3 submarines found in Black Sea
Three German U-Boats, carried 2, 000 miles overland, and eventually scuttled in 1944, have been discovered in the Black Sea.
The submarines had been carried 2,000 miles overland from Germany to attack Russian shipping during the Second World War, and in two years, sank dozens of ships and lost three of their number to enemy action. But in August 1944, Romania switched sides and declared war on Germany, leaving the three remaining vessels stranded.
With no base and unable to sail home – the Bosporus and Dardanelles were closed to them because of Turkish neutrality – their captains were ordered to scuttle the boats before rowing ashore and trying to make their way back to Germany. However, all three crews were caught and interned by the Turks.
The submarines’ hulls have been discovered by a team led by Selçuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, who will present his findings to a shipwreck conference in Plymouth this week.
Mr Kolay established the boats’ positions through research in German archives, interviews with surviving sailors and by sonar studies of the seabed.
He has already completed successful dives to the wreckage of one vessel, U-20, two miles offshore in about 80ft of water. He believes he has discovered another, U-23, at twice that depth, three miles from the town of Agva, but bad weather forced him to suspend diving until the spring.
He thinks he is also close to pinpointing the third boat, U-19, thought to lie more than 1,000ft down, three miles from the Turkish city of Zonguldak. “It’s one of the least well known stories of the war but one of the most interesting,” said Mr Kolay.
In 1941, Germany invaded Russia and decided it needed a presence in the Black Sea to harass Soviet shipping there. Unable to use the Bosporus, the only shipping route into the Black Sea, the boats were dismantled at Kiel and taken by canal to the River Elbe, and upstream to Dresden. Here, they were further dismantled and taken by lorry to Ingolstadt, on the Danube, and then ferried downstream to the Black Sea and Constanta, where they were re-assembled.
Full story at The Telegraph