‘The most intact U-boat wreck I’ve ever seen’ U-Boat Hunter Innes McCartney – The Discovery of U778

1465380_332938530180066_425017872_nGerman submarine U-778 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine in World War II. She only completed one combat patrol and sank no Allied ships. She was surrendered to the Allies at Bergen on the 8 May 1945.

On 4 December 1945, she was being towed offshore, to be scuttled as part of Operation Deadlight, but foundered and sank before reaching the scuttling ground, at a point 55°32′N 7°7′W, 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi) North East of Malin Head in around 70 metres (230 ft) of water. The wreck was rediscovered by marine archaeologist Innes McCartney in 2001


This was the dive when I discovered the U-boat which is probably U778 on 22 July 2001. Again, visibility which is stunning as the bows of a U-boat appear ahead 562822_138228476317740_1472268023_nRipping current coming over the wreck meant i was crawling (literally) towards the wreck. Outer torpedo doors closed and intact – very rare (Innes McCartney).528694_138228526317735_1088148297_n

The line links our shotline to the wreck. It was dragging in the current and we nearly missed the site entirely.  The entire U-boat looks band new! (Innes McCartney).1465380_332938530180066_425017872_nThanks to Allan Hannah for photoshoping this image of U778 from the ones I posted. Good job!

268774_138228542984400_157291298_n The U-boat has the rare late-war GHG balcony – a passive/active sonar array (Innes McCartney)302298_138602249613696_2127423101_n Aft deck pristine too (Innes McCartney).384579_138759492931305_1213266451_n 376769_138247502982504_627105237_n Steel torpedo tube – sign of a late war U-boat (Innes McCartney).

373845_138844146256173_913096207_n 319442_138759502931304_1694224096_n Conning tower recedes as the current blasts me down the wreck (Innes McCartney).391356_138315366309051_952698515_n intact conning tower comes into view. This is simply unique.. No other U-boat wreck I have seen still has an intact bridge (Innes McCartney396123_138602312947023_972181010_n Stunning conning tower as I drift back down the foredeck (Innes McCartney). 409597_138564199617501_1837545012_n The compass repeater )top) and rudder indicator (bottom) in the bridge, used for surface running (Innes McCartney).417404_138844162922838_1104225968_n Al’s bottom line heads off into the distance downcurrent..tight as a bowstring.. Glad we planned to bag off at 30m!! (Innes McCartney).484433_138247539649167_940499034_nintact conning tower comes into view. This is simply unique.. No other U-boat wreck I have seen still has an intact bridge (Innes McCartney
479934_138413432965911_1549936082_n The U-boat’s snorkel mast in the deck recess with hydraulic elevator piston behind (Innes McCartney).428903_138413446299243_1488081491_n The piston in front of the conning tower. Even the flange pipe which links to the snorkel when it is erected is still in place, along with the spray deflector (Innes McCartney).
547673_138602279613693_533003999_n Open mushroom air intake (Innes McCartney).562954_138564176284170_150953888_n The Bridge is covered in a net, but inside all the bridge equipment is still where it should be – incredible! (Innes McCartney).557409_138564132950841_1319063356_n By the port side of the tower the snorkel flange (bottom) and collar (top) are still in place. I have never seen this before or since (Innes McCartney).557350_138564152950839_881105463_nThe base of the bridge shows the conning tower hatch is open and the main control pillar (left ) is still in place (Innes McCartney).945699_274199932720593_1572015345_nAnother gratuitous shot of this incredibly intact U-boat wreck (Innes McCartney). 580993_138247516315836_145914845_n Foredeck largely intact with conning tower in distance. Greg crawling along the wreck towards me. by now the current was running really quickly (Innes McCartney).576139_138602266280361_1125801900_n(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