U-571 - U-505 at the MUSEUM of SCIENCE and INDUSTRY

Keeping his mission objective in mind, Captain Gallery ordered a boarding crew from the USS Pillsbury to make ready to board the 505. Germans were still aboard. Using "tommy guns" and hand grenades, the Americans cleared the ship of German sailors.

Descending through the conning tower, the boarding party learned the worst: Departing Germans had tried to scuttle their ship by opening one of the sea valves. 505 was taking on water. If the boarding crew did not quickly locate which valve was open, 505 would sink with her valuable code materials.

Ignoring the danger of booby traps, the crew had to work quickly. Reinforced with more men from the Guadalcanal, they repaired all leaks before they found their prize in 505's radio and sound room: an Enigma encoding machine plus a new, experimental machine. The Allies had what they needed to maintain naval supremacy. Surviving members of 505's crew were transferred to the Guadalcanal.

The 505 was towed (with the American colors flying above the flag of the Third Reich) to Port Royal Bay in Bermuda. There she would be safe from German knowledge that the ship did not sink. Like the 110, 505 gave up what the Allies needed most - and their secrets remained hidden until well after the war. As late as 1980, Admiral Doenitz (chief commander of the German fleet and President after Hitler's death) did not believe Enigma had been compromised.

Today, U-505 is at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.  The citizens of Chicago contributed $250,000 to save U-505 from destruction. She remains a permanent monument to the bravery of the Americans who captured, raided and towed her 2,500 miles.

 

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