Five BAREG divers traveled to Rhode Island this past weekend to dive the wreck of the U-853. This U-boat lies in 120 fsw about six miles ENE of Block Island. The U-boat was attacked and sunk on 5 May 1945 after sinking the SS Black Point, a collier inbound to Providence with a cargo of coal. U-853 is a Type IX U-boat designed and built for long range operations to all parts of the Atlantic and as far as the Indian Ocean.

Diving this U-boat is an annual event for BAREG and this year we had great weather topside and not-too-bad conditions on the wreck. This time of year there’s a lot of suspended material in the water near the bottom and inside the U-boat the water had a milky cast to it, that’s a technical term…

The first photo is the forward door between Zentral, the U-boat’s control room, and the officer and crew compartment.
The next photo shows the drive shaft for the Hohentwiel surface search radar antenna located in the control room. In the fourth photo part of a resident lobster, the crusher claw, can be seen poking out of an opening on a torpedo in the bow compartment. This torpedo is a reload that never made it into a tube for firing.

Next trip we’ll have a closer look to see if it’s an electric motor or a fuel-driven torpedo. The last two photos are of the electric motor controls, the first from the U-853 and, for comparison, the second from the U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Will have to go back to Chicago to get better interior photos of the U-505.

Three of our five divers were new to the U-853 and next year we hope to introduce more BAREG members to this wreck. We will likely dive later in the season when there’s less particulate in the water and the water temperature might be a bit above the 50 degrees F we had at the weekend. Our schedule of events for 2023 will be briefed at the BAREG business meeting in late October. More to follow on next year’s trips and projects.

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