The almost intact wreckage of a First World War U-boat was recently found by cablelayers off the coast of Scotland, prompting speculation that it could be the wreckage of the doomed vessel UB-85.
UB-85 was a Type-III U-boat in service with the Kriegsmarine that was “attacked by a large sea creature” on April 30, 1918.
The legend of UB-85 has been passed down the ages, and maritime lore says that the sub was disabled by an aquatic leviathan, prompting the crew to surrender to a passing British patrol boat.
As the story goes, the British vessel HMS Coreopsis happened across a German sub drifting off the Scotland coast. The Coreopsis crew were stunned by the sight of a German sub on the sea surface, right on the middle of the day, and showing no signs of putting up a fight. The German sailors were quickly brought on board Coreopsis.
Once brought to safety, the sub’s captain, Gunther Krech, reportedly said that UB-85 had surfaced during the night before to recharge its batteries. Then, out of the bottomless fathoms, a ‘strange beast’ leaped out of the water.
Krech continued, saying that the creature “had large eyes, set in a horny sort of skull. It had a small head, but with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight”. He added that its heft was such that it could make the sub list from side to side just by pushing it. According to Krech, the monster attacked the sub’s forward gun, easily tearing chunks out of it and rendering it useless. The crew fired hand-held weapons at the creature, spooking it into sinking back into the depths.
Krech’s tale specified that the beast’s attack damaged the sub to such extent that it could no longer dive, hence its presence on the surface when Coreopsis sailed by.
After picking up the sub’s crew, Coreopsis fired on UB-85, sending it to its final resting place at the bottom of the sea.
Cue to present day, almost one hundred years later, and a cablelaying crew working on behalf of Scottish Power located the wreckage of an almost intact U-boat, prompting rumours that it could be the doomed U-85. Experts have pointed out, however, that it could also be its sister ship UB-22. Both vessels are almost identical, and the only way to tell which one it is would be to mount a deep sea dive and look at the identification lettering on its hull.
The area where the wreckage was found is rife with reports of uncanny sightings, dating back hundreds of years.
Whether UB-85 was indeed attacked by a sea monster, or something more mundane forced the sub to be scuttled, we’ll probably never know.
But it makes for good reading.