Stepping back in time on the UB-88 wreck

In my final post on the UB-88, I thought it would fun, unique, and interesting to post before & after pictures of the UB-88. I’ve dug up photos from the excellent website and a few other places of the UB-88 prior to sinking and then I’ve taken quite a few pictures of the wreck over the past three dives. Below are some interesting before & after comparisons.

I will try to generally head from the stern to the bow. Due to some limitations in WordPress (or my limitations in using WP, some of the photos might look a bit odd).

First, there are two photos that will help orient the reader. The first is a line drawing from the National Archives that I found in a book and the second is a photo mosaic from the original divers on the wreck.

UB Type III Line Drawing
Photomosaic from

Stern Torpedo Tube

Here are the torpedo tubes at the stern from both the outside and the inside:

Inside the wreck

Propeller shaft

There is an interesting story about the propellers being salvaged and put on display but were stolen by metal thieves in 1923 and never recovered. Here is a picture of the propellers and what remains now which is only the shaft:

Aft Torpedo Loading Tubes

I have been having trouble finding a picture of the aft torpedo hatch. The picture below could be the bow or the aft hatch but I believe it is the aft because you cannot see the gun mount in the vicinity.

Air Cylinders

These were a mystery to me at first. I saw it on the last dive I did on the wreck and it was close to one of the exit holes of the shells that sank the sub. I was planning to investigate further whenever I dive the wreck again. However, I started reading a book about the UB-116 and they performed some underwater surveys and one of the artifacts they found were the air cylinders used to ballast control. Here are some pictures I took along with a 3d model of the UB-116 site. It is also close to where the ballast tank would have been so it probably fell out when the external hull started to rust and collapse

Conning Tower

The conning tower is, of course, one of the “iconic” aspects of any submarine. I took photos of what I consider two interesting aspects. The first is the periscope wells that stick up and the second is the hatch at the top that is just in front of those wells. I couldn’t find a good photo that showed the same perspective. Below I’ve also included a picture looking up into the conning tower from inside the wreck.

Gun Mount

Just in front of the conning tower is the mount for the 10.5 cm (4.13 in.) deck gun. Below are a couple photos and an original photo of men on the deck around the gun along with a photo of a similar gun from the UB-91 that is on display in Wales.

Forward Torpedo Hatch

Forward from the gun mount is one of two torpedo loading hatches (the other is in the stern). I’m pretty sure that my picture shows the hatch. It is a bit hard to tell since it is closed but you can see that it is in the right location relative to the gun mount.

Forward Torpedos (External & Internal)

The UB Type III subs had four torpedo tubes in the front. Below are some various pictures of both the inside and the outside of the tubes. When they found the sub back in 2003, most of the external hull was still intact and the torpedo tubes were “hidden” or covered from view. Since then, over the years the hull has eroded and now the tubes are all exposed. I’ve included a close-up of the photomosaic from the as reference as well. I find the picture with the crew inside the tubes rather hilarious. 🙂 The last photo in the gallery on the middle bottom right is by Drew Wilson and not me.

Internal view

Some Future Work, Pictures, & Research

I have a few pictures which I believe I know what they represent based upon where on the ship they were taken. I need to do some research and get some better photos. The picture on the left I believe is the capstan with the outer shell possibly in the sand (it is in the right place on the wreck near the start of the bow torpedo tubes). The second photo I just got a screen grab from my GoPro footage and I believe it is the dive plane in the bow.

Finally, as I was reviewing footage for this document, I noticed a plaque on the port side of the conning tower. I hadn’t noticed it before. I need to do some further research to see what it has on it. You can read parts of it, but not all.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through time. 🙂

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