Chuuk Lagoon

Japan's underwater graveyard

A couple of Type Three Chi-Nu Japanese tanks lie piled on top of each other on the ocean floor, where they have become home to an array of wildlife.

By Tom Wyke - Daily Mail

Covered in coral and left to rest on the Pacific ocean floor, these are the stunning remains of Japan's arsenal of military vehicles which were targeted in one of America's most important bombing operations during World War II.

From tanks to submarines, this military equipment was once part of a key Japanese naval base in Chuuk Lagoon, one of the federated states of Micronesia.

American Fleet Task Force 58 targeted the naval base on 17 February 1944 during a vital two day mission known as Operation Hailstone.

The success of the daring raid played a vital part in allowing Allied forces to gain the advantage in the Pacific campaign. 191,000 tons of war shipping now lies one hundred and eighty feet down at the bottom of the ocean, untouched since one of Japan's worst World War II defeats.

Much of Japan's war machines are now covered in a stunning layer of multi-coloured coral and the home to an array of fish and wildlife. The remains are part of over 40 different World War II wreckage sites at the bottom of the lagoon.

American scuba instructor Brandi Mueller, 32, was able to photograph the incredible detail of the remaining underwater wrecks at one of the best diving locations in the world, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.

She spent a week diving up to five times a day to capture these incredible shots, revealing the stunning natural beauty left at the site. It is estimated that over 400 aircrafts and 50 Japanese naval ships were destroyed in the deadly operation.

Over 2,000 Japanese troops lost their lives in the deadly 36 hour US aerial assault.

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