U-Boat Mutiny in WW2?

U-Boat Mutiny in WW2?

In the 2018 'Das Boot' TV series, the crew of the U-Boat mutinies against their captain as they perceive him to be too cautious and unwilling to engage the enemy.

Is there any historical record of a mutiny on board a U-Boat during WW2?


It appears there was something like a transient mutiny, or 'something' on U530

Investigators from the Argentine Navy came to the conclusion that there had been a mutiny on U 530, according to which Commander Wermuth did not command the boat continuously. Since the logbook or war diary was untraceable, the exact details of the voyage remained in the dark. Otto Wermuth was described as small and dark-haired. It was therefore suspected that the tall blonde Otto Wermuth, who had brought the boat to Mar del Plata harbour, had been a swindler who had boarded only shortly before, and had possibly only boarded shortly before on the Argentine coast. To support this view, it was argued that he had been very vague about the exact details of the voyage. In addition, Wermuth testified that the deck gun had been taken off the ship in Germany and left behind at the quay, while the crew unanimously stated that they had dismantled it and sunk it overboard into the Atlantic.
Src: German Wikipedia: U 530

Given the cloudy knowledge of that particular incident, there seem to be no historically approved mutinies of that kind depicted - on a u-boat.

But that doesn't mean there were no mutinies at all. There were 22000 death sentences during the war. It seems that the most famous mutiny was aboard a Minesweeper: M 612.

It looks like that is exactly that what was depicted in the series?


Sinking 26 ships, totaling 156,082 tons, Georg Lassen caps the list of top German U-boat aces at number 10. He served in the Kriegsmarine from 1935 to 1945 and averaged 39,020 tons per patrol.

On the night of 3-4 March 1943, Lassen, commanding U-160, sunk or damaged 6 ships. Two days later, he received word via radio that he had earned the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. After his prolific career sinking enemy ships, in April 1945, Lassen began his command of Pretoria, a hospital ship.


An Epic Underwater Story

For weeks, a U.S. Navy Task Group had tracked a shadowy U-boat. Despite a crack team and the latest technology, the Task Group was unable to pinpoint their elusive prey. Low on fuel, the frustrated captain had just called off the search when … there was something on the sonar.

Finding and destroying the sub would save Allied lives and supplies capturing it could help win the war by cracking the U-boat mystery—but only if the Germans thought the sub had sunk. Securing the U-505 and keeping the capture secret was the key.


The U-boats of World War II:

During the war, to save Britain from a naval blockade, the USA agreed to lend and lease military equipment and necessary supplies for civilians.

Hitler wanted to cut off this lifeline to Britain and ordered his capital ships, Bismarck and Tirpitz, complete the task. Admiral Donitz insisted on using the U-boats, which were already wreaking havoc.

The U-boats were already deployed in the Atlantic and hunted in packs. World War II U-boats had a good range, and the St Nazaire dock in France offered a maintenance pen for the U-boats on the Atlantic.

Though technologically advanced, the U-boats posed some technical difficulties. As they ran on batteries charged by a diesel engine, they need to surface once in a while to let out fumes.

If the enemy spots them, then it’s either death in enemy hands or a cemetery at the bottom of the ocean. U-boats also had tight scrambled areas where sailors had to sleep just below the torpedoes.

One U-boat, the U-1206, had an interesting problem. The German U-boat had the state of the art tech when it came to toilets. German U-boats had pressurized toilets that can be used at the depths of the ocean. U-boats can pressurize the excrement and shoot it out like a torpedo.


France’s U-Boat Bunkers Survived the War—And Thrive Today

I AM BLESSED WITH FINE WEATHER when I visit the Lorient submarine base in Brittany on the northwestern coast of France. The Atlantic Ocean sparkles under the sunshine, and in the marina an armada of yachts, dinghies, trimarans, and catamarans add their own bright colors. Men and women busy themselves repairing sails, painting hulls, and swabbing decks, while on the quayside those feeling less energetic sit eating and drinking.

It could be a scene from any of the myriad ports along the 2,130 miles of French coastline but for several incongruous intruders on Lorient’s Keroman Peninsula: three enormous concrete U-boat bunkers, built by the Germans as a base for submarine attacks on Allied shipping in the North Atlantic. From a distance, their sheer size and the thickness of the concrete make them look like the gap-toothed grins of giants.

