Eerie pics reveal rusting Royal Navy warships sunk in brutal WW1 sea battle with MISSILES still onboard 108yrs on | The Sun
EERIE images reveal an underwater graveyard of rusting Royal Navy ships that were sunk in a brutal battle at sea in the First World War.
The series of decaying shipwrecks in Canakkale, northwest Turkey, still have a terrifying arsenal of missiles onboard 108 years later.
Among the horde of historical shipwrecks are a number of Brit boats that were destroyed during naval operations in the Dardanelles.
Winston Churchill planned to attack the key strait off the Gallipoli Peninsula in an attempt to knock Germany’s ally, Turkey, out of WWI.
He teamed up with France to stage an ambush en route to the Turkish capital with plans to open a supply route across the Black Sea to Russia.
A fleet of Allied warships set sail and launched the battle on February 19, 1915, intending to use their vessels to force a way through.
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But they were gravely mistaken in thinking Turkey would surrender at the mere sight of the 16 menacing warships.
Historians say despite being armed with ample firepower, the mission was held back by civilian crew members who were reluctant to take the risks required.
The Turks had planted several minefields in the Dardanelles Straits and it was only a matter of time before the first ship struck one.
While subduing the gunfire, the French battleship Bouvet hit one of the underwater traps – which quickly sank in a few minutes.
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It took the souls of 674 men down along with it and triggered a catastrophic domino effect forecasting the demise of the campaign.
Allied ships continued to blunder through the minefield, leading to the demise of a string of iconic warships.
The HMS Triumph was tragically claimed by the sea on May 25, 1915, with 73 crew members on board, after being torpedoed by the fearsome German submarine U-21.
It now lies at a depth of 70 metres off the Kabatepe shores after being diverted from Asia to join the Dardanelles squadron.
An explosion tore through the 475ft grand vessel that was composed of thick Krupp cemented armour before it sank.
Just moments after, the river-class destroyer Chelmer was forced to evacuate most of her crew before she capsized ten minutes later.
She remained afloat upside down for about 30 minutes, then began to sink slowly – prolonging the agony for the 78 trapped on board.
The HMS Majestic sank on May 27, 1915, after similarly being ambushed and torpedoed by a U-boat at Cape Helles.
Another 49 men drowned with the powerful vessel, which was equipped with 18 12-pounder guns and torpedo tubes.
Her masts hit the mud of the sea bottom, and her upturned hull remained visible for many months until it was finally submerged when her foremast collapsed during a storm.
Britain also lost the HMS Lundy and HMS E14 to the failed attack that was eventually abandoned, leaving them to rot on the seabed for over a century.
The wreckage of France's submarine Saphir, Germany's SMS Breslau and the Ottoman's Mesudiye also make up the below-surface museum.
The incredible relics remain on view at the Gallipoli Historical Underwater Park, with divers plummeting to the depths to take a look for themselves.
"It’s like a time machine that takes you back to 1915 and World War I," diver and documentary maker Savas Karakas said.
Some of the wrecks are in relatively shallow water, while others – including HMS Triumph – rest a whopping 230ft deep.
Yusuf Kartal, an official with Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, described the attraction as "a different world."
He adds, “You see the submerged ship[s] as they were 106 years ago and experience the chaos of war secondhand.”
And despite the continued threat posed by unexploded mines and missiles, Turkish authorities decided to open the area to divers
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"Unexploded artillery shells and gunpowder on the ship at a depth of 24 meters will attract the diving lovers," a press release said in 2021.
Ismail Kasdemir, head of the Canakkale Historical Site, added: "There was history and treasure lying underwater for more than 100 years. The diving community was curious."
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