View Full Version : Hamburg, Elbe II, U-Boat Bunker. Report - 1992 - 2002. Pic Heavy.

15-02-2012, 07:53 PM
Ok this is an early request from Moodster in "Leads and Rumours" section:thumb

I first visited the Elbe II bunker way back in 1992 before UE really existed! Back then I was, and indeed still am interested in U-boats. Even going to the extent of writing a few books on the subject!


Brief History of Elbe II

There were two U-boat bunkers built at Hamburg during the war, Finkenwarder, and "Elbe II"
Elbe II was built for the Howaldswerke shipyard for the finishing of the Type VII-C U-boats. it was later used for the repair of U-boats returning from patrols. During the war, RAF Bomber Command regulary visited Hamburg and the docks and eventually dropped a Tallboy on the Elbe II bunker, which penetrated the heavy reinforced concrete roof and exploded. The damage however was minimal, the bomb penetrating the roof only!

When the war ended in 1945, the Royal Engineers attempted to blow up the bunker, with a significant amount of left over German munitions, the result was that the supporting wall in the middle of the two U-boat pens collapsed inward and the roof collapsed down onto the pens.
At the time of the explosion three U-boats under repair were left in the bunker Type XXI, U-2505, U-3004 and U-3506.

There they laid forgotten, slowly rusting away only visited by the occasional scrap merchant, who dared clamber under the blown roof that hung precariously on an outer wall!

Time moves on its now 1992! Through contacts within the U-boat community, I heard the story of the "Forgotten U-boats of Hamburg". Now at this time Hamburg was a "Free Port" and you needed to show your passport to get into the docks. This was no problem but to visit Elbe II was a lot harder, this part of the docks was off limits and indeed the area was really still abandoned and derelict. I procured a local U-boat guide, who led me into the depths of the bunker to see the remains of the three U-boats.

http://inlinethumb06.webshots.com/49221/2754204290033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2754204290033241453LdkXau)

Elbe II at the end of the war in 1945.

http://inlinethumb07.webshots.com/49350/1110572222033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/1110572222033241453ZXucNL)

Circa 1945, the three U-boats laying in the pen just prior to demolition of the bunker.

http://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/25154/1110572373033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/1110572373033241453IVNMom)

http://inlinethumb27.webshots.com/49306/1110571779033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/1110571779033241453UvCMAy)

The Royal Engineers stacked the pens out with left over German bombs, strategically placed to destroy the bunker, with the fuzes laid its time to set off the explosion.

http://inlinethumb23.webshots.com/43286/1110571945033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/1110571945033241453qdrmNL)

With a German policeman watching on, the wires are connected and the detonator handle is turned!

http://inlinethumb59.webshots.com/46842/1110572323033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/1110572323033241453sFntpD)

With an almighty explosion (sorry no pics) the roof collapses in on the two U-boats pens from the middle supporting wall, however the roof now rests precariously on the outer wall of the pen where the three U-boats lay covered!

Flash forward to 1992:thumb

http://inlinethumb47.webshots.com/48366/2203967170033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2203967170033241453dRRNFS)

First view of Elbe II and the collapsed roof resting on the outer wall. The doorway where the Royal Engineers set the fuzes is just visible by the roof collapse.

We clambered over the train tracks and slid in between the concrete, onto the side of the U-boat dockside.

http://inlinethumb47.webshots.com/47598/2649278230033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2649278230033241453hYYoIh)

Through the little gap on the dock we clambered under the roof!

http://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/47042/2189449630033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2189449630033241453HGHUgj)

On the dockside under the roof, it was dark and bloody scarey to say the least, with a few torches and a camera we went looking for the U-boats.

http://inlinethumb51.webshots.com/33714/2676359240033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2676359240033241453IXywwq)

With just torch light to guide us we were not to be dissapointed as they soon came into view!

http://inlinethumb01.webshots.com/48384/2277451110033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2277451110033241453APPnru)

The outer sheeting had been removed by scrap merchants over the years and indeed the conning towers had been stripped the hulls however were there. (The U-boats were still in the same position just as they were in the 1945 photo above).

http://inlinethumb06.webshots.com/46981/2290969300033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2290969300033241453VceVTv)

U-boat hulls. The roof of the bunker is just visible in the top!

http://inlinethumb28.webshots.com/5723/2758144720033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2758144720033241453shACEQ)

Remains of a conning tower base.

http://inlinethumb22.webshots.com/47893/2050511960033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2050511960033241453vvjErq)

Open hatch. It was not possible to get inside, as the bunker was regulary flooded at high tide, over the years the boats had filled up with a sticky smelly sludge.

