Erik E wrote:The story is that U 1206 suffered from a toilet malfunction which resulted in seawater leaking down into the battery compartment. The sub surfaced to ventilate the chlorine gases, when they were attacked by a RAF aircraft and sunk.......
Don`t know if this story is true though......?
U-1206 was a type VIIC U-Boat which sank off Peterhead on 14 April 1945 - there are differing tales as to how and why she was lost, and many opinions as to where her wreck now lies. It has long been the intention of Buchan Divers to find and dive the remains - maybe this year?
U-1206 was laid down on 12 June 1943 at the Schichau shipyard in Danzig and commissioned on 16 March 1944 under the command of Oblt. Gunther Fritze. The following 10 months were spent in the 8th (training) Flotilla where she came under the command of Kptlt. Karl-Adolf Schlitt during July 1944. Early in 1945 the U-1206 was assigned to the 11th Flotilla and started what was to be her first and last mission from Kristiansand on 6 April with orders to patrol the East Coast of Scotland and the Moray Firth.
Having arrived off the Buchan coast the boat had to effect mechanical repairs, during which the bow section started flooding - ballast tanks were blown and loaded torpedoes fired to improve buoyancy - the submarine surfaced but the diesel engines failed. As it was obvious that the boat was lost, secret equipment was destroyed and scuttling charges set - the crew abandoned in four rubber dinghies.
Two naval trawlers, HMT Nodzu & HMT Ligny, approached and saw the U-1206 roll over and sink. Just before midnight, the Nodzu recued twenty-three men from two rafts and took them to Aberdeen. Fourteen men on another raft were picked up by the Peterhead lobster boat Reaper, and the fourth raft was washed ashore south of Boddam where three crew were drowned.
The following tale was sent to me by Carsten Standfuss - it's translated from the German book 'Jager und Gejagte' (Hunter and the Hunted) by Jochen Brennecke.
During WWII, one problem hounds the German U-boot's: The time that they have to stay deep underwater gets longer and longer because of the heavier sea and air patrols of the enemy. Unfortunately the toilets they normally use work on a simple 2-valve system only in shallow water. For this reason they designed a new WC which worked in deep water and fit this system to the late VIIC boats.
U-1206 was one of these boats. Unfortunately this system was complicated to handle - so the Navy wrote a handbook on how to handle it, and send one man from each new boat to school. He gets an education as 'WC waste disposal unit manager' or as the crew say - 'the shit-man'. Everybody must use the help of this man if he use the system under deep pressure.
On 14.04.1945 U-1206 was underway near the GB E coast and according to the enemy sub-chaser ship there it was long time in greater deep around 200 feet. Everything was in best running order. Unfortunately the commander Schlitt was a little to proud to ask the "shit-man" for help - so he read the manual - decided that he understand it and use the WC System. But something went wrong - and the first engineer send the shit-man to the toilet. There was a little confusion between both men and the shit-man open the outside valve at the time the inside valve was still open and both people were hit by a heavy "man's-leg strong" 6 bar shit and water-rush.
The First engineer ordered the sub to periscope depth and there the two men in the small toilet compartment managed to close the right valve. Unfortunately a great amount of water gets into the sub and finds its way to the batteries (which stay in a compartment direct under the WC) and produce chlorine gas. The commander ordered for surfacing and open the sail hatch with his last power. The air blower started working and fresh air gets into the sub and the chlorine gives way - in this moment - and before the crew managed to use their anti-aircraft guns - the Aircraft bombs detonate near the sub. It was heavily damaged and unable to dive - so the commander ordered 'crew get out'.
An altogether different story is given by the U-Boat Archive in Cuxhaven - which pertains to be the Commanders official version of events:
Account of Captain Karl Adolf Schlitt about the loss and scuttling of the boat:
'In April 1945 U-1206 was in the North Sea off Britain.
On board the diesel engines were faulty. We could not charge our batteries by the snorkel any more. In order to get the diesels working again we had put down about 8-10 miles from the British coast at 70mts, unseen by British patrols, to get them going again.
I was in the engine room, when at the front of the boat there was a water leak. What I have learned is that a mechanic had tried to repair the forward WC's outboard vent. I would say - although I do not have any proof - that the outer vent indicator either gave false readings or none at all.
The engineer who was in the control room at the time, managed to make the boat buoyant and surfaced despite severe flooding.
Meanwhile the batteries were covered with seawater. Chlorine gas started to fill the boat.
We were then incapable of diving or moving. At this point in time British planes and patrols discovered us. I let the boat sink.
The crew reached the Scottish coast in rubber dinghies.
In the attempt to negotiate the steep coast in heavy seas, three crewmembers tragically died. Several men were taken onboard a British sloop.
The dead were Hans Berkhauer, Karl Koren and Emil Kupper.'
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