Robert S. Ballard and his team of ocean explorers have taken new crystal-clear photos of a Nazi submarine in the Gulf of Mexico, right off the Texas’ shoreline: U-166 was one of the many Kriegsmarine U-boats that swam like sharks waiting for prey around the United States’ coast. Admire it in all its decrepit glory—in high resolution.
The U-166 was a type IXC U-boat built in 1940, a revision of the IX long range submarine series. The C version carried an additional 43 tons of fuel, which further extended the Kriegsmarine’s area of influence right to the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the U-166 was the only U-boat of any class ever sunk in that coast.
While in the Gulf the U-166 destroyed four ships in the month of July 1942: the Carmen—a sailing vessel with Dominican Republic flag—the Oneida—an American steam merchant—the Gertrude—an American fishing ship—and the Robert E. Lee—an American passenger steamer that was sunk on July 30, 45 miles off the mouth of the Mississippi River. 25 people died of a total of 404 people aboard. The Robert E. Lee lies only a few miles from the U-166.
The Robert E. Lee, a passenger ship sunk by the U-166.
Right after the attack against the Robert E. Lee, the escort US Navy patrol craft PC-566 launched deep charges against the U-166, sinking her and all of her crew members, 52 sailors.
The wreck was discovered in 2001, first the Robert E. Lee at a depth of 5,000 feet (1,500 m) then the U-166, two miles away from the site, but the photos above were just captured this month.