3D Archaeological Models of Newly Discovered US WWII Sub

USS Grunion stern section.

Aberdeen-based subsea 3D-scanning specialist Viewport3 has been collaborating with international explorer Tim Taylor to process pioneering underwater 3D scans on the bow and stern of a U.S. submarine lost in 1942.

Viewport3 was contracted by Tim Taylor, CEO of New-York based Tiburon Subsea Services and founder of Ocean Outreach Inc., as part of his ongoing Lost 52 Project, responsible for discovery and mapping of four out of eight U.S. WWII sunken submarines located to date.

The Lost 52 Project thoroughly mapped and filmed the site of the USS Grunion at the end of last year. The team located the missing bow section a quarter of a mile, 300 ft. above the main wreckage, off the island of Kiska, Alaska. The discovery completes the mission undertaken by the sons of the submarine’s captain, Mannert L. Abele, 12 years ago.

To aid understanding of the submarine’s last moments, Viewport3 fused the 3D data with side scan sonar data provided by the customer, showing the relative locations of both parts of the wreckage and the slide made by the stern as it slid down the side of an underwater mountain.

USS Grunion (SS-216) was a Gato-class submarine commissioned on April 11, 1942. On its way through the Caribbean to its first posting in Pearl Harbor, it rescued 16 survivors from USAT Jack, which had been torpedoed by a U-boat. Its first war patrol was, unfortunately, also its last. Sent to the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, it operated off Kiska, Alaska, where it sank two Japanese patrol boats. Ordered back to the naval operating base in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on July 30, 1942, the submarine was never heard from again. It was assumed lost with all hands on October 5, 1942. 

Viewport3 has been working with Taylor to process and develop technical-grade 3D data sets of the USS Grunion’s bow for use in virtual- and augmented-reality outreach, educational programs and applications. 


USS Grunion bow section.

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