Monday, November 11, 2013

Second World War Shipwrecks




This week's Monday Map comes to you courtesy of Amazing Maps on Twitter and it purports to show the location of all World War II shipwrecks.

I have no idea of its original source or accuracy... although it's probably no more misleading than most of the stuff on this blog. Somebody called R. Moufis apparently created it in 2004, but I have no idea who Mr or Mrs or Ms or Miss R. Moufis is or was, or how he or she found the data for this truly amazing map.

Being serious for a moment on Veterans Day, it's horrific and sad to think of all the sailors who lost their lives at every one of those dots on the map.

Being not serious for a moment... WTF happened to the eastern Pacific? Did it get lost in the war?

And as an afterthought... here is a quiz for you. I didn't have to look at this map for very long to realize that there is one very famous and very well-documented WW2 wreck that is missing from the map. What and where is it?


16 comments:

Patrick said...

I think I know, but I don't want to hand the answer to others on a plate.

Tillerman said...

Ding ding ding. Patrick knows it.

Baydog said...

WTF?

Tillerman said...

Is that your answer for the name of the ship or the place of its sinking, Baydog?

Jeremiah Blatz said...

Well, I don't see any dots in Northern Italy. Do duck boats count? (Hello, regular reader, first time posting.)

Baydog said...

Jeremiah: Duckboats do not count, because they all sink if left in the water...

Tillerman said...

Hi Jeremiah. Welcome. Thanks for posting. Northern Italy wasn't the part of the world I was thinking about. Were there some major shipwrecks in northern Italy in WW2? Please tell us more.

I'm not sure if duckboats count. We would have to ask R. Moufis and I don't know how to contact him or her.

Tillerman said...

Patrick knows the answer but just in case anyone else wants to keep guessing, here are some clues...

1. A blogger on my blogroll is very close to where this shipwreck was.

2. I think I am right in saying that no lives were lost when this ship sank.

Tillerman said...

Where is O Docker when we need him?

Jeremiah Blatz said...

Tillerman, there was a duck boat that sank in Lake Garda in 1945, sadly 24 people died. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/1213/Duck-boat-sunk-in-World-War-II-found-in-Italian-lake

There is also a shipwreck in lake Tinnsj√ł, in Norway, can't tell for sure if that's on the map, though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SF_Hydro.

Tillerman said...

Well spotted Jeremiah. Those examples are indeed wrecks missing from the map. In fact, it doesn't look as if it includes any boats that went down in lakes during the war. There are no yellow markers in the Great Lakes or the Black Sea or the Caspian Sea, and I'm guessing there must have been some wrecks on such large bodies of water in those years.

But the example I am thinking of is not on an inland lake, and it was a major warship in the navy of one of the main protagonists in WW2.

O Docker said...

There may be a 'R. Moufils' somewhere, but that person had nothing to do with this map.

The map comes from a 2006 research paper titled Sunken WWII shipwrecks of the Pacific and East Asia: The need for regional collaboration to address the potential marine pollution threat, which was authored by Trevor Gilbert, Sefanaia Nawadra, and a Rean Monfils, who presumably is the 'R. Monfils' whose name appears on the map.

Honestly, I don't know how you would ever write this blog without your readers' help.

John said...

The Graf Spee was scuttled off Montevideo early in the war. It doesn't appear to be shown. It was sunk before the US entered the war so maybe it doesn't count...

Tillerman said...

He's baaaaaaaack!

1. You are right O docker. I would not know how to write this blog without my readers' help.

2. Rean Monfils is the new Fred A. Mabbett.

3. I did misread the name off the map. I missed the L and I thought the N was a U. The first mistake is inexcusable. But the more I look at the N the more it reminds me of one of those popular optical illusions. Is the dancer spinning clockwise or anticlockwise? Are there two faces or two glasses? Is it an N or a U? Whatever. Obviously I wasn't going to find Ms Monfils by googling Moufis.

4. it is true that Rean Monfils collaborated on that paper addressing the issue of pollution from WW2 wrecks in the Pacific and East Asia. She also wrote another paper The Global Risk of Marine Pollution from WWII Shipwrecks: Examples from the Seven Seas which presumably explains why her map includes data from the Atlantic, Indian and Mediterranean, not just from the West Pacific.

4. I still don't understand why the map is missing the eastern half of the Pacific. I am not very familiar with the history of the war in the Pacific. Was there actually much naval action off the western coasts of North and South America?

5. Ms Monfils does say in the paper to which I linked that the Pacific database of WW2 shipwrecks is "relatively complete" but the database she used for other oceans was only in its initial stages, implying that it might be missing many wrecks. That might explain why the map is missing the major well-known wreck that I am thinking of.

6. On the other hand the wreck I spotted as missing is not strictly speaking in the ocean.

Tillerman said...

Oops the link in my last comment is bad. Try this one

Tillerman said...

Ding ding ding. John has got it. The German pocket battleship Graf Spee was scuttled off Montevideo after the Battle of the River Plate. Definitely not on the map.

And of course, Patrick's sly reference to a plate in the first comment above was proof that he had it too.

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