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Home / World / German WW1 submarine emerges off French coast

German WW1 submarine emerges off French coast



  Wreck of a German submarine that stranded off the coast of Wissant in July 1917 and re-emerged because of sand movements

Image copyright
AFP

Picture caption [1
9659005] The wreck attracts curious visitors at low tide

The wreck of a German submarine from the First World War is gradually re-emerging on a beach in northern France, after decades of burial in the sand.

Moving the sand off Wissant, near Calais, exposes the remains of the UC-61 that was blocked there in July 1917.

The crew inundated the ship and abandoned it and in the 30 years the submarine had been largely buried.

Now it is becoming a tourist attraction again, although the local mayor warns that it can only be a fleeting visit.

Since December, two sections of the submarine have been visible at low tide about 330 feet (100 m) from the dunes.

"The wreck is visible briefly every two or three years, depending on the tides and the wind that leads to sand movements, but a good gust of wind and the wreck will disappear again", said the mayor of Wissant Bernard Bracq.

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However, local tourist guide Vincent Schm believes that winds and tides can lead to a greater number of 61 exposed.

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AFP

"All the inhabitants of Wissant knew that there was a submarine here, but the wreck is mostly buried and therefore invisible," he said.

"The pieces reappear from time to time, but this is the first time we find out so much."

The German submarines, known as U-boats, targeted the Allied ships during the First World War, sinking hundreds of ships.

Historians say that UC-61 has been credited with sinking at least 11 ships, either by building mines or firing torpedoes.

On his last voyage, the submarine had left Zeebrugge in Belgium and was headed to Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Havre to depose the mines when it ran aground.

The 26 members of the crew surrendered to the French authorities.


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