Operation Deadlight was the code name for the Royal Navy operation to scuttle German U-boats surrendered to the Allies after the defeat of Germany near the end of World War II.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
Scuttling is the deliberate sinking of a ship by allowing water to flow into the hull. This can be achieved in several ways—seacocks or hatches can be opened to the sea, or holes may be ripped into the hull with brute force or with explosives. Scuttling may be performed to dispose of an abandoned, old, or captured vessel; to prevent the vessel from becoming a navigation hazard; as an act of self-destruction to prevent the ship from being captured by an enemy force ; as a blockship to restrict navigation through a channel or within a harbor; to provide an artificial reef for divers and marine life; or to alter the flow of rivers.
U-boat is an anglicised version of the German word U-Boot[ˈuːboːt](
Of the 156 U-boats that surrendered to the allies at the end of the war, 116 were scuttled as part of Operation Deadlight. 100 miles (160 km) north-west of Ireland and sink them. The areas were codenamed XX, YY and ZZ. The intention was to use XX as the main area for scuttling while 36 boats would be towed to ZZ for use as targets for aerial attack. YY was to be a reserve position where, if the weather was good enough, submarines could be diverted from XX to be sunk by naval forces. In the case of those submarines not being used as targets, the plan was to sink them with explosive charges, with naval gunfire as a fall-back option if that failed.The operation was carried out by the Royal Navy and it was planned to tow the submarines to three areas about
When Operation Deadlight was activated, it was found that many of the U-boats were in an extremely poor condition as a result of being moored in exposed harbours while awaiting disposal.Combined with poor weather, this meant that 56 of the boats sank before reaching the designated scuttling areas, and those which did, were generally sunk by gunfire rather than explosive charges. The first sinking took place on 17 November 1945 and the last on 11 February 1946.
Several U-boats escaped Operation Deadlight. Some were claimed as prizes by Britain, France, Norway and the Soviet Union. Four were in East Asia when Germany surrendered and were commandeered by Japan (U-181 was renamed I-501, U-195 – I-506, U-219 – I-505, U-862 – I-502, and a fifth boat, U-511, had been sold to Japan in 1943 and renamed RO-500). [ citation needed ]Two U-boats that survived Operation Deadlight are today museum ships. U-505 was earmarked for scuttling, but American Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery argued successfully that she did not fall under Operation Deadlight. United States Navy Task Group 22.3, under then-Captain Gallery, had captured U-505 in battle on 4 June 1944. Having been captured, not surrendered at the end of the war, she survived to become a war memorial at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. U-995 was transferred to Norway by Britain in October 1948 and became the Norwegian Kaura. She was returned to Germany in 1965, to become a museum ship in 1971.
Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, vessels, and cargo captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and her cargo as a prize of war. In the past, the capturing force would commonly be allotted a share of the worth of the captured prize. Nations often granted letters of marque that would entitle private parties to capture enemy property, usually ships. Once the ship was secured on friendly territory, she would be made the subject of a prize case, an in rem proceeding in which the court determined the status of the condemned property and the manner in which the property was to be disposed of.
German submarine U-181 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 15 March 1941 at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard at Bremen as yard number 1021. She was launched on 30 December 1941 and commissioned on 9 May 1942 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Lüth. After training with the 4th U-boat Flotilla at Stettin, U-181 was attached to the 10th flotilla for front-line service on 1 October 1942, then transferred to the 12th flotilla on 1 November.
German submarine U-195 was a Type IXD1 transport U-boat which served in World War II. The submarine was laid down on 15 May 1941 at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard in Bremen as yard number 1041, launched on 8 April 1942, and commissioned on 5 September 1942 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Heinz Buchholz.
In the late 1990s, an approach was made to the British Ministry of Defence for salvage rights to the Operation Deadlight U-boats, by a firm which planned to raise up to a hundred of them. Because the U-boats were constructed in the pre-atomic age, the wrecks contain metals which are not radioactively tainted, and which are therefore valuable for certain research purposes. No salvage award was made, due to objections from Russia and the U.S. and potentially from Great Britain.
