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Wreck of German submarine U-966 found

In the last days of June, after years of searching, the final resting place of the German submarine U-966 was found. The wreck of the World War II U-boat was located in the waters surrounding the northwest coast of Spain. The discovery was made by three divers who had been searching for the vessel for
Published: July 7, 2018 - 15:08
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:01
Wreck of German submarine U-966 found

In the last days of June, after years of searching, the final resting place of the German submarine U-966 was found. The wreck of the World War II U-boat was located in the waters surrounding the northwest coast of Spain.

The discovery was made by three divers who had been searching for the vessel for a long time. The wreck of the U-boat lay on the rocky bottom near the Estaca de Bares peninsula, at a depth of less than 30 metres. Unfortunately, the site is quite specific and, in the absence of suitable weather, makes exploration impossible.

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One of the divers, historian Yago Abilleira, said the wreck is scattered over a large area. The explorers are not revealing its exact location because it is a war grave and the shallow depth could be an irresistible temptation for looters.

The ship U-966 was sent to the bottom on 10 November 1943. The sinking was carried out by the U-boat’s crew itself, after the vessel suffered severe damage, attacked by Allied aircraft. The German submariners set explosive charges with a timed detonator and abandoned the ship.

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Eight of the 52 sailors were killed, the others were rescued by local fishermen. According to available information, a year after these events, the ship’s commander, Eckehard Wolf, made his way to Germany under a false name.

The hunt for U-966 and the battle continued all day. The planes dropped more depth charges, trying to hit the fleeing U-boat, desperately fighting for survival. The German crew escaped by zigzagging and also conducted anti-aircraft gunfire.

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As a result of these actions, one aircraft of the British Royal Air Force was shot down, most probably the Catalina flying boat. Exhausted by these struggles and desperate, the Kriegsmarine sailors, realising that time was running out and a final attack by the Allies was imminent, decided to sink the ship themselves.

Spanish media report that divers are now going to start searching for the downed RAF plane, which is believed to be near the wreckage of the U-Boat.

The submarine U-966 was a fairly new vessel. Measuring 67 metres long, the U-boat was introduced into service in January 1943. It bore the name “Gut Holz” and a painted symbol in the form of a bowling pin referring to it.

Source: bbc.com

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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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