U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Class: IX-C German Submarine
Length: 252 feet
Operating from Lorient, France, the U-505 was credited with sinking 47,000 tons of allied shipping, including three American ships. As a long-range boat based in the South Atlantic, the U-505 operated in areas such as the waters off Freetown, West Africa, the Panama Canal, Colombia, and Trinidad. During a transit to Trinidad, U-505 was surprised by a British aircraft that dropped three bombs, scoring one direct hit aft of the conning tower. After making emergency repairs, U-505 spent the next month returning home. U-505 earned the distinction of being the most heavily damaged U-boat ever to return home and re-enter service. The second of the three captains assigned to U-505 during the war committed suicide in the conning tower during a heavy depth charge attack, leaving the crew to regain control and find their own way home.
With the aid of Enigma code and radio transmission intercepts, U-505 was tracked and located near Cape Verde Islands. Task Group 22.3, consisting of the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal and five destroyer escorts, was sent to intercept. On June 4, 1944, after persistent hunting, the U-505 was brought to the surface with a depth charge attack from the USS Chatelain. A boarding party from the USS Pillsbury boarded the sub, secured it, and retrieved valuable documents, including code books and the Enigma machine. U-505 became the first enemy ship boarded and captured on the high seas by U.S. forces since the War of 1812.
After the initial capture, U-505 was turned over to USS Abnaki (ATF-96), an ocean going tug, for her tow. She was studied during the war and in 1946 efforts were begun to save her as a museum. Since 1954 U-505 has remained opened to the public in her dry berth exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry. She is the only surviving Type IX-C submarine in the world.
U-505 is a National Historic Landmark.
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