LIVERPOOL ECHO 2 FEBRUARY 2022 - SURPRISE FIND BY NAZI GOLD HUNTERS ON SUNKEN U-BOAT THAT WOULDN'T SURRENDER
German U-boat U-534 lay on the sea bed for almost 50 years after being hit by an RAF depth charge.
The remains of a submarine contained an unexpected treasure trove when it was dragged up from the sea bed nearly 50 years later.
The German U-boat U-534, whose preserved relic stands as a living museum in Birkenhead docks, became the interest of Nazi gold hunters after it was destroyed by British forces at the end of World War Two.
The U-boat had headed out of Germany in May 1945 as news of the German surrender came through.
All U-boats had been ordered to surrender but U-534 left Kiel hours before with some believing it was carrying Nazi gold, top ranking Nazis, or even cutting edge weaponry to continue the war from Japan.
Having met up with a convoy of other German submarines, it continued sailing north on the surface of the Kattegat sea in an area too shallow for diving.
It was there the fleeing U-boats were attacked by bombers from the RAF 86 squadron while heading towards Norway.
The submarine crew managed to shoot one bomber down but received a direct hit by a depth charge dropped from one of the allied planes.
The U-534 began to take on water as a result of the damage to her aft section by the engine rooms and sank near the Danish island of Anholt.
Miraculously, all 52 crew members of U-534 managed to escape with 49 surviving long enough to be rescued.
Five men were trapped in the torpedo room as the submarine sank but clambered through the torpedo loading hatch as the U-boat settled on the sea bed.
It wasn't until nearly 50-years later in 1993 that U-534 was brought to the surface amid rumours that as the last Nazi U-boat to leave Germany it could be laden with Nazi gold.
However, once it was raised it was soon found not to contain any gold but did have treasures of another kind, particularly for historians, in the form of documents and artefacts.
Among the items discovered was a surprisingly well preserved enigma machine used to send top secret messages by the Nazis - its code famously cracked by Alan Turin and his team of code breakers at Bletchley Park.
Despite containing some cutting edge weaponry of its time and anti-sonar equipment, nothing was found on board of great significance meaning the U-boats refusal to surrender remains a mystery to this day.
Having raised the submarine after 48 years on the sea bed and combed through the historic treasures businessman Karsten Ree, who financed the recovery, worked hard to find a suitable location for its preservation.
After the fall of France in
World War II
Liverpool became the centre of operations against German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Coupled with Merseyside’s rich maritime history it was decided the perfect home for U-534 would be the Historic Warships Museum on Wirral.
U-534 was floated on a giant pontoon from Denmark to Wirral where she became part of one of the largest private collections of 20th century warships in Europe.
Following the closure of the museum in 2006, the U-boat was acquired by Merseytravel and is now displayed at Birkenhead docks, one of only four German
II submarines in preserved condition remaining in the world.
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- Trilateral nuclear proliferation submarine pact, Australia,
Astute 1st of Class BAE
Sindhurakshak - explosion
reactors for submarines
Covert submarine hunter/killer
Autonomous wolf pack deployment of Predator mini-subs
Neptune - Astute class nuclear submarines
UUV anti submarine weapons
Kapitan Lieutenant Walther Schwieger
& U997 - Kriegsmarine Unterseeboots WWII
- U-Boat sunk near Anholt, Denmark 1945, raised (no gold)
- U-Boat declared missing in 20 April 1944 VIIC
Bluefish WWI submarine
Bluefish - Nuclear submarine
Flying Fish - Nuclear sub
Jimmy Carter - Seawolf class fast attack
Nautilus - 1st nuclear submarine &
subsea north pole passage
Scorpion - Skipjack class submarine 99 crew lost at sea
website is Copyright © Cleaner
Oceans Foundation Ltd., April 2023. Asserted as per the Berne
this fictional story, the characters and events are the
product of the author's imagination.