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Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the submarine forces of the Kriegsmarine.

Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Simon Gunson on 06 Nov 2008 03:45

Descendants of U-196's crew have come forward to say she was scuttled with Nazi loot off NZ's Northwest coast. They have asked local divers to help relocate the wreck and recover the loot to repatriate it to victims of the holocaust.

Several aspects of the story do not ring true, for example a claim that passengers transferred to U-196 from another U-boat allegedly sunk in the Bay of Biscay. U-196 left in March 1944 and the only missing Monsoon boat at this time was U-851 which left from Kiel in February 1944.

http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3789464&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=

Extract from article:

The possible discovery of a sunken German U-boat, which supposedly carried secret passengers and a large amount of Nazi loot to a Northland shoreline, has excited a group of divers and shipwreck explorers.

Dargaville's Noel Hilliam, president of the New Zealand Underwater Heritage Group, which had its second annual meeting at Labour Weekend, believes the submarine, U196, lies in a watery grave off the west coast of the Kaipara.

He said that, in 1944, U196 dropped off 13 high-ranking Nazis and three children. Met on the beach, two trucks helped them transport the booty. According to three descendants of this group, the Nazis, helped by collaborators, passed themselves off as Austrians in Northland.
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Simon Gunson on 06 Nov 2008 22:34

I heard a radio interview with Noel Hilliam on the radio. This wreck was first snagged by fishermen in 1981. It has been dived on four times now, but it disappeared under shifting sands and was only recently rediscovered 400 metres from the original position.

The diver claims it is slightly boyant (neutral boyancy ?) and hence may still be watertight.

Be a mute point whether she is declared a war grave by the German government to prevent further exploration ?
Hilliam suggests that descendants all from one former U-196 survivor say it was scuttled with everyone ashore.
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Simon Gunson on 07 Nov 2008 00:17

Heard a further radio interview. Three divers have been down to the hull. It appears watertight and "slightly boyant"

The vessel has been dived seven times to date. (Radio NZ interview midday 7 November 2008)
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Simon Gunson on 07 Nov 2008 19:39

After talking to the diver myself, he says it's stern was blown off by demolition charges after it had delivered "13 fleeing Nazis" and some "loot." He said the families of it's crew and passengers settled in New Zealand under assumed identities.

The wreck diver is unclear what the actual loot is. The bow section is still "semi-boyant."
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Xavier on 07 Nov 2008 19:52

there is so much stil to be discovered....thanks for posting to all involved
I guess the stern was blown to prevent the sub from being moved under its own power if someone accessed it
maybe the stern seccion was sealed before being blown and the rest of the sub is not "in the dry" but not completely flodded...
who would be the personas that came ashore? top brass?
any chance of uploading some pictures if available?
please keep us posted
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby crolick on 07 Nov 2008 22:38

Discussion about the fate of U-196: http://www.uboat.net/forums/read.php?3,78500
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Sid Guttridge on 11 Nov 2008 12:04

Hi Guys,

The wreck has been dived seven times and still no photo? I feel yet another internet military myth in the making.

What is the betting the wreck will again mysteriously "disappear under shifting sands" before any substantive evidence surfaces?

As a matter of interest, where was U196's last reported position and how far was it from the supposed wreck?

Cheers,

Sid.
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Peter on 11 Nov 2008 17:59

I suspect that yet again a "mystery u-boat packed with gold, art treasures and wild eyed Gestapo leaders" will turn out to be the inverted hull of an old fishing boat :lol:

U196 sailed from La Pallice on 16 March 1944 many months even before D-Day and was east of Cape Town from early July 1944.
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Bernd R on 12 Nov 2008 00:52

Hello Iltis and all interested parties,

a short comment should be allowed as always :) Recently a number of paintings which belonged to a Museum in Aachen pre-1945 were found in Simferopol / Crimea. Filmed by tourists. It wasn't even known for over 60 years if they exist anymore. (this example belongs to the difficult so-called "Beutekunst" matter).
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3774326,00.html

So, life is life, you never know :) ..and yes, re: U-196 we are not in the field of evidence or detailed facts right now.

regards, Bernd :D
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Simon Gunson on 12 Nov 2008 07:28

I suspect that yet again a "mystery u-boat packed with gold, art treasures and wild eyed Gestapo leaders" will turn out to be the inverted hull of an old fishing boat


Nope it's been dived on 7 times and has a conning tower and deck cannon, unless of course Iltis you know some fishing boats with conning towers and 105mm guns ?
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby kgvm on 12 Nov 2008 18:51

Even the caliber of the gun was measured, but no picture :D
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby JägerMarty on 13 Nov 2008 10:25

Yeah, seven divetrips and no photo's yet?
Doesn't sound like much good news is coming ...
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Peter on 13 Nov 2008 17:59

No photos, nothing on any News Channel I can find, probably because it isnt U196, and whilst I dont deny there might be a submarine wreck of some description, I am pretty damn sure it wont be a u-boat.

Normally when divers find a submarine at a depth which they can investigate there is masses of interest and they prove their point with photos...............but here we see nothing other than talk
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby Simon Gunson on 07 Dec 2008 01:14

The wreck is in 40 feet of water in a very turbid coastal area. If any of you had any grasp of the Northern West coast of New Zealand you would realise the wreck is in a surf zone that rarely has sustained calm weather.

It is claimed the wreck has a conning tower and deck gun according to one of three divers who have been to the site. The person who re-located the wreck had been trying to conceal it's location since it was rediscovered in January 2006. The reason for it's concealment is that New Zealand had disbanded the office known as the "Reciever of Wrecks." Under NZ legislation anyone wishing to make a claim for salvage had to apply to this official, but now there is no longer any official process for claiming salvage rights in NZ. The finder of that wreck believes it may contain valuables.

He also claims to have consulted the Royal New Zealand Navy about risks from munitions aboard the wreck. A further issue is that it may be considered a war grave and thus off bounds.

The fact is that Mr Hilliam did not want all this publicity and the discovery was kept secret for 27 years until outed by a local inquisitive newspaper reporter.

Your criticisms are just uniformed speculations.
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Re: Claims of U-196 wreck off New Zealand coast

Postby JägerMarty on 07 Dec 2008 04:29

Oh well, the sooner more info is available the better
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