The Boy has a thing about submarines. When he went overland to Japan in 2005, one of his must-go stops was the submarine base in Leningrad/Petersburg. The capture of the U-505 is a big boys war story with only one fatality, so has quite a wide circulation - we all love a happy ending. Although I didn't hear about it at all until Zenon B Lukosius, one of the enlisted men involved, was tribbed in De Wiki's Did you know... compendium of weird facts.
museum in Chicago. The captured crew were rigorously quarantined - completely against the Geneva Conventions - but the US Navy really didn't want the enemy to know how easy it was to locate their submarines. The whole story of the first capture of an enemy ship by the US Navy since the War of 1812 can be seen in a US propaganda film. Dozens of still photographs have been archived as well. A longish memoir about an earlier incident in the career of U-505 gives a flavour of the sort of excitement that submariners habitually endured.
Capturing all that hardware was all very well, but the flotilla led by USS was actively hunting for a submarine in the area when they found U-505. They were able to do that because of another feat of derring-do two years earlier, indeed 72 years ago today 30 October 1942. On that day, U-559 was attacked in the Eastern Mediterranean by five British destroyers HMSs Petard, Pakenham, Hero, Dulverton and Hurworth and a Sunderland flying boat. The odds were against the submariners that day and the badly damaged ship surfaced. The surviving crew opened the sea-cocks and abandoned ship. But three volunteers from HMS Petard stripped off and swam to the sinking vessel. Fossicking about in the dark with the sound of deadly rushing water roaring in their ears, they managed to retrieve the submarine's code books which they threw into a whaler that had come alongside. Two of these men were still aboard when the submarine "sank like a stone" carrying them to Davy Jones's Locker. Those code books provided an vital key to the Enigma code which was baffling the boffins, including Alan Turing, back at Bletchley Park. With the code cracked, the Allied navies were able eventually to win the war at sea by inflicting a 75% mortality rate on German submariners. The mathematics of war are killing!