Uboat wreck found at Titanic's anchorage


Senan Molony

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This is not a joke...

A Kriegsmarine U-boat has been found in practically the exact place where the Titanic anchored at her last port of call in 1912.

All 27 crew on board the mine-laying sub UC-42 died when the submarine sank at the entrance to Cork Harbour on 10 September 1917.

The sub was wrongly thought to have survived the war and to have been later scuttled.

A team of five amateur divers from Cork discovered the submarine in good condition in 27m of water just off Roche's Point on 6 November after a 12 month search.

One of the divers, Ian Kelleher, said they were very surprised and ecstatic to find it with little obvious explosive damage.

Positive identification was possible when they found its number stamped on a propeller.

Mr Kelleher, a chemistry student, said that two days before Christmas, the dive team laid a plaque of remembrance near the propellers as a memorial to the 27 German submariners who died.

They plan to return to the site over the coming weeks and continue their research into the submarine and its crew, including trying to contact relatives of the deceased crewmen.

An extraordinary development - but then Queenstown and Haulbowline island provided a major RN base for patrolling the Southwestern Approaches, was the location of the Q Ships deception, and from 1917 would be home to a fleet of American warships.

A previous German vessel, the Aud / Libau was scuttled in Cork harbour in 1916, but that is another story... 20,000 rifles on board...
 
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If this turns out to be true, then this intact boat would represent the only surviving example of a World War One era U-boat in existance. Potentially a fine addition to a museum, unless this boat is a war grave.

Got a link to the story?
 

Martin Cooper

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Yes, It was minelaying when one of it's own mines blew and it sank. A torpedo boat TB 055, saw oil and used it's hydrophone and heard turbine like noises and dropped a depth charge, it later came back with another minesweeper HMT Serba, and she also dropped a charge. Later divers went down to inspect the scene, they reported a German sub with damage to the stern, they reported her brass ID plate as (C-42 1916). They also reported that some hatches had been opened, but no survivors had been reported, it was thought that one of her own mines detonated while she was minelaying.

The SMS Libau was masquerading as the Aud, she was carrying guns and ammo for the IRA, but she was cornered and surrendered. Her captain was Karl Spindler, the ship was escorted by HMS Bluebell toward Cork harbour, where the crew scuttled her. The rifles were Russian made Mosin Nagant rifles of 1891, and fitted with the old fashioned socket bayonet, a lot of them where recovered, and some are now in museums.
 

Senan Molony

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There will be plenty of links to the story by tomorrow, believe me.

There are a couple of dozen intact U-boat wrecks in Irish waters, mostly off the northwest, where they hit the Atlantic convoys late on.
 

Martin Cooper

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207654.jpg


This is a picture of UC-42 at her Flanders base.
 

Senan Molony

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Herr Spindler's book is a GREAT read, Martin, if you like this period in Irish history.

Spindler did not know that Room 44 had broken the German codes and that the British, who were occupying (I use the word with due deliberation) Ireland at the time, indeed who had turned the country into an armed camp, knew that his vessel was on her way with a huge consignment of munitions for Irish rebels.

Hence Spindler is rather caustic about the failure of said rebels to receive him properly (their being unable to move, although three were drowned in a car off a pier at one point in the pitch black)... and he took rather AUDacious risks around the coast, coming very close in, all the while managing to elude the RN who were out looking for him.

Anyway, a great read. His book is called 'The Mystery of the Casement Ship' and is very scarce.

The said Casement (Sir Roger Casement) was being delivered separately from Germany in U-19, commanded by Raimund Weisbach, the torpedo officer aboard U-20 who had actually fired the single torpedo that sank the RMS Lusitania.
 

Senan Molony

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207663.jpg


German build information on the boss of propeller of the UC-42.

As I understand it, the wreck is in mid-channel off Roche's Point, so she would have been underneath the hull of the RMS Titanic had the u-boat been there exactly five and a half months earlier...
 

Martin Cooper

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Hi Senan, Yes, I can imagine that Spindlers book would be a fascinating read. Like you say Senan, Spindler did not know about room 40 breaking the codes, so he would not have been prepared for the trap when it was sprung. The Libau/Aud was captured at the start of WW1 in the Kiel canal in Aug 1914, she was called the S.S. Castro of the Wilson line of Hull.

Roger Casement was originally supposed to sail on U-20, but she had engine trouble, so he sailed on U-19. The German navy at that time would have been the Kaiserliche Marine, later becoming the Reichsmarine, then the Kriegsmarine. The U-20 was grounded off Denmark in 1916, the crew blew her up, but the deck gun survived, it was cut up by the Danish.
 

Martin Cooper

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207674.jpg


U-20 Grounded and with her bows blown by the crew, the deck gun survived, it was removed and had holes cut in it by the Danish so that it could not be used.
 

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