 2
Total Crew: 2,399

More about the finding and expedition can be found on PaulAllen.com