Some great images of U-534, the wreck and the artefacts which include an enigma machine.Commissioned in Hamburg in late 1942, the U 534 is a Type IX C 40 long-range ocean going submarine.
She was mainly used as a weapons testing platform, and until the late summer of 1944 was also used as a weather ship in the North Atlantic.
During the autumn of that year she left the massive U. boat pens at Bordeaux and sailed back to Germany where she was laid up in Kiel. So far nothing out of the ordinary, just another U. boat. But during May 1945 things changed.
U534 on the Barge
Germany unconditionally surrendered, and the War was over. However just before the surrender, on May 2nd, U. 534 became the last submarine to leave Germany.
Apparently she had been specially provisioned and armed in the bombproof pens at Kiel weeks before, and at the appointed hour she slid silently out of the submarine pens and made her way towards Kristiansand in Norway.
Two days later, on May 4th, Admiral Doenitz had ordered all submarines still at sea to surrender, but by then U 534 was lying submerged off Elsinore in Denmark.
Weather her Commander, Captain Nollau failed to receive the order or chose to ignore it is uncertain, but either way, the outcome was to be catastrophic.
Images via Scroll down to page 4 for video
On May 5th, the day after all German forces in Northern Europe surrendered, a R.A.F. Liberator from Coastal Command sank U 534 off the Danish Island of Anholt.
Most of the crew managed to abandon the boat and were soon rescued, but five were trapped inside the U-boat and were dragged down by it.
Miraculously they managed to escape their iron tomb, but one died in the ascent, and two others drowned on the surface before the rescue ships could get to them.
So where was the submarine going and what was its mission?