New Tampa Bay World War Two exhibit to feature replica German submarine

Tampa Bay History Center in Florida, USA, will be opening a new World War Two exhibit, including a 30 ft replica German submarine used during the war called the Seahund.

Nazi submarines played a big part in destroying or sinking Allied battleships as they headed for or launched from Tampa Bay. The German’s operated in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean during the war under Operation Drumbeat. They sank around 70 US boats and killed around 700 servicemen.

The German’s patrolling of the area lasted about a year from 1942-3, with 16 Nazi U-boats taking part. They would monitor Miami to Jacksonville and Tampa to New Orleans. Only recently has this information become publicly available, as war records have gradually become declassified.

Tampa was where aviation fuel, supplies and vessels were built and shipped from. It also housed three airfields used during the war.It is said that when some Nazis were captured and taken prisoner, some were found with cinema tickets showing that they’d actually been on land in America!

The submarine replica that will be on show at the exhibition would have been used in defense in the Baltic Sea. Submarines used for attacking were slightly larger at around 220ft long.

Original technical drawings and videos from the inside of Nazi submarines were used to build the replica, even a museum in Munich helped to provide information. The replica is life size and visitors will be able to experience what it was like to live and work in a German submarine, highlighting the terrible war time conditions and cramped facilities.

The exhibition will also showcase various World War Two artefacts, which have been sourced and gathered including domestic goods from ships and vessels used during the war such as tableware, bottles, glasses and silverware – all showing a snippet of what life was like on the seas during World War Two, The Tampa Tribune reports.

The exhibit is open to the public, and its replica submarine can be accessed both inside and out. The exhibit runs from December through April 2015.

The History Channel will be featuring the exhibit and revealing the replica submarine to the public for the first time in a new documentary called, ‘Museum Men’.  The documentary series follows staff of a company that re-creates items for museums, and tells the historical stories behind them. The ‘Museum Men’ series will run for ten one hour long episodes.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE