Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Monday, June 13, 2016

UPDATED - Evidence of the Muskrat Falls U-boat Wreck

They say that people lie, but the evidence doesn't. Throughout the years there have been many rumours about the German U-boat wreck near Muskrat Falls. There have been plenty of tails passed down by Innu hunters and fishermen. Tales of seeing the long dark shadow going up the river so quietly. Tales of others, encamped very near the river hearing the engines in the middle of the night. Scenes of large groups of men dressed in uniforms speaking different languages or refusing to speak. So many stories and so hard to prove any of them with the passage of time.

However, time doesn't erase all the traces. In the case of the sunken U-boat wreck near Muskrat Falls there is plenty of evidence - although it has taken years to put together on a part-time basis. The key to the puzzle was to discover just what kind of U-boat it was. There were many different types of U-boats during World War II. The best identifiers of a U-boat type was whether or not it had a snorkel. A snorkel was fitted on U-boats after late 1943. It was also, which is key, fitted on the port side of the type VII U-boats, but only on the starboard side of type IX U-boats. In the picture below you can see the snorkel raising gear (circled in red) is on the starboard side of the conning tower which means this wreck is a type IX U-boat built after late 1943. (The arrow points to the front of the U-boat or the bow)


Here is a close-up of the snorkel raising gear on the wreck.





Here is a picture of the snorkel raising gear from a U-boat in better shape (apparatus on the left).


Here is another look at the raising gear from a model.




To get an idea of how a U-boat snorkel system works I've attached a short video from a model here


Another key piece of evidence is the snorkel itself. In this wreck the snorkel is more or less in tact, and just as importantly, if not more importantly, the radar unit mounted to the top of the snorkel is still intact. For your reference I've included some detailed drawings of the snorkel type this U-boat had on board. You will notice the two little antenna sticking out the top. That is a radar unit. More on that in a bit.


Take note of the illustration on the left. Note how the top "canister" appears like a "closed clam". Now, here is a picture from the wreck, enhanced for size is a picture of the snorkel and Naxos radar unit from the wreck.



The blue arrows indicate the radar antenna and the red arrow indicates the snorkel head. You will notice that the snorkel head has essentially been opened by the blast, so the top covering plate of it, and the bottom, have been opened like an "opened clam" as opposed to the "closed clam" in the drawing. The radar is a Naxos unit first implemented in the U-boat fleet in late 1943. The picture below shows the location of the snorkel unit in the wreck.





The next picture shows a snorkel with attached Naxos radar in good condition.




The relatively intact snorkel and Naxos radar allow us to date the U-boat from late 1943 forward. It is also a key piece of evidence, because it survived the explosions so well and is relatively easily identifiable.

Having established the U-boat wreck near Muskrat Falls was an IX type U-boat commissioned after late 1943 by the type of snorkel and radar, and by the position of the snorkel raising gear, the primary challenge became what type of IX boat was she. That part of the puzzle proved much trickier. Due to the destruction of the U-boat, many defining features which would have made this process easier were not available. Initially my conclusion was it was an IXC type. There were a few possibilities of missing IXC boats that could have qualified as the wreck. However, after a year and a half of research and detailed examinations of the sonar, including enhancing of the picture and magnification, I stumbled across a glaring piece of evidence.

During the war a "gyro copter" or FA330 was developed by the German Navy for use on U-boats. It's purpose was to spot enemy boats from a much high vantage point than the conning tower. The gyro copter was launched from the rear of the conning tower, and pulled behind the U-boat at heights of up to 300 feet. The picture below is a gyro copter on a U-boat.




The gyro copter was used exclusively on "Monsoon U-boats" that travelled to Japan from Germany. The major problem with the copter was in the case of approaching enemy aircraft the U-boat would be required to emergency dive, leaving the poor sailor in the air still attached to the U-boat - instant death. The only practical use for the copter was in seas that did not have allied air over - like the South American or Indian Ocean areas of operation.

One piece of evidence from the wreck had always stood out to me. It was well preserved and seemed to suit a particular purpose, but with my initial limited knowledge of U-boats I couldn't place it. The pictures below is of that piece of equipment.







After extensive research, and because this piece of equipment only existed on type IXD2 U-boats, I was finally able to discover what it was. It is in fact an electrical winch. Not just any electrical winch, but the winch that let out and pulled in the steel cable for the gyro copter. Below are some pictures of it on the deck of a type IXD2 U-boat.



This one piece of evidence was critical in determining that the wreck near Muskrat Falls must be that of a German type IXD2 U-boat. In addition, the post to the left of the gyro winch can also be found in the wreck. A picture of it below (circled in blue) and from the wreck:













The gyro copter winch and post were found in the wreck here (circled in red):



Another unique piece of evidence comes from the bow area of the wreck (circled in red).



The two odd protrusions at first seem out of place. However, once the U-boat was identified as an IXD2 type that piece of the puzzle was solved as well. The IXD2 had dual "jumping wires" to the bow and a single "jumping wire" to the stern. This was very unique in the U-boat designs. Here is a picture of the dual supports for the dual jumping wires on an IXD2:


The two supports protruding from the bow area of the wreck picture above coincide with those of the photo above. The wire like features joining the two in the wreck picture are likely wires.

The front deck gun, as shown in the picture above, was a 105 mm gun. The picture below shows the breach housing of the gun (circled in blue):


During the massive explosion at the centre of U-851 the breach housing was ripped from the main gun and ended resting near the bow, while the remainder of the gun sank below.

From the wreck the breach housing:


From the wreck the rest of the gun and where they rest on the wreck (blue circle = breach housing, and red circle = remainder of 105 mm gun):


The 105 mm gun was used exclusively on IX type U-boats due to its weight. Type VII class U-boats used the smaller 88 mm deck gun - further proving the identity of this U-boat wreck.

Several guns used for anti-aircraft protection are still visible on the wreck. The MG 34 was a commonly used weapon for anti-aircraft on U-boats. A picture of a MG 34 used on a U-boat:


A picture of a MG 34:



Now, from the wreck, there is a MG 34, but not in that good of condition. The butt has been either blown off or eroded in the water, and it is bent in half - in an "L" shape formation. Yet, it's distinctive features are still evident:



The MG 34 is found here in the wreck (red circle):



Along with the MG 34 the wreck has a fairly well preserved 37 mm gun - without the barrel. Here is what a 37 mm anti-aircraft gun looks like:



The gun in the wreck lies just below the deformed platform it once stood on. The platform and the Flak guard which protected the gun are still recognizable - despite the guard being twisted savagely by the explosion within the U-boat. The first picture below is the 37 mm gun (circled in blue), and the second picture is the gun platform and flack guard:







Here is a picture where they rest on the wreck (circled in red):



Here is a picture of an IXD2 with the 37 mm gun location circled in red behind the conning tower and the 105 mm deck gun in front of the conning tower (circled in blue):



The IXD2 type U-boat was powered by a series of 6 cylinder motors. One of these motors (circled in blue) appears  to be still in fair condition while much was destroyed given the central explosion at the front of the engine room:




Here's a picture of a German U-boat diesel motor. The one above from the wreck is viewed from the top of the motor, but it will give you an idea:



In addition to the diesel motor (circled in blue) still apparent, several electric motors (circled in red) are also evident on the wreck:



Here is a schematic which shows the electric motors and their normal position on the U-boat (the electric motors are well preserved on the wreck and match up perfectly to the schematics):






The U-boat's periscope (circled in blue) also survived the blast in decent condition. At least one of the handles used by the Captain to hold onto while viewing out the periscope is still attached.



Here is a close up (also circled in blue). Note the viewing handle on the right (FYI the periscope is lying upside down in the wreck):



Here is a picture of a U-boat Captain using the periscope:



The periscope lies here in the wreck:




Another well defined feature from the wreck is the bow compressed air tank (circled in blue):



Here is a plan of a U-boat showing the location of the tank:



The compressed air tank lies here in the wreck (circled in red):



The flak guard on the side of the conning tower was blown off by the explosion, and lays just behind the conning tower of the wreck (circled in red with red arrow indicating where the flak guard was installed and where it landed):


A flak guard on a similar U-boat installed (circled in red):




A torpedo door (circled in blue) also lies in the wreck - the only one to be found at the rear of the boat - which leads credence to the IXD2 identification, because many were stripped of all, or but one, in order to make room for cargo for Japan:


A picture of a torpedo tube door:


Other bits and pieces of the U-boat found:

Anchor chain:



Bow winch (circled in blue):





Anchor windless (circled in blue) with a good picture of the 37 mm breach housing directly behind it:



Schematics showing the windless (circled in red):



Rear Hatch (circled in blue):



Rear Hatch close up:



Hull water vents (circled in blue):



Front jumping wires with a good view of the anchor chain:



Rear jumping wire:






Deck railing:




Canisters, which may contain mercury, spilled out of the central part of the wreck:



The field of "canisters" that spilled from the wreck after the explosion:


Remnants of the two periscope stands on the top of the conning tower (red circle):




Here is a picture of the two periscope stands still intact on a wreck (circled in red):


(You'll note where the floor of the conning tower is on the wreck above. Now examine the same feature on the Muskrat Falls U-boat wreck, and you will note the explosion inside the Muskrat Falls boat was so violent that it drove the floor up to level with the conning tower lip)

EXPOLSIVE CONCLUSION:

Orders from German Command at the time of U-851's disappearance gave explicit instructions on how to scuttle a U-boat should it become necessary:


The U-boat wreck near Muskrat Falls had three centres of explosives: one near the bow; one near the bow side of the engine room (roughly mid ship); and one at the stern. The explosive force is still evident in the wreck (red circles and arrows):





The blasts left gaping holes at the centre of the U-boats hull, at the front of the bow, and massive tear marks to the stern of the boat (red circles).





The bow explosion ripped the entire front of the U-boats super structure off and left a massive hole in the hull (blue dotted circle):



The U-boat's superstructure surrounds the inner hull as shown in the diagram below (inner hull lined with blue):


The bow blast was so powerful it ripped the bow superstructure right off and the top half of the inner super structure ( red line represents the missing portion of the front of the U-boat from the main wreck site):



The blast was most powerful at the centre of the boat, which indicates an engine room explosion as per headquarters instructions on scuttling. In fact the blast transformed the shape of the conning tower itself. Specifically, the bow portion of the conning tower was ripped from its normal position and thrust forward so that it came to rest horizontally from the conning tower - rather than up and down as it should be. I've attempted to show the transformation with a diagram on the sonar picture. The dotted blue line represents where that piece should be. The line indicates where the piece ripped from the conning tower body. The arrow indicates the direction necessary to put the piece back in it's proper place.




CONCLUSION:

There were only two IXD2 U-boats unaccounted for at the end of the war. One was U-851 carrying mercury and other still classified cargo. The other was U-180 carrying uranium oxide. U-180 disappeared from radio contact the moment it left its base on the western coast of France in the summer of 1944. It was thought to have been destroyed in a minefield off Biscay, but that was never confirmed. According to the accounts of its escorts U-180 was at a depth where it would have cleared the minefield - as the other boats did that left at the same time as U-180 (with a similar cargo also going to Japan). Therefore, it is also a remote possibility that U-180, and not U-851 is the U-boat at Muskrat Falls. Of course, that would mean the cargo laying at the bottom of the river is uranium oxide and not mercury. Either way it's not a good result.

If U-180 was the boat that was scuttled near the Falls it would beg some potentially uncomfortable questions. Why did U-180 maintain radio silence from the moment it left its base to its final destination. Was the voyage never meant to go to Japan, but rather deliver uranium to the US at Goose Bay air force base (which had a large docking facility)? There were deals being made toward the end of the war between Nazi's looking to get out and allied forces. The US desperately needed uranium oxide to build an atom bomb before Japan could. The story of German U-boat U-234 surrendering to US forces rather than the nearby Canadian forces, whilst carrying a load of uranium oxide to Japan rings some bells. A good synopsis of that story can be found here . It begs the very real question why a German U-boat would bother scuttling far up a river in Labrador, as if to make sure the boat was never found again. However, surely that could have been done almost anywhere along the northern Labrador coast, and that would have placed them closer to any Moravian Reverend that cared to aid them for an exit. One conclusion could be that the base at Goose Bay was the intended mission destination, and an exit up the river was the shortest and safest way to exit the base (hidden from the regular air traffic going to it).

However, it seems the story of U-851 fits the bill better. An older Captain (as described as well in Sellar's Hard Aground book) who was able to navigate the river and its sandbars makes sense. The fact that U-851 was meant to be heading south to Japan, but instead did a U-turn just south of Newfoundland heading in the general northern direction of the Labrador coast on its final radio transmission. No description or account of any allied naval or air assets destroying a U-boat off the coast of Newfoundland or Labrador at that time. No mention of a U-boat spotted. No need for a dark and sinister conspiracy to aid an enemy with uranium while still at war with them. A "convict crew" that wanted nothing to do with the war no doubt. The story of the surviving members of U-234 is a stark reminder that toward the end of the war their morale was "nonexistent" and they "couldn't care less" what was in the boxes (uranium) in their hold. As far as they were concerned their mission was a suicide mission as Russian troops entered Berlin. The tale of the survivors can be found here in this video .

As I finish this post, after three long years of research, one question still nags at my mind: why? Of all the places why take a treacherous trip up a river lined with sand bars in the middle of the night on the surface? Why has the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, or the Canadian government not had the wreck dived on to ascertain which U-boat it is and what cargo it has on board? After all, this was promised. The German Ambassador to Canada at the time was quoted in the media as saying: "We must brace ourselves for surprises". The Ambassador also said the Newfoundland and Labrador government agreed to take the lead in authenticating the wreck. The story is here . Yet nothing. It's as if the governments of Germany, Canada, and this province want to leave a sleeping dog lie. That also begs the question: why? There are just as many questions left about the U-boat wreck as have been answered. The one thing that is certain is there is a U-boat wreck near Muskrat Falls from World War II. The rest cannot be proven beyond a doubt until the wreck is dived upon. One of the best divers in the world, from the United States, has agreed to do that dive this summer. In the words of the German Ambassador to Canada: " We must brace ourselves for surprises."


UPDATE:

If you believe there is nothing to the case of the sunken Muskrat Falls u-boat, please feel free to read the letter below - response from Transport Canada to my access to information request:


NEWLY ADDED:

German U-boat Coverup in Canada










On May 9, 2016, I filed an access to information request with the federal government (specifically Transport Canada). The purpose of that request was to assist in research on the two U-boat wrecks discovered near Muskrat Falls in Labrador. It seemed straightforward enough. It's been 71 years since those u-boats made their way up the Churchill River. However, my first sign of trouble came when I received their first response. You can read it below:
The federal government wanted some serious time to prepare a fairly simple request. Well, I thought, perhaps they will do a very thorough job and we can get some answers to this deep mystery resting on the bottom of the Churchill River. Wrong again. On October 16, 2016, some six months later, I received a bunch of blacked out media emails, and generally just garbage. The release was of no value whatsoever - with one exception. Curiously it wasn't information that was released that caused any interest, but the official reasoning for not releasing the information I know they have that caught my attention. It reads like this:
"Mr. Cabana, you will note that certain information has been withheld from disclosure pursuant to:
15. (1) INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE
15. (1) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information."
Wow, that was a mouthful. So, in other words, the federal government cannot release any information on two sunken U-boats near Muskrat Falls, even after 71 years, because it could hurt our allies. That in itself is a huge red flag. Seriously, there are u-boats sunk all over the world. They are dived on, and in some cases they have been raised. So why are the two U-boats at Muskrat Falls so top secret?
My theory on this is quite simple. I cannot speak to the one U-boat because the diver has not shared any of his pictures or sonars of it, and the provincial government blacked out the images they had on their files of it. In other words, I can't confirm that wreck is a U-boat - although some of the provincial government emails indicated it was. However, the other U-boat I can guarantee is a "black boat" U-boat, either U-180 or U-851. I previously presented the evidence on that find in this post . If you haven't read it, then take a moment and give it a look. Furthermore, all available intelligence on these U-boats is their last missions both occurred toward early fall of 1944.
At that time, August of 1944 to be exact, Martin Bormann met with the major corporations of Nazi Germany, advised them the war was over, and instructed them to create international offshoots to hide money and resources before the Reich collapsed. Simultaneously, he was involved in secret talks with Allen Dulles, head of the US OSS (now CIA) which on it's face involves the recruitment of German scientists to the US after the war. However, and it's a big however, it seems they may have been discussing more than just post war employment for German scientists. My theory is the most pressing thing they were negotiating was uranium. Uranium the US did not have, and uranium the US needed to develop an atomic bomb before Japan and/or Russia did.
Bottom-line to my theory, and it is a theory, is the U-boats laying near Muskrat Falls secretly transported uranium to the US via its base in Goose Bay, Labrador. After delivering their load at the dock on the base they then proceeded up the Churchill River during the dark and scuttled their U-boats once there. There is really no other reason for a German U-boat to be that far inland. If the crew simply wanted to be out of the war, as folk lore has it, they would have scuttled their boat right on the Labrador coast where they could be sheltered by the Moravian communities, and where almost no allied presence to speak of was available. It would make no sense militarily to take the risk of crossing Lake Melville, and traversing the Churchill River, right next to the largest allied air transit base in North America during WW II. In fact, it would have been fool hardy.
My theory goes one step further. Why would the Germans be sending uranium to help the US build an atomic bomb while still fighting the Americans in Europe - albeit in Germany at that point? Logically they were striking a not so conditional surrender - secretly of course. The quid pro quo was uranium, technology and scientists for post war protection of German corporations assets and Nazi brass - including more than likely Hitler. A deal with the devil no question, but a deal that suited several purposes. The Americans got their nuclear and technology resources that place them well for after the war. The German elite got a promise of essentially exile in South America - free of foreign intelligence interference. In coming to this agreement they both became allies in one thing - fighting the Soviet Union. The Germans realized the Soviets were about to militarily dominate them, and the Americans didn't want post war competition in shaping the world. Getting the US to nuclear status first suited everyone's interests.   
Both u-180 and u-851 were carrying secret cargos to Japan: in u-180's case it was uranium; and in U-851's case the payload remains unconfirmed as to whether it was uranium or mercury. Both U-boats are the only ones left in their class that remain unaccounted for. Both disappeared in late summer and early fall of 1944 in the Atlantic. U-180 maintained radio silence the moment it left its French base in mid August. U-234, the U-boat that deliberately surrendered to the US and not Canada at the war's end (also carrying uranium) maintained radio silence its entire voyage across the Atlantic. There is an excellent documentary on U-234 called "Hitler's Last U-boat" which is available on You Tube.
In any case, as with most mysteries, some questions can be answered by a process of elimination. The official records say U-180 left with three other U-boats - all destined to Japan with uranium and technology. The other two U-boats maintained contact with Germany. The escorts that took them all  through the Bay of Biscay maintained the U-boats all made it through the mine fields as they were at the appropriate depth. There were no explosions from underwater mines detonating, nor any debris field from a stricken U-boat. The French government has never attempted to locate and raise or contain a U-boat wreck right off its shore that was full of uranium. Why not would be a good question. The Norwegian government had a similar situation with the sunken u-864 which had the dubious honour of being the only submarine sunk by another submarine in World War Two. It was also full of mercury. The story is here . Yet, no word of France looking for a similar situation off its coast... It's as if France knows U-180 is not sitting on the bottom of its coast leaching uranium into its waters.
Sometimes words say something. Sometimes the lack of words say something. It's for all of us to decide what is the truth that lays below the waves of the Churchill River near Muskrat Falls, and the secret role they played that altered the course of World war II and the post war era.



NEWLY ADDED:


The Muskrat Falls U-boat cover up - emails







The best way to start an article like this is to just come out with it: we have been mislead. After numerous appeals by a "third party" my access to information request for any maps, drawings, pictures or communications regarding a German U-boat wreck at or near Muskrat Falls from the provincial Department of Natural Resources has been granted. What it discloses, despite the government not being fully forthcoming in its disclosure, is a web of secrecy and deceit regarding the U-boat wrecks at Muskrat Falls.

That's right I said "wrecks" as in plural. Government emails disclose their are actually two U-boat wreck sites at Muskrat Falls. One site, directly at the foot of the falls, being explored by Ray Tremblay of "Bomb Hunters" fame, and the other about 900 meters from it (the one I previously wrote on and that was first pictured in sonar image by Mr. Corbin). In an email from Natural Resources Assistant Deputy Minister Paul Scott in July, 2012, the provincial government acknowledges there may be two U-boat wrecks at Muskrat Falls and nearby. However, and perhaps even more importantly, the email proves Nalcor new of the one U-boat wreck as early as 2012, and had its exact location on a map.

Then in later 2012, provincial archeologist Martha Drake fired off an email to Mr. Tremblay which questioned whether he was focusing on the u-boat wreck or "... on the reported bunker site on land." That was a first for me. A bunker site on land? A German bunker site? This just keeps getting stranger and stranger. And all of it is well known by our provincial government. Here's that email:




However, the big bomb comes when, in July, 2012, Nalcor's Senior Communications Advisor Karen O'Neill sends an email to Paul Scott, copying in Nalcor's senior management team, which admits to the U-boat wreck and its exact location. The government wouldn't release the sonar scans or maps but gave a big "redacted" square instead. In the email O'Neill states:

" Attached is the side-scan of the submarine and the exact coordinates of the wreck."

Here is the complete email:



Ray Tremblay indeed sent a picture of the U-boat wreck to the provincial government in August of 2012. However, the provincial government blackened out the picture for my ATTIPA request:


What seems quite strange is that an email from Diana Quinton, Director of Communications at Tourism, Culture and Recreation which details written responses to the provincial CBC for a request on details of the U-boat. In the response Quinton clearly states:

" It has come to our attention that two groups have reported the discovery of wrecks near Muskrat Falls in the Churchill River. One group made their discovery in 2010 (and reported it to Transport Canada's Receiver of Wreck this week), while the other group made their discovery in June, 2012. The coordinates for the two wrecks are different. Therefore, we assume there could possibly be two wrecks involved."

No such mention of two wrecks was ever reported by the CBC or any other media outlet. The question remains why not? They were clearly informed of two possible U-boat wrecks in 2012. The one they reported on is about 900 meters from the Falls. The one they didn't report on was Ray Tremblay's discovery right at the foot of the Falls. That is clearly a question the CBC must answer. Given the Muskrat Falls construction very nearby the wreck it would seem logical that it might be the bigger story then the other wreck they did cover. Here's the email:



The email records, particularly between Mr. Tremblay and the provincial government departments, show that Tremblay has been doing scientific scanning and diving on the wreck site every year since 2012 to the present. For those that aren't familiar with Mr. Tremblay he is a retired Canadian Forces combat engineer - an expert in demolitions. His company is featured on History Channel's "Bomb Hunters", and he has access to a wealth of all modern scientific technology for scanning below the waters surface. In an interview with me today he detailed a number of scientific, but classified methods he and his team have used over the last three years on the U-boat wreck. They'll stay confidential here, but suffice it to say he is very well qualified in what he and his team do. During his exploration he has been in constant contact with both the Canadian (more on that later) and the German governments giving them updates as detailed in this August, 2014 email:


Later in 2014, Mr. Tremblay conducted actual dives on the wreck site, but encountered wild currents and conditions (being that the site is at the foot of the Falls). He and his team did manage to film 60 hours of video though. This email gives a good description of their work in October, 2014:



In the lead up to the October, 2014 dives Mr. Tremblay requested a member of the provincial government's archeology team dive with his team given the province's interest in the matter and its historical significance. The province declined the initiation given the government had forbid Tremblay's team from removing any dirt or objects from the site, or even the touching of them:



In May, 2015, things really start moving along - especially in the email department. It's here when Mr. Tremblay first notes that the federal government is quite quietly involved with the u-boat wreck. In fact, Mr. Tremblay actually met with the Prime Ministers Office and the Department of Canadian Heritage in Ottawa. Furthermore, Mr. Tremblay states the Prime Minister (Harper) is personally interested in the wreck site. Also, at this time the German Embassy are involved with the project. In the same email though the dark side of the U-boat wrecks is revealed. Divers are highly zealous in keeping U-boat wrecks secret until they have established their name to the discovery. Of course with that established name comes lucrative contracts from media like the History Channel. To be fair though, discovering a wreck is expensive business and all out of pocket for the diving company. The email details spying by one group on the other group during exploration. In any case, here's the 2015 email detailing the PMO's involvement, and the rest:



A June 29, 2015 email from Mr. Tremblay details further contacts he has had with the federal government and advises the provincial government on his plans for a mid August, 2015 confirmation dive as well as press conference to announce the confirmation of the U-boat wreck to the world. According to the email, Tremblay states the Canadian War Museum wants to raise the wreck and place it in the museum in Ottawa:


On that same day June 29, 2015, Nalcor Senior Communications Manager fires off a rather panicked and confused email to Martha Drake stating she thought the U-boat would be left an undisturbed wreck. The more interesting response is Ms. Drake's:

"... In the meantime, the vessel belongs to the German government".

That is a big statement. It acknowledges the provincial government knows the wreck is that of a U-boat and that as such the wreck "belongs" to the "German government". Otherwise, the German government would have no claim on the wreck at  Muskrat Falls, let alone have the province's archeologist admit that Germany has ownership over it. Here's the email exchange:




On August 11, 2015 Mr. Tremblay notified provincial and federal officials of the plan for the dive (blackened out) and the date he expected to conduct his big press announcement - August 28, 2015:




In a somewhat panicked tone, Martha Drake informs other involved officials that: "..there is something in the river. I expect we can all agree on that..." She goes on to state she will craft a letter to prohibit any touching of the wreck by Mr. Tremblay's team and that she will inform Foreign Affairs of the situation:


And here is the hastily prepared letter Ms. Drake sent to Mr. Tremblay regarding the dive. It is interesting to note her cautioning of underwater unexploded munitions that may be on the site from the U-boat - especially given Mr. Tremblay's world class experience in unexploded munitions... She is very emphatic that: " ... the wreck and debris field shall not be disturbed, touched on manipulated ..." I find that a very curious instruction for a team of divers attempting to identify a U-boat. Here's why: I know of no U-boat dive that didn't require divers to touch, move and surface with articles in order to identify a German U-boat wreck. It's standard practise. Of course removing human remains is strictly forbidden (if there are any), but articles such as knives, breathing apparatus, etc are routinely removed from U-boat wrecks to identify them. For instance, in many cases U-boat numbers are on the backs of china used on the boat, or names are placed on individual escape breathing apparatus. Boat numbers are also found on torpedo doors or the ship's batteries. Most of which have to be extensively cleaned to remove decades of sea growth before they give up their information. Whether Ms. Drake's instructions are from a point of ignorance, or otherwise, they doomed the identification of the boat before the operation started.



Ms. Drake then sends an email to Nalcor and government senior staff letting them know that her letter to Mr. Tremblay was sent to Foreign Affairs. Odd that she should make that distinction if the touching of the U-boats debris field etc was for safety reasons. it is hard to see what interest Foreign Affairs might have in such a topic. It seems as though a number of people were quite determined to tie Mr. Tremblay's hands in actually identifying the U-boat, or perhaps its cargo, and that included the federal and German governments. Indeed, Reneta Lambreva, Senior Policy Advisor at Foreign Affairs responded to one Dan Mackenzie, federal government, Inter-governmental Affairs Secretariat:

"... To prepare the ground on our side, I have notified the desk for Germany as a heads up for the potential announcement involving a foreign vessel that might come out by August 28th. Keeping the desk informed will speed up things in case an action needs to be taken. "


Mr. Mackenzie then disseminates the details of the wreck that Foreign Affairs has supplied (which aren't included in the ATTIPPA release). He emphasizes the need for a coordinated approach:


Then on August 22, 2015 Mr. Tremblay fires off an excited email to Ms. Drake that confirmation diving will start on the wreck the next day. He states that the team saw a propeller with an underwater camera the day before:


Then, like a balloon that burst, a final email from Mr. Tremblay on August 31, 2015 to Ms. Drake:

" No announcement this time again..."


Given the big buildup to the dive in August, 2015, which included 10 divers, I was left somewhat dumfounded at the sudden end of email exchanges and the pronouncement of "no announcement this time again". Clearly it was a message of frustration (understandably) by Mr. Tremblay, but the reasons weren't detailed in an email. They came by way of a phone conversation he had with Ms. Drake. I contacted Mr. Tremblay to clarify what happened. His response was the sand had completely covered the wreck. Given the restrictive measures placed on him by the provincial government (my words not his) there was never any hope for identifying the U-boat number, but not being able to remove sand to expose the wreck now meant the announcement to the world had to be postponed for yet another year. Mr. Tremblay states that when the Muskrat Falls River is diverted (hopefully it won't be) his team will be able to work much better in the environment around the wreck as the currents and volumes of water will be dramatically reduced.

It's hard to visualize the U-boat wreck Mr. Tremblay has discovered as neither he nor the government will allow any pictures of it to be released. He told me the wreck is approximately 68 meters long and he believes it to be an intact type VII German U-boat. He remains completely committed and determined to be the one that exposes it once and for all, and given his work and financing of the project that should never be denied to him. that being said, as a point of history, the government and or Mr. Tremblay should release the images of the U-boat wreck so that the people of the province, and Germany, can see it once and for all. In addition, those of us with experience in identifying these sort of things may well be able to identify the boat's type by its distinctive structures. I don't believe that would in any way take away from Mr. Tremblay's exclusive claim to having discovered the wreck - it would simply share the images of it with the rest of us. For history's sake.

Of course, the other side of this story is that Nalcor, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada  and the Government of Germany have kept total silence on the ongoing explorations and discoveries since the initial sonar picture of the other wreck hit the media in 2012. They have left those of us trying to expose the truth, for history's sake, on the sidelines like a bunch of crazed conspiracy theorists. Now the truth is coming out, and these emails (there are more I haven't published) prove that the U-boat wrecks at Muskrat Falls are not ghosts of the fanciful, but very real hulks of history. The question remains why? Why are these governments and Nalcor trying to cover them up?


NEWLY ADDED:

The Tragic Truth About the Muskrat Falls U-Boat Wreck - U-180



It was August 20, 1944, Bordeaux, France - at the U-boat pens. The Allies had broken out from their foothold in Normandy, and the USSR had crushed the German army and began its invasion of Romania. Five days earlier the US had invaded Southern France in an operation codenamed "Anvil". The German occupation of France was at its end, and the remnants of the German forces were desperately fleeing for Germany, or in the case of the U-boats - the sea. It was under these dangerous and chaotic circumstances that the Captain of U-180 prepared to take her out to sea on his maiden mission as the U-boat's commander.

Rolf Riesen, the commander, was not a fervent Nazi, but he was a very patriotic German. He was also a family man who loved his family dearly, but saw them very rarely since joining the German Navy in 1938. He considered joining the navy his patriotic duty, and was very committed to the "higher cause". His served as a junior officer on the German heavy cruiser Lutzow until the end of 1941. He then transferred to the destroyer and torpedo boat holding division. Deciding to take a different tact, Riesen undertook U-boat training until September, 1942, and then served as a watch officer on U-198 until February, 1944. He then undertook U-boat commander training for three months, and on April 2, 1944 he took command of U-180 - his final command.  This story, although of major historical import, is dedicated to the memory of  Oberleutnant zur See Rolf Riesen, the last commander of U-180.

Rolf Riesen as a watch officer in 1942

Rolf Riesen just before leaving on his final mission 2 years later
Riesen supervised the loading of his beloved first command before going to sea. However, there were a number of wood crates in his boat that he had no idea of their contents. He was a very meticulous officer, keen on details, but a very superior officer gave him the "it's on a need to know basis and you don't need to know" speech. As a loyal and dedicated officer he did not question his superior. Little did he know the crates contained u-234 - uranium. What he did know was they were stowed below, with other cargo stored upon them. He also knew his orders had him sailing for Japan, which was not an uncommon destination for the "black boats" of the German U-boat fleet.
"Black boats" meaning U-boats involved in transporting special cargos of uranium, mercury, weapons technology etc to Japan, and often bringing gold bullion back as payment to Germany. U-180 had been used in a well documented secret mission to transport Indian nationalist politicians to a Japanese sub for delivery to India earlier in the war, but her Mercedes engines were too loud and left an oil trail to be used again. She was mothballed, but then brought back having her engines pulled, new engines added, a state of the art snorkel and radar installed, and other modifications which improved her operations significantly. As he left Bordeaux on that August day, Riesen had no idea of the horror and betrayal that lay in wait for him from members of his own crew - many of them had no idea either.
U-180 left port with three other U-boats bound for Japan. They had an escort ship on the surface to protect them from sudden air or naval attack. Shortly after they submerged the escort ship reported that all U-boats had cleared the minefield and were en route. So far so good. However, just as the voyage started Riesen was confronted in private by MtrOGfr Helmut Hantschel. Riesen had befriended Hantschel, as much as a U-boat Captain would, he trusted the young man. They were all young men to Riesen as he was considered an old man in the U-boat service. What Riesen didn't know was young Hantschel was not a naval officer. His real name wasn't even Hantschel. He was, in fact, an SS officer acting under direct orders from Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. His mission: take control of the U-180, and its cargo of uranium, and deliver it to the Americans at the Goose Bay Air Force base in Labrador, Canada. A grand plan to resettle Nazis after the war had been launched by Hitler's number one man, Martin Bormann. Bormann gave the order to Himmler, and Himmler gave the order directly to Hantschel.

Hantschel, for his part, was a fanatic Nazi with an almost psychopathic obsession with power. This was a dream mission for him, and he gladly accepted even though he had never been on a U-boat before. The confrontation between Riesen and Hantschel was nothing less than the deliberate killing of the Captain. Hantschel took a large knife from the sub's galley and plunged it in one single stroke through Riesen's heart. Riesen died almost immediately. As only a portion of the crew were aware of the plan to take over U-180, the killing needed to be kept secret to maintain order on the boat. To do this Hantschel used his experiences as a medic with the SS to carve Riesen into pieces. His remains were then placed in the rear torpedo tube and the Captain was expunged into the sea. And so begins the deliberate mutiny of U-180.

