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Shnellboot part or not?

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Seadog View Drop Down
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    Posted: 31 October 2011 at 10:18am
Hi all,
 
   Reading parts of this vast forum you seem dedicated and well informed.
 
While exploring a sunken E-boat, Schnellboot S-31 off Malta. I've bumped with a part I could not place on this boat.
 
The part was half burried in the silt/sand some 5 meters away from the main bulk and right in the debris field. No other wreckage is present in the close proximity apart from parts from said Schnellboot. 
 
Could anyone please place a Ford 1937-41 distributor plate (Ford Part code 68-12116) on a Schnellboot running on three Daimler Benz 16-cylinder 4-stroke MB502 Diesels?
 
Boat was on a mine laying mission when it accidentaly 'poped' one of its own. 10/05/1942.
 
Thanks,
Seadog
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pioneer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2011 at 2:08pm
Hello 'Seadog'
 
As you may know the Ford Motor company's German operation continued during WW2. This can now be seen as being inevitable if considering that the situation of having a major industrial plant in operation pre-war - the German Gov't would simply take it over.
 
So it could be a possibilty that the 'Ford' Distributor may well have been part of the S boats kit.
 
The 'dive' on the site of S 31 has been reported on the Vet's web site seen Here 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2011 at 2:15pm

Thanks Pioneer,

   Was aware of Ford parts in axis machines. My question is what's this part doing on a diesel engined boat?  -  Distributor plate is for part of the spark ignition system in gasoline engines. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2011 at 5:16pm
Aux Engine? did the S Boat have such a thing ?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2011 at 11:46pm
Auxiliaries, actually I'm not positive they had any, however if so I'm led to believe they would be diesels for this S30 class boat. (built to S10-S13 specification)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jimmy p Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2011 at 1:48am
When was she sunk? Most allied MTB's(1941ish on) had ford flathead v8 auxillary engines that let them sneak up on convoys without being heard miles away. An interesting mystery if part came from an allied boat or aircraft... Souvenir from captured boat or a bit left behind/shot off from the boat that sank the scary old beast?
Seadog has a point, surely they'd have duetz four pot diesels for generators ect.
A boat is a hole in the water surrounded by wood, into which one throws money
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2011 at 6:35am

Hi Jimmy,

    Your 'souvenir from captured boat' theory is plausable,  This is some detailed history for the last days of S-31..
 
During the night 6/7 May 1942 a minebarrier was being laid by the German schnellboote S-31, S-34 and S-61 north of Malta. After laying the mines the boats bumped into British motorlaunch ML 130, which was fought down in four artilley-runs. The boats captured charts and secret material and took over the CO, the first lieutenant, and nine other crewmembers.
 
In total four men dead, eight severely wounded on ML 130.  On S-31 one person was slightly injured.
 
Two days later, on 9 May 1942 the Luftwaffe reported that the Welshmann, a British minelayer, was making a solo run to Malta and would arrive at Valletta before dawn of 10 May 1942.  Thus the German 3rd MTB Flotilla carried out an operation to intercept the minelayer as she approached Valletta harbour from the north east, which was the usual approach to Valletta by British warships. Four Schnellboote (S-54, S-56, S-57 & S58) would wait for Weshmann off the St Thomas area to attack her as she approached up the south east coast. Three other schnellboote (S-31, S-34, and S-61) were first to lay a minefield stretching out off Sliema point in order to cover this side should the minelayer approach Valletta via north west instead. After laying this minefield the three Schnellboote were to go eastwards to add their torpedoes against Welshmann.
 
The group left Augusta at 2200 of the 9 May 1942 and at 0414 of the 10 May the three boats began laying the minefield, which was in the shape of an isosceles triangle. The minefield consisted of 20 FMC mines (contact mines), 6 explosive buoys and 2 cutting buoys and it was completed at 0421 (7 minutes). The three Schnellboote had to regroup and go eastwards in search for Welshmann, but suddenly one minute after the lay had stopped S-31 exploded a mine, probably one of its own which had cut loose from its moorings, rising to the surface and drifted onto her. She sunk at 0438, S-61 managed to save 13 survivors including C.O. Lt. Heinrich Haag, 13 others died. At the time of loss S-31 had 2 Italian officers as observers, who were among the survivors.
 
So, could the part be a souvenir from captured ML-130? 
 
Pointing out, the part was found unmounted (unscrewed) and its mounting holes are intact (ie did not break off).
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spacemutt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2011 at 8:59pm
It could be unrelated. When was the wreck found? Could it be a part dropped off another fishing/dive boat? I don't know why they would take it as a souvenir. Of all the things to take, why that?

When did America stop trading with Germany? When was S-31 built?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2011 at 8:14am

If so, I was thinking more on the line of 'material collected for investigation'  rather than actually a souvenir of war. But I'm led to belive such material would have been off-loaded after a mission and not remain on board for 2 days.

The Wreck was located by a team of technical divers on the 6th Sep 2000 and it was kept secret for a number of years. A couple of years ago its position became known to the diving comunity and the usual 'trophy hunting' took its toll. It remains quite a good wreck site for the history inclined.  
 
I find it difficult for a Ford 1937-41 distributor plate encrusted with +50y of exposure 15ft from a WWII wreck in an otherwise void area to be a part dropped off from a fishing boat, and I'm excluding dive boats running such parts.
 
S-31 was built in 1939, by Lurssen, at Vegesack. It was launched on the 21st Oct 1939 and commissioned on the 28th Dec 1939. It could have carried FORD parts if that is what you're thinking. I'm questioning the above petrol engine part on a diesel boat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pioneer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2011 at 8:55am
Originally posted by spacemutt spacemutt wrote:

When did America stop trading with Germany?
There were several embarassing 'business operations' being exercised by a few American industrialists throughout the War (and British I might add) see here (names toward the end of Article).
 
Regarding the wreck 'Seadog' do the Torpedoes in the Tubes, as seen in the clip mentioned above, still pose a threat to Divers?? Although not probably 'armed', the dangers of any explosive after such a long time I would imagine be similar to the wreck in the Thames estuary -Diver's are certainly not allowed anywhere near that wreck.


Edited by Pioneer - 02 December 2011 at 5:05pm
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