Plane Graveyard of World War II in Kwajalein Atoll (2)

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Brandi Mueller, a Merchant Mariner licensed by the U.S. Coastguard, captured incredible photos of over 150 Allied WWII aircraft now lying 130 feet under the Pacific Ocean near the Marshall Islands, more specific Kwajalein Atoll, Roi-Namur. Kwajalein Atoll is an incredible diving site but also an restricted military base.

In a perfectly executed World War II mission that took place at the end of January 1944, U.S. forces defeated the Japanese at a little-known outpost in the Marshall Islands called Kwajalein Atoll. As part of the effort to win control of this crucial gateway to the Japanese empire, U.S. aircraft bombarded Japanese supply ships in the lagoon at Kwajalein for several weeks prior to the attack, sinking most of them, some still at anchor, and others as they attempted to escape.

Little is left of the battle of Kwajalein except these silent wrecks still lying at the bottom of the lagoon where they were defeated, out of sight and forgotten until now. After the war no one would’ve had interest in the aircraft and no scrap yards nearby, they were dumped here rather than shipping them back to the United States, as it was a cheaper solution.

They call it the “Airplane Graveyard” – they aren’t war graves or planes that crashed. They were planes that were taken out over the reef and pushed off intact after the war ended”, said Brandi Mueller, “They should have flown more, lived longer, but they were sunk in perfect condition.”

This plane graveyard include several Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers, F4U Corsairs, TBF/TBM Avengers, Helldivers, B-25 Mitchells, Curtiss C-46 Commandos and F4F Wildcats.

The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined, medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was named in honor of Major General William “Billy” Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theater of World War II and after the war ended many remained in service, operating across four decades.

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Lionfish on the Corsair

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Glassfish in an airplane wreck

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Douglas SBD Dauntless

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Douglas SBD Dauntless

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

Plane Graveyard of Kwajalein Atoll (Credits: Brandi Mueller for Argunners)

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Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

3 Comments

  1. These planes were not dumped here AFTER the war in PERFECT condition. They were dumped DURING the war because they were damaged beyond repair by the Axis forces in battle. They took up too much room on the tarmac and there was no choice but to dump them. The Atoll was a small C shaped land mass that had no room to store disabled planes while the Allies fought for their very survival. The soldiers who repaired the planes were forced to dump them there beyond the reef because room was needed for more repairable planes that were continually “limping” back to Kwajalein for repair after endless battles with Axis forces. My uncle has recounted this for me numerous times as we wrote his book about his memories serving during WWII on Kwajalein. He repaired the planes and it grieved him to dump and leave the the planes there as an 18 year old young man. The statement “They should have flown more, lived longer, but they were sunk in perfect condition” just isn’t true. Bothers me because this seems to be more misplaced blame on American patriots for the sacrifices they made trying to save the us, yes, the entire world from brutal Nazi tyranny. Your photos are beautiful, however, thank you for posting them for all to see.

  2. under the terms of the Lend-lease agreement between the US and UK, anything left at the end of hostilities had to be paid for. Cue lots of aircraft being dumped off carriers.

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