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KFK UJ 301 – amazing digitalisation of the German WWII warship wreck

Published: November 26, 2023 - 13:59
Updated: November 26, 2023 - 14:00
KFK UJ 301 – amazing digitalisation of the German WWII warship wreck

Divers from the Submerged Foundation, with the support of the Polish Magazine “Odkrywca” (Explorer) and the crew of Dive Land diving base, have made a full digitalisation and 3D scan of the wreck of the WWII German warship KFK UJ 301.

The sinking of UJ 301

The KFK UJ 301 (Kriegsfischkutter) vessel ended its service in dramatic circumstances on 8th of April 1945. On that day, during one of the aerial attacks, the ship was hit by the Soviet aircraft in the harbour at Hel, Poland. The fire that broke out on its deck took the lives of two sailors. It also made the KFK, armed with depth charges, a lethal threat to neighbouring ships.

Diver on the wreck of KFK UJ 301
Diver on the wreck of KFK UJ 301

On the same day, the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) decided to tow the burning ship out of the harbour and sink it. At about 8.30 PM, the waves took the KFK UJ 301 below the surface of the Baltic, and the wreck rested at a depth of about 30 metres.

Gathering data to create a 3D photogrammetric model of KFK UJ 301
Gathering data to create a 3D photogrammetric model

The wreck today

However, the depth charges that were so feared and indirectly became the cause of its sinking remained on the site. On 15th February 2008, the decision was taken to close the wreck and any diving on it was made forbidden.

Four days later, the Polish Navy set off explosives. The blast literally tore the hull apart and about 30% of the wreck was damaged. Today, diving on the remains of UJ 301 is possible without any permits. The breach in the hull and the scattered remains of the stern make an electrifying, though depressing, impression. They are reflected in a photogrammetric 3D model created from more than 6,000 photos.

And while the 3D model of the wreck of the KFK UJ 301 may be impressive, as Marcin Stempniewicz, chairman of the board of the Submerged Foundation responsible for its creation, pointed out:

‘Making a scan of the wreck is only the beginning. Displaying the model on a phone or computer screen is nice, but it is the virtual and enhanced reality that allows you to feel that the wreck is at your fingertips. This is what is crucial to us. We don’t want to show people pictures, we want them to feel what it’s like to be down there at the site with the wreck.

Visualisation of the wreck of KFK UJ 301
Visualisation of the wreck of KFK UJ 301

The Submerged Foundation and the cooperating historians from the magazine “Odkrywca” and the Dive Land diving base have not yet said their last word and they declare that the upcoming months will be full of both digitalisation of known wrecks and research projects under the auspices of the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk.

Text and photogrammetry: Marcin Stempniewicz/Submerged Foundation
Photos: Michal Antoniuk/Submerged Foundation

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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