USS Harder: World War II submarine that sank most Japanese warships found

Wreck of USS Harder discovered 3,000 feet underwater off Philippines

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USS Harder: World War II submarine that sank most Japanese warships found
USS Harder with the motto "Hit 'em harder" sank most Japanese ships in World War II. — US Navy

In a historic development, the wreck of the USS Harder, one of the most feared US Navy submarines, celebrated for sinking a record number of Japanese warships during World War II, has finally been located, CNN reported on Friday.

USS Harder, whose sub-wreck was found 3,000 feet underwater off the northern island of Luzon in the Philippines in the South China Sea, was destroyed 80 years ago.

The USS Harder's ship-sinking rampage came to an end on August 29, 1944, during a battle that claimed the lives of its 79 crew members.

Just before meeting its fate, the submarine sank three Japanese destroyers and irreparably damaged two others over four days, dealing a significant blow to Japanese naval operations.

According to the US Navy's History and Heritage Command (NHHC), these actions forced the Japanese to change their war plans and hold off their carrier force, which ultimately resulted in their eventual defeat.

"Harder was lost in the course of victory. We must not forget that victory has a price, as does freedom,” stated Samuel J Cox, a retired US admiral and head of the NHHC.

The Philippines was a major battleground in the Pacific during World War II, where the US engaged in fierce battles to reclaim its former colony from the Japanese Imperial Army.

The surrounding waters have since become the last resting place for several historic World War II warships.

In 2015, an expedition led by US billionaire Paul Allen stumbled on the wreck of the Musashi, one of the largest Japanese warships ever built, in the Sibuyan Sea of the Philippines.

The USS Harder, whose name comes after its famous motto "Hit 'em harder", was discovered by the Lost 52 Project, dedicated to locating the 52 US submarines sunk during World War II.

The submarine was found sitting upright on its keel and relatively intact, according to the US Navy.

According to the US Navy, the submarine and its crew were posthumously honoured with the Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism in action.

The submarine captain, Commander Sam Dealey, was also decorated with the Medal of Honor, the highest military accolade in the US, in recognition of his valiant service.