That was 1992! We now jump to 2002. Between February and October 2002 the bunker is finally demolished to make way for a new extension of the container terminal.

http://inlinethumb40.webshots.com/48231/2121333800033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2121333800033241453rvVIVJ)

Feb 2002 - The Main entrance where all them years ago, 1945 the Royal Engineers stood setting the fuzes. Note the thickness of the roof!

http://inlinethumb51.webshots.com/49394/2114089080033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2114089080033241453vFkeJR)

The Main entrance October 2002. Demolition of the bunker is nearly complete. The U-boat pens, complete with the three U-boats have been backfilled with sand and concrete.

http://inlinethumb23.webshots.com/50134/2840030300033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2840030300033241453gCvdxo)

Nearly all gone now.

http://inlinethumb36.webshots.com/49443/2215421420033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2215421420033241453DfklVw)

Nothing remains the bunker has gone and the container terminal creeps nearer. The U-boats lay entombed below the ground. Maybe someday in the far, far future someone will discover them again?

I hope you have enjoyed this story, its been a long time since I was there, camera's back then were point and click so some crappy photos! But my memories of this explore I still remember, certainly unique and scarey especially with that great roof over your head.

Thanks for looking:thumb

15-02-2012, 08:29 PM
awesome thanks for that fella

15-02-2012, 08:56 PM
Awesome cool pre urbex report really interesting stuff ,just makes me wonder why they didnt rescue atleast one and restore it or is there enough of them complete left to make that not worth doing ?

15-02-2012, 08:57 PM
This is the best thread in ages, wow at them entombed under that flat area of land, fast forward to time team 2101 and you got some shit hot holovision on BBC8. Thank you for posting that is class and well done for getting to them!

15-02-2012, 09:11 PM
Awesome cool pre urbex report really interesting stuff ,just makes me wonder why they didnt rescue atleast one and restore it or is there enough of them complete left to make that not worth doing ?

Thats another story/s! These were pretty well wrecked and stripped by the time people realised what they were.
The recovery of U-534 was another story of people not interested in saving U-boats. I visited this particular boat back in 2001 when it was berthed up at Birkenhead. The demise of this complete U-boat is a sad story of no interest in saving it.
It was eventually cut up into pieces and now resides at the Woodside Ferry Terminal, Liverpool.

http://inlinethumb13.webshots.com/2060/1025729302033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/1025729302033241453CgKEftUpfN)

U-534 when berted at the now defunct Historic Ships Museum, Birkenhead circa 2001.

15-02-2012, 10:27 PM
That is amazing, I have an affection for the u-boats, the wolf pack history is so interesting, I cannot believe no one wants to save one! Well done. Loved to have seen that bunker.

17-02-2012, 01:02 PM
I agree with Clough, one of the best. Absolutely fantastic report!!!! A+. Such a shame to just bury them.

17-02-2012, 02:53 PM
very interesting :)

17-02-2012, 03:51 PM
best of 2012 for me so far by a country mile ..thanks very much for sharing this

20-02-2012, 08:46 AM
Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

20-02-2012, 10:49 AM
Thanks everyone, glad you have enjoyed this early UE!

21-02-2012, 06:35 PM
what else ya got haha

23-02-2012, 12:57 AM
As others have said this is truly awesome! Great to read about your visits & the history behind them. A time capsule for the future! Superb job Tankman! :clap

02-03-2012, 07:32 PM
This is the reason behind why I explore, to show the history of a site before it is demolished. I don't go climbing cranes or searching for high rise buildings, I do it for the history and this is the perfect example.

Thanks for sharing, now where's my spade?