Dive the Ghost Fleet of Bikini Atoll
The Wrecks of Bikini Atoll
USS Saratoga: - U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier. A steel-hulled vessel with a waterline length of 830 feet and a flight deck of 888 feet officially weighing 33,000 standard tons. At the time the Saratoga was subjected to the Baker blast her armament consisted of four aircraft; three ''Helldiver” navy single-engine dive bombers and a Avenger single-engine torpedo bomber that can be found in the hanger. Eight paired 38 caliber guns in four house - two forward and two aft, 12 single 38 caliber guns and 24 Bofors antiaircraft guns of which six have been located and 52 Oerlikon antiaircraft 20 mm guns of which five have been located. Twelve Mk 51 gun fire-control directors can be found next to the antiaircraft guns. Presumably "live" ammunition can be found on and around the vessel. The Saratoga lies upright in 180 feet of water. The superstructure is at 70 feet. deck at 100 feet and the airplane hangers at 130 feet. The Saratoga is the only "divable” US aircraft carrier in the world. The USS Saratoga sank on July 25, 1946.
USS Arkansas: - US Battleship. A riveted steel vessel, the Arkansas is 562 feet long with a maximum beam of 106 feet and a draft of 29 feet and weighing 23,066 standard ton. Fitted to be a flagship, the Arkansas contained more elaborate quarters than standard. Prior to the Able blast, the Arkansas was fitted with blast gauge towers, test equipment and test ordinance. A 90mm howitzer was also secured to the deck. Armaments that can be found are three 51 caliber Mk13 guns on single mounts, damaged shutters and splinter shields from 40mm antiaircraft guns. Inside the casemate, two 5-inch rounds can be found in the ready rack. There were no recorded alterations made to the Arkansas prior to the Baker blast. The seriously damaged Arkansas lies inverted on the bottom of Bikini Lagoon in 180 feet of water. The keel is at 100 feet and the weather deck is at 160 feet while the aircastle can be found at 170 feet. There are many passageways that run through the ship. The port aircastle leads to the entrance of the Admirals cabin. It is believed that the Arkansas was literally "smashed" down to the sea floor after the Baker blast in 1946.
HIJMS Nagato: - Japanese Battleship. This steel-hulled vessel was considered the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Also the sight of the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. 708 feet in overall length, the Nagato weighed 38,500 standard tons. Nagato’s armament consisted of eight 45 caliber guns, twenty 50 caliber guns, 4 antiaircraft guns, three machine guns and eight torpedo tubes, 4 above the water and 4 below. The gun turrets have not separated from the barbette. The Nagato sank on July 29, 1946 a few days after the Baker test bomb detonated near her. The ship is inverted, lying in 160-170 feet of water.
HIJMS Sakawa: - Japanese Cruiser. Sakawa was a welded steel cruiser of the Agano class. Particulars of the ship are not fully documented since Japanese records were destroyed at the time of the surrender. The U.S. Navy's official report on the Japanese Navy, ONI-221-J, issued in June 1945, cites a length of 550 feet overall and a beam of 49.6 feet. The vessels were reportedly armed with six 6-inch/50 caliber guns, paired in three turrets, two forward and one aft. Sakawa had an antiaircraft battery of four 3.1-inch/65 caliber guns, and thirty-two 25mm/65 caliber Hotchkiss guns. Sakawa also mounted eight 24-inch torpedo tubes above water and carried 16 depth charges. Each Agano class cruiser also carried two floatplanes for observation, launched from a single catapult. Sakawa was moored off the port quarter of Nevada. The actual detonation of the Able bomb took place some 490 yards above and slightly to starboard of Sakawa's stern.
USS Pilotfish: - US Navy Submarine. A welded and riveted, high-tensile-steel submersible that was 311.8 feet long and weighed 2,424 standard tons submerged. Known alterations to the Pilotfish prior to the Able blast included weights, wire rope moorings as well as salvage fitting connections. The two periscopes were removed and the shears scope tubes were blacked out. Submerged for the Baker blast, the Pilotfish was moored at a depth of 168 feet at a range of 363 yards from the point of the blast. The armaments onboard include a single 40mm rapid-fire recoil-type gun. Aft, on the after cigarette deck of the sail is a mounted twin 20mm Orelikon gun. The Pilotfish is almost completely intact with exception of a small portion of the conning tower which was blown away. The Pilotfish lies upright at 175 feet. The conning tower can be reached at 130 while the deck is at 150 feet. The only open hatch is the after escape trunk. The submarine is believed to be flooded.
