U boat Found in Canadian River?
It seems that a group of would-be maritime archeologists in Canada have stumbled
upon what they think is a U-boat under the mud and silt of a river in Newfoundland.
The thing is, its 60-miles UP the river!
“What appears to be a German U-boat was first spotted at the bottom of the
Churchill River in Labrador two years ago by searchers using sonar to locate three
men who had gone over Muskrat Falls, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported
“We were looking for something completely different, not a submarine, not a U-boat
– I mean, no one would ever believe that was possible,” Brian Corbin told the
CBC. “It was a great feeling when we found it.”
The German government says it would be “sensational and unusual” for one of its
submarines to have ended up so far inland, though it concedes it’s possible, the CBC
“We do know that German U-boats did operate in that region,” Georg Juergens,
deputy head of mission for the German Embassy in Ottawa, told the CBC. “We
must brace ourselves for surprises.”
The article lists that the contact was “about 150-feet in length” which is close to what
the Kreigsmarine’s Type VII-class ran (pressure hull ws 165-feet). 703 of these
boats were completed.
Type VII U-boats were the most common type of German World War II U-boat. The Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs going back to the World War I Type UB III, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (I.v.S) which was set up by Germany after World War I in order to maintain and develop German submarine technology and to circumvent the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles, and was built by shipyards around the world. Type VII U-boats were generally popular with their crews and much more powerful than the smaller Type II U-boats they replaced, with four bow and one
external stern torpedo tubes. Usually carrying 11 torpedoes on board, they were
very agile on the surface and mounted the 88 mm fast-firing deck gun with about
220 rounds. Perhaps the most famous VIIC boat was U-96, featured in the movie
Uboat.net lists 50 missing German WWII U-boats (most of them Type VII boats)
that have no explanation for their loss. These include U-1, U-22, U-47, U-54, U-
104, U-116, U-122, U-180, U-193, U-196, U-206, U-209, U-240, U-246, U-
296, U-337, U-338, U-355, U-376, U-381, U-398, U-396, U-420, U-455, U-
479, U-519, U-553, U-578, U-602, U-647, U-648, U-666, U-669, U-683, U-
702, U-703, U-740, U-745, U-851, U-855, U-857, U-865, U-921, U-925, U-
972, U-1020, U-1055, U-1191, U-1226 and U-184.
Of the above U-857 was lost in April 1945, literally the last month of the war and
was last seen off the northern US coast. It was thought that she was sunk by a US
destroyer off North Carolina, but this claim is sketchy and has been revoked in later
years. The Foreign Documents Section of the Naval Historical Branch of the U.K.
Ministry of Defense revoked this credit in April 1994, surmising that Gustafson’s
attack was “very probably directed against a nonsub target.” Axel Niestlé, in his
German U-boat Losses During World War II: Details of Destruction (Annapolis:
Naval Institute Press, 1998) claims that “There is presently no known explanation
for [U-857's] loss.” U-857 was a larger Type IX C/40 U-boat with a 192-foot
Still 192-feet is close enough to “about 150-feet” to still be in the running.
Being missing in the last month of the war it is possible that the ship was seeking a
nice convenient place to scuttle itself and her crew possibly surrender or evade
capture. Still, you would think that at least one would have survived to tell the tale
and the story would have been wide-spread.
Stay tuned. It will probably wind up being an old barge, but hopefully its an exotic
U-boat design that was scuttled and can be raised. Never mind the 59 old Canadian
guys in thier 80s and 90s with very thick German accents that live in the area who
are freaking out now….