Billionaire Paul Allen Finds Sunken Battleship With Private Submarine

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Paul Allen was an original founder of Microsoft, started a space launch company and now owns the Seattle Seahawks, as well as one of the world's largest yachts, which comes with its own submarine. With a long list of accomplishments under his belt, he did the one thing you would do. Go looking for sunken battleships.


And did he ever find one – the Japanese Yamato-class super battleship Musashi. The Musashi, along with its sister Yamato, was the largest battleship ever built. Displacing a massive 72,800 tons, it sported nine 18.1-inch main guns. Despite an armored belt of more than 16 inches of hardened steel surrounding it at the waterline, a brutal pummeling of 19 torpedo hits and 17 bomb explosions sent the Musashi to the bottom at the Battle of Leyte Gulf during World War II.

1,023 sailors went down with the ship when it sank, including Captain Toshihira Inoguchi.


The Battle of Leyte Gulf in October of 1944 was, by some measures, the largest naval battle in all of human history, and the first to feature Japanese suicide kamikaze attacks. As a result of the Japanese loss, the Philippines returned to Allied hands and what little remained of the Imperial Japanese Navy ended up returning to the home islands of Japan. The loss of the Musashi itself to planes launched from American aircraft carriers was a decisive blow, and proved the superiority of the carrier over the battleship.

Allen found the Musashi after more than eight years of searching, according to NPR, mainly from his enormous yacht, the M/Y Octopus. The Octopus is a marvel in its own right, with two helicopters, seven tenders, a pool, a underwater viewing room, a full recording studio, a submarine, floodable well deck, and a remote-operated underwater vehicle aboard. That last one is the specific craft that found the Musashi. You can see a slideshow of the Octopus here and some interior shots here.


While the Octopus is clearly capable of hosting a party in its over 400-foot length, it's also been used for a bunch of research and exploration expeditions beyond the search for the Musashi. James Cameron used it to explore the Marianas Trench, and Allen himself used it to recover the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood.


Photo credit: Paul Allen/Peter Sleeckx

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