Tag: viic

The Last VIIC U-Boat

The type VII u-boat was by far the most widely used German attack submarine of the WWII era. It had several variations and improvements along the way, designated as types A, B, C, D, and F. The type VII version C, or “VIIC” was the workhorse of the German U-boat attack force. It was also the type of submarine that was depicted in the famous movie, “Das Boot”. The VIIC is very special to me as it was the model that was featured in the most excellent submarine simulator video game series, “Silent Hunter”.

The VIIC was further modified to go deeper than its predecessors, boasting an operational depth of 230m, a gain of 10m over the VIIC, and was designated as type VIIC/41. It is the VIIC/41 that is on display in Laboe, Germany, and that is the subject of this article. It is the world’s only surviving VIIC submarine.

So yes, we took the metro to the train depot in Stockholm where we boarded the train to Gothenburg where we took a cruise ship to Kiel where we took a ferry to Laboe to see a submarine dry docked on a beach! Phew! Sure, we could have taken a plane and been there in a couple of hours, but nowhere was the old adage “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters” more true than on this trip. I mean, yes, the destination was fabulous and was the whole reason for the journey, but we decided to take the scenic route and enjoy the journey as much as possible.

I highly recommend the three hour train ride from Stockholm to Gothenburg. It is very relaxing and puts scenic Sweden countryside on full display. Not to mention Gothenburg it a fantastic town to visit. We have been there several times. In fact, The Travelin’ Man did write an article about one of the trips out there. You can review that article by clicking here.

The booze cruise left from Gothenburg for Kiel. It took about 15 hours (overnight trip). The amazing part of this leg was that you enter the water channel approaching Kiel on the exact same route as you used in the Silent Hunter. The other interesting aspect is that as you move down the waterway towards Kiel, you can see the VIIC from the ship. Due to some bad weather, I did not get a decent picture.

Once off the ship, we had a choice of a ferry boat or a bus, and each was a one hour ride. Naturally, we opted for the boat.

Getting access to the boat only cost €7. I took a long stern to bow video, and then went back and took pictures. The video can be viewed by clicking on this link. Note that in the video I commented that the first bathroom was no longer a bathroom. That was incorrect. The toilet was still there, it was just covered up with boxes. It was in fact used as a “spare” bathroom. Provided the main bathroom was operational, the spare was used for storage.

And below, a very brief picture tour:

The Forward torpedo room. One torpedo queued and one (bottom right) already loaded. The aft (rear) torpedo room consisted of one tube. The VIIC normally began a mission with 14 torpedoes.
Another view of the forward torpedo room that shows some of the bunk beds. The VIIC typically sailed with around 50 crew!
The main control room. This was the busiest and most important section of the sub. From here, the captain had direct access to the observation scope, dive plane crew, helmsman, navigator, and first officer. Just to the right of this picture is the ladder that goes up to the conning tower, which is where the attack periscope and exterior bridge is located. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed access to that area.
This is the navigation station, which is positioned on the left side of the control room picture. This was a very important station not only from a navigational standpoint, but also because it is where known contacts were plotted and tracked. And most of the maps had underwater topography markings so the navigator could estimate the depth beneath the sub at any time.
This one was taken from the Captain’s bunk, which is very strategically located. That is the sonar room (left) and radio room on the right. Two highly critical stations. The control room is just to the right through the hatch. And the officer’s bunks are just to the left.
Well, all told, it was a great trip! Thanks for stopping by. I am sure I got some things wrong, but I know my friends at subsim.com will help us out! Happy travels all! And as always, post any questions/comments here or email me directly (contact information on jcmarxblog.com).