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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Eddie Hale, Undated Photo
U-1105 "Black Panther"
Inventory No.:
Date Listed: 1/11/2001
Location: Saint Marys County
Category: Site
Period/Date of Construction: 1944-1949
Architect/Builder: Builder: Nordseewerke Shipyard, Emden, Germany
The nomination is marked Not for Public Access. Qualified Medusa accountholders should please contact the MHT Librarian for a copy.
Description: The U-1105 is a Type VIIC German submarine. Standard design of a Type VIIC class is 67.1 meters in length with a beam of 6.2m and a displacement of 761 tons (surface) and 865 tons (submerged). It has two 1400 hp diesel engines and a top speed of 17.0 knots on the surface with a cruising range of 8500 sea miles at 10 knots, which allowed a range sufficient to permit limited operations in American waters. Each boat was armed with 14 torpedoes, an 8.8cm deck gun and one 2cm gun on the conning tower, and was manned by a crew of 44. However, design changes were implemented in 1942 and 1943. The deck gun was removed and variations in bridge configurations included heavier anti-aircraft weapons and a larger number of these. The design of the U-1105 reflects many of the late war modifications making it a technologically unique specimen. In addition to a schnorkel for ventilation and recharging batteries while still submerged, it also carried other technological innovations including a GHG Balkon (Group Listening Apparatus Balcony); an advanced passive sonar system. This pod housed an array of 24 crystal receivers and allowed the sonar operator to determine the direction and location of other vessels as far away as 12-15km. Very few Type VIIC vessels received this, and only late in the war. The Black Panther also sported a Hohentweil U radar unit in the conning tower used to detect low-flying aircraft up to 20km away with an accuracy of 1-2 degrees. This unit is still in place on the vessel. Of course, the most unusual attribute is the rubber sheathing on the hull to deflect sonar. Of the 660 Type VIIC vessels constructed during the war, only 10 received this treatment and the U-1105 is the only known remaining example. In general, very few German submarines survived WWII, most were lost in action and many crews scuttled their craft rather than surrender them. Most of the submarines that surrendered were deliberately sunk by the British in the Atlantic north off Ireland, in an operation called "Deadlight," and those that remained were divided between the Allies for study with the provision that they be destroyed afterward. The fate of many of the vessels captured by the Soviet Union in the Baltic remains unknown due to the onset of the Cold War. Significance: The U-1105 is significant for its association with Cold War era weapons testing, and represents a unique example of early stealth technology. However, its activities and impact during World War II were limited. The submarine saw action only once, on April 27, 1945 when, off Ireland, it fired on and damaged the HMS Redmill, a Captain Class frigate, with a loss of 32 lives. After surrendering, it was turned over to the U.S. Navy for study, and subsequently sunk off Solomons Island, Maryland, and later again off Piney Point in St. Mary's County. It was rediscovered by divers in 1985 and is maintained as a dive preserve. The U-1105 is also significant for its construction and the technological innovations involved, and for the contribution that study of the vessel contributed to subsequent, even current, submarine hull treatments. Today all submarines are covered with an anechoic coating to reduce their sonar signature; a direct outgrowth of the Alberich process employed on the U-1105.

 

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