Sunken Nazi German U-boat clearly visible for first time

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Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

For the first time ever, scientists are getting a crystal-clear look at a fascinating, and haunting, piece of WWII history -- the only submarine the Nazis lost in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Nazi U-boat seen clearly for first time
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Sunken Nazi German U-boat clearly visible for first time
Detailed to escort a large incoming ship in the Atlantic, an aircraft of Coastal Command was forced to come down in the water. Before it struck the sea, the navigator was able to radio the position to a “pinpoint”. A coastal Command Hudson, directed by the Aircraft Safety Service, located the crew in their dinghy in a heavy sea, and kept watch while the Aircraft Safety Service brought up the nearest vessel. When the crew had been taken on board, the Hudson carried on escorting the ship. A Hudson aircraft of R. A. F. Coastal Command interested a Heinkel III attempting to approach the south west coast of England. It attacked the Nazi and took photographs of the results – the enemy aircraft plunging seawards with its starboard engine on fire. A Cataline aircraft and a Lockheed Hudson lying at stations hundreds of miles apart, were dispatched by Coastal Command on an anti-U-Boat patrol. The Catalina located a U-boat and took this photograph before the flying-boat crew to dive and, meanwhile, they opened fire on the Catalina, but without success. A few moments later the Hudson arrived on the scene and made a second attack, dropping its bombs in the swirl which betrayed the diving position of the U-boat on November 25. (AP Photo)
In this Aug. 13, 2013 photo, a model of the World War II German U-853 submarine is displayed in a glass case at the museum at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Just before Nazi Germany surrendered, a U.S. Naval destroyer sank the U-boat seven miles off Rhode Island in what became known as the Battle of Point Judith. The USS Atherton sank the sub after it torpedoed a ship carrying coal to Boston. (AP Photo/David Klepper)
The crew of a Nazi submarine lining the conning-tower and deck of their vessel on their return to their base, somewhere in Germany, on Feb. 13, 1941. The figures on the pennants flying from the conning-tower are alleged to represent the tonnages of ships the U-boat has sunk during her trip. (AP Photo)
A new picture of the Ark Royal, so often sunk by the Nazi Propaganda machine, supplying a British destroyer with bread, on Nov. 13, 1941. The destroyer needed these rations, at it was carrying over 150 lascars aboard , picked up after their ship had been sunk by a Nazi U-boat . (AP Photo)
Surfacing after a depth charge attack, this Nazi submarine, which tried to sneak into the midst of an Atlantic Convoy, has its conning tower blasted open by gunfire from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer on June 1, 1943. (AP Photo)
Three members of the surrendered German submarine U-805, brought into Portsmouth, N.H., stand on the fantail of the surrender vessel before being taken ashore, May 15, 1945. Coast Guardsmen, taking no chances keep guns pointed at Germans who were landed singly. (AP Photo)
Three members of the surrendered German submarine U-805, brought into Portsmouth, N.H., stand on the fantail of the surrender vessel before being taken ashore, May 15, 1945. Coast Guardsmen, taking no chances keep guns pointed at Germans who were landed singly. (AP Photo)
In this Aug. 26, 2013 photo, Bill Palmer holds a German pistol he recovered with other relics from the wreckage of a World War II German U-boat, that he displays in the basement of his Wallingford, Conn. home. Just before Nazi Germany surrendered, a U.S. Naval destroyer sank the U-853 sub seven miles off Rhode Island in what became known as the Battle of Point Judith. Palmer has made dozens of dives to recover artifacts from the sunken sub. (AP Photo/David Klepper)
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Media outlets are taking a look back at a time when the Allies were struggling to enter the war, finding it nearly impossible to deliver oil past the Nazi Navy who sunk 56 Allied ships in 1942 alone. And Fox News highlighted this ship's fearsome reputation.

"In 1942 this German U-boat terrorized the Gulf of Mexico, sinking commercial liners and even an American passenger boat –– the Robert E. Lee."

Twenty-five Americans on board the Robert E. Lee died. A Navy ship escorting the passenger boat then sank the submarine U-166 by dropping depth charges –– killing all 52 German sailors.

WTVT reports a team of scientists under Robert Ballard, who famously discovered the location of the Titanic, is currently exploring the wreck using 3-D imaging.

Fascinating pictures of both U-166 and the Robert E. Lee, which rest only two miles apart, are featured on a website affiliated with the Ocean Exploration Trust.

Research on the ship is nothing new, since both ships were discovered back in 2001 when a consulting firm for BP and Shell oil was conducting a deep-water pipeline survey. But this is the first time conditions have allowed for such clear views of what the wreckage has become.

Three-dimensional imaging is required because the ship, which is considered a military grave, cannot be touched out of respect for the fallen soldiers.

With the Gulf of Mexico's shallower waters, compared to the Atlantic Ocean, the ship gives scientists an unparalleled glimpse into history.

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