U-boat Wilhelm Bauer (U-2540), is a Type XXI Kriegsmarine submarine of former Nazi Germany. This U-boat is much larger compared to type VIIC submarine on display in Laboe, North Germany and said to be the last floating example of this type of submarine.
This German Type XXI submarine has a length of 76,7 meters and a displacement of 2100 tonnes while submerged. She is powered by two six cilinder 4000hp diesel engines and four electric Siemens-Schuckert engines of which two are silent-running. Her maximum surface speed reached 15.6 knots and submerged 17.2 knots (6 knots when running in silent-mode).
The crew consisted of five officers and 52 men.
The Wilhelm Bauer had a total of six bow torpedo tubes and four 20mm AA guns. The Type XXI could carry up to twenty-three torpedo’s or seventeen torpedo’s and twelve sea mines. This was a great improvement compared to the Type VII C that had a maximum capacity of fourteen torpedo’s.
Construction of the U-2540 began in October 1944 at the Blohm and Voss docks in Hamburg, Germany. She was launched on 13th January 1945 and commissioned on the 24th of February 1945.
She was first stationed for training with the 31st U-boat Flotilla before being sent to the front. Unfortunately fuel shortages forced the submarine to relocate to Swinemünde, where she was scuttled on 4 May 1945 at the end of the WW2, only 4 months after being launched.
Raising and refitting
After 12 years on the bottom of the Baltic Sea the Type XXI U-boat was raised and overhauled in June 1957. She was re-commissioned as a research boat in the Bundesmarine (the German Marine) until 1968. It is during this re-launch that the submarine got the name “Wilhelm Bauer”. In 1970 she entered service again with a civilian crew for testing technical innovation for the U-boat 206 class. After a collision with a German destroyer she was taken out of commission in 1980 and released from service in 1983.
German Maritime Museum
U-2540 was sold to the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum or German Maritime Museum in Bremerhafen were it still is today. The museum restored the u-boat to its original WW2 state and from 1984 on it is open to the public.