Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Wrecks Of Coron Bay

On the 24th September 1944, a large swarm of US Navy aircraft filled the skies above Coron Bay, in the Philippines. Their target was the Japanese supply fleet which had fled air-raids in Manila. A total of 96 Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter escorts and 24 Curtis SB2C Helldiver dive bombers took off on a flight to their targets 340 miles away: the longest carrier-based air operation in history. Due to the distance and fuel consumption, the pilots would not have long to engage their targets. Many did not make it home after the raid, running out of fuel and crashing into the sea.

These ships were essential to the Japanese war effort, and their sinking was a bitter blow they wish to forget. Indeed, one ship was only recently identified, having been wrongly named for several years. Twelve craft were hit in total, and few vessels escaped. Those hit took hundreds of terrified seamen to a watery grave in the cloudy waters of the bay. Some of these ships have never been found.

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