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52 surrendered U-boats moored at HMS Ferret, Lisahally, Northern Ireland (June, 1945)

Operation Deadlight was the code name for the scuttling of U-boats surrendered to the Allies after the defeat of Germany near the end of World War II.

Of the 154 U-boats surrendered, 121 were scuttled in deep water off Lisahally, Northern Ireland or Loch Ryan, Scotland in late 1945 and early 1946. On February 12, 1946 at 10:04 a.m., U 3514 received the dubious honor of being the last U-boat sunk by Operation Deadlight. The other 33 were used for various tasks and then sunk. An example is U 1105, which sunk on explosives trial in the Potomac in 1948.

In the late nineties an approach was made to the British Ministry of Defence for salvage rights on the Operation Deadlight U-boats by a firm who planned to raise up to a hundred of them. Because the wrecks were constructed in the pre-atomic age, they contain metals which are not radioactively tainted and which are therefore valuable for certain research purposes. No salvage award was made due to objections from Russia and the USA, and it is now probable that the U-boats will remain under the sea.[1]

Several U-boats escaped Operation Deadlight. Some were claimed as prizes by Britain, France, Norway and the Soviet Union. Four were in the far east when Germany surrendered and were commandeered by Japan (U-181 was rechristened I-501, U-195 - I-506, U-219 - I-505, U-862 - I-502, and a fifth boat, U-511 had been sold to Japan in 1943 and renamed RO-500).[2]Two U-boats that survived Operation Deadlight are today museum ships. U-505 was slated for scuttling but Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery argued successfully that she did not fall under Operation Deadlight. United States Navy Task Group 22.3, under then-Captain Gallery, had captured U-505 in battle on 4 June 1944. Having been captured, not surrendered at the end of the war, she survived to become a war memorial at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. U-995 was transferred to Norway by Britain in October 1948 and became the Norwegian Kaura. She was returned to Germany in 1965 to become a museum ship in 1971.

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