One of Germany’s last U-boats to be built, the U-2540 was scuttled before she could see action. A Type XXI, the U-2540 was commissioned in late February, 1945. Fuel shortages prevented the 251-foot U-boat from sailing into battle – instead she was sent to the bottom of the Baltic on May, 4, 1945. Salvaged in 1957, she was restored and served as a research sub in the post-war German navy and finally decommissioned in 1982 after a collision with a destroyer. The new owners, the German Maritime Museum, converted the ship back to her wartime configuration and since 1984 have opened the U-2540 to the public at Bremerhaven, Germany.
War time pictures
Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote", were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a means to escape detection or launch an attack.
The key improvement in the Type XXI was greatly increased battery capacity, roughly triple the Type VIIC. This gave these boats great underwater range, and dramatically reduced the time spent on or near the surface. They could travel submerged at about 5 kn (5.8 mph; 9.3 km/h) for two or three days before recharging batteries, which took less than five hours using the snorkel. The Type XXI was also far quieter than the VIIC, making it harder to detect when submerged.
The Type XXI's streamlined and hydrodynamically clean hull design allowed high submerged speed. The ability to outrun many surface ships while submerged, combined with improved dive times (also a product of the new hull form), made it far harder to chase and destroy. It also gave the boat a 'sprint ability' when positioning itself for an attack. Older boats had to surface to sprint into position. This often revealed a boat's location, especially after aircraft became available for convoy escort. The new hull design also reduced visibility via marine or airborne radar when surfaced; whether this was a goal of the design or coincidence is still debated.
They also featured a hydraulic torpedo reloading system that allowed all six bow torpedo tubes to be reloaded faster than a Type VIIC could reload one tube. The Type XXI could fire 18 torpedoes in under 20 minutes. The class also featured a very sensitive passive sonar for the time.
The Type XXIs also had better facilities than previous U-boat classes, including a freezer for food.
General characteristics of TypeXXI(SS6),TypeIXD(SS5)&TypeVIIC(SS34)
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|General characteristics (Type XXI)
|Class & type:
|1,621 tonnes standard
2,100 tonnes full load
||76.7 m (251 ft 8 in)
||8 m (26 ft 3 in)
||5.3 m (17 ft 5 in)
2× MAN M6V40/46KBB supercharged 6-cylinder diesel engines, 4,000 PS (2.9 MW)
2× SSW GU365/30 double acting electric motors, 5,000 PS (3.7 MW)
2× SSW GV232/28silent runningelectric motors, 226 PS (0.166 MW)
15.6 kn (28.9 km/h) (diesel)
17.9 kn (33.2 km/h) (electric)
17.2 kn (31.9 km/h) (electric)
6.1 kn (11.3 km/h) (silent running motors)
15,500 nmi (28,700 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
340 nmi (630 km) at 5 kn (9.3 km/h)
||57 officers and men
||6 × 21 in (53 cm)torpedo tubes(bow), 23