Death and destruction came to the tiny Pacific outpost of Truk Lagoon in February 1944. Operation Hailstone designed to destroy as much of the Japanese fleet and surrounding island bases as possible over the course of two days and stop the Japanese advance across the Pacific. While many of Japan’s larger battleships and destroyers had left for Palau and other regions of the Pacific fearing an imminent attack, the allies still found over 60 ships in the lagoon, sinking over 45 and damaging many others. Of 365 Japanese planes, over 270 destroyed in the air or on the ground.
In 1970, Truk Lagoon again came to the attention of the world through Jacques Cousteau’s survey of the collection of shipwrecks and aircraft on the sea floor. Truk Lagoon is now on every shipwreck enthusiast’s bucket list.
World War II Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon by Dan E Bailey is the definitive guide to the build-up to the air strikes, the events of Operation Hailstone and details 52 shipwrecks and 5 aircraft wrecks that are lying on the seabed. The first section of the book deals with the history of Japanese expansion into Truk Lagoon and its development into a naval base. The days of the allied raid comprehensively covered, with decoded intercepted messages and black and white images included.
The author is an expert on the wrecks of Truk Lagoon
Having been diving there since the early 1970s. He has exhaustively researched the wartime records and pieced together information from other Pacific war researchers to compile the information relating to the raid. With over thirty years of diving on the wrecks, he has built a comprehensive guide to each one including background history, wreck description and diving notes complete with colour photographs of the most interesting artifacts.
What’s nice about World War II Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon is that you can slip. Into whatever areas that interest you easily and quickly. It’s laid out and everything easy to find. If it’s just the wreck information that after. Then the information is complete in it self but the options there to delve further into the history of each individual ship or get involved in the detail of Operation Hailstone.
I bought this book on my way home from my first trip to Truk.
Apart from wishing that I knew of it before I went. It gave me a greater insight into the wrecks that I’d just dived on. Some of these wrecks are so big that there is no chance of see everything. In one or two dives – this book will fill you in on the bits. You missed and help guide you on your next trip back.
It hardcover and over 500 pages long so not a book easily carried. With you but if planning a dive trip to Truk, you’ve just or a Pacific. War enthusiast then you need this book on your coffee table or bookshelf.
Jane Mitchell is a scuba diving instructor who works at a public aquarium for her day job. She loves introducing people to the joys that can found underwater and discovering everything she can about shipwrecks and sharks.