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The discovery of the U59

JD-Contractor finds an almost undamaged submarine from World War I while on a diving expedition.

The submarine has been left completely untouched for the last 85 years and is consequently very well preserved as compared to submarine wrecks of World War II. The discovery of the submarine is unique because U59 was the last undiscovered submarine dating back to World War I to be found in Danish waters.

The submarine has been properly examined and described. Additionally, several items have been salvaged, all of which are on display at “Strandingsmuseet”, including a 6 tonnes canon.

A JD-Contractor sponsored camera crew accompanied the expedition. As a result a TV-documentary is currently being produced. The documentary will enable TV-viewers to see some very unique underwater scenes from inside of the submarine. The documentary is expected to be shown on both Danish and German television in the beginning of 2003. Furthermore, Gert Normann will&

A short description of the wreck:

The examination of the German submarine U59 took place the 28th and the 29th of August 2002 and was conducted by “Strandingsmuseet” and JD Contractor from the vessel M/S Cable One.

The wreck rests at the seabed at a debt of 33 metres west of “Horns Rev”. The submarine itself has been blown into two pieces. The first piece, or bow, is approximately 40 metres long and on it is the tower mounted. The bow is almost at level with the seabed. However, the hull is ascending towards the stern, which places the engine room about 4 metres over the seabed. The tower in front of the machine is even higher. The front of the wreck has a 20-degree list to port. The stern is approximately 14 metres long and stands 3-4 metres over the seabed. It has a 30-degree list to port and is a bit displaced to starboard. The piece is almost fully intact including propeller and rudder. The hatch to the rear torpedo room is closed, whereas the hatch to the rear part of the engine room is open but distorted by the impact of the mine the submarine collided with. It seems as if the Submarine has been cut in two by a sharp knife, right though the electric motors in the engine room. Inside the hull there is a mess of wires and pipes that blocks the entrance to the rear torpedo room.

There are about eight metres between the two parts of the wreck and in between is the submarines 8,5 centimetre canon found on the seabed. The front part of the wreck starts at the stern of the Submarines two diesel engines right where the hull has been cut right through. It is possible to look into the two diesel engines, but there is not enough room for a fully equipped diver to get into the engine room. The pressure hull and the tower are completely intact on this part of the wreck. Parts of the external layer of the hull and the tower are partly corroded away and partly damaged by trawlers whose fishing tackle have accidentally marked the wreck. The front canon has been torn off and is resting on the seabed on starboard side of the wreck. The two big saddle tanks are both intact and in their right places on both sides of the pressure hull.

Right behind the tower is a pylon with valves and air intake for the diesel engines. The tower has two periscope holders, the smallest of which, a periscope with optics, raises about half a metres above the top of the holder. The hatch is gone and there is free access directly into the tower. It is possible to see the two periscopes that continue down into the periscope wells at the bridge. At the bulkhead in the tower lamps, speaking tubes, various pointers and handles are seen. Also the hatch from the tower to the bridge is open. On the bridge various handles, cables and instruments are visible. On top of the stern periscope well is an alarm bell, and on the floor various items are visible resting in the sediment.

The next hatch in front of the tower is open, making the whole galley and part of the officer’s mess, a cooker and a sink, clearly visible.

The last hatch is leading into the front torpedo room, which contained part of the crew’s quarters. In the aft cabin on starboard side a lavatory is distinguishable as well as three torpedoes. The front part of the room is cramped with sediment. On the top of the bulkhead are various pipelines, cables, lamps and manometers. Abaft the room the hatch is open into the other crew quarters and mess. The sediments are here up to half a metres under the ceiling but are decreasing towards the galley. As we are moving on towards the officer’s mess the sediments leaves more room.

With the exception of a pair of shoes, there were no remains of humans or personal belongings. It is assumed that the crew and their belongings are all buried in the sediment on the floor of the Submarine. The sediments were never touched during the examination of the wreck.


JD-Contractor welcomes you to the presentation of our diving expeditions to the submarine U59 in 2002

Gert Normann, the manager of JD-Contractor, has started to produce a TV-documentary based on the footage of three expeditions to the North Sea with the largest diving ship in Denmark, the ‘MS Cable One’, equipped with some of the most advanced equipment available today. The documentary is relating the story of recently discovered wrecks in the North Sea with the emphasis on the discovery of an almost undamaged German submarine, the ‘U59’, resting at a depth of 33 metres.

We expect the documentary to be televised both in Denmark and Germany in the beginning of 2003. This website will function as an introduction to the documentary and will show the continuous development until the documentary is broadcast. Furthermore a book on the subject by Gert Normann will be published. The book is scheduled to be issued shortly after the documentary has been broadcast.