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Identifying U-5377

klaus golieInitially the final resting place of U-5377 was found by local fisherman ‘Golie’(left-hand side), seen here  with Klaus (right-hand side), when his nets became entangled in 2012. After talks between Golie and members of the Seadive archaeological diving team, provisional dives were carried out. During these dives the exact position, length, height and breadth of the wreck was recorded and an initial photographic record started. Video footage was captured which proved invaluable during subsequent investigations.

It was quickly apparent that a miniature Second War submarine had been found, but to which country did it belong and could an exact identification be made? Due to the small dimensions and likely limited range of these boats the most likely candidates were either a British or German craft. The dimensions taken precluded any known British craft so it was most likely German. A more in depth study of midget German submarines produced the Seehund as the most likely contender. A visit was made to Germany where examples of the Seehund could be inspected in museums and diagnostic features (see below), photographed on the wreck, compared to the land based examples. It was also at this time that contact was made with Klaus Mattes, author of Die Seehunde and acknowledged authority on the Seehund submarine, was made. Klaus visited the UK at the invitation of the Seehund Project team and joined us on a trip to the wreck site. Whilst not a diver Klaus was able to guide the divers to key diagnostic features and confirm without doubt that this was indeed a German Seehund submarine. Furthermore his knowledge of the fate of the majority of the fleet narrowed down the possible identity of this wreck.

ConditionRep

Work carried out by the team in the National Archive Centre, Kew, eventually revealed that this Seehund was U-5377, brought to the surface by depth charges dropped by HMS Torrington on 11th March 1945. The location of this action was recorded in the Torrington logs and closely matched the eventual resting place discovered by the Seehund Project team.

 

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