History

Watch: Tour a Sunken German U-Boat in the Gulf of Mexico

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The German U-boat 166 was a submarine in use during World War II, which was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico on July 30, 1942. At the time, a number of German U-boats patrolled the area off the southeast Texas coast. Over time, sunken vessels such as this have been found, and they serve as a vivid reminder of how close our enemy truly was.

According to the Texas Historical Commission, “Research suggests there were more than 20 different U-boats operating in the Gulf in 1942 and 1943.” A U-boat fleet posed such an enormous threat to the U.S. coast that it was reported that Texas cities such as Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sabine Pass, and Galveston had instituted blackouts in order to effectively reduce their visibility to the submarines.

Shared on the EVNautilus YouTube channel, live footage of the German U-boat 166 was posted in 2014, and has been viewed by close to 280K. With respect to the submarine’s existence in the Gulf of Mexico, Chron.com quoted the Texas Historical Commission as saying, “Their primary mission was to sink ships departing from ports in Texas and Louisiana, disrupting oil shipments and impeding the flow of military hardware and supplies to the European front. Oil was critical to the allied forces in Europe and the Pacific, and the ports of Galveston, Houston and New Orleans were some of the busiest oil-exporting terminals in the United States.”

Thanks to the efforts of foundations such as Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), together with modern-day technology, what remains of these sunken vessels can still be seen today. OET was created by Dr. Robert Ballard in 2008 with a mission to educate with respect to facts and history via ocean discovery voyages. Among such trips was one to this 1941 German submarine U-166, which arrived at its final destination, sunk by Allied forces, in 1942. The wreck was discovered on June 10, 2001, and was found to be almost one mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. NautilusLive.org is a 24-hour tracking portal available online for those interested in following such discoveries and their supporting historical material.