WWII German U-Boat 550 discovered nearly 70 years after sinking off Nantucket Island
Divers have discovered a World War II-era German submarine nearly 70 years after it sank under withering U.S. attack in waters off Nantucket. The U-550 was found Monday by a privately funded group organized by New Jersey lawyer Joe Mazraani.
|Depth charges being dropped on U-550|
U-550 astern USS Joyce
On April 16, 1944, the U-550 torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of gasoline for Great Britain. The U-boat slipped under the doomed tanker to hide. But one of the tanker's three escorts, the USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth charges.
U-550's crew abandons ship - damage from 3" shells is evident on the conning tower
The Germans, forced to surface, manned their deck guns while another escort vessel, the USS Gandy, returned fire and rammed the U-boat. The third escort, the USS Peterson, then hit the U-boat with two more depth charges. The crew abandoned the submarine, but not before setting off explosions to scuttle it. The U-550 is one of several World War II-era German U-boats that have been discovered off the U.S. coast, but it's the only one that sank in that area.
The torpedoed tanker Pan Pennsylvania burns in the background as U-550's crew abandons ship
|U-550 sinks stern first - as USS Joyce rescues survivors|
USS Gandy and Peterson provide cover as Joyce recovers survivors