1 Museum Submarines
Currently, there are four German fleet submarines of the Second World War available to the public as museums. In Google Maps, I put together a map of the submarines that are exhibited and described on this page. Thus far, I visited three of these submarines, U 505, U 995 and U 2540. All of the photos of these visits are compiled in the photo album German Submarines.
In addition to these four large submarines, there are also some midget submarines which are on exhibit in museums.
One of the best sources for information about the submarines in this article as well as all other submarines and their crews is UBoat.net, a site run by Guðmundur Helgason in Iceland. In the list of links for each one of the four submarines is a direct link to the detail page on UBoat.net.
2 U 505
U 505, a Type IX C, is exhibited at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The address of the museum is East 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637. The phone number is (773) 684-1414.
U 505 was put into service on August 26, 1941 and after training, it was assigned in February 1942 to the second Submarine Flotilla in Lorient. Under depth charge attack on October 24, 1943, Kapitänleutnant Peter Zschech committed suicide. The submarine was taken over and brought back to Lorient by the First Watch Officer Oberleutnant Paul Meyer. On November 18, Oberleutnant Harald Lange took over command of the boat.
Returning from the last tour near the West African coast, the boat was discovered and damaged by a task force of the Aircraft Carrier USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60). Commander Lange ordered the abandonment and scuttling of U 505 but both he as well as the First Watch Officer were injured and could not supervise the sinking. The radio operator of U 505 was killed under fire but the remainder of the crew could be rescued and captured. Captain Daniel Gallery, the commander of the US task force, sent a boarding party to the submarine, which successfully prevented the sinking. The boat was then towed to Bermuda.
There, the boat was renamed to USS Nemo and almost written off as a practice target. John Gallery, brother of by now Admiral Daniel Gallery, campaigned for the exhibition of the boat in a museum. Since 1954, after a thorough reconstruction with the help of the original manufacturers, U 505 is exhibited at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It was completely renovated in 2005 and since then is housed inside a building and can be viewed from the inside and the outside.
Pictures of U 505 from my visit on March 11, 2014 are in a photo album.
More information about U 505:
- UBoat.net - U 505
- Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
- U 505 on Wikipedia
- Position of U 505 in Google Maps
3 U 534
U 534, Type IX C/40, is exhibited in Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. The address is Woodside Ferry Terminal, Mersey Ferries, Birkenhead, CH41 6DU. Their phone number is 0151 330 1000.
Kapitänleutnant Herbert Nollau, former Watch Officer on U 505, was commander of U 534 throughout its service, which started in December 1942. On three tours no ships were sunk but two planes were shot down. Planes also brought the end of U 534. U 534 was attacked by two British bombers only a few days before Germany's capitulation on May 5, 1945 in the Kattegat. The crew was able to abandon the sinking boat, but three of them died in the water.
1993, after rumours that the submarine was possibly loaded with gold, U 534 was raised. Gold was not found and the submarine was taken to Birkenhead near Liverpool. In 2007, it was cut into five pieces for transportation to a new museum and since February 2009 it is exhibited there.
More information about U 534:
- UBoat.net - U 534
- U-Boat Story, the exhibit of U 534
- U 534 on Wikipedia
- Position of U 534 in Google Maps
4 U 995
U 995, Type VII C/41, is exhibited at the Laboe Naval Memorial near Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The address is Strandstraße 92, 24235 Laboe and their phone number is 04343/427012.
The admission for the Naval Memorial together with U 995 is 13 Euro, for U 995 alone it is 7 Euro (As of March 2023) and there are discounts for pupils, students and soldiers among others. The admission tags are available right across from the submarine. Inside the Naval Memorial is an elevator that takes the visitors to the observation platform. That observation platform offers a great view of the Bay of Kiel and of U 995, which sits on the beach right below the Memorial. For the most current opening hours and admission prices, please visit the page of the Deutscher Marinebund, which currently is only available in German.
The Type VII was the most widespread class during the Second World War. Altogether, 709 submarines of the Type VII were built and out of those, 91 were of the sub-type VII C/41. U 995 was built at the Hamburg ship yard Blohm & Voss and put into service under Kapitänleutnant Walter Köhntopp on September 16, 1943. After the training, the submarine was assigned to the 13th Submarine Flotilla in Trondheim. On October 10, 1944, Oberleutnant Hans-Georg Hess took over the boat. Before the end of the war, the submarine was re-assigned to the 14th Submarine Flotilla in Narvik, but had to go to Trondheim to be fitted with a snorkel. It was there that it was captured by the Allies.
The boat was given as loot to the Norwegian Navy in 1946. There it was in service until 1965 with the name KNM Kaura. It was sold to Germany for the symbolic price of one DM (German Mark) and since 1971 it is a museum ship in Laboe. Today, U 995 is the only remaining boat of Type VII.
Pictures of U 995 from my visit on April 7, 2010 are compiled in a photo album.
More information about U 995:
- UBoat.net - U 995
- Deutscher Marinebund - Admission & Opening Hours - German only
- U 995 on Wikipedia
- Position of U 995 in Google Maps
5 U 2540
U 2540, Type XXI, is on exhibit at the Old Harbour in Bremerhaven, Germany. The address is Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1, 27568 Bremerhaven. The phone number of the Technikmuseum Wilhelm Bauer is 0471/482070.
The Type XXI is part of a group of so-called "Elektroboote" (Electric Boats). Just like boats of previous types, these boats also have a Diesel engine as well as electric motors, but their submerged speed and range are a lot higher than those of the older types. Thanks to the standard snorkel, Type XXI submarines could stay submerged their whole tour. With their high underwater speed of 17 knots, they could put themselves into position for an attack on a convoy or single ship while submerged.
More than 100 Type XXI submarines where constructed, but only two, U 2511 and U 3008, where in combat service before the end of the war. According to controversial statements, Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) Adalbert Schnee of U 2511 was able to approach the Royal Navy Cruiser HMS Norfolk after he received the ceasefire order. He got as close as 500 meters for a simulated attack, then dove down undiscovered and returned to Bergen. This, if it really happened, is the most success by a Type XXI.
After the war, some of the Type XXI submarines went as loot to the Allies. U 2513 and U 3008 went to the USA and were in service with the United States Navy as USS U-2513 and USS U-3008. U 3017 went to the British Royal Navy as HMS N41 and U 2518 went to the French Navy as Roland Morillot. The Sowjet Union received four boats of this class, U 3515, U 2529, U 3035 and U 3041. They were put into service as B-27, B-28, B-29 and B-30. Three more boats, U 2505, U 3004 and U 3506 were re-discovered in 1985 in the destroyed submarine bunker Elbe II in Hamburg, which since then had been filled in.
U 2540, the single remaining example of this type, was built in Hamburg at the shipyard of Blohm & Voss and was put into service on February 24, 1945 by Oberleutnant Rudolf Schultze. At the end of the war, U 2540 was still in training in the Baltic Sea and was scuttled by its own crew on May 4, 1945.
The boat was raised in 1957 and after it was repaired and overhauled at the Kiel shipyard Howaldtswerke, it was put into service with the German Navy on September 1, 1960 as research vessel Wilhelm Bauer. It was taken out of service on March 15, 1982 and in 1983 it was sold to the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven. There, it was partially converted back to its World War II condition as U 2540 by the Seebeck shipyard. Since April 27, 1984 it is available to the public as a museum. As of March 2023, the admission is 4 Euro, which can be paid in the bow torpedo room of the submarine. Please make note of the opening hours, which can be found on the official page of the museum.
My pictures of U 2540 from April 15, 2010 are compiled in a photo album.
More information about U 2540: