World War II Submarine Found Near Denmark

World War II Submarine Found Near Denmark

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FRI 22 FEB 2019 07:54 PM

World War II Submarine Found Near Denmark

A cross-section shows what the lethally quiet, 250-foot-long sub looked like inside.

A cross-section shows what the lethally quiet, 250-foot-long sub looked like inside.

2 days before the Allied forces declared victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, a high tech German submarine set out from Denmark on a mysterious mission.

The sub was a brand new Type XXI U-boat, hailed as the most advanced Nazi submarine of its time.

It was deadly quiet, super fast and supposedly able to travel without having to surface from Europe to South America. However, the sub could not save itself from being blasted to the seafloor by a British aerial attack on May 6, 1945, for all its cutting – edge technology.

The boat, named U-3523, lay undetected at the bottom of the North Sea for 73 years. This week, the scientist at the Sea War Museum Jutland in Denmark finally found the U-boat’s wreckage, half-buried and jabbing diagonally from the seabed like a cannon from a turret.

Scientists at the museum are in the midst of doing an extensive scan of the seabed around the North Sea and the Skagerrak Strait (which flows between Denmark and Norway) and have documented more than 450 wrecks so far, according to a statement from the museum.

12 of these wrecks so far have been submarines (9 of which were German-made, and three of which were British), but the newfound U-3523 represents an especially rare discovery, museum officials said.

“This was the most modern submarine the Germans built during the [2nd World War],” Gert Normann Andersen, director of the Sea War Museum Jutland, told the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad in an interview(translated from Danish). “Only 2 of the 118 that were ordered actually entered service.”

Scientists with the museum found the half-buried wreckage of U-3523 about 10 nautical miles north of Skagen, the northernmost city in Denmark.

The bow of the 250-foot-long (76 meters) submarine stabbed into the seafloor some 400 feet (120 m) below the waters surface, slanting upward with the boat’s stern floating 65 feet (20 m) above the bottom of the sea.

The boat sailed from Denmark with 58 crewmembers, all of whom died in the bombing, according to the museum.

Their mission remains unknown, but museum researchers suspect that the boat was likely fleeing for safety days after German forces surrendered in Denmark, the Netherlands and northern Germany.

New technology among the vessels was a battery system that could keep it submerged for several days at a time, making it a perfect getaway vessel, Andersen said.

Following the end of World War II, rumours abounded that high ranking Nazi officers (including Hitler himself) had escaped to South America on similar long range submarines.

Many of the original 118 Type XXI submarines were captured and dismantled after the end of the war, but countless others still remain missing.


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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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