Immi Wallin and her Subzone team discovered a missing German U-boat off the Estonian coast in August 2015, it was the U-679. The U-679 was apparently the last lost German u-boat in the Gulf of Finland. The wreckage of U-679 were found in her patrol area, where she ran into a mine. The first dive on the 90-meter depth to the remains of the sunken submarine made a group of six divers on 10 September. The purpose of the immersion was to find out the condition of the remains of the submarine and take their picture. 

Wreckage lies at depth of 90 metres at a location, which is somewhat different from the information given earlier. U-679 was lost with all hands, so the wreck is also a war grave for 51 men who lost their lives serving their country. The wreck will be respected as these men’s final resting place and as a historical monument of the war event. U-679 is now under state protection set by Estonian Heritage Board, Suunto has reported.

The boat's career began with training at 31st Flotilla on 29 November 1943, followed by active service on 1 August 1944 as part of the 8th Flotilla. U-679 took part in no wolfpacks. U-679 was presumed sunk on 9 January 1945 in the Baltic Sea at 59°26′N 24°07′ECoordinates:  59°26′N 24°07′E by depth charges from Soviet anti-submarine vessel MO-124. However, the wreckage was located in August 2015 and initial reports suggest that actually U-679 had run into a mine and sank after that. 

Depth, poor visibility, hydrogen sulphide, hypoxia and trawl nets made the dive a challenge [Via Suunto]

U679’s closed hatch and periscope [Via Suunto]

U679’s 37mm antiaircraft gun [Via Suunto]

Here, Wallin tells the story for the first time. Wallin's company Subzone has played a significant part in searching for wrecks around the Estonian coast. There are still some lost German u-boats in the Baltic Sea. This is Wallin's second sub find.

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The 8th Flotilla's history:

In the middle of summer 1944 German submarines arrived to Gulf of Finland. These boats were of type VII C. At first three boats U 481U 748 and U 1193 arrived to Tallinn in the end of June. Within a month seven more boats (U 242, U 250, U 348, U 370, U 475, U 479 and U 679) arrived and in August even three more (U 717, U 745 and U 1001). German submarine headquarters was located in Kotka under command of one of the most decorated submarine commanders, Fregattenkapitän Albrecht Brandi. The submarine commanders were in totally different operational environment as usually. Instead of large, deep sea areas they now operated in confined, shallow waters infested with mines and light antisubmarine vessels. The operational areas of German boats were east from the Huovari-Narvi-Seiskari line and Narva Bay. The patrols lasted usually two days and no more than four boats were on patrol at the same time.

The German submariners did not found worthy targets for their torpedoes and perhaps flustrated tried to sink some of the 60-ton wooden submarine chasers (MO-boats). U 679 approached Bay of Vyborg on 14.7. but was derected from Ruonti island while still far away. Small units attacked immediately. The commander dared not to dive in so shallow waters and opened fire with light weapons. MTB TK 57 fired a torpedo that passed just ahead of U 679. A gun hit from a MO-boat damaged the tower of U 679 with loss of three men. The second torpedo of TK 57 also missed, and U 679 was saved by Finnish battery in Ristniemi that chased Soviet units away.

U 475 attacked on 18.7. with two torpedoes MO 304 that lost its whole bow, but was towed to harbour. On 28.7. U 370 was attacked by depth charges and responded with torpedoes. The attacking MO 107 lost its bow, but also this boat was towed to harbour.

On 30.7. the German submarine U 250 was lost. The boat sunk with one electric torpedo MO 105, but the following depth charge attacks in 25-30 meter deep water ripped open the engine room top. The commander and five other men escaped from the tower and were captured. The boat was raised by Soviets during the following weeks, with some secrets like T5 "Zaunkönig" acoustic torpedo and Enigma cryptographic machine.

German submarines moved to Narva Bay area after the loss of U 250. They managed to sunk some light vessels, but were often attacked by light naval units and IL-2 ground attack planes. German submarines lost their bases on the Finnish side on 6.9. and on the Estonian side on 20.9. After this they operated time to time in Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Bothnia till the end of 1944. 


Source: | Wikipedia |

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