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Submarine : German U-Boat U-234 (00:07:52)

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Title:

Submarine : German U-Boat U-234

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Location and time:

Germany, 1945

Description:

Cargo

The cargo to be carried by U-234 was determined by a special commission, the Marine Sonder Dienst Auslands, established towards the end of 1944, at which time the submarine's officers were informed that they were to make a special voyage to Japan. When loading was completed, the submarine's officers estimated that they were carrying 240 tons of cargo plus sufficient diesel fuel and provisions for a six- to nine-month voyage.[4]

The cargo included technical drawings, examples of the newest electric torpedoes, one crated Me 262 jet aircraft, a Henschel Hs 293 glide bomb, and what was listed on the US Unloading Manifest as 560 kg of uranium oxide. As evidenced by Hirschfeld and Brooks in the 1997 book Hirschfeld, Wolfgang Hirschfeld reportedly watched the loading into the boat's cylindrical mine shafts of about 50 lead cubes with 9 inches (230 mm) sides, and "U-235" painted on each: according to cables sent from the dockyard, these containers held "U-powder". However, according to author and historian Joseph M. Scalia, who discovered a formerly secret cable message at Portsmouth Navy Yard, the uranium oxide had been stored in gold-lined cylinders; this document is discussed in Hitler's Terror Weapons. The exact characteristics of the uranium remain unknown; it has been suggested by Scalia, and historians Carl Boyd and Akihiko Yoshida that it may not have been weapons-grade material and was instead intended for use as a catalyst in the production of synthetic methanol for aviation fuel.[5][6]. When the cargo had been loaded, U-234 carried out additional trials near Kiel, then returned to Kiel where her passengers came aboard.

[edit] Passengers

U-234 was carrying twelve passengers, including a German general, four German naval officers, civilian engineers and scientists, and two Japanese naval officers. The German personnel included General Ulrich Kessler of the Luftwaffe, who was to take over Luftwaffe liaison duties in Tokyo; Kai Nieschling, a Naval Fleet Judge Advocate who was to rid the German diplomatic corps in Japan of the remnants of the Richard Sorge spy ring; Dr. Heinz Schlicke, a specialist in radar, infra-red, and countermeasures and director of the Naval Test Fields in Kiel (later recruited by the USA in Operation Paperclip); and August Bringewalde, who was in charge of Me 262 production at Messerschmitt.[6]

The Japanese passengers were Lieutenant Commander Hideo Tomonaga of the Imperial Japanese Navy, a naval constructor and submarine specialist who had come to Germany in 1943 on Japanese submarine I-29, and Lieutenant Commander Shoji Genzo, an aircraft specialist and former naval attach

Final voyage

U-234 sailed from Kiel for Kristiansand, Norway in the evening of 25 March 1945, accompanied by escort vessels and three Type XXIII coastal U-boats, arriving in Horten two days later. U-234 spent the next 8 days carrying out trials of her schnorchel, during which she accidentally collided with a Type VIIC U-boat performing similar trials. Damage to both submarines was minor, and despite a diving and fuel oil tank being holed, U-234 was able to complete her trials. U-234 then proceed to Kristiansand, arriving on about 5 April, where she underwent repairs and topped off her provisions and fuel.

U-234 departed Kristiansand for Japan on 15 April 1945, running submerged at schnorchel depth for the first 16 days, and surfacing after that only because her commander Kapitänleutnant Johann-Heinrich Fehler considered he was safe from attack on the surface in the prevailing severe storm. From then on, she spent two hours running on the surface by night, and the remainder of the time submerged. The voyage proceeded without incident, and the first sign that world affairs were overtaking the voyage was when the German Navy's Goliath transmitter stopped transmitting, followed shortly after by the Nauen station; Fehler did not know it, but Germany's naval HQ had fallen into Allied hands.

Then, on 4 May, U-234 received a fragment of a broadcast from British and American radio stations announcing that Admiral Karl Dönitz had become Germany's head of state following the death of Adolf Hitler. U-234 finally surfaced on 10 May in the interests of better radio reception and received Dönitz's last order to the submarine force, ordering all U-boats to surface, hoist black flags, and surrender to Allied forces. Fehler suspected a trick and managed to contact another U-boat (U-873), whose captain convinced him that the message was authentic.

At this point, Fehler was practically equidistant from British, Canadian and American ports. He decided not to continue his journey, and instead headed for the east coast of the United States. Fehler thought it likely that if they surrendered to Canadian or British forces, they would be imprisoned and it could be years before they were returned to Germany, and believed that the US, on the other hand, would probably just send them home.

Fehler consequently decided that he would surrender to US forces, but radioed on 12 May that he intended to sail to Halifax, Nova Scotia to surrender to ensure Canadian units would not reach him first. U-234 then set course for Newport News, Virginia, Fehler taking care to dispose of his Tunis radar detector, the new Kurier radio communication system, and all Enigma related documents and other classified papers. On learning that the U-boat was to surrender, the two Japanese passengers committed suicide by taking an overdose of Luminal (a barbiturate sleeping pill). They were buried at sea.[7]

Capture

The difference between Fehler's reported course to Halifax and his true course was soon realized by US authorities who dispatched two destroyers to intercept U-234. On 14 May 1945 she was encountered south of the Grand Banks by the USS Sutton. Members of the Sutton's crew took command of the U-boat and sailed her to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where the U-805, U-873, and U-1228 had already surrendered.