The Germans saw the potential of Lorient within days of occupying France in the summer of 1940. Admiral Karl Dönitz, commander-in-chief of the U-boat fleet, arrived in Lorient on June 23 and chose the port as one of his five French bases, along with Brest, Saint-Nazaire, La Pallice, and Bordeaux. Of the five, Dönitz prioritized Lorient because it had avoided large-scale sabotage damage by the vanquished French military. Such was the speed of the spring 1940 German advance across France that Admiral François Darlan’s pledge to scuttle the French navy’s fleet and render all ports inoperable was not fulfilled. Consequently, at Lorient, the naval arsenal workshops were functioning the fact that the adjacent fishing harbor had a rail link north and south was an additional boon.

Germany constructed both massive wet-pen bunkers (header) and dry-pen bunkers (above) to house its U-boat fleet at Lorient, France. (Bundesarchiv)

Dönitz believed—more so than Adolf Hitler or Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, the head of the German navy—that U-boats were key to winning the naval war against Britain. Cut off its supply line to North America, reckoned Dönitz, and Britain would be starved into surrender. By the end of June 1940, German workers, arms, and equipment began arriving in Lorient and, on July 7, U-30 became the first submarine to make the base its port of call.

U-30 was initially protected only by a camouflage net the Germans then erected two large sheds of concrete and wood, one on either side of the slipway ramp in the fishing harbor. But Dönitz quickly realized it was imperative to build concrete bunkers to protect the U-boats against British air raids—the first major Royal Air Force attack came on August 22, 1940—and he decided to erect them above ground to avoid the time-consuming excavation work required for sea pens. To construct the bunkers, the Germans brought in 15,000 civil engineers and laborers from Organization Todt (named after its founder, Fritz Todt) that since 1933 had built many and massive Nazi construction projects and whose ranks were swelled by the forced labor of men from occupied Europe. Meanwhile, armories, workshops, and supply depots sprang up by the start of 1942, the base was home to more than 5,000 German personnel and 4,300 French staff.

Construction on the first bunker, K1 (“K” stands for “Keroman”), began in February 1941, three months before K2’s foundation stone was laid. Each bunker took seven months to complete, loomed 59 feet high, measured 374 feet in length, and had a 12-foot-thick roof. At 453 feet, K2 was wider than K1 because it had seven pens (to K1’s five), as well as a barracks for 1,000 personnel and a garage. Larger than both was K3, the last of the three bunkers to be built.

Standing in front of K3, I gaze in wonderment at its intimidating size. K3 measures 550 feet in length and 465 feet across, with a floor area of 258,333 square feet. Its concrete roof is 25 feet thick, twice that of the roofs of bunkers K1 and K2. This increase in size was a response to the growing power of Allied bombs. On August 6, 1944, the RAF dropped a 12,000-pound “Tallboy” bomb on K3 the bunker withstood the blast.


K3 bunker’s 25-foot-thick concrete roof protected its seven wet pens for the duration of the war. (Gavin Mortimer)

To get another view of the three bunkers, I walk half a mile across the mouth of the Ter River along the picturesque coastal path that links the Keroman Peninsula to the Kernevel Peninsula. The route takes me inland for a few hundred yards, skirting a wooded nature reserve, and then curves around and heads back toward the ocean. Couples are sitting on the grassy banks of the river enjoying the sun as I head to the tip of the Kernevel Peninsula. Here stands the elegant Kérillon Villa, constructed in Renaissance style in 1899. It was in this villa that Admiral Dönitz established his staff headquarters in November 1940. (“Ker” is the Breton word for “place.” For centuries Brittany was an independent kingdom, only unifying with France in 1532, and its people remain fiercely proud of their Celtic language and culture.)

The entire complex, called “La Base,” sprawls over 50 acres and encompasses the bunkers, the marina, three restaurants, two museums, and what’s known as “Sailing City,” an indoor ocean venture where visitors learn about Lorient’s proud history of competitive sailing. The development is testament to the ingenuity of the town council, which was devastated when the French Ministry of Defense abandoned Lorient as a military submarine base in 1997. The closure could have had a ruinous effect on the local economy, but 22 years later La Base is a vibrant and diverse hub, drawing tourists, businesses (which have installed offices inside the bunkers), and professional sailing teams.


Lorient’s former naval base is today “La Base,” a hub for tourists and watersport enthusiasts. (Gavin Mortimer)

The international flavor of La Base is evident in the fact that the staff in the museums, stores, and restaurants speak English the museums’ interactive displays are similarly bilingual. The smaller and older of the two museums tells the stories of submarine wrecks, while the principal museum, housed in K2, explores the history of Lorient through the centuries. There is some fascinating footage from World War II, particularly of U-boats arriving back from patrols. About a third of exhibits are devoted to the wartime era, and if there is a weakness in the museums it’s the lack of a German perspective it would have been interesting to hear more of what life was like for the occupiers, whether on U-boat patrol or in constructing the bunkers. But again, history is written by the victors.

