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U-96

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U-96
Das-boot-354135l
The submarine as it appears in Das Boot.

Type

Type VIIC submarine

Displacement

769 tonnes (surfaced)
871 tonnes (submerged)

Launched

1 August 1940

Commissioned

14 September 1940

Fate

Sunk on 30 March 1945 by US bombs in Wilhelmshaven.

U-96 was a German submarine commissioned in 1940 originally with Captain Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock in command. She served a total of 11 patrols before being sunk by US bombers in 1945. U-96 was especially notable for the fact that in her entire career, there were no casualties among the crew, a very rare achievement for U-boats at the time

During U-96's seventh patrol, the crew was accompanied by war correspondent Lothar-Günther Buchheim, who had been ordered to photograph and describe the submarine in action for the purposes of propaganda. Buchheim later wrote several works based on his experiences, the most famous being his fictionalized account Das Boot, which was later adapted into the 1981 film of the same name by Wolfgang Petersen.

In the Parodies

The majority of Das Boot takes place aboard U-96, making it the primary setting for U-Boat Parodies. Most of the main cast are members of its crew, with the exception of Captain Thomsen, who commands a different submarine. Because of this, U-96 serves as the U-Boat Parodies' counterpart to the Führerbunker.

The U-96 also has a counterpart in the Mirror Parody Universe named the 69-U. (Merely coincidential; not an allusion to the infamous 69)


Comparisons to The Führerbunker

Führerbunker U-96
Both are confined spaces in which the majority of their respective films are set.
Both serve as the primary residence to the majority of the respective parodies' cast.
The Führerbunker is a stationary bunker in Berlin. U-96 is a submarine, capable of travelling underwater (for short durations)
The Führerbunker is besieged by 1,500,000 Soviets. The U-96's crew has to worry about the occasional destroyer lurking around.
The Führerbunker was mainly occupied by Adolf Hitler and several other officers of the Nazi Party (although there were a number of people who were most likely not actually Nazis, such as Traudl Junge, Rochus Misch, ect.) The U-96's crew is mostly made up of ordinary Germans, with only one actual Nazi among the crew.
There were several women present in the Führerbunker (Traudl JungeEva BraunHanna ReitschGerda ChristianMagda GoebbelsConstanze Manziarly etc.) There were no women aboard U-96.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The ship's captain, Captain Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, was one of the war's top U-boat aces.
  • The ship had an emblem of a small, smiling, swordfish. This was one of most popular U-boat embelms during the war.
  • In the film Das Boot, the U-96 suffers more than a few casualties; in real life it suffered none.
  • In real life, the  U-96' was based at Saint-Nazaire in late 1941. It survived that period of the war, but much like its on-screen fate, it actually was sunk by Allied bombers at its berth in Wilhelmshaven in March 1945.

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