|Type XXI Walther U-Boat on display in Bremerhaven ("Wilhelm Bauer").|
|Type XXI U-Boats at the end of World War II.|
|Type XXI U-Boat, U-3008, underway off Portsmouth Navy Yard, August 1946|
|A captured Type XXI.|
|U-Boot Typ XXI U-2540 ("Wilhelm Bauer").|
2× MAN M6V40/46KBB supercharged 6-cylinder diesel engines, 4,000 shp (3,000 kW)
2× SSW GU365/30 double-acting electric motors, 5,000 PS (3.7 MW)
2 × SSW GV232/28 silent running electric motors, 226 shp (169 kW)
|German Type XXI U-boat.|
|U-2540, completed 24 February 1945, scuttled 4 May 1945, no patrols.|
Horten brothers' revolutionary flying wing that also was being built during the closing days of the war and had a reduced radar signature.
|Type XXI view from the deck.|
|A Type XXI U-boat, U-3503, being raised by the Swedish Navy in 1946. John Adolfsson, Hono Fishing Museum, Sweden.|
|Elektroboote Type XXI U boat.|
|Elektroboote Type XXI U boat.|
|Admiral Karl Doenitz reviewing a Type VII U-boat at St. Nazaire (Lothar Gunther, Federal Archive).|
|Unfinished German U-boats, Bremen, Germany, 1945.|
Photos of the Wilhelm Bauer
Photos of U-2511, Sunk off Ireland in Operation Deadlight
|German Type XXI U boat U 2511 wreckage off the coast of N. Ireland.|
Three Type XXI U-boats That Survive for Future HistoriansThings were quite chaotic at the end of World War II. When the British occupied Hamburg after a fierce two-week battle against the 1st Parachute Army on 3 May 1945, they did not have time for extensive examination of every particular in the devastated port city. German weapons had to be crossed off the list as having been rendered harmless as the British rolled onward toward the last seat of the Third Reich government at Flensburg.
So, instead of sending scientists down to study the odd U-boats that they had discovered or readying them for Operation Deadlight, the British simply blew up their fortified bunker. This was a mistake, as these particular U-boats merited close study as forerunners of US and British version, but there was a war on. However, as the British and the French were to learn a few months later in Berlin when they tried to blow up the gigantic Flak Towers (they are still there, but also buried), sometimes it is not so easy to get rid of massive structures. The roof of the U-boat bunker partially collapsed, trapping the three U-boats, but did not destroy them. Since the boats weren't going anywhere anytime soon, the British promptly moved on and forgot all about them.
Some Germans did not forget. Someone made an attempt to scrap them in the ’40s-’50s, but with the roof ready to collapse at any time, it was considered too dangerous and everybody forgot about them again. The boats were virtually missing until 1985 when the boats were discovered through research by Jak P Mallmann-Showell, Wolfgang Hirschfeld and Walter Cloots in the mostly demolished Elbe II U-boat bunker in Hamburg. However, at this point the boats had lost their notoriety and had become mere curiosities, so nothing was done about them at this point. This time, though, they were not forgotten.
|The bow of U-3004 inside the Elbe II bunker. – Photo by Carl.|
|Hatch 5 of U-3506 inside the Elbe II bunker. – Photo by Carl.|