U-505 in Chicago helps bring WWII submarine life to the surface

WWII submarine in museum exhibit
The U-505 submarine exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

You can take a step back in time at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and step onto a WWII submarine. Visiting the U-505 Nazi submarine, which the U.S. Navy captured in June 1944, is a moving experience. 

Man and woman standing next to WWII submarine in museum
We attended a special event at the U-505 exhibit and got to see the sub up close.

The museum hosted a special event this year for Veterans Day Weekend,  including a catered dinner in the U-505 exhibit. We toured the ship and heard from a curator involved with placing and conserving the sub.

This was a significant capture for The Allies. They now had their hands on coding machines and other equipment the Nazis used in their attempt to control the seas. 

The U.S. kept the whereabouts of the sub and its crew top-secret so the Nazis wouldn’t know we had their equipment or sailors. U.S. officials sequestered the crew of the U-505 at a prisoner of war camp in the United States. The men went without any contact from other prisoners or the Red Cross. And they were not allowed to write to their families to tell them about their fate.

WWII submarine front torpedo room
Living on a WWII submarine meant sharing your bunks with shipmates — bunks that were added on, in this case, to the front torpedo room.

With a survival rate of just 25 percent, serving in a German submarine in WWII was a dangerous assignment. Due to their capture, the crew of the U-505 all made it home safely. Imagine the sadness and then the joy for the families.

people in WWII submarine control room at modern museum
With 53 crew on board, there wasn’t much elbow room in the U-505. Our small tour group of just 6 visitors kept running into each other!
Video and Audio options

We have a video about our experience at the U-505 on our YouTube channel

You also can hear about our visit to the U-505 submarine exhibit by listening to this extended audio edition of what’s on the video:

Extended audio clips with more details than the blog or the video! 

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