Dive Report U-505

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Posted by Kendall Raine on September 07, 2001 at 11:46:20:

I just returned from a trip east and had a chance to visit the U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The U-505 is a Type IXC German u-boat captured in battle by a U.S. Navy hunter-killer group off West Africa June 6, 1944. It is the first enemy ship captured by the Navy since 1815. The boat is perfectly restored and made tour friendly-no slithering through pressure bulkheads. The tour starts in the electric motor room and ends in the petty officers berth. All compartments are viewable though the conning tower and fore and aft torpedo rooms are not enterable. The U-505 is one of three or four remaining WWII preserved u-boats in existence and the only one outside Europe. I think there is one in the UK and two in Germany. The thing that struck me most was than 59 officers and crew lived in this thing for a month or more on patrol. The control room is tiny compared to that depicted in Das Boot (that was modeled on U-86, a Type VII boat) and the enlisted men had to hot bunk the whole cruise. The galley is the size of a small closet. If you have the chance to be in Chicago, the museum is really worth a visit.

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