Divers working for a salvage firm are descending into the cold waters of Lake Michigan. They reach the lake’s bed and locate what a previous sonar scan has identified. It’s the wreck of a WWII fighter plane, instantly recognizable. But how on earth did this relic of that conflict end up at the bottom of the lake?
To fully understand this intriguing tale, we need to go back to the winter of 1941. The U.S. was not yet engaged in WWII, although that was soon to change. And what propelled the country into the conflict was of course the surprise attack by Japanese planes on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.
The impact of the 90-minute assault was devastating. The attack put no fewer than 18 ships out of action, destroyed close to 200 planes and damaged another 159. The human toll was equally grim: almost 2,500 died including sailors, airmen, soldiers and civilians, while more than 1,000 were injured.