Surprisingly, perhaps, the absence of the Captain was kept under guard for days afterward. Days later three crew members suffered the same fate as they challenged the mutineers over the Captain's disappearance and the ship's mission. Most of the crew was unaware that the U-boat was heading for Canada rather than Japan. That was the way Hantschel and his mutineers wanted it kept. It was impossible to operate the U-boat over the trans Atlantic voyage without the various expertise of those on board, and complete discipline and control was absolutely necessary for success. It had to be a well oiled machine.

However, just a day before U-180 was to arrive at its destination in Labrador, a major battle broke out between the crew that was loyal to the mutineers and those that hadn't realized their mission had changed. In this one altercation, approximately half the crew were killed. Of an original crew of 56, only 24 were left now. Given the close proximity to the Goose Bay base, and wanting to remain submerged, the dead crew were left on the U-boat. Shortly after this final battle among the crew, Hantschel happened across a Canadian destroyer fishing with dynamite off the town Rigolet. read the media story here Years later, a then renamed Hantschel ( now Ernst Oscar Henschel) would relay to a sailor on that boat how he watched them fish with dynamite through his periscope. At that time Hantschel, or Henschel as he was then known, was a doctor in the Saskatchewan community of Prince Albert. Having been refused entry into the US after the war due to his "service" in the SS, Henschel emigrated to Canada at first.

U-180 then made its way up Lake Melville to a predesignated position just out to shore from the Goose Bay Air Force base. It was nighttime, and pitch black. The U-boat surfaced, and dispatched a dingy, with wooden crates, to a small supply/maintenance dock just south of the base (the dock no longer exists). There it was met by armed US servicemen. In the confusion and tension of the moment, 2 of the German U-boat men were shot to death by a US soldier when they made sudden moves he wasn't expecting. The uranium was eventually completely transferred. In accordance with the original plan given to him back in Germany, Hantschel and the remaining crew took the U-boat up the Churchill River on the surface. They used only their electric engines to power the boat to remain quiet in transit. However, even with these precautions they were heard and spotted by two Innu hunters in the area.

At the predesignated location, just south of Muskrat Falls, the crew scuttled U-180 in accordance with standard operating procedures of the German U-boat fleet. Charges were placed at the bow, rear, and centre of the boat. The dead crew members from the battle amongst the crew the day before, and the newly killed members from the supply dock, were left on board the U-boat as she sunk. However, even the scuttling didn't go well as two men were killed and two injured during the scuttling process. By the end of the mission only 15 crew members of the original 56 had survived.

The survivors of U-180, with the exception of Hantschel and a few others, were forced to stay in North America. Hantschel and the others were transported back to Germany to confirm the mission was successful. Ironically, Hantschel is shown graduating from Charles University of Prague, medical school, just six months later. He ended his career in medicine back in the United States as professor and chairman of the Medical College of Wisconsin, and has an annual award named after him. read here (notice the brief reference to his service in the German Navy) His wife, who he met in London in 1950, also became a well known doctor in the area. Today only two survivors of the horror and treachery that was U-180 are still alive. Both are now old men in their late 90's. One still has a keen mind, but the other unfortunately does not. The keen minded survivor was a fellow officer who loyally served under Captain Riesen, but as a young officer he was terrified to turn against the mutineers - with good reason as the history shows. He now lives with deep remorse and nightmares about his experience on U-180.

In the end, although the seizing of U-180 was a preplanned operation by the highest levels of the Nazi Party and the SS, the attempt to use the uranium as a bargaining chip with the Allies was apparently unsuccessful. The US double crossed their German partners, but got the uranium in any case for the Manhattan Project. U-180 remains unexplored on a sandy river bank near Muskrat Falls as a ghostly reminder of human tragedy, the ruthlessness of the dark world of Nazi Germany, and almost the last bit of evidence that the Germans and the Americans had cut a deal for uranium while still at war with each other in Europe. Meanwhile, the families of the men lost in U-180 have no idea what really happened to them on that dark voyage during the dying days of the war. Perhaps it may have been better that way, but for the necessity to observe the significant historical moment the wreck of the U-180 represents. It is the truth of the matter that counts now. It has been 75 years since U-180 sunk in Labrador's waters, yet the Government of Canada will still not release what documents they have on the matter. The grounds for the refusal - "releasing the information may cause harm or embarrassment to an ally." It was always hard to fathom how such an old story, and a forgotten wreck, could cause injury and/or embarrassment to an ally, but given the truth of what really happened to U-180 and its uranium cargo, well, perhaps it should.








4 comments:

  1. So it's been a year since the response from TC, what was the final reslut?

    ReplyDelete
  2. So Mercury... or Uranium Oxide (Probably Mercury).

    In either case perhaps it should be let be buried? The only other option is an extremely careful site remediation. I can't even think what that will take to do but if the wreck is disturbed at all it's going to have to be done.

    Great digging, by the way. Fascinating stuff here.

    ReplyDelete

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