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U-47 Photograph Album

Section J (October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel)

J01. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

This photo was probably taken by someone standing on U-A, which can be seen behind U-47 in J04. A band has assembled on the foredeck in honour of U-47's incursion into Scapa Flow. Note that the port side and area to the stern of U 47 is open water. (Preston)

View Photograph: J01. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

J02. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

Crewmembers are standing in front of the starboard side of the conning tower just as in L01. The pair of cup holders at the top of the photo are part of the lifebelt bracket designed to hold a horseshoe-shaped lifebelt. The top part of the bracket (a clip) is out of shot.

On the mens' jackets are their Iron Cross Second Class medals, which Dönitz had personally awarded them days earlier. Since men wore hatbands with the name of their ship or flotilla until this time, their hatbands read Ubootsflottille Weneger. Soon afterwards the hatbands were changed to the generic Kriegsmarine for security reasons. The U-Flottille Weneger, which included U-47, was officially changed to 7. Unterseebootsflottille (7th U-Flottille) on the 1st of January 1940. (Lost Subs, Crews)

View Photograph: J02. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

J03. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

Taken at the same time as J02, the channel ahead of the starboard navigation light and the ventilation holes can be seen. (Admiral)

View Photograph: J03. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

J04. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

This photgraph was taken a little later, when the band had dispersed. The port side and area to the stern of U-47 is open water, just as in L01.

Moored behind U-47 is U A. Originally named Batiray, this U-boat was the second of four boats built for the Turkish Navy by the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft A.G. shipyards. When war broke out she was commissioned into the Kriegsmarine rather than handed over to the Turks. The U-boat's name was changed briefly to Optimist before a further change to U-A. The most successful foreign U-boat which served in the Kriegsmarine, she was credited with seven of the nine boats sunk by these U-boats.

Comparatively recent research has suggested was that it might have been U-A rather than U-47 which was attacked by HMS Wolverine on the 8th March 1941. (Int 1 & 2)

View Photograph: J04. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

J05. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

The port side of U-47 is open water, just as in J01 and J04, and that the ships behind the stern may be the ships on the right hand side of J04. The wooden areas of U-boat decks were not painted; they were treated with a black wood preservative (Teerfirnis Tf 99). A U-boat deck started out as jet black then quickly became charcoal in colour. As it was exposed to the elements, the deck developed a brown tinge. The more the deck was subjected to weathering, the lighter and browner it became.

On the surfaces that were frequently walked upon (such as the more matt surfaces underneath Prien's feet in this photo) the wood preservative would wear more heavily and reveal more of the natural wood beneath. Interesting features of this photo include the very patchy appearance of the conning tower, the wooden seat on the aft deck railings, the tower rungs, and the starboard navigation light. Visible in the area where the wooden deck meets the tower wall is a steel bar which the tower skin was welded to. A black stripe extends above this bar for a few inches, as was standard practice on Kriegsmarine vessels. (Verdammter, Phantom)

View Photograph: J05. October 1939, Tirpitzmole, Kiel

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