Low-background steel is any steel produced prior to the detonation of the first nuclear bombs in the 1940s and 1950s. With the Trinity test and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and then subsequent nuclear weapons testing during the early years of the Cold War, background radiation levels increased across the world. Modern steel is contaminated with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air. Low-background steel is so-called because it does not suffer from such nuclear contamination. This steel is used in devices that require the highest sensitivity for detecting radionuclides.
Between 2001 and 2003, nautical archaeologist Innes McCartney discovered and surveyed fourteen of the U-boat wrecks; [ citation needed ]including the rare Type XXI U-boat U-2506, once under the command of Horst von Schroeter; the successful Type IXC U-boat, U-155 commanded by Adolf Piening and the U-778 , which was the most promising salvage.
Dr. Innes J. McCartney is a British nautical archaeologist, and historian. He is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Bournemouth University.
Horst von Schroeter was a German U-boat commander during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany. After World War II he joined the West German Navy and from 1976 to 1979 held the position of Commander of the NATO Naval forces in the Baltic Sea Approaches (COMNAVBALTAP).
German submarine U-155 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. Her keel was laid down on 1 October 1940 by DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen as yard number 997. She was launched on 12 May 1941 and commissioned on 23 August with Kapitänleutnant Adolf Piening in command. Piening was relieved in February 1944, by Oberleutnant zur See Johannes Rudolph.
In 2007, Derry City Council announced plans to raise the U-778 to be the main exhibit of a new maritime museum.On 3 October 2007, an Irish diver, Michael Hanrahan, died whilst filming the wreck as part of the salvage project. In November 2009, a spokesman from the council's heritage museum service announced the salvage project had been cancelled for cost reasons.
German submarine U-98 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II, operating from March 1941 until she was sunk in November 1942.
German submarine U-37 was a Type IXA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 15 March 1937 at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard in Bremen, launched on 14 May 1938, and commissioned on 4 August 1938 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Schuch as part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla.
German submarine U-218 was a Type VIID mine-laying U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-30 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served during World War II. She was ordered in April 1935 in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, which prevented the construction and commissioning of any U-boats for the German navy, and as part of the German naval rearmament program known as Plan Z. She sank the liner SS Athenia, the first ship sunk in World War II, on 3 September 1939, under the command of Fritz-Julius Lemp. She was retired from front-line service in September 1940 after undertaking eight war patrols, having sunk 17 vessels and damaging two others. U-30 then served in a training role until the end of the war when she was scuttled. She was later raised and broken up for scrap in 1948.
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 8 May 1945.
German submarine U-62 was a Type IIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served in World War II. She was built by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel, and commissioned on 21 December 1939.
German submarine U-56 was a Type IIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served in the Second World War. She was built by Deutsche Werke, Kiel as yard number 255. Ordered on 17 June 1937, she was laid down on 21 September, launched on 3 September 1938 and commissioned on 26 November under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Zahn.
German submarine U-3514 was a Type XXI U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, built for service in World War II. She was ordered on 6 November 1943, and was laid down on 21 August 1944 at F Schichau GmbH, Danzig, as yard number 1659. She was launched on 21 October 1944, and commissioned under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Günther Fritze, on 9 December 1944.
German submarine U-149 was a Type IID U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. Her keel was laid down on 25 May 1940 by Deutsche Werke in Kiel as yard number 278. She was launched on 19 October 1940 and commissioned on 13 November with Kapitänleutnant Horst Höltring in command.
German submarine U-318 was a Type VIIC/41 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-1002 was a Type VIIC/41 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-1005 was a Type VIIC/41 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-1103 was a Type VIIC/41 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-1109 was a Type VIIC/41 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-776 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-975 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-994 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-1162 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
German submarine U-1194 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.
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