2000 U-869 Photos I
All images on this page © 2000 by Christina Young.
The U-869 is a type IXC/40 German U-boat. It is 252 feet long and lies 230 feet beneath the North Atlantic, 65 miles east of Manasquan Inlet, New Jersey. It was discovered in 1991 on a Seeker deep exploration trip. The problem was that there was no record of any U-boat being sunk off of New Jersey. With the concerted and persistent efforts of John Chatterton, Richie Kohler, John Yurga and others, it was finally identified as the U-869 in 1997. The U-869 is listed in the German U-boat archive as having been sunk off Gibralter in 1945. How she sunk is also a mystery, quite possibly from her own malfunctioning torpedo which blew off the conning tower and demolished the control room. There is a large hole in the stern, also the source of much mystery and research. One theory suggests that the passing freighter Harpers Ferry could have been the intended victim, saw the U-boat and fired its gun, hitting the stern, but this theory is in dispute primarily due to its reported location.
For additional information on the background and identification of the U-869, please consult the U-869 Virtual Museum, the Seeker's U-869 page, and U-Boat.net.
The following pictures (all images from video) are from the voyage of the Seeker to the U-869, Sunday, June 4, 2000.
|Petie Wohleben stands watch on the bowsprit of the Seeker as the hook is dropped to the U-869 at the crack of dawn. We arrived on the site around 5 AM, just before sunrise. We had left Brielle, New Jersey around midnight.|
|George Place gears up to go set the hook into the wreck, assisted by his wife Nancy.|
|Richie Kohler assists John Chatterton, who will go with George to set the hook.|
|John Chatterton splashes with his new Buddy Inspiration rebreather.|
|George Place splashes.|
|Descending to the wreck, I see divers 50 feet below in the break of the U-869. This is Scott Stanley of Treasure Cove running a trimix checkout dive!|
|Although this looks like it may be the barrel of a gun, it is actually a large ventilation duct sticking up from the wreck in the break. There are many pipes, ducts and large pieces of twisted wreckage in the break, where the torpedo hit.|
|A non-descript piece of wreckage, also in the area of the break. I haven't quite figured out what this is yet.|
|You can just barely make out the outline of the conning tower in this image. Unfortunately, it came out very dark. The conning tower is laying off in the sand next to the break, where the torpedo hit.|
|Swimming towards the stern I pass over pipes exposed by corrosion in the outer hull.|
|Richie Kohler's stage bottles stowed by the hatch he went into in the stern (which is to the right).|
|This is the stand of the large aft gun of the U-869. The gun itself is laying off in the sand.|
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