U-Boat Hunter Innes McCartney: The Discovery of U1003

U-1003 escaped an attack by a 120 Squadron Liberator on 20 March 1945 but was rammed at periscope depth on the next evening by the RCN frigate “New Glasgow”. Seriously damaged she went to the bottom and was depth charged by a number of warships.

Early next morning Strübing surfaced to check the extensive damage but had to dive quickly as a ship approached. Books say that U-1003 proceeded northwestwards and was leaking badly, had to dive again when they surfaced to recharge the batteries, but U-1003 was finished when the batteries failed and in the early morning of 23 March the pumps stopped working.

Strübing surfaced, and the crew abandoned ship, 31 were rescued by HMCS “Thetford Mines” (2 died later) and 18 men including the commander died in the water. (source)

Innes McCartney discovered the wreck in 2001

375684_134860496654538_2080232398_nOK – this gallery will feature a Type VIIC/41 U-boat which was scuttled after a collision with the Corvette HMCS New Glasgow in March 1945. Stunning visibility and a wreck with a very unique damage pattern (Innes McCartney).

208964_134964303310824_1532933687_nUsual big pile of debris under the conning tower/wintergarden area. 37mm gun mount and ammunition containers (Innes McCartney).

208969_134978689976052_1190998633_nSteel torpedo tube of a late-war U-boat (Innes McCartney).

283735_134978753309379_276220531_nAlso the auxiliary high-pressure air cylinders and Marcks container (Innes McCartney)

375613_134964259977495_1041953603_nThe head of the snorkel mast seen from above. It does not appear to have been fitted with the radar warning device – is this why it did not detect the oncoming Corvette? (Innes McCartney).

426938_135031073304147_1753682979_nThe sharp-eyed will spot that the sky periscope is bent back flat along the starboard side of the conning tower. This was most likely caused by the collision with HMCS New Glasgow (Innes McCartney).

427503_134940546646533_400047071_nThe beautiful arrowhead shaped stern of the Type VIIC U-boat – otherwise an ugly design (compare it to HMS Tantivy or U2511) (Innes McCartney).

482050_134964323310822_1241609128_nThe snorkel mast lies on the seabed (Innes McCartney)

483363_134978723309382_1239940546_nThe entire bow has sheared off revealing the four inner torpedo doors as now the foremost part of the wreck (Innes McCartney)

547760_134940529979868_1904651202_nThe stern of the U-boat is completely intact. Wreck lying slightly over on its port side (Innes McCartney).

549737_134978649976056_1874614626_nFurther forward the entire foredeck has been ripped off. The torpedo loading hatch stands out above the pressure hull (Innes McCartney).

552349_134978739976047_777270243_nOne the foredeck the repeater binnacle is in place (Innes McCartney)

555655_135031039970817_1158506431_nThe snorkel mast has broken where it clips into the collar on the front of the conning tower (Innes McCartney).

578822_134978683309386_31578605_nOnly the shaft of the windlass remains in place as we reach the bows (Innes McCartney).

582146_134964286644159_1425420354_nMy friend Alan inspects the snorkel (Innes McCartney).

1000816_274200502720536_84854336_nThe ball float is still in place – a rare feature (Innes McCartney)

208969_134978689976052_1190998633_nSteel torpedo tube of a late-war U-boat (Innes McCartney).

315335_134940576646530_47719269_nStill intact

376179_135031193304135_1868400241_nThe base of the mast with the early flange joint can be seen to have been bent in this shot (Innes McCartney).

547760_134940529979868_1904651202_nThe stern of the U-boat is completely intact. Wreck lying slightly over on its port side (Innes McCartney).

548181_134940559979865_1657655710_nThe after deck looks intact we swim toward the conning tower (Innes McCartney).

561096_135031183304136_2122504948_nSee here from the other side. I conclude then, the Corvette hit the U-boat from the forward starboard quarter, ripped off the top deck, the bows and then ran up over the conning tower, bending or snapping off the snorkel and periscopes. The U-boat was finished in this collision and no escape was feasible (Innes McCartney).

582000_135031149970806_1221325223_nEqually interesting the fact that the attack periscope has been bent right round so that the lens has pierced the seabed, nest to the snorkel mast (Innes McCartney).

Dr. Innes McCartney – Nautical Archaeologist, Naval Historian and 26 years a Wreck Diver.


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Innes McCartney

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