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Truk Lagoon Underwater Fleet, Truk Atoll

  • Also Known As: Chuuk Lagoon Underwater Fleet
  • Also Known As: Truk Lagoon shipwrecks and aircraft

  • Vicinity: Sea floor of lagoon
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Historic District
  • Activity Category: Marine Activity
  • Activity: Scuba Diving



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1944/02/16 Peter Marne Shonk US Naval Fighter Pilot Shonk, Shinneman, Kincaid and Perrault of the Reapers battle a 20 minute dogfight with six Zekes, high over Truk, in which three of the enemy went down and three Hellcats were shot up but made it home.

Data »

Particulars for Truk Lagoon Underwater Fleet, Truk Atoll:
Historic Use Battle site
Sight Category Historic District
Criteria Historic Event
Area of Significance Military
Level of Significance National
Historic Use Naval Facility
Owner State

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 30th September 1976

Registry Name: Truk Lagoon Underwater Fleet, Truk Atoll
Registry Address: Truk Lagoon
Registry Number: 76002267
Resource Type: District
Owner: State
Contributing Sites: 1
Contributing Objects: 39
Other Certification: Designated National Landmark
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Nominator Name: National Historic Landmark
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Military
Applicable Criteria: Event
Criteria Consideration: Significance of less than fifty years
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Significant Year: 1944, 1945
Historic Function: Defense
Historic Sub-Function: Naval facility, Battle site
Current Function: Defense, Landscape
Current Sub-Function: Naval facility Street furniture, object

History »

Truk Lagoon served as an important and formidable Japanese advance naval base during World War II, and today contains the remains of numerous sea vessels from this period. A devastating US Navy carrier strike on Truk Lagoon in 1944 demonstrated American aerial superiority in the Pacific Theater. From July 1942 to February 1944, Japan's Combined Fleet operated out of Truk, extending its power into the Southeast and Southern Pacific. In August 1942, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet (First, Second and Third Fleets and the Sixth Submarine Fleet) arrived in Truk, maintaining his headquarters on board the giant battleship, Yamato. When Admiral Yamamoto's airplane was shot down near Rabaul on April 18, 1943, by American aircraft in an ambush attack, he was replaced by Admiral Mineichi Koga, whose flagship at Truk was the Musashi.

The threat of an American attack in early February 1944 caused the Combined Fleet to withdraw from Truk on February 10, never to return. The U.S. Navy's carrier strike on February 17 and 18, 1944, coordinated with an assault on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, seriously impaired Truk's air force, destroyed virtually all Japanese shipping in the lagoon, and heavily damaged land installations. Truk was now virtually defenseless and the United States decided an invasion was unnecessary. The successful attack allowed plans to be made to bypass Truk and to strike at Japan's inner defenses in the Marianas. Within the lagoon are the submerged remains of freighters, tankers, supply vessels, the Fumitsuki, a Japanese destroyer and the 1-169, a large Japanese submarine. Today, the "underwater fleet" at Truk, resting amidst an infinite variety of marine life and containing the honored remains of Japanese warriors, is one of the world's underwater treasures. At least 35 sunken sea vessels lie between Dublon and Fefan islands, and east and south of Dublon Island, around Eten, and south to Uman. - NPS

Activities »

Activity Category Marine Activity
Activity Scuba Diving

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