1946 Truman

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Celebrities from politics visiting German U-boats

Recently, we again came across a photograph of U 2513, which proved that actually a US President has sailed once with a former Kriegsmarine U-boat (picture at www.navsource.com)

U 2513 was part of the 30 from 156 still operational German U-boats that surrendered at the end of WW II to the Allies, which were distributed at equal shares among the Allies in accordance with the agreement by the “Tripartite Naval Commission (TNC)”, that was established by the Potsdam Conference in August 1945. On 06 Au-gust 1945 U 2513 departed its intermediate port of internment, Lisahally at Northern Ireland, for the USA, where it reached the US Naval Base Portsmouth, N.H. on 05 September 1945.

These Type XXI “Electroboats” with their superior technological parameters were of extreme interest to the US Navy and U 2513 was recommissioned and operated by a US crew as EX U 2513. During her comprehensive test and trial journeys U 2513 was dislocated to Key West, Florida in September 1946. On 26 November 1946 US President Harry S. Truman visited the U-boat and took part in a several hour long demonstration tour. He actually submerged with the U-boat down to 70 m to experience its underwater operational capabilities, including the high underwater speed and steering devices, which were installed as part of early tests for the new US nuclear submarines under development.

Allegedly, the President witnessed even “Black Light” conditions, when the entire power supply for the U-boats was cut off for a moment due to the overload status of the battery propulsion while in high underwater speed modus. U 2513 continued tests and trials until July 1949, when it was decommissioned . Following a period of being layed-up, the U-boat was used as target demonstrator and on 07 October 1951 sunk by the “Hedgehog”- ASW bomblets of destroyer USS Robert A. Owens off Key West.

During his research our British friend Derek Waller has spotted a second visit of U 2513 by the US President. On 05 December 1947, the President came on board another time and rewarded the Commanding Officer and other officers of that Type XXI U-boat being taken over by the US Navy in 1945 for tests and trials for the underwater operation he was privileged to participate in a year before.