The U-505, launched the 24th May 1941, served in the German Kriegsmarine until her capture the 4th June 1944 by the United States Task Force 22.3. The submarine was towed, secretly, towards Bermuda and the captured crew remained totally incommunicated from the outer world to preserve the secrecy of the capture. The victories acknowledged to the U-505 during wartime comprised eight ships sunk for a total of 45000 gross register tonnes. In 1954, the U-505 was donated to the Science and Industry Museum of Chicago, where she remains as the only surviving submarine of the Type IXC.

U-505 submarine cutaway

Displacement: 1120 tonnes while surfaced, 1232 tonnes while submerged.

Length: 76.8 meters in external hull, 58.7 meters in pressure hull.

Beam: 6.8 meters in external hull, 4.4 meters in pressure hull.

Draft: 4.7 meters.

Propulsion plant: two 9-cylinder supercharged Diesel engines M9V 40/46 of 2000 shaft horsepower each and two double-acting electric motors of 500 shaft horsepower each.

Speed: 18.2 knots while surfaced, 7.3 knots while submerged.

Range: 46080 kilometers at 10 knots while surfaced, 217 kilometers at 4 knots while submerged.

Test depth: 230 meters.

Complement: 48-56 including officers.

Armament: six 550-millimeter torpedo tubes (four at prow and two astern) with 22 torpedoes carried and one 105-millimeter 45-caliber cannon.

Inside the U-505

Life onboard a submarine was marked by the privation of any kind of comfort. But despite the lack of space, the rarefied air that they had to breathe, the hygienic conditions reduced to the minimal expression and the isolation for months from their homes or any port, the crew members were rugged combatants bound by an uncommon camaradery.

Fore torpedo room and crew quarters

Fore torpedo room
Fore water closet
The foremost section of the submarine houses four torpedo tubes, the torpedo reloads, the bunk beds of the mariners and also some provisions. At starboard side, next to the entrance, there is a small cabin for the fore water closet.

Petty officers' quarters

Non-commissioned officers' room
Non-commissioned officers' room
In the next section we can see the watertight hatch which gives access to the adjacent torpedo room, and a total of eight bunk beds, four at each side, accompanied by lockers and destined to the non-commissioned officers.


Kitchen Kitchen
Kitchen Kitchen's hatch

A sink, an electric kitchen, an oven, a fridge and a pantry fit inside this cubicle. A narrow ladder leads to a hatch in the ceiling which gives access to the deck.

Officers' quarters and commander's cabin

Officers' room Officers' room
Officers' room Commander's cabin

The four officers and the commander occupied the most comfortable space inside the submarine. They enjoyed pillows and drop protections in their bunkbeds, while the commander had the only single bed onboard and some furnitures at his disposal, including a nightstand which was a sink as well. An air hose hanging from the ceiling allowed the commander to communicate orders from his cabin.

Listening room

Listening room Listening room

Numerous hydrophones located in the fore part of the external hull gathered and identified the noise generated by the propellers of other nearby vessels. The listening room was located next to the commander's cabin so he could have the maximum awareness possible of the situation.

Radio room

Radio room Radio room

The radio room was the communications center of the submarine, where messages were transmitted and received through voice or, preferably, telegraphy, as the messages sent through this channel could be encrypted by the machine known as Enigma.

Control room

Control room and main hatch Control room
Control room Control room

Different views of the control room, including the ladder which leads to the conning tower through the main hatch. This neuralgic and complex section located in the center of the submarine is crowded with indicators, valves and the most diverse mechanisms.

Main compensation pump Controls of main pumps

Main compensation pump and controls of main pumps. Only the experienced ones will understand this...

Hydroplanes' angle indicator Hydroplanes' controls

Hydroplanes' angle indicator and controls. Two large steering wheels were used to control the angle of the fore and aft hydroplanes, and thus the diving or climbing attitude of the submarine.

Navigation table Sextant and clock

Another essential element in the control room is the navigation table, where the navigator deployed the nautical charts and used rulers and compasses to trace the course of the submarine. A clock and a sextant were also part of the equipment.

Engine and electric motor room

MAN Diesel engines Junkers main pump

In the engine room two large Diesel engines manufactured by MAN are separated by a narrow corridor. The contraption in the right image is the Junkers main pump.

Pump compartment astern Pump compartment astern

Pump compartment astern. Pumps were used to take salt water from the sea to the diverse cooling systems used in the engine room.

Electric controls Electric controls

Electric control panels associated to the two electric motors, which attached to the Diesel engines were used not only to propel the submarine during immersion, but also as electric generators to recharge the batteries.

Engine order telegraph
The engine order telegraph is a widely known instrument present in every engine room.

Aft torpedo room and crew quarters

Aft water closet Aft torpedo room

The aftermost section of the submarine houses two torpedo tubes, the auxiliary rudder, the bunk beds of the mariners and also some provisions. At starboard side, next to the entrance, there is a small cabin for the aft water closet.

Detail view of the double hull Detail view of the double hull

Detail views of the double hull formed by the pressure hull and the external hull. In the left image we can see a "valve for diving tanks" which can be actuated by means of a separate handle.

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