News of the U-234's surrender with her high-ranking German passengers made the event a major news event. Reporters swarmed over the Navy Yard and went to sea in a small boat for a look at the submarine. The fact that she had a half ton of uranium oxide on board was covered up and remained classified for the duration of the Cold War;[8] a classified US intelligence summary of 19 May merely listed U-234's cargo as including "a/c [aircraft], drawings, arms, medical supplies, instruments, lead, mercury, caffeine, steels, optical glass and brass."[9] The uranium subsequently disappeared, most likely finding its way to the Manhattan Project's Oak Ridge diffusion plant; it has been calculated that it would have yielded approximately 7.7 pounds (3.5 kg) of U-235 after processing, around 20% of what would have been required to arm a contemporary fission weapon.[10]


A torpedo from USS Greenfish sinks U-234 off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Dr. Velma Hunt, a retired Penn State University environmental health professor, has suggested the U-234 may have put into two ports between her surrender and her arrival at the Portsmouth Navy Yard: once in Newfoundland, to land an American sailor who had been accidentally shot in the buttocks, and again at Casco Bay, Maine.[11] The US Navy reportedly unloaded about 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of uranium oxide from U-234 at Portsmouth, but the two dismantled Me 262 jet fighters were not listed at Portsmouth, suggesting that they had previously been unloaded somewhere else. However, other accounts do mention the Me 262s at Portsmouth.

Fate

As she was unneeded by the US Navy, U-234 was sunk off Cape Cod as a torpedo target. She was destroyed by the USS Greenfish (SS-351) on 20 November 1947.


Other languages: show / hide


Catalan :

U-234, U-boat, U.S.navy, Kurier, manifest de càrrega per a tokio a bord del U-234, òxid d'urani, Berliner sportpalast, comandants, Kptlt. Johann Heinrich Fehler, carrera, B submarins de la Kriegsmarine Alemanya durant la Segona Guerra Mundial., Imperi del Japó, Estats Units, EUA, torpediner, metanol, Kristiansand, Kiel, ww II, ww 2, Virgínia Newport News, Luminal, enterrat al mar, USS Sutton, alemany Kriegsmarine, Alemanya, Hitler, nazi, guerra , Submarí, ,


Finnish :

U-234, U-boat, U.S.navy, Kurier, manifest lastin Tokio aluksella U-234, uraanioksidia, Berliner sportpalast, komentajat, Kptlt Johann-Heinrich Fehler, ura, B sukellusveneen Saksan päällikkö aikana World War II., keisarillinen Japani, Yhdysvallat, Yhdysvallat, minelaying, metanolia, Kristiansand, Kiel, ww II ww 2, Newport News, Virginia, Luminal haudattiin mereen USS Sutton, Saksan päällikkö, Saksassa, Hitler, natsi, sota , Sukellusvene,


French :

U-234, U-boat, U.S.navy, Kurier, manifest de la cargaison pour tokio à bord des U-234, oxyde d'uranium, Berliner sportpalast, commandants, Fehler Kptlt. Johann-Heinrich, carrière, B u-boot de la Kriegsmarine pendant la seconde guerre mondiale., Empire du Japon, des États-Unis, USA, mouillage, méthanol, Kristiansand, Kiel, ww II, ww 2, Newport News, en Virginie, Luminal, enterré en mer, USS Sutton, la Kriegsmarine allemande, Allemagne, Hitler, nazi, guerre , Sous-marin, ,


Latvian :

U-234, U boat, U.S.navy, Kurier, manifest kravas tokio U-234, urāna oksīds, Berliner sportpalast, komandieriem, Kptlt. Johans Heinrihs Fehler, karjera, B zemūdene no vācu Kriegsmarine laikā Otrā pasaules kara., Japānas impērija, Amerikas Savienotās valstis, ASV, mīnēšanas, metanols, Kristiansand, Ķīlē, ww II ww 2, Newport News, Virginia, Luminal, apbedīts jūrā, USS Sutton, vācu Kriegsmarine, Vācija, Hitlers, nacistu kara , Zemūdens, ,


Lithuanian :

U – 234, U boat, U.S.navy, Kurier, manifest krovinio už tokio laive U – 234, urano oksido, Berliner sportpalast, vadai, Kptlt. Johann Heinrich Fehler, karjeros, B U-boat Vokietijos Kriegsmarine per antrojo pasaulinio karo., imperija, Japonija, JAV, JAV, minelaying, metanolio, Kristiansand, Kylis, ww II, ww 2, Newport News, Virdžinija, Luminal, palaidotas jūroje, USS Sutton, vokiečių Kriegsmarine, Vokietija, Hitleris, nacių karo , Povandeninis laivas, ,


Produced

1945

Definition:

SD
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Format:

4:3
Original video: This ist the original video - with voice over (master)
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ID Nr.:

3466_7249

Uploaded:

27-12-2010 22:22:59

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