The museums are a treat, but there is much to be said for simply strolling around La Base at one’s leisure. I find a park bench by the water’s edge and sit for a few minutes in the sunshine, my gaze alternating between the bunkers in the distance and the guidebook I bought in the museum store. I then head to K1, where in front of one of the pens I watch two men repairing a small boat.

The engineers who constructed the U-boat base would be proud to know that their work is still operational, particularly given the ferocity with which the Allies tried to destroy the three bunkers. The RAF’s August 1940 bomb raid was ineffectual, and the British did not subject the base to sustained large-scale bombardment until 1943. By then, not only had the bunkers been constructed, but the Germans had also installed a formidable antiaircraft defense around the city. Still, in the first three months of 1943, British and American bombers dropped thousands of tons of bombs on Lorient, laying waste to the city and port while reducing its civilian population from 46,000 to 500. Most were evacuated, although 206 were killed in air raids. Those that remained sought refuge in the underground city center shelter—which is preserved in its original condition and accessible on an official guided tour—though people would have been just as safe sheltering in the one million cubic yards of reinforced concrete comprising bunkers K1, K2, and K3. The three bunkers passed into new ownership on May 10, 1945, two days after the German commander of the Lorient Pocket signed an unconditional surrender. The French soon established their own submarine fleet in Lorient one of their Cold War vessels, Flore, is now a museum piece on the esplanade between bunkers K1 and K2. I get a sense, passing through the Flore, of what a remarkable breed submariners are to endure such a life.

Of the 38,000 men who served in U-boats in World War II, only 8,000 survived. No other branch of any service of any nation suffered such a high casualty rate. La Base is a silent yet striking tribute to their sacrifice and that of every man and woman brave enough to take to sea in a submarine.

WHEN YOU GO

Lorient is 300 miles west of Paris and serviced by a regular high-speed train the trip takes three hours. La Base, three miles from the train station, is accessible by taxi or the T2 bus. The nearest airport is in Brest, 85 miles northwest, and offers direct flights from Paris, London, and other cities.

Where to Stay and Eat

The hotel nearest to La Base is the Best Western Plus Les Rives Du Ter, just one mile away. It overlooks the Ter River and has a bar, restaurant, and pool. The La Base complex contains a crêperie, bistro, and restaurant, providing a comprehensive selection of food and drinks.

WHAT ELSE TO SEE AND DO

The stunning island of Groix lies nine miles off Lorient and is accessible by regular ferry service. With hotels and restaurants, 25 miles of bicycle paths, the only convex beach in Europe, and a 1,900-acre nature reserve—the reserve’s Pointe de Pen Men cliffs are known for its 1836 lighthouse and the colonies of nesting marine birds—the island is perfect for a few days of R&R.

About 30 miles southeast of La Base is the extraordinary Quiberon Peninsula. Nine miles long and just 72 feet wide at its narrowest point, the peninsula offers spectacular walks, the remains of a Roman fish farm, and a Bronze Age fort. Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, the peninsula’s main village, features seafood restaurants, art galleries, and shops.

This story was originally published in the October 2019 issue of World War II magazine. Subscribe here.


