In November 1941, a German U-boat collided with a target shipoff the port of Memel (now Klaipeda). Now divers discovered the 67 meter long wreck at a depth of nearly 40 meters.
On 11 November 1941 Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Günther Kuhlmann was lucky.
Along with 43 Marines he was with his submarine U-580 on training cruise in the Baltic Sea. The crew was to simulate an attack on the target ship “Angel Castle”, a former fruit freighter, which was now being used as an auxiliary ship by the U-boat fleet of the German Navy. Near the port city of Memel they collided with the U-580 “Angel Castle”. Twelve crew members were killed, 32 were saved, including commander Kuhlmann.
More than 70 years after the disaster divers have discovered the wreck of U-580 near the Lithuanian port city Klaipeda, (Memel in WWII). In fear of thieves who could get down to the wreck , the Lithuanian conservation authority urged the police to protect the wreck.
After Polish scientists had spotted the wreck while surveying the seabed they passed the coordinates to the Lithuanian authorities. Members of a diving club from Kaunas finally discovered the submarine.
The U-580 was a VIIC class boat which were in the forefront of the battle of the Atlantic against Allied Shipping. They had a displacement of 1050 tons and could sail over 17.6 knots on the surface, under water they could reach a maximum speed of 7,6 knots. They had a range of up to 12.000 kilometers and carried 14 torpedo’s with a 52 man crew.
After this U-Boat Oberleutnant zur See Kuhlmann received another command, the U-166 a larger XI class u-boat. He sank 4 Allied ship before his luck ran out and the ship was sunk by the American navy on July 30th 1942, there were no survivors.
Various sources used, written by Joris Nieuwint for War History Online