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U-505 Submarine
U-505 Submarine
Resource Typeimage
TitleU-505 Submarine
Coverage / Year1941
DescriptionThe U-505 is 252 feet long, thirty-seven feet high at the conning tower and twenty-two feet wide at its widest point. Its maximum speed was 18.3 knots on the surface and 7.3 knots submerged. The submarine had a range of 11, 400 miles without refueling and could stay submerged for approximately thirty-two hours. It could carry twenty-two torpedoes. The submarine was designed to accommodate a crew of forty-eight. The U-505 has nine rooms: the Rear Torpedo Room, the Electric Motor Room, the Diesel Room, the Control Room, the Conning Tower, the Officers' Quarters, the Galley, the Petty Officers' Quarters, and the Front Torpedo Room.
InterpretationConstruction of the boat began on June 12, 1940. The U-505 was commissioned in Hamburg, Germany on August 26, 1941. Before its capture, the U-505 sank eight allied ships. American naval forces off the west coast of Africa captured the German submarine, U-505, on June 4, 1944. The U-505 was the first enemy fighting ship captured by the U.S. Navy since the War of 1812. The U-505 was captured with some of the latest advances in radar, torpedo, radio code, and submarine technology. This gave the Allies valuable information that was helpful in continuing to counter the German submarine threat. Captain Daniel V. Gallery, United States Navy commanded the American Naval force that captured U-505. Captain Gallery was overall commander of Hunter-Killer Group 22.3 which was comprised of the Escort Carrier U.S.S. Guadalcanal and five Destroyer Escorts: U.S.S. Chatelain, Flaherty, Jenks, Pillsbury, and Pope. Of the fifty-nine-man crew who abandoned U-505, fifty-eight German prisoners were taken from the water during the action. One man was killed aboard ship and three (the commanding officer, executive officer and one enlisted man of the U-boat) were wounded. The U-boat was sinking when it was boarded by a nine-man crew led by Lieutenant Albert David. Accepting the risk that the submarine could still have German crew on board and/or blow up from booby-traps, Lieutenant David and his men climbed onto the bridge and then down the conning tower hatches into the boat itself. After a quick search proved that the U-boat was completely deserted, the U.S. crew rapidly gathered up charts, code books, technical publications, and two Enigma decoding machines, disconnected demolition charges, and closed scuttling valves to stop the boat's sinking. The capture of the codebooks from the U-505 enabled American cryptanalysts to break the special map coordinate code in enciphered German messages and determine more precise locations for U-boat operating areas. The capture also allowed the Allies to resume real-time decoding of German submarine radio messages. The benefits of the capture of U-505 first became useful to Allied military intelligence on June 15, 1944, nine days after the invasion of Normandy Personnel previously working to crack submarine codes could now increase efforts on German Army, Air Force and other military codes. As a result, 13, 000 man-hours were redirected towards those efforts. In addition, two examples of the German T5 acoustic torpedo were captured for the first time. By analyzing the design and method of construction of this torpedo type, the Allies were able to develop countermeasures for this dangerous weapon. On Monday, June 19, 1944, the U-505 was brought into Port Royal Bay, Bermuda after a tow of 1, 700 miles. The task group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, in part because of the unique and difficult feat of boarding and capturing an enemy warship on the high seas. Lieutenant Albert David was awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in leading the boarding party that captured U-505. This was the only Medal of Honor awarded in the Battle of the Atlantic. Two Navy Crosses and six Silver Stars were awarded to the remaining eight members of the U.S.S. Pillsbury boarding party. Two Legions of Merit and numerous other medals and citations were awarded to the members of the salvage parties from the U.S.S. Guadalcanal for their efforts in keeping U-505 afloat.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorDeutscheWerft (Hamburg, Germany)
Other ContributorsKriegsmarine (German Navy)
SourceMuseum of Science and Industry. The Story of the U-505. 1955. Reprint. Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry, 1985. Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession File #54.93
Subject / KeywordsSubmarines; Submarine warfare; Sea battles; World War II; World War, 1939-1945; Transportation; Water transportation; German Navy
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier54.93
CONTENTdm file name6252181982002_UBOATU50.jpg
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