The U-boat war in the North Atlantic

In 1935 Karl Doenitz who was in charge of the German U-boat army, was convinced that the British would use a convoy system (as in WW1). He came up with the wolf pack tactics famous throughout the war which involved sinking as many enemy ships with the minimum of losses.
With the development of technology both short wave and long wave U-boat transmitter frequencies enabled operations to be controlled from the Command HQ. Doenitz could therefore control this pack attack technique with a tactical advantage, as he would no longer be positioned and in danger on one particular U-boat.
The British Admiralty had underestimated Doenitz and in 1939 had deemed the greatest threat to the navy surface raiders rather than U-boats.
The naivety of the Navy generals lead to the sinking of 31 British ships in the Atlantic ocean near Newfoundland, with no losses of U-boats on the German side.
Hitler deemed this period “the happy time” and ordered the sinking of all British and allied ships on sight by this technique.
Radar was only just being fitted into escorts on conveys which initially this only helped ships keep track of the other vessels in their convoy, as communication was poor between vessels.
W.T was the main method however this laborious as every message had to be encoded and then decoded, which meant that ships in convoys often had to act independently of the other vessels. This lead to great confusion in combat with ships captains often not knowing that their comrades had been sunk.
The U-boats were being produced at a relatively fast rate, which meant that there could be 20 — 30 U-boats in a pack.
One tactic that the British did not exploit was to destroy the U-boats as they were being built in the pens at Brest, Lorient and Bordeaux. Very little damage could be accomplished once they were finished as the walls were up to 12 feet thick.
(Only when Barnes Wallace developed the “Tall Boy” bomb did any real damage to the U-boat convoys occur.)
In 1940 1,299 Allied ships were sunk, and the year after 243,000 tons went down with a total loss of the Germans of 5 U-boats.
Goering had not realised the tactical advantage of his new FW 200 Condors, which if it had been realised, could have lead to a great deal many more losses but as it was through 1942-3 the main threat remained the U-boats.
America entered the war and the U-boats had another “happy time”.
Doenitz intelligence gained the advantage of being able to read Allied command signals.
In March 1943 the losses reached a peak with 85 ships being sunk over 2 days of which over half these vessels had been torpedoed by only 4 U-boats and the others sunk by 2 aircraft.
At the Casablanca Conference of the Allied Governments and their military advisors (1943) it was laid down that a solution to the U-boat attacks was needed if an allied victor was to be accomplished.
Methods were devolved to combat them convoys travelled in larger numbers less frequently The High Frequency Direction Finder (huff duff) made it possible to track the U-boat radio transmissions and therefore avoid the U-boat “packs” systems where developed which could fire torpedoes in a wider range pattern and airborne rockets also proved effective.
Disaster again struck in the middle of March 1943 when 102 boats were sunk but only 15 U-boats. With the Germans able to decipher Allied messages Doenitz was able to counteract the allied new measures.
The main tactic of the U-boats was to attack from the surface.
Radio control played a decisive role any signal sent by either side could be received by the other so eventually the Allies stopped using this method. However the Germans did not, as they did not have knowledge of the “huff duff”.
Due to this there was a decrease in the number of convoys attacked however the Germans were in disrepute as some believed that their codes had been cracked where as other did not. Bletchley Park had by this time cracked the codes, after they had captured a U110, which proved to be of immense value.
The Allies where winning against the war boats and allied losses decreased as the Germans losses increased. With the development of the air force the U-boats could no longer attack on the surface and as the Germans had discovered the invention of “huff duff” Doenitz could no longer direct his U-boats from HQ and the U-boats usefulness was diminishing. Doenitz had lost the “Battle of the Atlantic Ocean”. Towards the end of the war the average life expectancy of a U-boat crewman was only 60 days on V day there were 28,000 dead and 5,000 captured and Doenitz was forced to make the order for all U-boat captains to surface and surrender.

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Changing view of mutiny

Today these events are regarded quite differently from how they were seen even 60 years ago - and it's worth considering how attitudes have changed in the past few hundred years.

Mutiny can be described as an organised act of disobedience or defiance by two or more members of the armed services. Mutiny may range from a combined refusal to obey orders, to active revolt or to actually crossing the combat lines to fight for the enemy.

Such rebellion can be committed by whole armies, or on a private vessel either at sea or in port. Mutinies often occur in the armed forces of nations on the point of suffering defeat, as with the mutiny of the German navy at Kiel in 1918, and the Austrian navy at Cattaro. A mutiny can also be the signal to start a wider revolution, as were the Russian mutinies in 1905 and 1917 at Kronshtadt.

The navies and armies of the world have always regarded mutiny as one of the most serious of crimes, punishable in wartime by death. Governments also tend to regard it with displeasure, and the British government's Incitement to Mutiny Act of 1797, and Incitement to Disaffection Act of 1934, were both designed to prevent civilians from inciting members of the armed services to mutiny (the Incitement to Mutiny Act was only repealed in 2000).

As attitudes have changed in the last few decades, however, people have become more understanding about the psychological effects of war on those who take part in it. As a result, the hundreds of soldiers who were shot for mutiny and desertion during World War One, are now regarded with more compassion, and campaigners continue to argue for posthumous pardons for men who were not mutinous, but sick.

The last British soldier to be executed for a military offence was a private in the Royal Army Service Corps who, in August 1942, was hanged for 'wartime treachery' after turning sides and fighting for the Nazis.

Mutineers have sometimes succeeded in their aims. The two major naval mutinies in Britain in 1797, one at Spithead and one at Nore and Sheerness, were as a result of abuses endured by sailors in the British navy - including bad food, brutal discipline and irregular pay. Following the uprisings, the sailors were given a wage increase and the king pardoned the mutineers.

