Wilhelm Bauer (ship, 1945)

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Wilhelm Bauer
Wilhelm Bauer 1970
Wilhelm Bauer 1970
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire Germany
GermanyGermany (naval war flag) 
other ship names

U 2540

Ship type Submarine
class Type XXI
Shipyard Blohm & Voss , Hamburg
Build number 754
Keel laying October 29, 1944
Launch January 13, 1945
Commissioning February 24, 1945
Decommissioning March 15, 1982
Whereabouts Museum boat in Bremerhaven
Ship dimensions and crew
76.68 m ( Lüa )
width 6.6 m
Draft Max. 6.2 m
displacement surfaced: 1,620 tn.l.
submerged: 1,820 tn.l.
crew 57 men
Machine system
machine 2 × 440 kW propulsion diesel engines
2 × 405 kW charging generators
2 × 920 kW propeller motors
performanceTemplate: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
880 kW (1,196 hp)
powerTemplate: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
810 kW (1,101 hp)
Mission data submarine
Diving depth, normal 220 m
Immersion depth, max. 330 m
17.5 kn (32 km / h)
15.5 kn (29 km / h)

as type XXI:

  • 6 × bow torpedo tubes ø 53.3 cm

as class 241:

  • 4 × bow torpedo tubes ø 53.3 cm

The submarine Wilhelm Bauer (formerly U 2540 ) is a museum boat in the sponsorship of the Technikmuseum Wilhelm Bauer association in the old port in Bremerhaven , where the German Maritime Museum is also located. It was originally a Type XXI boat from World War II .


Second World War

Construction of the U 2540 at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg began on October 29, 1944. It was launched on January 13, 1945. When it was commissioned on February 24, 1945, the boat became part of the 31st U-Flotilla .

In April 1945 the boat went to Rønne on Bornholm for front training . After school operations had ceased due to lack of fuel, U 2540 was relocated to Swinoujscie . From there it went back west on April 30, 1945.

The self-sinking of U 2540 was planned for May 3, 1945 . After some crew members had crossed aboard the auxiliary target ship Bolkoburg , an Allied air raid on the German ship collection took place. Eight crew members outside of U 2540 were killed, while the boat survived the air raids almost entirely undamaged.

On May 4, 1945, the route from U 2540 led via Rødbyhavn (Denmark) to Kiel and finally Flensburg . In the Flensburg Fjord , U 2540 was sunk shortly after 10:00 a.m. near the lightship by the crew themselves on the bottom of the fjord.

Commanders of U 2540
Rank Surname from to
First lieutenant Tip Late summer 1944 December 20, 1944
First lieutenant Rudolf Schultze December 21, 1944 May 4, 1945 (self-immersion)

Post war history

Wilhelm Bauer at the Eckernförde naval base (1963)
glazed tower cladding by Wilhelm Bauer (1963)

In June 1957 U 2540 was lifted by the Hamburg salvage shipping company Bugsier , made floatable and towed to the Kiel Howaldtswerke, today HDW . There the boat, which had since been baptized with the name Wal , was repaired as a test boat for the new German Navy from November 1958 . It received the double diesel-electric drive system of the planned class 201 with only one drive shaft . The new diesel engines quickly proved to be unsuitable as they required several hours of warm-up time before they could be used. The tower cladding was rebuilt for this purpose.

On September 1, 1960, the boat was taken over by the German Navy and named after the German submarine inventor Wilhelm Bauer . It served as a test boat (class 241) until August 28, 1968.

With a civilian crew, the Wilhelm Bauer was put back into service on May 20, 1970 and served the Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement to test technical innovations of class 206 . For this, the tower cladding was compared to the post-war state with military occupation and a. Modified again to accommodate the elephant seal snorkel and the WSU sonar system. After an underwater collision with the destroyer Z 3 of the Fletcher class on May 6, 1980, the Wilhelm Bauer was retired on November 18, 1980 in Eckernförde and finally decommissioned on March 15, 1982.

Commanders of U Wilhelm Bauer (Y 880)
Rank Surname from to
Lieutenant captain Voss September 1, 1960 June 30, 1961
Corvette Captain Wiechering July 1, 1961 March 31, 1962
Corvette Captain Kowalik April 1, 1962 September 30, 1963
Corvette Captain Herbert Waldschmidt October 1, 1963 September 30, 1967
Lieutenant captain E.-D. Young October 1, 1967 April 26, 1968
Captain (civil) brown May 20, 1970 November 18, 1980

Fitting out as a museum boat

The Ministry of Defense advertised U 2540 for sale via VEBEG . The boat was approved in 1983 by the Board of Trustees for the Promotion of the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum e. V. and after the transfer from August 1983 onwards, the Seebeck shipyard prepared it for use as a museum.

On April 27, 1984, Wilhelm Bauer , now sponsored by the Wilhelm Bauer Technology Museum, opened as a museum. Since then, the original condition as U 2540 has been largely reconstructed. For the 2011 season, the exhibition in the entrance area of ​​the submarine was completely redesigned. Visitors enter the boat through a door that was cut from the side of the ship, and the ship is left again through a second door.

The retractable front elevator is easy to see. The original water line was at the level of the transition from light to dark gray paint. By removing the batteries, the boat now protrudes much higher out of the water. The tower has largely retained its original shape. The tower cladding is a dummy, however. The armament with two 30 mm AA twin mounts is only indicated. During the service in the German Navy, the tower had a glazed bridge.


  • Gerd Dietrich Schneider: “Wilhelm Bauer” submarine technology museum. Brief history and technology of the German submarines. Technikmuseum U-Boot Wilhelm Bauer, Bremerhaven 1990, ISBN 3-927857-18-1 .
  • Frank Spahr: Submarine Type XXI in detail . In: IPMS Stockholm . October 2003 (English).
  • Eckard Wetzel: U 2540. The submarine at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven. Karl Müller, Erlangen 1996, ISBN 3-86070-556-3 .

Web links

Commons : Wilhelm Bauer  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Federal Archives Freiburg (ed.): BW1-381645. "Brief report on the material condition of the test submarine" Wilhelm Bauer "from December 10th, 1960.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Hannes Ewerth: The U-Flotilla of the German Navy , 2nd revised edition, Koehler Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg 1995, pp. 88–93.

Coordinates: 53 ° 32 ′ 29 "  N , 8 ° 34 ′ 40"  E