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This is the place to discuss general issues related to the U-boat war or the war at sea in WWII. 
Re: Scuttling May 45
Posted by: BHenderson ()
Date: May 15, 2012 11:37AM

John, I haven't studied this in depth but I get the impression that German "Navy tradition" saw scuttling at the end of WWII as a continuation of the grand scuttling at Scapa Flow after WWI. I think that the sailors who subscribed to the idea that scuttling was an "honorable" way at the end were sort of primed to go along with the plan. I have also seen accounts that say that many Germans foresaw a terrible threat from the Russians after hostilities were over and they feared their boats being turned against them; scuttling would prevent that pretty effectively.

If you'll check out some "U-boat fates" for the scuttled boats, you'll see an occasional reference to a sailor who died during a scuttling but since these were often LI's who were carrying out the mechanics of the scuttling, I wonder if it wasn't pretty dangerous work and maybe it was a case of little time for the last person (or persons) on board to get away safely before the boat sank. (I suppose that a scuttled boat would also flood its battery compartment pretty quickly and generate poisonous gas.) But there are items specifically noted occasionally where a crewman stated his intention to die with the boat and did so.

I don't have the boat numbers immediately, but there were a few boats together (I think at a port facility in northern Germany) and the port was overrun by the British forces and surrendered just before VE-day. The German authorities were ordered by the Allies to prevent scuttling but an officer disobeyed that order and scuttled some boats. This got him in some legal trouble. Also, if memory serves (and it often doesn't at my age), at least one of the boats was one of the remaining "Walther" boats and the British were very interested in the technical aspects of those boats and were upset when those boats were damaged (also, I think some of the Walther-boats were damaged by explosives, others were scuttled).

Sorry to be short on details but there is some info in areas on this website.

B Hendeson, NC USA

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Subject Written By Posted
Scuttling May 45 jcrt 05/15/2012 10:02AM
Re: Scuttling May 45 BHenderson 05/15/2012 11:37AM
Re: Scuttling May 45 Derek Waller 05/16/2012 09:58AM
Re: Scuttling May 45 jcrt 05/16/2012 07:28PM

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