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The Maritime Archaeology of a Modern Conflict

Comparing the Archaeology of German Submarine Wrecks to the Historical Text

By McCartney, Innes
2015, Routledge Taylor & Francis
ISBN 978-1-138814356
Hardcover, 328 pages, 119 figures

Descripton: A major academic work which provides first-hand artefactual evidence of dives on over 40 WWI and WW2 U-Boat wrecks in the English Channel. The majority of wrecks are documented with underwater photographs of identification features, and a diagram of how the wreck lies, correlated to UK Hydrographic Survey position data. The wreck information is then correlated in a meticulous way with the historical record of Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW attacks to establish either firm or tentative identities of the wrecks. Of the 63 wreck sites in the study area, 41% were 'mystery sites' where the archaeology and documentary records did not match. Drawing on the work of Axel Niestle and others, Dr McCartney brings a new level of detail to what is known of the fates of individual U-Boats. He also puts forward larger conclusions regarding the Inshore Campaign of 1944-45 regarding the effectiveness of 'responsive minelaying' within UK territorial waters and the limitations of British Naval Intelligence in the closing months of WWII. The book is based on a PhD thesis following on from a systematic investigation of U-Boat wrecks from 1997 to 2013. One particularly poignant case study is that of U480, where a side-scan sonar trace shows clear details of the wreck of a previously-successful boat/crew which was sunk by a mine and lost with all hands with no witnesses.