This image, by John Herzog, reportedly depicts the real U-571. The German Navy used this vessel during World War II, between 1941 and 1944.
There are Enigma encryption machines that exist today. The lore of Enigma, submarines, secret codes and valiant men fighting on the high seas is the stuff of adventure - and movies.
U-571, directed by Jonathan Mostow, created quite a stir in Great Britain. Upset because the movie creates a fictional tale based on historical events, Brits were annoyed (Capt. Baker-Creswell's son is quoted in this article) that the capture of the Enigma machine was turned solely into an American story, not a British one.
Even President Clinton jumped into the fray . He wrote a letter to appease upset villagers in the town of Horsforth who had raised the money to buy HMS Aubretia, the corvette whose depth charges crippled U-110.
In a wise move, Mostow calmed the uproar by seeking the advice of David Balme (whose words begin this story) as a U-571 consultant. Balme - initially upset with the direction things were going - has now given the film thumbs up. (Follow the "thumbs up" link to also hear David Balme describe what happened on May 9, 1941.)
One thing Mostow should have checked out, though. The real U-571 was sunk off the west coast of Ireland. She was done-in by depth charges from a Sunderland aircraft, flown by an RAAF crew, on January 28, 1944 - months before the U.S. Navy captured U-505.
All hands aboard U-571 were lost.