Author Topic: German submarine U-530  (Read 2861 times)

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German submarine U-530
« on: July 10, 2009, 01:33:16 PM »
German submarine U-530 from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-530

Unterseeboot 530 or U-530 was a German World War II Type IXC/40 submarine commissioned on 14 October 1942, and whose surrender in Mar del Plata, Argentina on 10 July 1945 has led to many legends, apocryphal stories and Nazi-related conspiracy theories.

Wartime service

U-530 served with 4. Unterseebootflottille (U-Boat Flotilla) for training, 10. Unterseebootsflottille from 1 March 1943 to 30 September 1944, and 33. Unterseebootsflottille from 1 October 1944 to 8 May 1945. U-530 completed seven patrols sinking two ships totalling 12,063 gross register tons (GRT) or GRT and damaging one ship totalling 10,195 GRT.

On 22 May 1944 the U-530 left Lorient, France for operations in the Trinidad area. On her outward voyage she was to rendezvous with the Japanese submarine I-52 and supply the larger boat with a Naxos radar detector, radar operator, and a German navigator to help the I-52 complete her journey.

The submarines rendezvoused on 23 June in mid-Atlantic, 850 mi (1,370 km) west of the Cape Verde Islands. U-530 then headed for Trinidad, finally returning to base after 133 days at sea. The Allies had been informed of the rendezvous and directed the escort carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9) to the scene; her aircraft managed to sink the I-52 with an acoustic torpedo.[1]

Surrender

U-530 did not initially surrender at war's end, as ordered by Admiral Karl Dönitz, instead the crew headed for Argentina, but ultimately surrendered on 10 July 1945 at Mar del Plata.

Her captain, Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth, had decided to surrender at Mar del Plata. He did not explain why it had taken him more than two months to reach there, nor why the sub had jettisoned its deck gun, its crew members carried no identification, nor what had happened to the ship's log.

The unexpected arrival of the U-530 started many rumors. Brazilian Admiral Jorge Dodsworth Martins said he believed that the U-530 could have sunk the cruiser Bahia, while Brazilian Admiral Dudal Teixeira believed that the U-530 had come from Japan. An Argentine reporter claimed that he had seen a Buenos Aires provincial police report to the effect that a strange submarine had surfaced off the lower Argentine coast and had landed a high-ranking officer and a civilian who might have been Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun in disguise.[2] Unterseeboot 977 was also accused of sinking the Bahia; an enquiry eventually found that she had been sunk due to a gunnery accident.

The Argentine Naval Ministry issued an official communique in which they stated that the U-530 was not responsible for the sinking of the Bahia; no Nazi leader or military officers were aboard; and the U-530 had landed no one on the coast of Argentina before surrendering.[2]

The crew of the U-530 were interned and U-530 transferred to the United States for trials. She was sunk as a target on 28 November 1947 by a torpedo from USS Toro.

Ultramar Sur

In 2002 the book Ultramar Sur: La Fuga En Submarinos De Mas De 50 Jerarcas Nazis (roughly, "Overseas South: The Flight by Submarine of more than 50 Ranking Nazis") by Carlos de Nápoli and Juan Salinas provided further information on U-530's voyage to Argentina, allegedly based on photocopies of the declassified interrogation of Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth which was held at Mar del Plata between 13 and 15 July 1945.

Upon entering Mar del Plata submarine base on 10 July 1945, U-530 had a "calamitous aspect". The hull was rusting, the conning tower was splitting apart and the corroded casing bore traces of a recent serious fire. A determined attempt had been made to sabotage the diesels. The commander, described as tall and blond in newspaper reports, identified himself as Otto Wermuth. The commander and most of his crew were unable to produce identity documents. The commander told reporters that U-530 sailed from Horten, Norway on 3 March 1945 and observed radio silence as from 24 April when entering US coastal waters. He described having been very close to New York city, and saw trains and automobiles through the periscope. Allegedly the boat had no further radio contact with anybody until 12 May, when the crew finally learned of Germany's surrender the previous week.

The Argentine Navy investigators were of the opinion that there had been a mutiny aboard U-530, and that Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth had not always been in command of the boat. Since none of the logs or war diary had been retained, the actual details of the voyage remain unknown. Otto Wermuth was short and dark-haired, and it was therefore suspected that the tall, blond Otto Wermuth who sailed the boat into Mar del Plata was an imposter who had come aboard very recently, probably from some place on the Argentine coast. To support this theory it may be noted that he was vague as to details of the voyage and stated that "the deck gun was unshipped in Germany and left on the quayside" while the crew all remember having manhandled it overboard into the Atlantic. Type IXC/40 boats like U-530 had the deck gun deleted from 1943 onwards like most U-boat types. U-530 began her first war patrol on 1 March 1943. [3]

From the declassified documents it is not clear which Otto Wermuth underwent the naval interrogation on 13 July 1945. The officer refused to answer most questions, except to state that he had been given a "mission of reconnaissance and attack directly from Berlin". He had decided to head for Argentina when "1000 miles north east of Puerto Rico", and crossed the Equator near the St Peter and Paul Rocks. To avoid the coastal patrols he sailed 200 miles offshore. He arrived at Punta Mogotes light, Mar del Plata, at 0300 on 9 July 1945, and then went down the coast to Miramar, where he arrived at 0600 and spent the day there. He returned to Mar del Plata at 0700 on 10 July 1945. He was unable to explain the absence of one of the U-boat's six inflatable dinghies. He admitted to having jettisoned overboard all the torpedoes bar one dud, all the hand weapons, light machine guns and all the ammunition, the radars and Metox and the pressure gauges. He also destroyed all the books. diaries, charts, 53 code books and other books of "a secret character". Nearly all the crew arrived without identity documents, and so it was impossible to know who was who.

See also

History of Mar del Plata

Notes

   1. ^ Samuel, Wolfgang W. E. (2004). [1578066492 American Raiders]. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 114. 1578066492.
   2. ^ a b "U-530", TIME, 23 July 1945, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,803598,00.html
   3. ^ , http://www.uboat.net/types/ixc40.htm
References

    * de Napoli, Carlos; Juan Salinas (October 2002). Ultramar Sur. Grupo Editorial Norma. ISBN 9789875450752.  (Spanish)