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‘The most intact U-boat wreck I’ve ever seen’ U-Boat Hunter Dr Innes McCartney – The Discovery of U778 (image heavy)

Jack Beckett

German submarine U-778 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine in World War II. She only completed one combat patrol and sank no Allied ships. She was surrendered to the Allies at Bergen on the 8 May 1945.

On 4 December 1945, she was being towed offshore, to be scuttled as part of Operation Deadlight, but foundered and sank before reaching the scuttling ground, at a point 55°32′N 7°7′W, 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi) North East of Malin Head in around 70 metres (230 ft) of water.

The wreck was rediscovered by marine archaeologist Innes McCartney in 2001

This was the dive when I discovered the U-boat which is probably U778 on 22 July 2001. Again, visibility which is stunning as the bows of a U-boat appear ahead

This was the dive when I discovered the U-boat which is probably U778 on 22 July 2001. Again, visibility which is stunning as the bows of a U-boat appear ahead

 

Ripping current coming over the wreck meant i was crawling (literally) towards the wreck. Outer torpedo doors closed and intact – very rare (Innes McCartney).

Ripping current coming over the wreck meant i was crawling (literally) towards the wreck. Outer torpedo doors closed and intact – very rare (Innes McCartney).

The line links our shotline to the wreck. It was dragging in the current and we nearly missed the site entirely. The entire U-boat looks band new! (Innes McCartney).

The line links our shotline to the wreck. It was dragging in the current and we nearly missed the site entirely. The entire U-boat looks band new! (Innes McCartney).

At the end of WW2 156 U-boats had surrendered to the allied forces. It was planned to scuttle 116 of them as part of Operation Deadlight (no idea why they weren’t cut up for scrap). The Royal Navy undertook the operation and they were to be towed out to 100 miles north-west of  Ireland and scuttle them.

Thanks to Allan Hannah for photoshoping this image of U778 from the ones I posted. Good job!

Thanks to Allan Hannah for photoshoping this image of U778 from the ones I posted. Good job!

The U-boat has the rare late-war GHG balcony – a passive/active sonar array (Innes McCartney)

The U-boat has the rare late-war GHG balcony – a passive/active sonar array (Innes McCartney)

 

Aft deck pristine too (Innes McCartney).

Aft deck pristine too (Innes McCartney).

Conning tower (Innes McCartney)

Conning tower (Innes McCartney)

The U-boats through the ravages of war and being moored up in harbors meant that the U-Boats were in a bad state of repair. 56 U-Boats sank under tow before they could be sunk in their designated areas.

Steel torpedo tube – sign of a late war U-boat (Innes McCartney).

Steel torpedo tube – sign of a late war U-boat (Innes McCartney).

 

Conning tower recedes as the current blasts me down the wreck (Innes McCartney).

Conning tower recedes as the current blasts me down the wreck (Innes McCartney).

 

Another shot of the Conning tower (Innes McCartney).

Another shot of the Conning tower (Innes McCartney).

 

Intact conning tower comes into view. This is simply unique.. No other U-boat wreck I have seen still has an intact bridge (Innes McCartney)

Intact conning tower comes into view. This is simply unique.. No other U-boat wreck I have seen still has an intact bridge (Innes McCartney)

 

Stunning conning tower as I drift back down the foredeck (Innes McCartney).

Stunning conning tower as I drift back down the foredeck (Innes McCartney).

 

The compass repeater )top) and rudder indicator (bottom) in the bridge, used for surface running (Innes McCartney).

The compass repeater )top) and rudder indicator (bottom) in the bridge, used for surface running (Innes McCartney).

 

Al’s bottom line heads off into the distance down current..tight as a bowstring.. Glad we planned to bag off at 30m!! (Innes McCartney).

Al’s bottom line heads off into the distance down current..tight as a bowstring.. Glad we planned to bag off at 30m!! (Innes McCartney).

 

The U-boat’s snorkel mast in the deck recess with hydraulic elevator piston behind (Innes McCartney)

The U-boat’s snorkel mast in the deck recess with hydraulic elevator piston behind (Innes McCartney)

 

The piston in front of the conning tower. Even the flange pipe which links to the snorkel when it is erected is still in place, along with the spray deflector (Innes McCartney).

The piston in front of the conning tower. Even the flange pipe which links to the snorkel when it is erected is still in place, along with the spray deflector (Innes McCartney).

 

Open mushroom air intake (Innes McCartney).

Open mushroom air intake (Innes McCartney).

 

The Bridge is covered in a net, but inside all the bridge equipment is still where it should be – incredible! (Innes McCartney)

The Bridge is covered in a net, but inside all the bridge equipment is still where it should be – incredible! (Innes McCartney)

 

By the port side of the tower the snorkel flange (bottom) and collar (top) are still in place. I have never seen this before or since (Innes McCartney).

By the port side of the tower the snorkel flange (bottom) and collar (top) are still in place. I have never seen this before or since (Innes McCartney).

 

The base of the bridge shows the conning tower hatch is open and the main control pillar (left ) is still in place (Innes McCartney)

The base of the bridge shows the conning tower hatch is open and the main control pillar (left ) is still in place (Innes McCartney)

 

Another gratuitous shot of this incredibly intact U-boat wreck (Innes McCartney).

Another gratuitous shot of this incredibly intact U-boat wreck (Innes McCartney).

 

Foredeck largely intact with conning tower in distance. Greg crawling along the wreck towards me. by now the current was running really quickly (Innes McCartney).

Foredeck largely intact with conning tower in distance. Greg crawling along the wreck towards me. by now the current was running really quickly (Innes McCartney).

 

(Innes McCartney).

(Innes McCartney).

Dr. Innes McCartney – Nautical Archaeologist, Naval Historian and 27 years a Wreck Diver.

You can follow Innes on Facebook, Twitter and you can buy many of his books via Amazon