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The wreck of U-Boat 89. The U-Boat Hunter Dr Innes McCartney takes us down

Sam Dickson

U-89 was one of the 329 submarines serving in the Imperial German Navy in World War I. U-89 was engaged in the naval warfare and took part in the First Battle of the Atlantic. On 12 February 1918, U-89 was rammed and sunk byHMS Roxburgh off Malin Head. There were no survivors. Amazing images from Dr Innes McCartney – the condition of this wreck is incredible.

U89 survived just over six months in service before it sunk by ramming off Malin Head. Unfortunately for the U-89, the vessel popped up 200 yards in front of the cruiser HMS Roxburgh, which with out hesitation, rammed U-89’s conning tower. Soon after, explosions were heard.

German voices were also heard amongst the waves. U-89 was sunk with the loss of all their lives. The large U-boats of the Kaiserliche Marine are fairly uncommon wrecks in coastal waters which made investigating this site a most interesting dive. The shot line has come down off the port side bows of the wreck (Innes McCartney)
424516_197188873755033_683954359_nTorpedo tubes come into view (Innes McCartney)


Looking down the conning tower hatch, the shaft of the wide angle periscope can be seen as well as the open hatch leading to the control room (Innes McCartney).19323_199417350198852_598899526_nThe wide angle periscope in its housing, seen from above (Innes

The top of the attack periscope (Innes McCartney)37112_201071940033393_452420104_n

The damage which sunk U89 now becomes obvious – HMS Roxburgh clearly ran over the engine room, ripping the roof off (Innes McCartney).


RU ammunition locker (Innes McCartney).

71850_201800883293832_872433709_nPointing my camera inside reveals a mass of debris and electrical cables. A hole which looks like the type caused by the slicing action of a propeller can be seen (Innes McCartney)

74911_198314396975814_1599983161_nThe breech block of the 105mm gun with diver behind (Innes McCartney).

148322_205181359622451_1143631408_nDiver by the forward torpedo hatch (Innes McCartney).

148788_202981246509129_868934771_nThe netting appears to have drifted into the wreck (Innes McCartney)

184669_197189013755019_1924433540_nU89 carried two guns. The large 105mm was on the foredeck (Innes McCartney)

208381_201071946700059_659340853_nThe 88mm gun mounted aft (Innes McCartney)

295489_203533749787212_1080532181_nTorpedoes in the aft torpedo room (Innes McCartney).

296757_197188953755025_1431405205_nTorpedo tubes come into view (Innes McCartney).

309790_203533743120546_605641919_nAft torpedo hatch (Innes McCartney).

321438_197188977088356_1921484101_nInside are fins of a torpedo (Innes McCartney)

385178_199417343532186_1811821369_n-1The double periscope housing on the conning tower with hatch behind (Innes McCartney).

385295_198314160309171_2133165110_nAft of the 105mm, the conning tower comes into view (Innes McCartney).

385351_197189087088345_1930283654_nTampion in the muzzle of the 105mm keeps the water out (Innes McCartney).

428270_203533779787209_90028547_nAuxiliary steering position? in the aft torpedo room (U505 has this feature) (Innes McCartney)

481987_204489876358266_1587104169_nStern torpedo tubes with post side hydroplane in foreground (Innes McCartney).


483826_204489869691600_2081637093_nStern tubes with doors shut (Innes McCartney)


486076_201800893293831_2047633713_nThe interior beckons.. (Innes McCartney).


523122_202981256509128_1723649293_nThe much corroded hydroplane appears to have been set to hard arise (Innes McCartney).

German Type U 87 submarines were preceded by the shorter Type U 81 submarines. U-89 had a displacement of 757 tonnes (745 long tons) when at the surface and 998 tonnes (982 long tons) while submerged.  It had a total length of 215 ft 11 in (65.81 m), a pressure hull length of 164 ft 3 in (50.06 m), a beam of 20 ft 4 in (6.20 m), a height of 30 ft 8 in (9.35 m), and a draught of 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m). The submarine was powered by two 2,400 metric horsepower (1,800 kW; 2,400 shp) engines for use while surfaced, and two 1,200 metric horsepower (880 kW; 1,200 shp) engines for use while submerged. It had two shafts and two 1.66 m (5.4 ft) propellers. It was capable of operating at depths of up to 50 metres (160 ft).

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 16.8 knots (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 9.1 knots (16.9 km/h; 10.5 mph). When submerged, it could operate for 56 nautical miles (104 km; 64 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph); when surfaced, it could travel 11,380 nautical miles (21,080 km; 13,100 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). U-89was fitted with four 50 centimetres (20 in) torpedo tubes (two at the bow and two at the stern), ten to twelve torpedoes, one 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) deck machine gun, and one 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) deck machine gun. It had a complement of thirty-six (thirty-two crew members and four officers)

533600_201800903293830_115491488_nTurning aft the engines point astern, which is where I will explore next (Innes McCartney).


543765_201800869960500_475285213_nTurning and looking forward the open bulkhead hatch leading into the control room can be seen (Innes McCartney).


554310_201071933366727_56584642_nAft of the conning tower two of the main tanks are still hanging on to the pressure hull (Innes McCartney).


556595_205181329622454_641562974_nThe forward radio mast survives even though most of the upper works have rotted away (Innes McCartney).


582544_197189030421684_1101980610_nPressure-proof ready-use ammunition was stacked in lockers around the guns. They were soldered closed and could be popped open quickly for immediate firing when the U-boat surfaced (Innes McCartney)


582606_197188937088360_975298022_nA white circle of anemones shows where one tube has broken away from the hull (Innes McCartney).


601188_201071970033390_515225588_nThe diesel engines are now exposed (Innes McCartney)


601236_202981226509131_1152422015_nPort side prop shaft is bent and the “A” frame buckled (Innes McCartney).


602853_205181346289119_1781023005_nDiver by conning tower (Innes McCartney).


734073_197188993755021_935448446_nAbove the torpedo tubes on the main deck the 105mm gun can be seen in the distance (Innes McCartney).


734156_204489849691602_506955523_nStarboard side prop partially buried (Innes McCartney).


734400_203533769787210_1490406191_nDamage in the port side hull probably caused in the collision (Innes McCartney).

734465_205181292955791_1944787370_nThe engines with the control room hatchway behind. Ballast tanks either side (Innes McCartney).

734480_198314280309159_1767039591_nAft torpedo hatch (Innes McCartney).

734780_198314233642497_1583788048_n-1Torpedoes lying on the deck, having fallen from their stowage rack (Innes McCartney).

945062_274218422718744_1930714530_nU89 had four bow tubes, three of which are visible, inner doors shut (Innes McCartney).



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Sam Dickson

Sam Dickson is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News