Mega Collector Paul Allen Finds Wreckage of Japan’s Biggest World War II Warship

An underwater photo of the Musashi's rusting hull. Photo: Paul Allen via Twitter

The US software billionaire Paul Allen has found the wreckage of Japan’s biggest warship, the IJN Musashi, the Guardian reports. The enormous 263 meter-long (863 feet), 73,000 ton Musashi is considered the largest most heavily armed warship ever launched.

With its nine 46 cm (18.1 in) cannons, capable of firing two 1,460 kg (3,218 lbs) shells a minute at a range of 26 miles, the Musashi was designed to fight several enemy ships at once. However the vessel ultimately succumbed to its aerial vulnerability, and sank during World War II after US aircrafts struck it with 37 direct torpedo and bomb hits. Only 1,376 of its 2,399 crew members survived.

“World War II battleship Musashi sank 1944 is FOUND” the co-founder of Microsoft announced on twitter after his luxury yacht and exploration ship Octopus discovered the Japanese vessel off the coast of the Philippines. Allen posted an accompanying photo of the rusting hull depicting the crest of the Japanese Imperial family as proof.

Allen’s crew, which has been searching for the Japanese battleship for eight years, finally found the wreck with the help of a bathymetric survey, which allowed to narrow down the search to a precise area. The exact location was determined and filmed using an underwater robot and an ROV (remote operated vehicle).

With an estimated personal fortune of $17.5 billion, Allen has long been a philanthropist, supporting deep-sea and space exploration. On his website, he hailed the discovery as “an important milestone in the annals of World War II naval history.” An avid art collector, Allen is also behind the Seattle Art Fair.

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