April 14 (UPI) — The remains of a rare World War II-era German submarine have been located at the bottom of the North Sea, Danish Sea War Museum Jutland announced on Friday.
The submarine, identified as U-3523, was sunk by bombs from a British B-24 Liberator bomber on May 6, 1945, the day after Denmark was liberated from Nazi control.
The vessel was regarded as a major advance in submarine technology, and may have given Germany an advantage had it not entered the war at a late date. It could stay immersed for several days at a time and could recharge its electric batteries underwater, each a unique feature at the time.
Of 118 ordered, only two entered service prior to the end of the war.
It’s believed 58 German sailors died aboard the submarine, which now sits on the seabed at a depth of 403 feet. The sub was found nine nautical miles from where it was believed to have sunk.
The findings are part of a project by the museum to locate and map shipwrecks in the North Sea. Only one other preserved example of the submarine model exists, in the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven.
“On May 5th, when the war ended, someone decided to flee. Why they were fleeing, and where they were going, no one knows,” museum director Gert Andersen said Friday.
There were rumors after the war that German submarines — including U-3523 — carried gold and precious art from Germany to South America.
Andersen said the sub was on a training mission when the bombing occurred, after the war ended for Denmark.
There are no plans to raise the sub to the surface.