A Soviet Navy Leninets-class submarine, date unknown (Photo: Russian Government archives)
A Soviet Navy Leninets-class submarine, date unknown (Photo: Russian Government archives)

Russia resumes search for submarine lost in World War II

The Russian Ministry of Defence has confirmed that an expedition has been launched to attempt to locate a Soviet Navy submarine that was lost off the northern coast of Japan in the closing weeks of World War II. Russian Navy hydrographic ships will begin combing the waters of La Perouse Strait between Japan and the Sakhalin region with the aim of finding the wreckage of the Leninets-class submarine L-19.

The submarine's crew last made radio contact in late August 1945, just days following Emperor Hirohito's announcement of Japan's surrender to the Allies to bring an end to the hostilities. An earlier attempt to locate the wreck was made in 2006. However, this expedition found only a freighter and the US Navy Gato-class submarine USS Wahoo, which was lost along with its entire crew as a result of a Japanese air attack in October 1943.

The search for L-19 will focus on the western portion of La Perouse Strait, which is where the submarine's crew last reported their position. The submarine, along with its entire 62-strong crew, was lost due to still unknown causes on its first and only wartime patrol since entering service in 1939.

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