Three U Boats missing until 1985 when found in the Elbe U-boat bunker in Hamburg

Early in 1940 the Germans realized the vulnerability of their open top U-Boat enclosures and decided to start building massive bunkers to guard their precious assets from air attack. One of the first bunkers they build was the Elbe II, located near Hamburg.

Elbe II bunker in 1945
Elbe II bunker in 1945

Fast forward 5 years to the end of the Second World War, Germany lost the war and 3 of their newest U-Boats were left stranded in a massive bunker on the Elbe river; the U-2505, U-3004 and U-350. The British proceeded to blow up the bunker with 32 tonnes of bombs which caused the roof to partially collapse, trapping the u-boats in the bunker.

In the late 1940s or early 1950s, an attempt was made to scrap the boats; parts were removed but it proved too dangerous, as one of the boats was actually trapped under the roof and the attempt was soon abandoned.

The remains of the Elbe II bunker, photographed in 1981 - Photo Credit
The remains of the Elbe II bunker, photographed in 1981 – Photo Credit

The u-boats were then forgotten until 1985 when Jak P Mallmann-Showell, Wolfgang Hirschfeld, and Walter Cloots rediscovered the boats in what remained of the mostly destroyed Elbe II U-boat bunker. They took some amazing photographs and explored the u-boats, some of their pictures can be seen here.

In the 1990s the German government decided that the bunker was too dangerous and filled it up with gravel and concrete, burying the u-boats permanently. The area was since turned into a parking lot and is totally inaccessible.

The Elbe II bunker is located on the southern bank of the Elbe river at the Vulkanhafen which is within the Freeport of Hamburg so bring your passport if you want to visit the location.

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