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Respected Wreck-diving Author & Resident Farnes Ex
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Hi Guys

Is there anybody in the Dungeness area or living down the south of England, or anywhere else for that matter, on this forum who would be interested in trying to identify some U-boat wrecks, if I supplied location information?

Cheers Ron
 

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Oooh yeah gimme gimme!
Hastings based, I dive with a club that has a RIB but if they're interesting enough marks & around the Southeast, I don't mind diverting a club hardboat charter over that way.
 

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Respected Wreck-diving Author & Resident Farnes Ex
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Okay Rob

But I will need feed back too, otherwise it will not be of any use to us. We need to establish what some submarines are for historical reasons.

I'll get back to you if you are serious.

Cheers Ron
 

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DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
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Ron

I take it you are talking about UC50? I have marks and was going to try and do that last weekend, our boat was missfireing though. You get a double slack off Dungeness even on springs so even more reason to go down there. It may be in the Range Danger area as well, but i can find out about firing days.

I am also planning to satisfy myself on the location of B2 as i think i have a good position. U16 is still being a pain though and i want to try and solve that one this year.

I am up for sub diving but i am a bit of a sub jonah, and i have access to a Flotilla of ribs.

Safe sub hunting,

Paul

PS I dive out of Dover every weekend.
 

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Respected Wreck-diving Author & Resident Farnes Ex
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Paul

All help is welcome, I will come back to you both shortly

Cheers Ron
 

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old time
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Hi Ron,

Dover divers can help, plus can join up with Paul i'm sure.

Nice hard boat to feed all the divers  


Andy.
 

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WWI naval researcher
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I'm working with Ron on this.

Paul is correct. One of the wrecks is the "UC 50" off Dungeness. Our research suggests that that ID is wrong though -- the submarine attacked by HMS Zubian on February 4, 1918 was UC 79, not UC 50. UC 50 was almost certainly lost before that date, and is probably off Griz Nez.

As for the real identity of the U-boat wreck off Dungeness, likely the only way to know is to get a number off her propellers.

The second wreck is in Rye Bay between Hastings and Dungeness. In September 1917, the Royal Navy found a submarine wreck. They never identified it -- in fact we don't even know what class of U-boat it was they found!

Best wishes,

Michael
 

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Sounds really interesting - dived UC65 earlier this year & diving a WWII boat this weekend.  U-boats are..... different (duh) from the sort of wrecks I normally circulate, but the history is absolutely fascinating. If you can let me know the depths we're talking about I'll see who I can get enthused in the Hastings clubs.
 

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DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
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Hi Michael

Very Good to see you on this forum, and i look forward to clearing up some fog of war. I am sure the site will be all the better for your depth of knowledge on all things U Boat.

I had a superb dive on UB55 a couple of weeks ago, what a story on that one. Suicides, Free assents from 30m (I had 33m on the seabed) then many dieing of exposure during the night long drift down the channel. And 6 still survived, tough guys or what.

The sub is upright on a firm seabed (you can look underneath it at one point). Conning tower and perescope still in place. We had about 10-12m of vis and our shot tied off on the perescope so as we came down the whole sub was there to see. Plenty of damage so you can see into the hull. Top dive and tons of sea life.

Regards

Paul
 

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WWI naval researcher
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Paul,

Thanks for the kind words. If you or any one ask has questions, fire away.

And on UB 55, don't forget that her CO (and one of the survivors) was Ralph Wenninger, a Pour Le Merite winner. Glad you enjoyed the dive.

Rob -- could I get your e-mail address. I have a long description of the (not) UC 50.

Best wishes,

Michael
 

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Michael, thanks very much for the mail - very interesting - now I've got to get my backside in gear and dive it.  If you guys have anything planned I'd be grateful for a space.

