How A German U-Boat Ended Up In Chicago

By | March 4, 2019

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French warship 'Sirocco' sinking German U-Boat, 24 November 1930. French destroyer sank two submarines. From British 'Epic Series' Postcards, No. 8. 'Passed for Publication by Ministry of Information'. Source: (Culture Club/Getty Images)

One of the highlights of a visit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is a trip down to the underground portion of the museum’s sprawling building to see a captured German U-Boat from 1944. Although the rumors that the submarine was found lurking in Lake Michigan, just off the coast of Chicago, are untrue, the museum’s acquisition of the captured sub is an improbable story of an ambitious Chicagoan and a German U-Boat. 

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U-Boats Threatened Military and Cargo Ships

During World War II, German U-Boats posed a threat to all military, passenger, and cargo ships. Allied forces had to escort merchant ships across the Atlantic to protect them from attack. In 1943, the United States had had enough. The U.S. Navy formed a special unit to track down and destroy German U-Boats. It was called the Hunter-Killer Task Groups.