Another unusual case was in March 1914, when British general Hubert Gough and his officers, stationed at Curragh, Ireland, took part in a 'mutiny', requesting that they should not be asked to take part in forcing Protestant Ulster to participate in Home Rule. They were subsequently allowed to return to duty, and after World War One the solution of partition was adopted.

The death penalty in Britain for treason was abolished, and replaced by life imprisonment, by Section 36 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. This came into force on 30 September 1998.


U-Boat Mutiny in WW2? - History

By David Alan Johnson

The U-boat landings of German spies off the coast of Long Island during Operation Pastorius were not the only instances of U-boats putting German agents ashore on the Atlantic coast of the United States. There had been at least one other landing before Operation Pastorius, and there would be at least one afterward.
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Intercepting a Saboteur Party

On April 14, 1942, two months before U-202 surfaced off the coast of Long Island, the destroyer USS Roper discovered U-85 running on the surface off the coast of North Carolina near Cape Hatteras. The U-boat did not crash-dive, which came as a surprise to Roper’s captain, Commander Hamilton W. Howe. Instead, the submarine’s captain changed course several times and fired a torpedo at the destroyer from his stern tube. Commander Howe closed with the submarine at a speed of 20 knots and began firing his 3-inch forward mount and 50-caliber machine guns at 300 yards.

After U-85 had been hit by a 3-inch shell and 50-caliber machine-gun fire, the captain decided to scuttle the boat. The seacocks were opened, and the crew began jumping overboard as the submarine settled by the stern. Commander Howe wanted a confirmed kill and dropped 11 depth charges on the boat as it sank. The barrage shattered the boat and killed every man in the water.

When the bodies, 29 of them, were recovered, some of the dead were wearing civilian clothes. When their pockets were examined, they were found to contain quite a bit of American currency, as well as Social Security cards, draft cards, and other documents needed for living and working in the United States. Commander Howe had broken up an attempt to land German spies or saboteurs in North Carolina.

The reason behind the U-boat’s mysterious behavior now became clear. If the submarine’s captain had crash dived with his men and the German agents still on deck, most of them would have drowned. Over the years, everything about the sinking of U-85 was made public except the fact that the submarine was trying to land civilians. That information was not released until several years after J. Edgar Hoover died.

The Last U-Boat Landing?

No records exist to prove whether this was the first U-boat attempting to land saboteurs on U.S. soil, but it certainly was not the last. The final landing took place on November 29, 1944, when U-1230 put two would-be German spies ashore at Frenchman’s Bay on the Maine coast. The two men were Erich Gimpel, a German who had worked as an agent in Peru for several years, and William Colepaugh, a flighty young American infatuated with Nazi Germany but with no background in espionage. Their assignment was to find out as much as possible about the Manhattan Project, the U.S. effort to develop the atomic bomb, as well as to gather technical information on American shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing.

The two men were rowed to shore by crew members both were wearing civilian clothes. They were spotted by the son of the county deputy sheriff as they made their way to the nearest rail station, and the FBI was notified, but FBI agents were not able to locate the two. Gimpel and Colepaugh took a train to Manhattan, where they rented a flat and Gimpel built a shortwave radio.

Young Billy Colepaugh had an attack of conscience shortly afterward. Colepaugh faced a dilemma. He wanted Germany to win the war but did not want the United States to lose it. He went to the FBI and turned himself in, along with Erich Gimpel. Both men were in custody by December 30, 1944.

Gimpel and Colepaugh arrived in the United States too late in the war to help the German cause, even if Colepaugh had not gone to the FBI. Both men were tried for espionage, found guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging. The war ended before the sentences could be carried out, and both men spent years in prison.

There may or may not have been other landings, but it is a reasonable possibility that others did take place. The FBI denies this, but J. Edgar Hoover had the power and influence to cover up any incident that might possibly have tarnished his image.


‘U-Boat Or Whale?’ Secret WWII Report Explains The Difference

Submarines played a crucial role in WWII, sinking vast numbers of merchant ships and threatening supply lines. Large-scale patrols were mounted with both ships and aircraft to hunt them down visually, as submarines had to spend much of their time on the surface. However, as a 1943 report from the Australian Navy’s Anti Submarine Warfare Division notes, it was easy to confuse submarines with whales.

The report was unearthed recently by a Twitter user who was struck by "possibly the cutest diagram in security studies."

