The Most Unlucky U-Boat Of WWII Yields Fascinating Photographs

German U-boats.
German U-boats.

Wilhelm Hinrichs was a First Officer in the German Navy during World War II. He served on what was perhaps the least successful U-boat in the German fleet.

U-976 left Kiel on November 25, 1943, for its first war patrol and reached France on January 29, 1944. On March 25, 1944, it was destroyed by RAF Mosquitoes. 49 of the 53 crew managed to survive the attack.

In the 66 days, it was in service, U-976 participated in six wolf packs. Remarkably, it did not sink a single ship during that time. Even more remarkable, there is no record of U-976 damaging a single Allied vessel.

What may be the most interesting part of U-976’s legacy is the photographs taken by Hinrichs. They offer a unique look into life aboard a U-boat in WWII, Mail Online reported.

His collection of photos is up for sale at auction. It includes photos of German officers enjoying the rash of success the Nazis had early in the war, sailors in the boat and enjoying shore leave.

The sale is scheduled for February 18 at Alexander Historical Auctions. The photos, along with correspondence, are expected to fetch $1500 at the auction.

Ian Harvey

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