The Discovery of U-155 – U-Boat Hunter Dr Innes McCartney

U-155 had the youngest U-boat commander during the war since Von Friedeburg was only 20 years old. In December, Kptlt. Erwin Witte took over and was relieved in April 1945 by Oblt.z.S. Friedrich Altmeier.

Altmeier commanded the boat for one month before the German surrender in May 1945; she was then scuttled by the Royal Navy. The wreck was located, largely intact, in 2001.

U-155 conducted 10 patrols, sinking 26 ships totaling 126,664 gross register tons (GRT), one warship of 13,785 tons and damaging one auxiliary warship of 6,736 GRT. She was a member of one wolf pack. She sank a warship and a troop transport ship, and damaged a cargo ship, with one salvo of four torpedoes on 15 November 1942 during her fourth patrol, and shot down a P-51 Mustang aircraft on her final patrol.

On 30 June 1945, after the German surrender, she was transferred from Wilhelmshaven to Loch Ryan, Scotland for Royal Navy Operation Deadlight, the scuttling of surrendered German U-boats, and sunk on 21 December the same year.

U-155 was located and identified in 2001 by a team of divers led by nautical archaeologist Innes McCartney, revealing the wreck was lying upright on the seabed, largely intact, at a depth of 73 meters (240 ft; 40 fathoms).

Her crew held their 25th reunion in 1995 with former Oberleutnant zur See Johannes Rudolph and one of the Mosquito pilots who attacked the boat in June 1944 ‘on board’.

165813_133187186821869_572781490_n

Forward end of the pressure hull, with the top two torped tube recesses clearly visible (Innes McCartney).292462_133187266821861_2008099156_n

Stunning visibility meant the wreck could be seen from 40m during the ascent (Innes McCartney).

314724_133187313488523_1472648449_n

375770_133187330155188_965368901_n

376424_133187063488548_615415316_n

Inside the forward torpedo room (Innes McCartney). 382404_133187213488533_1731410128_n

382555_133186860155235_1517111036_n

After deck facing conning tower (Innes McCartney) 389139_133186993488555_753028954_n

Compass repeater binnacle and HF loop lying on the foredeck (Innes McCartney). 396842_133186570155264_851334103_n

Snorkel head in its housing on the starboard side of the foredeck. The ball float is in place along with the air warning radar dipole on the top (Innes McCartney).396931_133186906821897_705113303_n

Aphrodite cylinders aft of the conning tower (Innes McCartney).

409743_133186780155243_1156747945_n

Stern with twin rudders and torpedo tubes (Innes McCartney). 417607_133186526821935_505385398_n

The snorkel (Innes McCartney). 428872_133186946821893_1674180975_n

Twin air intakes behind the conning tower (Innes McCartney). 482049_133187080155213_1596371401_n (1)

The torpedo tubes which sunk an aircraft carrier – HMS Avenger (Innes McCartney). 482090_133186816821906_1593175975_n

The tender container on the aft deck – boat shaped! (Innes McCartney) 483326_133186686821919_1296145367_n

Looking down the conning tower hatch into the control room below (Innes McCartney). 524227_133186750155246_1135952420_n

Aft deck with spare torpedo holders (Innes McCartney). 531755_133186640155257_2099181021_n

The double periscope stand – a design feature on larger U-boats which dates back to WW1 (Innes McCartney). 532145_133187280155193_2106483666_n

stunning visibility meant the wreck could be seen from 40m during the ascent (Innes McCartney). 532205_133187363488518_409109494_n

Goodbye U155…another truly awesome discovery. One of several new Operation Deadlight U-boats I found in 2001-3 (Innes McCartney). 534500_133186450155276_1848978541_n

Goodbye U155…another truly awesome discovery. One of several new Operation Deadlight U-boats I found in 2001-3 (Innes McCartney). 548170_133187140155207_736801587_n

Torpedo tubes with the fore hydroplanes assembly on the sand behind (Innes McCartney).

552758_133186723488582_1453819936_n

The massive stand for the 37mm AA gun (Innes McCartney). 556446_133186670155254_822379946_n

The massive stand for the 37mm AA gun (Innes McCartney). 576028_133186983488556_1363584934_n

My wife Patricia photographing the open conning tower hatch (Innes McCartney) 578817_133186513488603_190749332_n

The broad foredeck characteristic of the long-range Type IX U-boat (Innes McCartney). 582043_133187026821885_817720454_n

Open forward torpedo loading hatch (Innes McCartney). 599677_133186470155274_131798746_n

Damaged foredeck (Innes McCartney). 1004467_274197316054188_574833728_n

 

 

 

innesmc20131-478x640

 

You can follow Innes on Facebook, Twitter and you can buy many of his books via Amazon

 

Innes McCartney

Innes McCartney is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE