The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The German Submarine Known as U-534


In May 1945, Germany was all but defeated. The caretaker head of state was Admiral Dönitz who presided over the last few days of National Socialist Germany's existence. On the 5th of May, Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered a partial surrender to his forces that still remained in Denmark.
The U-boat crew of a German submarine (U-534) was at sea. Presumably, they had got these orders via their enigma communication. They surfaced and joined with two other U-boats. Together the submarines were forming a convoy. One assumes to return to base. They were in the Kattegat sea - a narrow strip of water between Denmark and Sweden. It was the 5th of May 1945. Two days before the war would officially end on the 7th of May. The subs were about 14 miles Northwards of a small Danish island called Anholt.
The RAF was flying over the sea with impunity by this time of the war. The German Luftwaffe was none existent. Two RAF Liberator aircraft were patrolling the area. They spotted the convoy of submarines. By this time of the war, the allied air forces were attacking anything in enemy territory. Even horse and carts were being strafed. Three German submarines on the surface were plum targets and the RAF Liberators went into the attack with depth charge bombs dropping. The submarines tried to return fire and a fierce naval to air battle ensued.
The crew of U-534 fired upon the attacking British aircraft that were coming at them with machine gun fire and bombs. The u-boat firepower was successful in shooting down one of the RAF Liberators. However, many depth charges were dropped and the surviving Liberator managed to get a direct hit. The explosion caused fatal damage to the U-534 and the craft began to take on water at an alarming rate. The 52 crew had to abandon the sinking vessel. Five of the submarine crew were trapped in the torpedo room as the vessel sank. They escaped through the torpedo tubes. One of the young submariners - Josef Neudorfer held his breath all the way up to the surface and damaged his lungs. He needed to exhale breath before surfacing. The lung damage was fatal and the seventeen-year-old youngster died. Two more of the five men perished from exposure. Therefore forty-nine crew members survived.
Many years later, in 1993, the U-534 was brought to the surface and towed to Birkenhead in Liverpool. Much of the U-boat was repaired and displayed as a museum piece.


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