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Nazi U-Boats Surrender at Portsmouth

Surrendering Uboat Crew 1945/

Here is the complete story of the only German subs that entered Portsmouth Harbor in World War II. Four U-boats chose to surrender at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Here is the complete story day-by-day from radio news accounts in May 1945.




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Captured U-boats set off World War II victory media blitz

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was the largest American submarine base on the Atlantic coast when Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. The Yard became the natural site for the surrender of up to at least seven German U-boats operating in the region at the end of the war. Local excitement and media coverage increased as, one by one, the worn German U-boats were towed into Portsmouth Harbor. German prisoners were housed briefly at the "Castle," a giant re-enforced naval prison that still stands abandoned in the harbor today. At the time, German U-boats were considered the most sophisticated underwater technology on earth.

SEE Uboat Item Sold on eBay

What Really Happened?

Four U-boats arrived at the Yard within a five-day period and the city was shot through with drama as locals clamored for details about their Nazi foe, long vilified in the national media, now defeated and at hand. Souvenir hunters did a healthy business as residents rubbernecked for glimpses of the crewmen and their high-tech, but battered German subs. German seaman were required to reveal the secrets of their subs which were later refit for use by America. The flow of news from the large press corps kept the story alive for days as the thrilling story unfolded -- a tale of battles, suicide and espionage -- and the clash of cultures at the end of a long war.

One of the U-boats, famous for its super-quiet engines, was placed on display in Portsmouth Harbor for visitors to tour. It languished in the Piscataqua for almost a decade until it was acquired by the Museum of Science and Industry, and removed to Chicago in 1954 where it remains part of the museum display. (JDR)

Source: Richard Winslow, Portsmouth-Built, Portsmouth Marine Society, 1989

German U-boat "Surrender at Sea"
Daily Updates Condensed from WHEB Radio Evening News, Portsmouth,NH

  May 15 and 16
  May 17 and 16
  May 19 and 21

uboat1 /

German boat U-805, the first Nazi submarine to surrender in New England waters, arrives in Portsmouth Harbor with American seamen seen here on board. Note rowboat in background. Many German souvenirs found their way into the city via a network of local onlookers. (AP Photo)

Original essay © Do not duplicate. All use must be attributed. CONTINUE with NAZI U-BOATS

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