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U-679 - the last U-boat lost in the Gulf of Finland found! - video

Off the coast of Estonia, a group of technical divers have found the wreck of the last missing U-boat in the Gulf of Finland. The wreck of the U-679 was located by searchers from Subzone. In August this year, Immi Wallin and the Subzone team found the wreck of a German World War II submarine.
Published: September 17, 2015 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:46
U-679 – the last U-boat lost in the Gulf of Finland found! – video

Off the coast of Estonia, a group of technical divers have found the wreck of the last missing U-boat in the Gulf of Finland. The wreck of the U-679 was located by searchers from Subzone.

In August this year, Immi Wallin and the Subzone team found the wreck of a German World War II submarine. As it turned out, it was U-679 – the last U-boat lost and still not found in the Gulf of Finland, with 51 sailors on board.

Anti-aircraft gun Flak M42
Anti-aircraft cannon Flak M42 cal. 37 mm Photo: SubZone ltd

For those who love adventure, exploration and discovery, that split second when you realise you’ve rewritten history or confirmed something that until now was only conjecture or speculation… is a truly unforgettable moment – – said Immi Wallin, a member of the well-known Finnish wreck diving group Badewanne

Wolf hunt

On 9 January 1945, the Soviet vessel MO-124 detected a submarine 4 Mm northeast of the Pakri lighthouse. As a result, it was decided to drop 8 large and 20 small depth bombs. The Germans assumed that MO-124 had sunk U-679. The Soviets, on the other hand, did not believe in this course of events, as there was no evidence of a submarine sinking in the area. However, officially the reason for the disappearance of the German vessel was considered to be the sinking of the submarine by depth charges dropped by the MO-124. The whole story was lent credence by the fact that U-679 did not reply to a message sent on 10 January 1945.

Periscope and closed ship's hatch
Periscope and closed hatch of the ship U-679 Photo: SubZone ltd

Secrets and lost ships hiddenSecrets and lost ships hidden in the depths of the sea are not so easily discovered. To uncover these secrets you sometimes need perfect weather, information from archival nautical charts, and to check the markings you made yourself during your search and now no longer remember when you did it or why you did it explains Immi Wallin

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12 August 2015. Immi Wallin decided to take another look at the material she had collected regarding the site of the alleged sinking of U-679. When they arrived at the location previously marked on the map, an image appeared on the side scan sonar screen … sunken submarine. As Immi herself recalls, it was one of those moments that you remember for the rest of your life.

From the image on the sonar screen it could be determined that it was a German U-boat, type VIIC. Only one vessel of this type was still considered missing – U-679. That same night, the discoverers reported everything to the National Heritage Institute in Estonia.

Diving

The searchers conducted their first dive on the wreck of U-679 on 10 September. First of all, due to the considerable depth of 90 metres, suitable weather conditions, a group of experienced technical divers and diving and surface support had to be organised. The aim of the dive was to compile documentation showing the condition of the wreck and to provide this material to the relevant authorities.

Although the weather conditions on the surface were good, underwater the dive team encountered much less favourable circumstances. That’s because all the way from the surface to the bottom they had to contend with gentle currents and visibility that deteriorated with depth.

After passing several layers of “white clouds”, about 10 metres above the bottom, the visibility deteriorated considerably. The smell of hydrogen sulphide, typical of sea layers with low or zero oxygen content, was evident. Therefore, when the shape of the kiosk began to gently appear on the horizon in the light of the torches, the team decided to seize the moment and started filming the object.

U-boat wreck U-679
The great depth and poor visibility presented quite a challenge Photo SubZone ltd
Analysis of film documentation

Thanks to the video footage recorded, as usual it was possible to see and establish more than during the actual dives. Undoubtedly, the footage confirmed what had already been spotted in the side scan sonar images – a Type IV kiosk equipped with a 3.7cm light anti-aircraft gun on the lower platform and two 2cm C-38 anti-aircraft guns on an M-43U Zwilling gun mount on the higher platform. The hatches were closed.

As U-679 sank with all its crew, it will be treated with due respect and has been marked as war grave. It is also listed on the map as a memorial to the history of the region. At present, the wreck is in the care of the National Heritage Institute of Estonia.

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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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