Wreck of a WWI German U-boat discovered at Belgium coast

Wreck of a World War I German U-Boat off the coast of Belgium has been discovered by maritime archaeologists through reanalysis of sonar scans from an undersea survey carried out in 2014.

Wreck of the German U-boat (by Tomas Termote)

The researchers state that the wreck was first discovered in 2014 but was thought to be of a World War II landing craft. Reassessment of the digital sonar data allowed to identify the vessel as an U-boat. A team of divers investigating the site found the 27-metre-long submarine lying on its starboard side at a 45-degree angle, at a depth of nearly 30 metres. The U-boat has been identified as a Type UB-II submarine built by Germany during World War I. Up to 18 such vessels were based in occupied Belgian ports to carry out raids against British ships. It is believed that the submarine sank after hitting a marine mine, becoming a grave for its 23 crew-members. The sub’s hull is mostly intact, but heavy damage was observed near the bow. Both of the remaining crew hatches were firmly closed, while the third hatch had been torn away. As observed, both of the periscopes on the wreck are bent at a forward angle, which made the archaeologists believe that the  damage may have been caused when the U-boat was rammed near the surface by a British warship. The wreck is now entirely covered with anemones, barnacles and weeds and its exact location is being kept secret until it can be granted formal protection from looters under Belgian law. The discovery was a surprise as there are no accounts of a German sub sinking at that location.

Sketch of the U-boat found off Belgium’s coast (by Tomas Termote)

(after Live Science & Tomas Termote)

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