On a long road trip around Europe we had the privilege to visit the last surviving Type VIIC U-boat, the U-995. The submarine now forms part of the Laboe Naval Memorial near Kiel, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is a brilliant visit for families. We all thoroughly enjoyed going onboard the submarine to get an idea of how the 60 crew members lived and worked. Toby and Millie-Mae couldn’t believe how small the boat was and that crews would live onboard for months on end while on patrol. We spent about an hour onboard working through from one end to the other seeing everything from the Head to the torpedo room.
The U-995 Submarine
The U-995 is a Type VIIC/41 U-boat, which formed part of the Kriegsmarine. She was commissioned in September 1943 and was operational over 9 patrols until 1945. During this time, she sank six enemy ships (mostly Russian). The U-boat was eventually given to the Norwegian Navy and was finally decommissioned in 1965. In 1971 U-995 was added to the museum at Laboe.
Constructed by Blohm & Voss just a few miles away in Hamburg, Germany, the submarine forms a technical exhibit at the museum and a poignant reminder of how submariners lived during the War.
The Laboe Naval Memorial is across the road from the U-995 and is worth visiting for the Hall of Remembrance and the view over the Kiel Estuary. Designed by architect Gustav August Munzer, the red brick tower monument consists of a 85-metre-high (236 ft) tower with an observation deck and commemorates the sailors who died in both World Wars.
Our Day in Schleswig-Holstein
We had a few hours spare before catching a DFDS ferry to Klaipeda in Lithuania. We came across the U-995 during a Google search to find something to do. It was so worth it! We also took a walk along the seafront. We settled at one of the seafront cafes to enjoy a currywurst and chips and a nice latte macchiato. Funnily enough, we were well positioned to see a working German naval submarine sailing across the Kiel bay.
It was a really good day. There’s a souvenir shop at the museum and the children took full advantage of it. This area was a nice place to visit, especially if heading to the docks at nearby Kiel. The all-day parking was inexpensive (I recall it was around €4). One tip: if you are sitting in one of the restaurants near to the U-995 check what time they stop serving food … we took too long studying the menu, they said no more orders when we finally queued up!
For more information please visit the Naval Memorial website here (in German) x