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Old 07-17-2014, 09:45 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default Startling Images of Well Preserved 450 Year Old Shipwreck

An excellent composite image of the wreck of the Mars laying in about 245 ft. of water in the Baltic Sea.
Image from

"Mars, also known as Makalös ("peerless; astounding") was a Swedish warship that was built between 1563 and 1564. It was the leading ship of king Eric XIV of Sweden's fleet, and at 48 meters[1] and equipped with 107 guns it was one of the largest warships of the time, even larger than the famous Swedish ship Vasa. In 1564, during the Northern Seven Years' War, the ship caught fire and exploded during the first battle of Öland in the Baltic Sea."

She was engaged in a naval action with Danish forces when German's allied with the Danes started hurling fireballs at the vessel from nearby Lübeck. The vessel was set alight and eventually the powder magazine exploded destroying the ship and killing much of its compliment of 672 souls. About 100 were taken prisoner by the Danes.

The location of the Mars off Sweden in the Baltic Sea

The vessel was very heavily armed for the time with 107 guns including the following ordinance on board.

Gun Deck 50 Smaller guns
Gun Deck 9 Swedish 24-Pounder
Gun Deck 4 Swedish 9-Pounder
Gun Deck 6 Swedish 3-Pounder
Gun Deck 2 Swedish 36-Pounder
Gun Deck 10 Swedish 12-Pounder
Gun Deck 20 Swedish 6-Pounder
Gun Deck 2S wedish 48-Pounder

A view below decks on the Mars today.
From Ocean Discovery's Facebook Page

The "Mars" may have resembled one of the ships of war.

The remarkable state of preservation of the wreck comes out in this video. The low light level, cold water, low oxygen concentration all contributed to the preservation of both the organic and inorganic remains of the vessel. I understand closed circuit rebreathers were used primarily to maintain low oxygen levels in the waters around the wreck. They are doing sophisticated imaging of the wreck including 3-D depictions of the structure and associated debris field.

Setting up the Blueview Sonar array for 3-D imaging of the Mars wreck site.
Image from Ocean Discovery's Facebook Page

I was unable to find much in the way of 3-D images from the Mars using the Blueview sonar but did come across this imagery from a Civil War wreck in the USA.

Some of the technical diving associated with the project. The closed circuit rebreather was used around the depth of the vessel with the stage bottles filled with transit to swim through upper intervals above the wreck and various deco mixes to aid offgasing of inert gases in the shallower reaches.
Image from Ocean Discovery's Facebook Page

I am reminded of the War of 1812 wrecks in Lake Ontario, the Scourge and the Hamilton. The bow of one of the vessels appears above. Both were jury rigged schooners of war and top heavy with deck cannon. Both vessels capsized and sunk in a sudden squall into the cold, dark and near anaerobic water of Lake Ontario near Port Port Dalhousie, ONT in over 300 ft. of water. The nature of the water led to the remarkable preservation of both of these wooden vessels. Jacque Cousteau did cut down one of the masts accidentally after hitting it with a diving saucer in the 1970s but there have been major efforts to try to preserve the wrecks. I understand that invasive zebra mussels have recently covered the vessels prompting recent mapping efforts.

"THE DISCOVERY OF THE SHIPWRECK MARS BUILT IN 1561 (unedited sample footage)
from PRO 9 months ago NOT YET RATED
MARS THE MAGNIFICENT: This is raw footage of the discovery of the well preserved wreck of a massive Swedish Warship built in 1561 and just recently found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
In 2011 divers found what has been called the marine
 archeological find of the century. Mars The Magnificent, the greatest 
warship of its time sank after a fierce battle in 1564 and has been lost for 440 years. Until now...
Built in 1561 for the first Swedish hereditary king, Erik XIV, she was the largest ship in the Baltic Sea: approximately 70 meters long weighing about 1800 tons. With more than 100 guns and cannon, she had more firepower than any warship before her. After an explosion on board, she went down in her first battle against a Danish fleet aided by ships from the German city of Lübeck.
The year is 1564 on the 31st day of May outside the coast of the Swedish island Oland. The smoke from the fires is thick, heat and poisonous fumes from gun powder is mixed with screams of terror and agony. The sound of blades hitting steel, continuous musket fire and bursting cannon balls is deafening. A cannon ball screams by closely and smashes with devastating force into the railing. Wood and metal splinters cut down gun crews toiling at their weapons on the gun deck.
The decks are awash in the blood of the injured crew, making footing treacherous as the youngest members of the crew, the 12 year old deck-hands, pour sand on the bloody deck to let the gun crews fight on. Suddenly, a powerful explosion shakes Mars forcing the deck to lift upwards and throwing the battling combatants to the deck. Mars struggles in what is clearly the last moments of life but her eventual demise is a foregone conclusion. This is the end for Mars and the once glorious battleship is sinking. Swedes and Danish-Lübeck alike desperately try to leave the sinking ship while the heat from the burning Mars causes the water around her to boil like the devil’s own cauldron. An enormous cloud of steam rises, like a ghost, out of the ocean. Mars the Magnificent is nowhere to be seen."

From Ocean Discovery's Facebook Page

"Richard Lundgren identifies the Swedish monarch’s coat of arms on a bronze cannon at a wreck site believed to the Mars. The massive cannon may be a ‘Kartog’ 42-pounder weighing in at almost five metric tons. Photo: Ingemar Lundgren"

An article which describes some of the diving on the wreck (including the above photo), appears at:

Another one of the 105 bronze cannon on the wreck. I understood from Wilburn ''Sonny'' C0ckrell during a diving exploration for Columbus's Santa Maria off Haiti in the mid 1970's that even in those times bronze cannon were quite valuable, commanding over $75,000 each. The cultural value is even greater of course but the material value of the cannon from the Mars alone is impressive today.
From Ocean Discovery's Facebook Page

Work continues on the wreck. More on the project website at:

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 07-18-2014 at 12:41 PM.
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