July 29, 2012
U-550 World War II German Submarine Found Off Massachusetts Coast
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Seven decades after it was sunk during a battle in waters off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, a team of divers located a World War II era German u-boat last Monday, various media outlets have reported.
According to Jay Lindsay of the Associated Press (AP), an expedition organized by New Jersey lawyer Joe Mazraani found the U-550 in their second trip to the site.
Using side-scan sonar, the seven man team, several of whom had reportedly spent 20 years trying to track down the missing 252-foot submarine, located it in deep water 70 miles south of Nantucket, sonar operator Garry Kozak told members of the media.
"The U-550 was cruising off the east coast of the United States back on April 16, 1944, when it torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania," TG Daily's Trent Nouveau explained. "The Pennsylvania was headed to the UK with 140,000 barrels of gasoline, along with a protective convoy of three ships -- the USS Joyce, USS Gandy and USS Peterson."
"Although the U-boat attempted to evade detection by concealing itself under the sinking freighter, sailors on the USS Joyce managed to identify the German vessel and damage it by dropping depth charges," he added. "Forced to surface, the U-550 fired its deck guns at the American ships, while the USS Gandy returned fire and rammed the U-boat. The USS Peterson subsequently struck the submarine with two additional depth charges, forcing the German crew to abandon ship -- but not before scuttling the U-boat with explosive charges."
There were 44 casualties and 12 survivors of the conflict, and the u-boat itself sank into the waters stern first, according to Boston Globe Staff Writer Peter Schworm. However, the exact location of the submarine had remained a mystery for almost 70 years before the Mazraani-organized expedition discovered it earlier this week.
Their findings were officially announced on Friday, and while they would not disclose the exact location of the U-550, they told Schworm that it was completely intact and that they planned to return to the unspecified location in order to document their findings. They also said that they planned to contact the families of both the American and German soldiers involved in the battle that led to the U-550's sinking.
“They´ve looked for it for over 20 years,” Mazraani told the Boston Globe. "It´s another World War II mystery solved."