By Luis Mota (SUBMANIA)
The U1277 was built in the Bremer Vulcan shipyard in Bremen - Vegesack, commissioned
on the 3rd May 1944 and launched May 18th of the same year, with her command
delivered to captain-lieutenant Peter-Ehrenreich Stever.
She belongs to
VIIC class and she was, originally, 67m (221ft) long, 6.20m (20ft) high and
4.74m (15ft) waterline beam. She used two of her four engines (two diesel and
two electric engines) that generated a power of 3200hp with a maximum speed of
17.6 knots on surface and 750hp with maximum speed of 7.6 knots when submerged.
She displaced 769 tons on the surface and 871
when submerged. The sub had a range of 8500 miles at 10 knots on surface, 130
miles at 2 knots submerged, 3250 miles at 17 knots on surface and 80 miles at 4
knots submerged. She could submerge to a maximum depth between 150m (495ft) and
180m (594ft) with a minimum crash-dive time between 25 and 30 seconds and she
had the capacity to store 113.5 tons of fuel.
The sub was fitted with four torpedo launch
tubes on the bow, two on starboard and two on portside, and a fifth on the
stern (all 533mm), carrying a total of 14 torpedoes. She had also, outside the
tower, anti-aircraft guns. These guns were automatic 37mm cannon and two twins
20mm machine guns.
This submarine was integrated on the 8th
flotilla, where she worked first as an experimental and instruction ship. On
February 1945, because of the few remain U-boats still active, she was
transferred to Bergen (Norway), home of the 11th flotilla. This sub was now a front
boat. Her first and only patrol was to sail across the
Iceland Strait into the Atlantic and position herself on the entrance of the
English Channel. The U1277 leaves port on April 22nd, 1945.
The crew was composed by 45 men, four of which
were officials - commandant (Peter-Ehrenreich Stever), first subordinate officer
(Johannes Malwitz), second subordinate officer (Carl Hermann Stachow) and the
machine officer (Ernst Engel) - four sergeants and the remaining were sailors.
The age of the crew of the U1277 averaged between 18 and 25.
The U-boat was scuttled on the dawn of
June 3rd 1945 out of Cabo do Mundo, near Oporto, by order of her commander, the
captain-lieutenant Stever, after sailing without course through the Atlantic for
a period of one month (the Armistice was signed on the 8th of May 1945, one year
after her launch into the water and almost one month before she was sunk).
In October 1973 a group
of sport divers and local fishermen went out to sea to find out what was the
obstacle that takes hold of all their fishing nets. It was with some luck and
happiness that they found that the obstacle was the famous German submarine that
sunk on our coast at the end of the World War II. The sub rests since 1945 at
31m (102ft) on a sandy seabed, with the stern completely silted up and lain
about 45 degrees on her portside. The bow is missing, existing only the four
torpedoes launch tubes, as well as the conning tower where all anti-aircraft guns were.
...Click on spots to open images...
Original frame outline
Visible part remaining
Sand bottom level (31m)
Hidden part remaining
The hull is dressed with little white anemones
(Sargatia elegans), thousands of small fishes, conger eels that are the biggest
that can be found in these waters, huge octopuses and the amazing colony of
pink anemones descendant from the North Sea. These are some of the natural
attraction of this wreck. On the conning tower, divers can only see the hard hull, made
with 22mm solder rigid sheet metal, the periscope and the open hatchway.
Even in this state of
deterioration, the U1277 is still clearly one of the best and more interesting
wreck dive sites of Portugal and the best in the north of our country.
Minimum diving certification
required to dive this wreck:
CMAS two stars or equivalent.
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THE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS DIVE SITE
WAS PROVIDED BY:
Matosinhos - Portugal
© Luis Mota