Operation Deadlight, the scuttling of German U-Boats that were captured by the Allies after WW2
Operation Deadlight is the Code Name for the scuttling of German U-Boats that were captured by the Allies after WW2 came to an end.
Nazi Germany surrendered at 2310 ( 11. 10 PM ) on the 7th. of May 1945, thereby ending the war in Europe that had raged since the 3rd. of September in 1939. Out in the Pacific, Japan finally surrendered on the 2nd. of September 1945, after two Atomic bombs were dropped by the United States upon the Japanese homeland.
Surrender of German U-Boats.
156 U-Boats surrendered, and 116 of these were sunk in deep water off Lishally, Northern Ireland, or Loch Ryan in Scotland, in late 1945 and early in 1946. These were made up of 94 conventional boats of Types 11, V11, and IXC, and 22 Elektro boats that included four Type XX1 U-Boats.
Map showing where U-Boats were scuttle in Operation Deadlight;
the numbers indicate the U-Boats sunk at esch location.
The Type XX1, did not see service until 1945, and the war came to an end before it had time to reach its full potential. It was the world's first true submarine, designed to operate totally below the ocean's surface, without needing to surface until its Captain so wished. Earlier models needed to return to the surface to ventilate the boat, or recharge their batteries.
Last boat to be sunk.
This dubious honour went to U-3514, when at 1004 ( 10.04 AM ) on the 12th. of February in 1946, she was sunk, to become the last boat disposed of under Operation Deadlight. Her last resting place: 56 degrees 00 minutes North, 10 degrees 05 minutes West.
The remaining 40 Submarines were used for various projects, eg. U-1105, she was sunk in the Potomac, using her in an explosives trial. This U-Boat was rediscovered on the 29th. of June 1985, lying at 91 feet, and is now listed as a preserved Diving Site.
Type XX1 Boats
L to R U-2502, U-3514, and U-2518
Finding and Diving on sunken Submarines off Northern Ireland.
In 2001, the submarine hunter Innes McCartney, led Phase 1 of the Operation Deadlight Expedition which was the first time that technical Divers had surveyed and identified the wrecks of these German U-Boats, that had been scuttled by the Allies in waters off Northern Ireland and Scotland. Some 54 Submarines lie in deep water that with today's diving equipment are very reachable.
Phase 1 ran from the 3rd. to the 18th. of May in 2001, and a number of U-Boats were both found and identified.
The divers returned to again dive on these wrecks over the period from the 14th. to the 27th. of July 2002, and to discover more boats including the Type XX1 U-2511. This was the only boat of its class to sail against Allied shipping in WW2, she had been commanded by Adelbert Schnee.
The scuttling of these submarines.
Back in 1945/46, these submarines that were to be scuttled, had explosive charges placed in their forward and aft torpedo tubes, plus in various hatches, these were detonated by a physically set fuse, if the boats were not boardable, then charges set were detonated by an electric fuse set off by their towing ship.
Disposition of the other Submarines.
Other U-Boats were sunk by the use of Aircraft, Gunfire, Torpedoes, and through the use of the Ahead Throwing Weapon Squid.
Operation Deadlight Expedition used as their diving ship, M.V. Salutay, a 59 foot Motor Yacht, equipped for technical diving, carrying two compressors, a booster pump, and supplies of both oxygen and helium. She was fitted with Vosper Stabilisers to help alleviate rough weather.
This diving operation is "History in the making," and has the potential to become a World Heritage Naval Site. It is a most exciting venture, only in last April, off Nagasaki Japan, the Japanese I Class Submarine, I-58, was found. She had sunk USS Indianapolis just before WW2 in the Pacific came to an end.
I-58 was one of the 24 Japanese Submartines scuttled by the United States, and the Professor of oceanography who located her, claims these 24 boats are the world's largest collection of sunken submarines.
The Operation Deadlight Expedition finds seem to refute that claim, as far more German U-Boats lay off Northern Ireland in about 75 meters of water. We await further discoveries by Innes and his team of dedicated divers.