Out of interest, dunno if you U-boat afficionados can help me with this....
Dived a WWII U-boat yesterday, don't know the numbers on it (got my ear bent early on in the diving career for asking a charter skipper for numbers) but it was 2 1/2 hours out of Littlehampton heading west, with land more or less still in sight.  The boat sits in 60m, has twin props, very intact apart from the bow being all smashed up but a big crack forward of the conning tower where you can get in - -one of the guys saw an authentic u-boat toilet!
What I couldn't quite figure out was that it seemed to have two dirty great big guns on the deck, one aft of the tower, the other close to the tower but can't remember whether it was fore or aft (it was dark and scary down there!).
There was a certain amount of confusion on board about what type of boat it was. Somebody seemed to think it was a boat that had been captured at the end of the 'difficulties' and had sunk under tow, but the damage to the bow looked like it had been well and truly mullered by something pretty explosive.  The tower didn't look as high as the ones I've seen in photos of the more classic WWII boats either and the top of the periscope tube had been cut off, possibly by thieving UK wreckies though difficult (and probably wrong) to speculate.  

Fantastic dive BTW.

Any ideas?
 

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WWI naval researcher
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Rob,

What you dived is certainly NOT a WWII U-boat wreck. German submarines operating in the Channel in 1944 and 1945 (and they weren't there before then aside from a very few in 1939 -- Paul's searching for one of them that went missing) did not mount deck guns. And in any case, WWII U-boats never mounted two deck guns.

The wreck you dived is a WWI German U-series submarine. These were big boats for their day -- 1,000 tons or so. They also rarely went through Dover. A few with this routing were lost in January 1918 (U 84, U 93, U 95, and U 109). The deck guns should be a 105mm/45 caliber forward of the conning tower and an 88/30 cal aft of it.  

There's reason to think the U-boat you dived is not a war loss. U 86 was surrendered and scuttled postwar at  50 28.50N, 00 34.30W. Innes McCartney, in his book on English Channel sub wrecks "Lost Patrols", has her possible at 50 31.10N, 00 33.90W.

Best wishes,

Michael
 

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Michael,
fascinating stuff mate - just goes to show the amount of confusion there is out here.  Me - I'm always confused.  Thanks for clearing that up.
Out of interest, the UC65 (or what I can now only ASSUME to be UC65
 ) was very very small  - ie even though it was broken cleanly in half nobody was that inclined to have a look inside.  There looked like there was hardly enough room to stand.  Was I just narked or was this a normal state of affairs on WWI boats?
What sort of literature is there out there on WWI&II subs, and is it worth going out & buying IM's book?

Many thanks
Rob
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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I would be interested in helping out if I can fit the dives in. Problem with the end of seasion is a lot of days already booked in advance.

Up for wreck penitration if its broken up and can do trimix depths if required. If I take enough stages with me I can even stay down as long as Rob


Andys boat is a lovley way to dive any thing in that area.

So in short if I can I will

Mark Chase
 

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Hi

I'd be happy to go down on Andys boat, bit slow but he was telling me this morning how good the bacon sarnies are as we waited for slack. (I was on an overcrowded one of our Rhibs).

Regards

Paul
 

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Have you guys thought about trying to do it as a YD gig? You could do the weekend, brief everyone and then do some serious diving. I know I'd be up for it, even acting as support divers and all that. There was a load done with a group of the South Coast recently wasn't there?

Anyway, certainly keep me posted. If you stick it on the planned trips board you might get more volunteers, esp if you've got boats sorted.
 

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Rob,

There is too much confusion on submarine wrecks. I've been working on this stuff for a few years now and there are still things that make my head hurt. What Ron Young and I are trying to do is combine diving discoveries with the historical record to the benfit of both.

All WWI and WWII submarines are small on the inside. It's just that some are even smaller than others. The UCII class (like UC 65 and what's off Dungeness) were only about 50 meters long, 5.2 meters wide, and with a draught of 3.7 meters. The crew would have been about 26. Know you know why the RN cut off conning towers or blew holes in the wrecks they found -- it made it a lot easier for divers to enter.

The fate of UC 65 is certain -- torpedoed by HMs/m C-15. Several crew members survived, including the CO.

Books I recommend:
On U-boat design, nothings better than Eberhard Rössler's "The Boat: The evolution and technical histoy of German submarines."
On the operational side, an excellent book covering both wars is "The U-Boat Offensive 1914-1945" by V.E. Tarrant. Lots of interesting tables and maps too.

Innes' book is good and quite useful, though there are a number of errors in it. These mainly have to do with WWI U-boat operational details, though he messes up an ID or two.

Best wishes,

Michael
 
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