Seventy years ago, a German submarine known as U-505 was on the hunt for American and Allied ships in the Atlantic Ocean when it was captured on June 4, 1944 by the U.S.S. Guadalcanal Task Force 22.3, led by Navy Captain Daniel Gallery, a Chicagoan. To mark the anniversary of this remarkable chapter in naval history, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago have officially proclaimed this week as U-505 Week, and the Museum of Science and Industry has a line up of special events and lectures that provide even more insight into the U-505 capture and legacy.
How did the U-505 get to Chicago's MSI?
In September 1954, the U-505 was donated to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry by the U.S. government. Chicagoans rallied and raised $250,000 to transport and install the vessel. In the summer of 1954, the submarine was towed by United States Coast Guard tugs and cutters through the Great Lakes; in September the U-505 was dedicated as a permanent exhibit and a war memorial to all the sailors who lost their lives in the two Battles of the Atlantic.
This week's highlights include:
For a full line up of events, visit msichicago.org/whats-here/events/u-505-70th-anniversary-events/Wednesday, June 4 - Sunday, June 8: MSI submariner volunteers will be on hand to share their expertise and adventures. Chief Petty Officers from the Great Lakes Naval Base who participated in the USO U-505 Naval History Program will return to MSI to serve as exhibit facilitators. The U-505 Submarine exhibit's interactive Dive Trainer will be open for a hands-on lesson in U-boat buoyancy, and submarine-themed make-and-take activities will be featured throughout the exhibit.
Saturday, June 7: From 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. in the Little Theater, Joe Mazraani, a vital part of a team that feverishly researched and dreamed of exploring the elusive sub, will detail the search and exploration experience of the U-550. [Seating is limited and first-come, first-served.]
Sunday, June 8: Kurt Haunfelner, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections will lead a panel discussion on the the U-505's fascinating history, from the Battle for the Atlantic and the submarine's capture to its legacy today as an exhibition at MSI. [Seating is limited and first-come, first-served.]If you haven't visited the U-505, I recommend the optional on-board tour, which lets you experience life aboard the sub in the days leading up to her capture, complete with dramatic lighting and sound effects. The U-505 Submarine exhibit is included in Museum Entry. The on-board tour can be selected as part of an Explorer ticket package, or with a special discount for members.