Lost U-boats and mysterious trips to South America

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Lost U-boats and mysterious trips to South America

Post by don1 » 08 Jan 2003 12:28

There are reports that U-435 and at least four others helped transport former Nazi leaders and their treasures to South America between June 1945 and October 1946. Accorinf to official records, U-435 was sunk on July 9, 1943, west of Figueria, Portugal. All hands were said to be lost. The same boat however, complete with crew was later reported in the summer of 1945 off the coast of Argentina.
Did several other U-boats disappear to join a special fleet to the South Atliantic as part of some contingency plan?

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 08 Jan 2003 18:27

Whew, that's a tough question. I know the U-869 was reported sunk off the coast of Africa, but was recently found (less than ten years ago) and positively identified right off the coast of New Jersey. How it was destroyed and when is still a mystery. So it seems that there will always be some mystery about the U-boats...even when some are 'solved' there are plenty more.


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Post by Billy Bishop » 08 Jan 2003 21:56

I wouldn't be surprised if they were stashing their belongings in South America. There was a large German population in SA who sympathized with the Nazis.

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Post by Hanz-Muller » 03 Feb 2003 11:55

I believe the history channel had a special on that submarine. From what I remember there were a group of divers that really wanted to know which submarine it was. They found out and went to Germany to meet a man that has all the uboat records. Anyway it seems as though there own torpedo missed its target and came back and hit the submarine. Some kind of magnetic torpedo or something. But was a very interesting show

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Post by FRENCH_PASCAL » 03 Feb 2003 15:34

The french SS volonteer Marc Augier (or "Saint Loup" for books) mentionned that in his books about Waffen SS.
Saint Loup (extrem right writer) wrote that some non conventional part of the SS (he means european and paganist) managed to send people in south America, and said that U Boat did transfer of men and material in secret base in Patagonie.

The problem is that I read that only in Saint Loup books and in a Book of Jean Raspail (famous french right writer, please read "the camp of saint" :D )but using Saint Loup as source...
Saint Loup (Marc Augier) was a good writer (a loot of books), not an stupid man (politic responsability, prix goncourt for books), a fascist reference in France and Europe after WWUU... but he is very mystical... and my opinion is that he mix reality and dreams...

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Post by Peter » 03 Feb 2003 21:23

Complete rubbish, U435 (Siegfried Strelow - Knights Cross) was Killed in Action aboard U435 when it was lost in 1943.

The only boats to reach South America were U530 and U977. I gave considerable detail on these some weeks ago. No senior Nazi's and no gold or treasure.


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U 977

Post by varjag » 04 Feb 2003 12:04

ILtis - u're certainly right about the U 977 - I have a book somewhere by it's captain (?) - they managed to reach the Antipodes on only one diesel-engine, the other one broke down early in the cruise - and were interned for all their trouble. What eventually happened to the crew members - I thought some stayed and settled in Argentina?

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Post by Peter » 04 Feb 2003 15:21

There have been ridiculous theories circulating since 1945 over the escape of senior Nazi’s, clutching their ingots of gold bullion and Van Gogh’s, secreted aboard U-boats of the Kriegsmarine. It has even been suggested that Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and Martin Bormann all made it to South America. All of these stories, for that is what they are, fed the tabloids and some of the Sunday papers for several weeks during a quiet spell. During my research for my first book (“U-boat Fact File”) I examined hundreds of documents and reports, American, Argentine, British and German and was able to debunk these works of fiction. By this stage of the war this was a highly dangerous operational assignment and if a U-boat had the good fortune to break out into the Atlantic, most U-boats were being sunk en-route, she was unlikely to survive long (as in the cases of U853 – Oberleutnant Helmut Frömsdorf, sunk on 6th May 1945 off Long Island with all hands, U869 – Kapitänleutnant Helmut Neuerburg, lost with all hands, U881 – Kapitänleutnant der Reserve Dr. Karl-Heinz Frischke, sunk with all hands 6th May 1945 off Cape Race, and many others). Setting sail in a U-boat at this stage of the war was virtually a suicidal occupation.

U530 (Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth, Officers Class IX/39) had sailed from Germany (Kiel) on 19th February 1945 arriving in Horten/Norway on 23rd. Wermuth finally put to sea from Norway on 3rd March 1945 to cross the North Atlantic and patrol off the U.S. eastern seaboard. In early May U530 was operating off Long Island and on receipt of the order from Großadmiral Karl Dönitz to surface and surrender (4th May) Wermuth took U530south and surrendered to Aregntine authorities on reaching Mar del Plata on 10th July 1945.

Similarily U977 (Oberleutnant Heinz Schäfer, Officers Class XII/39) had sailed from Germany on 13th April 1945 arriving at Horten on 20th. It sailed nine days later and arriving at Kristiansand the following day finally sailing from Norway on 2nd May 1945 to operate off the British coast. Schäfer also received the Dönitz order to surrender on 4th May but after allowing any members of his crew who wished to land, to do so near Bergen/Norway, he set sail for South America wishing to avoid internment. After an epic voyage of one hundred and five days including sixty-six days submerged U977 put into Mar del Plata on 17th August 1945.

A more recent hoax was concerning U534, a hoax it was. but the result was a fabulous prize for maritime historians. U534 (Kapitänleutnant Werner Nollau, Officers Class 1936) had sailed from Copenhagen on 5th May 1945. Later that day she was sunk by an RAF Liberator maritime patrol bomber (Warrant Officer J D Nicol RAF) east of Anholt Island in the Kattegat. Somehow tales of escaping Nazi leaders,bullion, jewels and art treasures grew and she was raised from the depths on 24th August 1993. Nothing other than ammunition was aboard, but U534 is now a superb museum exhibit in Birkenhead.

