Axis submarines off the brazilian coast

Great part of the second world war history is totally unknown by the biggest part of the brazilian people.It is very common to hear comments of people saying that Brazil has never seen action during the war. These people are wrong.

Off the brazilian coast, several conflicts between nations occur. And the most recent of them was the second world war. With the purpouse to sunk the biggest number of ships and crippled the alied forces, the axis country, Italy and specially Germany send to ours waters theirs submarines.

The major quantidity of this kind of vessel was send by Germany and they are known as U-boats. This is abreviation to “Unterseebooten”.

The Germans use a great know-how in construction, trainning and tactical of the underwater warfare. This excellence caused a great damage to the allied merchant navy and it was no secret that a pay back must be done. From 1943, the process to attack this “Silent Hunters” begin in all Atlantic Ocean.

The Germans use a great know-how in construction, trainning and tactical of the underwater warfare. This excellence caused a great damage to the allied merchant navy and it was no secret that a pay back must be done. From 1943, the process to attack this “Silent Hunters” begin in all Atlantic Ocean.

In the South Atlantic, especially off the coast of Brazil, this occur as well with the american help that provided to the brazilian armed forces airplanes, trainning to soldiers, ships and the creation of the military base of Parnamirim Field in Natal. The Parnamirim field was inicially created to facilitate an allied invasion to Africa but it was also used in the coastline patrol of Brazil. Off the Brazilian coast, hundreds of ships was torpedoed. Some of this ships has been localized and are visited by divers. They are: the Campos, the Elihu B. Washburne and the Itapagé.

Some of the submarines that attack and sunk ships off brazilian coast, some find here their final fate. They were destroyed by depht charges from airplanes and ships. One of these submarines, the U-199 was attacked and sunk by a brazilian crew, fact that caused great joy in the local population. The airplane that realized this great act was later named “Arará” and the entire crew was condecorated.

The subs sunk on Brazilian waters are: U-128, U-161, U-164, U-199, U-507, U-513, U-590, U-598, U-662 and the italian sub Archimede.

The U-boat have a hunter breed and it is a rare vessel and because of this kind of wreckage are the dream of the wreckdivers.

In Brazil, the anxiety to localized a u-boat has produced a lot of “false alarms” but until today, any of the u-boats has been found. Some researchers when announcing the discovering of a u-boat wreckage states: “I found an U-boat but it could be a ship capsized” !

The truth is that any person who spend a little more time on research will be able to know the difference of a U-boat and a capsized ship. In the US and Europe, submarines has been located and are visited by divers.

Nowadays, the most famous of all is the U-869 wich history are tell in the book “The Last dive”.

We wish that soon the false leed stop and the localization of a U-boat be confirm off the coast of Brazil.

Photos authorized by: Captain Jerry Mason, USN

Rodrigo Coluccini
Criador e proprietário da Revista Deco Stop, foi um dos responsáveis pela divulgação em larga escala das informações sobre naufrágios no litoral brasileiro, fato antes restrito a poucos. É co-autor do manual de naufrágios da certificadora PDIC. Seu trabalho é citado em vários livros atuais sobre história maritima brasileira confirmando a importância de seu trabalho.