The wreck of U-3523, which was depth-charged by a British B24 Liberator aircraft on 6 May, 1945, has been located 10 nautical miles north of Skagen in the Skagerrak strait at a depth of 123m by Denmark's Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyboron.

The museum, with its long-running programme of scanning for North Sea and Skagerrak shipwrecks, described its latest discovery as “sensational”.

The expedition team were surprised to see a sonar image showing that “the whole fore part of the U-boat lies buried in the seabed, while the stern is standing 20m above the bottom“.

U-3523 was one of a batch of advanced type-XXI U-boats designed to stay submerged for extended periods and which, says the museum, could have revolutionised the submarine war had Germany had time to produce them - 118 were laid down, but only 2 entered  service and none saw action.

U-3523 sank the day after German forces in Denmark, north-west Germany and the Netherlands had surrendered, and the museum says the submarine was probably on the run.

Because its range would have allowed it to travel non-stop to South America, this was one of the missing submarines rumoured after the war to have made it to freedom.

The Liberator had reported it sunk, but the position it gave was about nine nautical miles from where the U-boat was discovered.

The bodies of the 58 crew are presumed to remain inside, though whether the submarine was carrying any passengers or cargo remains unknown.

The museum says that after the war Britain, the USA, France and the USSR took over a number of Type-XXI U-boats for their own use - running them until the 1980s, in the case of the Soviet Union. The only preserved example is on display in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Sea War Museum Jutland has so far found, registered and surveyed some 450 wrecks, including 12 submarines, three of them British.

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