Truk Lagoon History
Truk Lagoon history is a tale of early Spanish domination was followed by German acquisition after the Spanish-American war about 1890, and then a Japanese Mandate from the League of Nations upon Germany’s defeat in 1918.
The Japanese era saw a great buildup of arms and bases in advance of a wide military blitz over the Western Pacific. The blitz was supplied heavily from facilities at Truk, where often more than 1,000 merchant and war ships moored in readiness for further deployment.
Five airfields supporting close to 500 aircraft provided complete protection over Truk’s Gibraltar-like facilities. A deep lagoon, high islands and circling barrier reef provided extensive natural protection.
Patrol boats, torpedo boats, submarines, tugs, landing craft, gunboats and mine sweepers contributed to the final defenses and service needs to maintain this big base.
After a follow up attack in April, 1944, Truk was reduced to rubble with over 70 shipwrecks, 400 aircraft destroyed or sunk, and the menace of this big fortress removed forever.U.S. forces declined engagement with the 40,000 troops at Truk, and after these attacks, starvation consumed many of the defenders before the eventual surrender of Japan late in 1945.
About 20 years later, adventure divers such as Jacques Cousteau, Al Giddings and Klaus Lindemann discovered the wonders of Truk Lagoon history and this huge sunken fleet, replete with incredible vistas of war machinery, soft coral draperies, fish life and personal mementos.Truk is without parallel – its ghostly remains create the world’s greatest wreck diving in a wonderfully comfortable location.
Visit SeaWolf Production’s website – a historical resource on Operation Hailstorm.