USS Apogon: - US Navy Submarine. A sister ship of the Pilotfish she was a welded, riveted, and high-tensile Balao-class steel submarine--311.8 feet long overall, with a 27.3-foot extreme beam, a height of 47.2 feet, and a 15.3-foot draft at surface trim. Apogon displaced 1,525 tons standard surfaced and 2,424 tons submerged. The boat's primary armament consisted of ten 21-inch torpedo tubes--six located forward and four aft. Apogon carried 24 Mark torpedoes. The boat also mounted a single 5-inch/25 calibre gun on deck; lighter AA guns were also fitted. One of eight submarines selected for Crossroads, Apogon was modified to submerge and surface without a crew on board. According to Bombs at Bikini, "never before had there been occasion to submerge a submarine without crew aboard. Lightly damaged during Able, Apogon sank during Baker.
USS Lamson: - A welded steel destroyer of the Mahan class. Lamson was 341.3 feet long overall, with a waterline length of 334 feet, a 34.8-foot beam, a 9.9-foot draft, and a 1,726-ton displacement. The ship's plant was rated at 46,000 shaft horsepower at 37 knots. Armament consisted of a main battery of five 5-inch/38 caliber guns and three quad 21-inch torpedo tubes mounted on deck. Lamson additionally carried four .50 caliber machine guns, two depth charge tracks, and "K"-type depth charge projectors. Loaded with 50 percent of its fuel and ammunition, Lamson was badly damaged by the Able test burst, which tore off the light topside superstructure, stacks, and mainmast, and badly smashed the bridge. The vessel capsized to starboard and sank (after floating bottom up) sometime between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., five to eight hours after the blast.
USS Anderson: - The Sims-class destroyer Anderson was a welded steel vessel with an overall length of 348.3 feet, a waterline length of 341.4 feet, a 36.1-foot beam, a 19.8-foot depth, and a 17.4-foot draft. Anderson displaced 1,720 tons standard. Anderson's main battery comprised five 5-inch/38 caliber guns in single mounts. The ship carried twelve triple-mounted 21-inch torpedo tubes on deck. In mid-1941, four .50 caliber machine guns for AA use were installed. Anderson also mounted two depth charge racks aft. USS Anderson's superstructure was badly damaged by the Able test burst; the stack toppled, and a fire started abaft the bridge. The fire subsided in a minute's time, then flared up as Anderson capsized to port. Once capsized, Anderson sank by the stern. The Navy determined that blast damage and a post-blast fire and explosion sank Anderson. This was the only occasion during the tests that shipboard munitions detonated.
USS Gilliam: - was a welded steel vessel 426 feet long overall, with a waterline length of 400 feet, an extreme beam of 58 feet, a maximum depth of hold of 37. The vessel was armed with a single 5-inch/38 caliber gun, four twin-mounted 40mm Bofors antiaircraft guns, and ten single 20mm Oerlikon guns. Gilliam carried thirteen LCVPs (Landing Craft Vehicles, Personnel), one LCPL (Landing Craft Personnel, Large), and 1,032 tons of cargo or 849 troops. The superstructure was located in the center of the ship; two masts, one forward and one aft, were fitted with booms and steam winches that handled cargo and the ship's landing craft. Gilliam was selected as a target vessel for Operation Crossroads. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on February 16, 1946, the ship was readied for the tests. Gilliam was moored aft of Nevada, the projected target for the Able test detonation. The bomb instead detonated off Nevada and close to Gilliam, "the only ship located within 1,000 feet of the projected zeropoint. The vessel sank in less than two minutes.
USS Carlisle: - was a welded steel vessel 426 feet long overall, with a waterline length of 400 feet, an extreme beam of 58 feet, a maximum depth of hold of 37 feet, and a 15.6-foot draft. Carlisle displaced 6,800 tons standard. The vessel was armed with a single 5-inch/38 caliber gun, four twin-mounted 40mm Bofors antiaircraft guns, and ten single 20mm Oerlikon guns. The transport was identical to USS Gillian. At the war's end the ship was detailed to "Magic Carpet" service, carrying troops from the Philippines, Pearl Harbor, and Japan to Seattle and San Francisco. In this capacity, Carlisle had loaded 44 officers and 92 enlisted men at Tokyo, and on January 26, 1946, sailed for Seattle. Four days later, while at sea, the ship was ordered to Pearl Harbor for assignment to Joint Task Force One for Operation Crossroads. Arriving at Pearl on February 4, the ship was "stripped" during that month before sailing to Bikini Atoll as one of eighteen attack transports slated for the tests. Moored close to Gilliam, Carlisle was sunk by the Able test burst on July 1, 1946.