3D shipwreck models reveal D-Day Tragedy: Part 1

Posted on April 2nd 2013
AN international team of divers is creating interactive 3D digital models of two long-forgotten shipwrecks which reveal the horrors of a D-Day tragedy lost in the archives for more than 40 years.
Almost 1,000 US soldiers and sailors died when the troop carriers were ambushed and sunk by German torpedo boats during a clandestine training exercise, codenamed Exercise Tiger, off the coast of Devon on April 28, 1944, as they prepared for the invasion of Europe.
The full horror of the incident – the worst training exercise of the war - was hidden from the public by a secrecy order issued by Allied commanders fearing it could tip-off the German high command to the impending invasion. Almost 70 years on, there are those who dispute the official account of the tragedy.
Underwater explorers have spent three years documenting the remains of the vessels, known as LST 507 and LST 531, which lie in deep waters of the English Channel off the picturesque coast of Lyme Bay. Their survey data is now being used by 3D mapping specialists 3Deep Media to create a permanent online record of the two wreck sites.
The virtual maps will allow scientists, historians, divers and members of the public to float around the shipwrecks in a virtual submarine from the comfort of their computers. Photographs and videos captured during the deep sea survey missions will reveal intimate details of the wrecks.
Project leader Rich Walker, director of technical training at Global Underwater Explorers research and dive training organisation, said he wanted the database to be a lasting memorial to the victims and help educate younger generations about the Normandy landings.
“As explorers we’re privileged to see what’s under the water but, because of the ravages of the sea, the remains of the LSTs will not be there forever. This is a way of preserving them,” said Walker.
“Our surveys have generated a huge amount of information about these two shipwrecks. The 3D maps will bring them to people in a way they could never have imagined – it will be as if the viewer is diving there themselves.”
Walker is writing a blog about the project.
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