U-505 is a German World War II type IXC submarine built by Deutsche Werft in Hamburg, Germany, in 1940. She was commissioned into the German Navy on August 26, 1941, and served on various wartime patrols until her capture by the American Navy on June 4, 1944.
The type IXC submarine was powered by diesel electric engines and designed for oceanic cruising ranges. Although larger than the much employed type VII sub marine, the type IXC was not a better sea boat and in any heavy sea the conning tower was usually drenched. On long missions the interior was packed heavily with provisions and crew spaces remained as cramped as in smaller German sub marines. Although U-505 is a pre-snorkel submarine, later versions of this type were fitted with the air-breathing snorkel to enable them to operate their diesels underwater.
U-505 is now exhibited out of the water on a permanent foundation on the east side of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Two openings have been cut into the hull (one forward and one aft) to provide for visitor access. Bulk head openings within the submarine have been altered to provide for safer visitor movement through the vessel. U-505 is in good condition and substantially retains her World War II integrity.
The United Nation's victory against Germany in World War II was dependent upon the ability of the United States Navy and Merchant Marine to transport the necessary troops and war supplies to European battlefields. Before the German armies could be beaten on land the German U-boat threat had to be destroyed at sea. Between 1941 and 1945 the American Navy and Merchant Marine fought bloody battles with German submarines for control of the Atlantic lifelines to Europe. It was only after the defeat of the German submarine menace by 1943 that men and war materiel began to flood British ports in preparation for the invasion of France in June 1944. By 1945 thousands of Americans and other allied sailors had died in the Battle of the Atlantic.
1. Museum of Science and Industry, The Story of the U-505 (Chicago, Illinois: Museum of Science and Industry, 1981), p. 1.
Chesneau, Roger. ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. New York: Mayflower Books, 1980.
Gunston, Bill. Submarines in Color. New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1977.
Hoyt, Edwin P. U-Boats Offshore--When Hitler Struck America. New York: Stein and Day, 1978.
Lenton, H. T. Navies of the Second World War--German Submarines 1. Garden City: New York, 1965.
Museum of Science and Industry, The Story of the U-505. Chicago, Illinois, 1981.
(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)