First IJN Battleship to be sunk during World War 2 has been found

Battleship Hiei, the first Imperial Japanese Navy battleship to be sunk during World War 2, has been discovered by R/V Petrel. The wreck was discovered early February by R/V Petrel, which is the research vessel owned by the estate of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

It’s the first discovery made by RV Petrel in 2019. In 2018, they managed to locate the wrecks of several known USN Ships such as the USS Juneau, USS Lexington and USS Helena; Australian Royal Navy ship HMAS AE1 and a Greyhound aircraft.

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The wreck of Hiei is located upside down in 900 plus meters of water Northwest of Savo Island. It was sunk as the first Imperial Japanese Navy battleship during World War II on November 14, 1942 in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

On the evening of 13 November 1942, Hiei engaged American cruisers and destroyers alongside her sister ship Battlecruiser Kirishima. After inflicting heavy damage on American cruisers and destroyers, Hiei was crippled by a shell from the USS San Francisco. Subjected to continuous air attack for the next 24 hours, she sank on the evening of 14 November 1942, taking the lives of 188 men with her.

Hiei undergoing full power trials off Tukugewan following her second reconstruction, December 1939
Hiei undergoing full power trials off Tukugewan following her second reconstruction, December 1939.
Rob Kraft going through the AUV sonar data of HIEI. (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
Battleship Hiei - Damage from the battle as well as degaussing wire and a porthole
Damage from the battle as well as degaussing wire and a porthole. (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
We found several of the dual 127mm guns. In this picture you can see the barbette it likely came out of on the left and a 127mm shell in front (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
A crate of 25mm anti-aircraft on laying on the capsized hull (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
Another set of the 127mm (5″) guns (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
A porthole on the hull (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
This is the port outer propeller and shaft. It has slid all the way aft to the cutlass or shaft bearing. It should have been well forward of the other propeller in view to the right. (Credits and Captions: Navigea Ltd. – RV Petrel)
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