WWII Navy ship found more than 4 miles down, deepest wreck

| July 28, 2022

The destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts, sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944 (corrected from 1943 7/28/22), was found in over 22,600 feet of water last week by Caladan Oceanic, the same folks who found the world’s previous record-depth wreck, the USS Johnston, last year.

The wreck of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, also known as the Sammy B, was found in two pieces on a slope off the Philippines last week at a depth of more than 22,600 feet, according to a statement by the American explorer Victor Vescovo and the British company EYOS Expeditions. That’s more than four miles deep.

“It was an extraordinary honor to locate this incredibly famous ship, and by doing so, have the chance to retell her story of heroism and duty to those who may not know of the ship and her crew’s sacrifice,” said Vescovo, a former Navy commander and the founder of Caladan Oceanic, a marine-technology development company based in Dallas.

Both ships contributed to American victory in the October 1944 Battle off Samar, part of the broader Battle of Leyte Gulf, which has been called the largest naval battle in history.

Despite being outgunned, the Sammy B attacked a fleet of imperial Japanese navy ships led by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, before sinking under fire in the Philippine Sea, earning it a description as “the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship.” Among its 224 crew members, 89 were killed.

“This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end,” Vescovo said on Twitter, where he shared underwater video of parts of the Sammy B’s stern.


According to Wiki, a DE was a bit over 100 yards long and 12 yards wide, packing two 5″ guns and a bunch of AA guns. By comparison, the Yamato packed 9 EIGHTEEN INCH guns (largest ever on a battleship – our Iowa-class uses 16″ers)  twelve 6″ guns, twelve 5″ guns and many smaller guns – this was a pit bull puppy taking on a full-sized Rottweiler.  89 of our incredibly gutsy guys were killed. Amazingly,  124 crew members survived. Well worth reading about her final battle:  Wiki

Also worth looking up her namesake – a Navy coxswain who volunteered to distract the Japanese at Guadalcanal so that a bunch of Marines could be disembarked to safety. He drove his Higgins boat directly in front of Japanese emplacements to draw their fire till the Marines were safe; unfortunately, as he was preparing to withdraw, his boat was hit and he was killed. Navy Cross for that; to me it sounds like MoH material but I am only reading about it.Wiki

Category: Fair Winds and Following Seas, Navy, Navy Cross, We Remember, WWII

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According to this article, she sunk in October 1944:

“USS Samuel B. Roberts, Sunk in Battle of Leyte Gulf, Found”


Thank You for sharing!


David, we completedly understand those tiny keys…!!

“So little talent?” Nope! Not you! It is obvious you do alot of research when writung your articles…you also have great writing skills as well as flair..👍😊

Keep up the great work! And keep ’em coming!


See, David, what we mean about those tiny keys?

We typed “writung” instead of “writing”..😆

Also, wasn’t it Mick who wrote “FIST!” at a WOT?

And didn’t our beloved Hack Stone type something funny the other day by mistake?


No need for me to put you in Mod Jail. I am gonna start charging to let you out, though.


The captains and crew of the Johnston and Sammy B are generally regarded as the two of the most heroic that ever sailed in the US Navy fighting a hopeless battle against impossible odds that turned the tide of the war for good. A US Navy version of the 1st Minnesota.

Good they have both been found.

BlueCord Dad

Just in case people are unfamiliar with the 1st Minnesota…

jeff LPH 3 63-66

The battle of the Suragal Straits was the last US Navy battle where the US Navy used the “crossing of the T” manuver which goes back to the days of sail. The Straits were one of three Battles at Leyte Gulf where US Battle ships were used to cross the “T” and hammer the Japanese coming up through the straits.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

5 out of the 6 Battleships battering the Japanese ships at the Suragal Straits battle were damaged at Pearl Harbor and got their revenge as each ship circled around to fire their guns one at a time. The Japanese were unable to fire back because lowering their guns had the ships in front of them in danger of being hit by their own guns.


Wiki article “Crossing the T”

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Thanks for the wiki article. Read it and then went to my bookcase and pulled out Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat which I haven’t read in a number of years and revued the manuver. Looks like I’ll go over the book again. Before retiring, I had the Leyte Gulf book with the three battles and loaded with diagrams. The book went south with all my U-Boat books when I moved down to Florida. Just no room. I think I bought Leyte Gulf and Fleet Tactics from USNI which I am a member of. Loads of books there but no room to keep them.


We could possibly someday go into a recession but not yet or something…
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The Yamato’s sister ship, Musashi, was in the Center Force but was sunk the day before by twenty torpedoes (among other hits). Yamato had taken one or two torpedoes herself. Center Force turned around so Admiral Halsey thought they had gone home and pursued the northern force with everything he had.


Q: Why was this ship just found now?

A: Because the Navy heard there were sailors on board who had not completed their required Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity training.

Prior Service

I’m no mathematician but it says a crew of 224, with 124 survivors and 89 killed. I saw the same numbers in a Stars and Stripes article a couple of weeks ago, and it didn’t add up there, either. Any thoughts?


The story of the Samuel Roberts and the Johnston should never be forgotten. Those small boys, along with several others, led the most heroic action at sea in the US Navy’s history. Now that’s just my opinion, but I’m hard pressed to name another one that could match it.


Before I read the linkys, I’da swore the “B” stood for BALLS, cause the Sailor, Samuel B. Roberts (he didn’t need no stinking rules of order) sure had a pair. The Sailors and Destroyer Sammy B (we ain’t skeered of no Battleships that have us outgunned and outnumbered, the poor bastards) had that same attribute. But I guess all of that was common when Warriors knew that their duty was to carry the fight to the enemy and break shit in general. That such men lived. Too bad we don’t have a fleet full of Warriors such as these.

Thanks, David.

Mike B

That was when men were men……

Nowadays, we, uh, have something, I still don’t understand. Men who are or think they are women, and women who are or think they are men, or something like that…..Good Gawd that there is enough to make anyone gender confused.


Book: “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

Highly recommended.


For those who want to experience the very well-done, 26- minute video of the actual discovery:

(1) The Wrecks Off Samar – YouTube


Sammie B’s skipper (who became a reserve rear admiral) was awarded the Navy Cross for his role in that action and the entire task force was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.

Robert W. Copeland – Wikipedia