Sunday, January 27, 2008

Unterseeboot UC-97 lies at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

I grew up in Chicago but this story is new to me. It seems that after World War One the U.S. was allotted some captured German subs. They were examined by experts and used to promote bond drives. One, the UC-97 made it all the way to Chicago.
When it came time to dispose of her, the Navy fired 4 inch shells into her until she sank 20 miles off Highland Park. She's still there today.


d mcneil said...

If you grew up in Chicago maybe you heard the story of the Eastland disaster. In 1915, several thousand people boarded the Eastland excursion boat for a trip across Lake Michigan to a picnic. The vessel never left the dock. Instability built into the design resulted in the boat turning over on her side and the result was about 850 dead persons. The building where Oprah Winfrey films her talk show (a former National Guard Armory) was used as a make-shift morgue. Why do I tell you this? Because, the Eastland was raised, converted into an auxiliary naval vessel that was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and was the vessel that fired those 4" shells into UC_97 sending her to the bottom. And now you know the rest of the story.

PS The company that found the Uboat has also located over 30 warplanes that were used in training naval aviators in takeoffs and landings on aircraft carriers during WW2. They took off from the only coal fired carriers that had as propulsion - side wheel paddles. They were converted excursion vessels Seeandbee (IX-64 USS Wolverine) and the Greater Buffalo (IX-81 USS Sable). This important naval history is lost to most Americans especially us Chicagoans.

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