A section of the report, which is classified as ‘Secret,’ notes that fin and humpback whales tend to concentrate in specific areas of the South Pacific between June and October, and this had led to an increase in the number of errors. The report helpfully provides illustrations of what surfaced whales look like and notes:

“Since they are warm-blooded mammals and breath air, whales cannot leave the surface for long periods. They break surface to breathe, expelling air and so causing the characteristic "spout" or "blow". During this period the back is usually exposed, and it is then that the resemblance between whale and U-boat is greatest.”

A diagram from the secret 1943 Anti Submarine Warfare Division report.

While mistaking a whale for a U-boat could be fatal for the whale, there was a bigger problem from the hunters' perspective of mistaking a submarine for a whale and letting it get away. While a submarine produces significant turbulence, the motion of a whale is much smoother: “A whale produces very little foam except when travelling at speed although the tail flukes often leave a series of swirls at the surface.”

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The other tell-tale sign of a submarine was a slick of oil, which was often easily visible from the air. And while whales are famously known for containing large amounts of oil, the report notes that they do not spill it: “Most of the oil in a whale is contained in the blubber and bones . In no circumstances does any living whale exude oil or leave a film of oil on the water.”

In some cases the exposed portion of a whale may closely resemble a U-Boat

This was not the first time whales were confused with U-boats. In 1919, the Illustrated London News showed pictures taken during WWI, one captioned: "A Whale swimming under water photographed from the air: showing the resemblance to a submarine which caused many to be bombed." The accompanying article explained that mistakes were easy to make in poor light, and that the rule was “When in doubt, bomb.”

Some U.S. Navy aviators had the same identification problem in WWII. Patrol Squadron 53 (VP-53), which operated PBY-5 Catalina Flying Boats on long-range anti-submarine patrols even invented a spoof "Royal Order of Whale Bangers." This was a medal ceremonially awarded to any bombardier who accidentally bombed a whale instead of a submarine.

A spoof 'medal awarded to crewmen who accidentally bombed whales in WWII

Naval History and Heritage Command

Modern anti-submarine warfare is carried out largely using sonar, so whales and submarines are unlikely to be confused. However, passive sonar – which detects the sound made by an object rather than reflecting pings off it – may have trouble with unusual noises. In the 1980s, the Swedish Navy believed that they had repeatedly detected the sound of Russian submarines intruding into their waters. However, when they shared their classified recordings with two university scientists, it turned out the sounds were actually made by panicking shoals of herring. Magnus Wahlberg and Håkan Westerberg won an Ig Nobel Prize for this discovery.

It is also believed that during the 1982 Falklands conflict, the British Type 22 frigate HMS Brilliant fired torpedoes at sonar contacts which turned out to be whales. This was only revealed by crew diaries in 2013.

Modern sonar is far more discriminating, and unlikely to such a mistake –at least with conventional underwater craft. In recent years researchers have been turning to biomimetic designs seeking to take advantage of the efficient hydrodynamics of sea creatures. The Ghost Swimmer developed by Boston Engineering for the U.S. Navy is one such design. It propels itself with a powerful tailfin like a dolphin or shark, to achieve both stealth and high maneuverability. Ghost Swimmer looks more like a living thing than a robot.

The Ghost Swimmer robot craft blurs the line between submarines and living creatures

The full-size SMX31E concept submarine from European designers Naval Group has conventional propulsion but the overall design is borrowed directly from a whale. This suggests that future submarines may become increasingly more animal-like and “U-Boat or Whale?” may again become more of a challenge.


Retirement and eventual fate

The Great Depression of the 1930s struck the shipping industry hard. The number of passengers per year on the transatlantic route halved in the first five years of the decade. At the same time, larger and faster liners began to appear.

The White Star Line and Cunard Line merged in 1934. This merger allowed them to build the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth, making the older vessels effectively redundant. The Olympic sailed from New York for the last time on 5th April 1935.

There were various attempts to save her, including summer cruises and floating hotels, but it was not to be. She was sailed to Jarrow in 1935 and dismantled over the next two years. Many of her fittings still remain in hotels, museums and collections.

By the time she was retired, the Olympic had successfully completed 257 round-trips across the Atlantic. In addition to the wartime soldiers, she had also safely carried 430,000 commercial passengers.

Unlike the tragedies that had struck her sister ships, Titanic and Britannic, the lesser-known RMS Olympic was the vessel that truly proved unsinkable.


Watch the video: Decisive Battles of Hitlers War: The U-Boat War WWII Documentary