Skip to comments.German Subs: Sunken WWI U-Boats a Bonanza for Historians
Posted on 07/21/2013 10:51:24 AM PDT by NCDragon
British archaeologists recently discovered more than 40 German U-boats sunk during World War I off the coast of England. Now they are in a race against time to learn the secrets hidden in their watery graves.
On the old game show "What's My Line?" Briton Mark Dunkley might have been described with the following words: "He does what many adventurers around the world can only dream of doing."
Dunkley is an underwater archeologist who dives for lost treasures. His most recent discoveries were anything if not eerie.
On the seafloor along the southern and eastern coasts of the UK, Dunkley and three other divers have found one of the largest graveyards in the world's oceans, with 41 German and three English submarines from World War I. Most of the submarines sank with their crews still on board, causing many sailors to die in horrific ways, either by drowning or suffocating in the cramped and airtight submarines.
Several U-boats with the German Imperial Navy are still considered missing today. Lists provide precise details on which of the U-boats the German naval forces had lost by the time the war ended in November 1918.
(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...
“Dunkley is an underwater archeologist...”
A proper name for one.
I believe the subs were scuttled in defiance of the surrender conditions.
not ancient but still interesting.
As an aside, for those who might be interested, by far the best novel of U boat warfare in WW II is Nicholas' Monserrat's "The Cruel Sea." Long out of print, it's available on Kindle, and worth it. A superb read. The description, at the end, of the U-boats surfacing and surrendering, is magnificent writing.
They are graves, and they should not be disturbed unless it is to bring these brave submariners home.
While I can see the value in exploring and preserving historically significant sunken ships such as the USS Monitor or the CSS Hunley, is there that much to be gained by exploring these submarines that are presumably well documented in their construction? These are war graves and should just be left in peace.
When I was a child, if someone was to ask be what I wanted to be when I grow up, I always said an archeologist.
Now in my old age, the only difference between and archeologist and a grave robber is one has a license.
more than 40 German U-boats sunk during World War I off the coast of England
It was one of my mother’s books from the Book of the Month club. One summer when I was 11 and with nothing to do I began to read some of her adult books instead of the books that children normally read like Walter Farley’s Black Stallion or Terhunes’s books about collies.
It was a revelation in my book reading, and I realized that adults read books that were interesting and exciting. It was made into a damn good movie as well.
The first time, many years ago, that I toured the USS Bowfin, at the submarine memorial at Pearl Harbor, I finally grasped..albeit to some small extent, what life was like for submariners. What was most amazing for me was the galley..that 2-3 cooks could produce meals 24/7 for a crew of 70-80 for 8 weeks ( duration of the average war patrol) in a space that about the size of my closet. I'm a foodie, love to cook, and told my then-wife that never again would I complain about a lack of counter space in our kitchen.
There's a 1953 movie based on the novel. Screenplay by Eric Ambler.
Was that The Compass Rose? That is a great book.
Did you ever read the Clair Bee "Chip Hilton" books?
If I can recommend one more..I'm sure you know Alistair MacClean from his epic novels (later films) like "Guns of Navaronne" and "Where Eagles Dare"..but his first novel "HMS Ulysses" is based on his service in WWII..and is, I think, his best work...again..worth trying to find..I think there's an e-book edition
Oh Yeah, they will.
Amen Brother, you got that right.
remember "bangers! Good-O!"
The Germans scuttled their whole fleet of war ships at Scapa Flow in Scotland. Their subs were ordered to a different location IIRC. I wonder if some of these were scuttled at that time as well although the crews wouldn’t have gone down on those.
Never heard of Chip Hilton, but I did read all the Hardy Boys mysteries and even the older series called the Radio Boys which were from my uncle’s generation and in his bookshelf.
By the way, the first serious descriptions of sex I was exposed to also came from those popular novels on my mother’s bookshelves. Not nearly as graphic as you find today, but I learned a lot there too. :-)
And now picture Gordon Ramsey on a submarine... (Or better not)
I would suggest another also. The Killing Time,by Edwyn A Grey, published by Scribner (1972). Grey notes that at least 7 of the boats "sprung a leak" and foundered on the way to England and one decided to be interned in Sweden while at least one went on to serve as a French vessel. He adds, 515 officers and 4894 men lost their lives druing the war from 178 boats destroyed by the enemy or by accident. A further 14 were were scuttled in the Adriatic or in Flanders and a total 122 surrendered in Harwich, England.
agreed, treat as war graves, not a source for vintage bottles of german bier and sauerkraut.
If either of you get to Chicago, take a tour of the WW2 German type VII submarine U-505. it is well worth the visit
Plus there is a true Battle of Britain Spitfire and a German Stuka hanging from the ceiling in the main entry area.
Perfect description .... Agree
The part that gave me a Holy Crap moment was when they were trying to put some salve on a badly burned seaman's body and the flesh was coming off in bits of charred flesh with each swipe. The salve was for mild sunburn and cautioned on applying to much lest the skin get damaged.
A good one from the othe side is "Iron Coffins".
It seemed to me that parts of "Das Boot" were taken from this book.
Thanks for the ping. I’m not sure these subs are a Bonanza for historians.
Good book on finding a sunken U boat is called Shadow Divers. Good read.
Das Boot, book and movie.
PS My brother is/was a "sewer pipe sailor" (our Navy).
I’ve seen it....have you ever seen the film about how they got it there?
Yes, but many years ago. The last time I went through the U-505 was in the mid-60s, when I still lived near Chicago.
I have been on the Bowfin,(24 hours) off the coast of Florida about 1965, left on a rubber raft for Army Intel training. Paddled ashore and watched the lights of south Fl going south, had to be rescued by the Coast Guard, big surprise to the coasties when they came upon us with lotsa machine guns and etc. The Chief in charge of the CG boat said “shut up” there is nothing there. Got to a pier and found out where the coasties hung out and bought lotsa drinks.
That has not been proven yet. These subs were found all in close proximity to each other and were likely scuttled by the British. Or even the Germans. I'd wager there are no remains of a single body on any of the subs.