2017 April 28 – Saipan / Emily wreck

I really wanted to dive this wreck. When I was reading up on the dive sites I noticed that some places call this the “B-29 / Emily” which is actually incorrect. The B-29 Superfortress was an American bomber and a…

2017 April 28 - Saipan / Emily wreck

Source

0
(0)

I really wanted to dive this wreck. When I was reading up on the dive sites I noticed that some places call this the “B-29 / Emily” which is actually incorrect.
The B-29 Superfortress was an American bomber and a primary reason the Battle of Saipan and the Mariana Islands Campaign was deemed necessary by the US. It gave the Americans a staging point to conduct bombing raids on Japan and would bring Tokyo into range. The bases in China fed via planes stationed in India were simply not close enough.
The B-29 planes cost more than the Manhattan project to develop. The final missions of the B-29 during WW2 including dropping 2 bombs: the Enola Gay dropped LittleBoy on Hiroshima and Bockscar dropped FatMan on Nagasaki.


Operation Meeting house began the March 1944 series of bombings on Japan and were conducted by B-29s. 346 of them left the islands and headed for Tokyo. In the end, 279 of them dropped 1,665 tons of bombs. The majority of these bombs were 500 pound E-46 clusters that released the smaller M-69s at around 2000 ft. These smaller bombs would punch through buildings and homes or land on the ground and ignite a few seconds later, spewing napalm all around.
M-47 bombs were also released. These were 100 pound incendiary bombs filled with jellied gasoline and phosphorus.
Post-war estimates number the casualties of this operation at around 100,000 people – the single most destructive raid of the war.

But as I mentioned, this was not the B-29 bomber.
What we got to explore was the Japanese Kawanishi H8K – a 4-engine long range flying boat used for patrols. The allies called it “Emily.”
 It was considered to be the best flying boat of the second world war – even when compared to the British Short Sunderland used by the Royal Air Force. The Sunderland excelled at rescuing men from torpedoed ships but after some improvements, it proved itself to be more than handy at defending and shooting down Junkers Ju-88 fighters of Germany as well as their U-boats. Like the Sunderland, the H8K would prove to be very competent at sinking subs.

First produced in 1941, it went into action in 1942 during the second raid on Pearl Harbor. It had to refuel via submarine on the way. It was the longest sortie ever planned without a fighter escort as well as the longest distance covered by two planes on a bombing mission.
The first H8K2s had two 20mm cannon and four 7.7mm. It was later improved to 5 cannons. It was also equipped with ASV (air to surface) radar and was a sub sinker. They had range, they had improved armor protection as well as offensive firepower, and they could switch between bombs or torpedoes. It had an operating crew of ten but could carry an additional 64 troops if set up for transport. It was pretty bad ass.

The wreck is a great dive. There’s a large turret top that’s pretty intact with its 20mm cannon. I was tempted to swim into the turret but I decided against that due to too many rusty sharp bits. One of the large wings is still in one piece and you can make out all 4 engines.
A short distance away from the wreck is a stone memorial apparently placed there by divers in the 1990s. It was placed there to mourn the deaths of the conscripted Korean solders on board. (And doesn’t mention any other nation’s soldiers fyi).

0 / 5. 0