A submarine from Nazi Germany that held unknown cargo, transported unknown passengers and believed to have escaped to South America at the end of WWII has finally been found by Danish researchers. The wreckage of the U-boat U-3523 was at the center of several theories and conspiracies surrounding the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied forces, marking the end of WWII in 1945.
The boat went missing soon after Germany surrendered and was believed to have set sail toward South America, but this find proves that they never made it there, reports Popular Mechanics (PM). Contents of the boat are still unknown.
The timeline that led to the U-3523 going missing follows Adolph Hitler committing suicide in April 1945, by May 5, Germany surrenders to Nazi soldiers reportedly committing mass suicides. Around this time, U-boat U-3523 was spotted about 10 nautical miles off the coast of Denmark on May 6. An RAF bomber reportedly dropped depth charges on it and sank the submarine and killed all 58 that were thought to be on board.
U-3523 has always been a bit of a mystery, even before it was sunk by the British, notes the report. A rare sight, it was an actual working Type XXI "Elektroboote", built by Hellmuth Walter. It was a revolutionary design for the time because it was one of the first proposed electric submarines. Walter actually wanted to run subs powered by onboard batteries. Along with the XXIIIs, the XXIs were the first in history that could stay submerged for extended periods of time, staying underwater for several days on end. The vessel was powered by two diesel engines and four electric motors, notes PM. It was spacious, fast, ad emerged as one of the more superior fighting machines in the world at the time.
The design and engineering were so advanced that it inspired several successful submarines in later years. American Tang-class and Soviet Whiskey-class submarines were based on the XXI design. However, during WWII, Germany built only four of them, says the report.
According to the Danish researchers from Sea War Museum Jutland, that found the U-3523, "there were many rumors about top Nazis who fled in U-boats and brought Nazi gold to safety, and the U-3523 fed the rumors. Type XXI was the first genuine submarine that could sail submerged for a prolonged time, and the U-3523 had a range that would have allowed it to sail non-stop all the way to South America," in a release.
Even after the boat was found, no one really knows for certain what is in the sub. Nearly 120 meters of the submarine is embedded into the seabed, so salvaging is difficult. "nobody knows if the U-boat had valuables or passengers aboard in addition to the 58 crew," said the museum.
There have been several rumors surrounding this U-boat including theories of Nazi gold and it making the trip to South America. However, seeing that the wreckage has finally been found, these stories can finally be put to rest, notes PM.