Currently there is fresh conjecture regarding another “treasure U-boat” somewhere off the Patagonian Coast of Argentina, U1238 is apparently packed to the gills with bullion and precious stones and doubtless crewed by wild eyed Nazi Party officials. The reality is that a construction order was placed on 14th October 1941 with the shipbuilders Deutschen Werft AG in Hamburg-Finkenwerder for eighteen Type IXC40 submarines. The kiel for one of these hulls, Shipyard Hull No.401 was laid down on 6th July 1943, launched whilst partly complete on 23rd February 1944 and destroyed whilst incomplete.


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U-553 of Karl Thurmann

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 17 Feb 2005 08:21


One U-Boat that I knew went missing somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic in 1943. It was U-553 commanded by Commander Karl Thurmann,a Knight's Cross holder. Its disappearence remains a mystery.


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Post by Peter » 17 Feb 2005 08:37

There are still quite a few u-boats regarded as missing but then that happens with subs, there are US, British, Jap, Italian, etc all missing 1939/45.

Several IXC and IXD2 u-boats are missing, like U851, but there is nothing for the conspiracy theorist there !

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Post by Jeremy Chan » 17 Feb 2005 08:43

The reports of an operation to ship top Nazi officials and precious assets (ie gold) via U-Boat to South America can hardly be dismissed as fiction. It would have been initiated once it was inevitable that the Reich would tumble. The number of subs involved could hardly have exceeded twenty, and it's possible that some of the crew were executed once reaching their destination as such data could hardly have been allowed to spread, postwar. I'm sorry so as not to be able to provide specifics. But right up to mid-May, light transport would have landed at the East-West Axis in Berlin loaded with armaments, then swooping off with the escapees. They would've stayed right up to the last minute as it would be inconceivable them being whisked off from 1943, say. I would suggest Thunder Point by Jack Higgins as a starting point; although a novel, it does give sound insight into the details.

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Post by Peter » 17 Feb 2005 08:48

Having studied u-boats for some years I have struggled to find any which could fit the bill, especially those recently being quoted as likely suspects, boats which were incomplete in 1945.

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Post by Tom Houlihan » 17 Feb 2005 08:54

Jeremy Chan wrote:I would suggest Thunder Point by Jack Higgins as a starting point; although a novel, it does give sound insight into the details.
Jeremy, with all due respect, that's like reading The Eagle Has Landed, and using it as a starting point to study Kommando raids, and attempts on Churchill's life! Great entertainment, but hardly historical research.

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Post by ohrdruf » 25 Feb 2005 15:01

Iltis, who "has studied U-boats for some years" and must therefore be considered an "expert" on the subject, rules out all possibilities other than those contained in the official lists.

If he had made a broad-based study he would leave the door ajar, if only because of the quantity of material in Argentine and Brazilian archives which cover the activities of unknown submarines off their coasts in the period July and August 1945.

In one of the attacks at the Equator on 20 July 1945, for example, a submarine was forced to the surface for one minute by the destroyer "Babitonga" and was seen to discharge a quantity of oil. A sample was collected and assayed, the Brazilian Navy reporting that it was not a diesel oil used by Allied submarines. It has not been possible to identify any U-boat in this area at the time, but obviously it was a submarine which belonged to SOMEBODY.
On 18 July 1945 off San Antonio Oeste, a large gulf with very deep water on the coast of Argentina, the torpedo-boat "Mendoza" obtained a definite hydrophone fix and depth charged the contact. Upon reporting that it was attacking, Argentine naval HQ ordered the attack broken off and recalled all warships to port. How can this be explained, particularly bearing in mind that a ruling clique of the Argentine armed forces had been bought by Germany?

The investigations by Argentina into the arrivals of U-boats and aircraft in the period 1945-46 make clear that there were far more of the latter than the former: the U-boat arrivals of which the intelligence authorities are certain relate to one U-boat discharging at San Clemente del Tuyu in February 1945 and one (or two) at Necochea on 28 July 1945. The first coincides with French Deuxieme Bureau reports. Neither of these boats has been positively identified, but that does not mean they never existed.

If Iltis had ever studied naval history he would understand that nations do occasionally omit details from published offical documents which they would prefer should remain unknown. Nazi U-boats unloading large quantities of valuables and scientific material to Argentina postwar is not something which any of the participants will be keen to have broadcast. If a number of Geman submarines were produced or converted especially in home yards or elsewhere for these voyages, it required no great effort on the part of the chroniclers not to account for them once Higher Authority issued instructions to leave them out.

An illustration of how ships quietly disappear from the record in remote parts of the world is the Battle of the Falklands in 1914. This is now represented historically as a simple hit-and-run raid which went wrong. That it was something far grander is obvious once the trail of ALL the ships participating is followed from another angle, when we see that Admiral Sturdee's official report contained a material omission, backed up by no documents whatever being released from the German and Argentine archives, these nations all still having something to hide more than ninety years after the event. This is the manner in which history is falsified, and finds in people like Iltis its mouthpiece. No disrespect incidentally.

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lost u boats

Post by lavella » 05 Mar 2005 16:52

Iltis wrote:Having studied u-boats for some years I have struggled to find any which could fit the bill, especially those recently being quoted as likely suspects, boats which were incomplete in 1945.
Congratulations for your exhaustive and interesting research
as for me (and others) for everything about Uboote WW1&2 http://www.uboat.net
à bientot

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