Rare WWII German submarine located in the North Sea

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Rare WWII German submarine located in the North Sea

April 13, 2018 - 11:26
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Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn, Denmark finds wreck of unique WWII German U-boat during its ongoing registration of shipwrecks in the North Sea and in the Skagerrak.

File photo of a sub similar to the one now located in the North Sea: Ex-German submarine U-3008 of Type XXI was taken over by the US Navy after 1945 and used as a test vessel. Photo from 15 April, 1948.

Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote" (German for "electric boat"), were a class of German diesel-electric submarines designed during the Second World War.

They were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than spending most of their time as surface ships that could submerge for brief periods as a means to escape detection or to attack. They incorporated a large number of batteries to improve the time they could spend underwater, to as much as several days, and they only needed to surface to periscope depth for recharging via a snorkel.

The U-3523 was of the new and highly advanced type XXI U-boats that could have revolutionized the submarine war if enough boats had been completed in due time. One hundred and eighteen boats were laid down, but only two entered active service, and none ever saw battle.

U-3523 was sunk on 6 May 1945, by depth charges, northeast of Skagen Horn, in the Skagerrak. U-3523 was attacked by a British B-24 Liberator of 86 Squadron/G RAF. All 58 crewmen were lost. Only the day before, the German forces in Denmark, Northwest Germany and the Netherlands had surrendered. Hence the U-boat was not on a war patrol, but probably on the run.

In April 2018, the museum has found the wreck of the German U-boat U-3523, which was sunk by depth charges in Skagerrak by a British B24 Liberator aircraft on 6 May, 1945.

Nazi gold rumors

After the war, there were many rumors that top Nazis fled in U-boats and brought Nazi gold to safety, say in South America. The Type XXI U-3523 had the range that would have allowed it to sail non-stop all the way to South America. But it is not known what was the U-boat’s destination, and nobody knows whether the U-boat had any valuables or passengers aboard in addition to the 58 crew, all of whom perished.

Resting at 123m

U-3523 appeared on the screen during the museum's scan of the seabed ten nautical miles north of Skagen, and the picture was very surprising. Most unusual the whole fore part of the U-boat lies buried in the seabed, while the stern is standing 20m above the bottom. The wreck lies at 123m of water, making it very difficult to access.

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