Private Search Team Locates Sunken WWII Submarine

s35 submarine
A comparison of the construction of S-35 and S-28 helped confirm the identity of the two vessels (Lost 52 Project)

Published Aug 4, 2020 2:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

The "Lost 52 Project" marine archaeology team has located and documented another sunken WWII submarine, the USS S-35, which was scuttled in a gunnery exercise in April 1946. 

The S-class attack sub S-35 was built at the end of the First World War and commissioned in 1922. She was deployed in active service until March 1945, exiting service (along with many of the class) while the war was still in progress. During WWII, she  made seven patrols in the Aleutian Islands, hunting for Japanese shipping along the outer margins of Alaskan territory. This was a real threat: she was part of an effort to prevent Japanese forces from returning after their expulson from the far-flung islands of Attu and Kiska.

Like many other recent finds, the rediscovery of S-35 relied on modern robotics and sensing technology. The explorers used autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and advanced 4D photogrammetry. According to the Lost 52 Project, 4D modeling produces much more detailed data and imagery than conventional methods. The search vessel and the team spend a minimal amount of time on site to collect a 4D historical baseline model for later research. 

"Currently, seeing the underwater world in large swaths is done using sound or sonar. Human vision uses the visible light spectrum as the stimulus input and is extremely limited in range. Expanding this range underwater has presented unique barriers - least of which is the public, based on documentary graphics, believes [that] it already exists. This developing 4D technology is changing the way we can now explore the oceans. It is democratizing and empowering modern underwater exploration." said Tiburon Subsea CEO and team leader Tim Taylor.

In 2017, the team found sister ship USS S-28, which went down in a training exercise off Oahu on July 4, 1944. 49 sailors were lost in the sinking, and the cause of the casualty was never established.