German submarine U-1206 (1944)

German submarine U-1206 was a German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 Type VIIC
German Type VII submarine
Type VII U-boats were the most common type of German World War II U-boat. The Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs going back to the World War I Type UB III, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag which was set up by Germany after...

U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 of the Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. She was laid down on June 12, 1943 at F. Schichau GmbH
The Schichau-Werke was a German engineering works and shipyard based in Elbing, formerly part of the German Empire, and which is today the town of Elbląg in northern Poland. It also had a subsidiary shipyard in Danzig .-Early years:...

 in Danzig and went into service on March 16, 1944. The boat's emblem was a white Stork
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. They belong to the family Ciconiidae. They are the only family in the biological order Ciconiiformes, which was once much larger and held a number of families....

 on a black shield with green beak and legs.

Service history

After being commissioned, under the command of Oblt. Günther Fritze, the submarine took part in training exercises with the 8th U-boat Flotilla until July 1944 when it was assigned to the 11th U-boat Flotilla. Command was handed over to Kptlt. Karl-Adolf Schlitt. The boat was then fitted with a Schnorchel
Submarine snorkel
A submarine snorkel is a device which allows a submarine to operate submerged while still taking in air from above the surface. Navy personnel often refer to it as the snort.-History:...

 underwater-breathing apparatus before being released for patrol duties.


On March 28, 1945 the submarine departed from Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

 for its first training patrol in the North Sea, returning on March 30. The submarine departed from Horten
is a town and municipality in Vestfold county, Norway—located along the Oslofjord. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Horten. The municipality also includes the villages of Borre, Åsgårdstrand, Skoppum, and Nykirke....

 for a one-day patrol on April 2, and its first active patrol began on April 6, when it departed from Kristiansand
-History:As indicated by archeological findings in the city, the Kristiansand area has been settled at least since 400 AD. A royal farm is known to have been situated on Oddernes as early as 800, and the first church was built around 1040...

. On April 14, while on patrol, the vessel sank after the toilet was operated improperly.


U-1206 was one of the late war boats fitted with new deepwater high-pressure head
Head (watercraft)
The head is a ship's toilet. The name derives from sailing ships in which the toilet area for the regular sailors was placed at the head or bow of the ship.-Design:In sailing ships the toilet was placed in the bow for two reasons...

s which allowed them to be used while running at depth. Flushing these facilities was extremely complicated and special technicians were trained to operate them.
On April 14, 1945, 8 miles (12.9 km) off Peterhead
Peterhead is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is Aberdeenshire's biggest settlement , with a population of 17,947 at the 2001 Census and estimated to have fallen to 17,330 by 2006....

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, while cruising at a depth of 200 feet (61 m), misuse of the new head caused large amounts of water to flood the boat. According to the Commander's official report, while in the engine room helping to repair one of the diesel engines, he was informed that a malfunction involving the head caused a leak in the forward section. The leak flooded the submarine's batteries (located beneath the toilet) causing them to release chlorine gas, leaving him with no alternative than to surface. Once surfaced, U-1206 was discovered and bombed by British patrols, forcing Schlitt to scuttle the submarine. One man died in the attack, three men drowned in the heavy seas after abandoning the vessel and 46 were captured. Schlitt recorded the location as 57°24′N 01°37′W but the wreck could not be relocated.

During survey work for the BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

 Forties Field
Forties oilfield
The Forties Oil Field is the largest oil field in the North Sea, 110 miles east of Aberdeen. It was discovered in 1970 and first produced oil in 1975 under ownership of BP.-History:...

 oil pipeline to Cruden Bay
Cruden Bay
Cruden Bay is a small village in Scotland, on the north coast of the Bay of Cruden in Aberdeenshire, 26 miles north of Aberdeen.Just south of Slains Castle, Cruden Bay was the site of a battle between Danes and Scots under King Malcolm II in 1012...

 in the mid 1970s, the remains of U-1206 were found at 57°21′N 01°39′W in approximately 70 m (229.7 ft) of water. The site survey performed by RCAHMS
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland is an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government 'sponsored' [financed and with oversight] through Historic Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government...

suggests that the leak that forced U-1206 to surface may have occurred after running into a wreck located at the same site.

A large number of sources attribute this incident to .

External links

  • German U-Boat Losses During World War II - Axel Niestle 1998, United States Naval Inst. ISBN 1557506418
  • U-1206
  • Kriegsmarine and U-Boat history List of U-1206 crew members
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