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Unlike the position after WW1 with the disolution of the Kaiserliche Marine when the new Reichsmarine was banned from possessing U-Boats, post WW2 the new Bundesmarine was not banned, but decided to create her new U-Boat force by raising some WW2 boats that had been scuttled but were known to be relatively undamaged.

The first was the former U-2365, a Type XXIII coastal submarine which had been scuttled on 8 May 1945. She was raised in June 1956, refurbished and re-commissioned into the new Bundesmarine in August 1956.

Breaking with the tradition of submarines only having numbers, she was now given a name and became Unterseeboot Hai (Shark).

Photo Courtesy Thomas Huss

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Two patterns of cap ribbon exist for this boat. A Fraktur ribbon for Unterseeboot Hai was introduced in August 1957 and manufactured until July 1959. A Latin script version was also produced and worn until the tragic accidental loss of the Hai in September 1966. All but one of her crew were killed. Both ribbons are very hard to find. Not surprising when one considers the crew size was only around 20, so the number produced to meet such a demand would have been rather small.

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The second boat to be put into service was the former U-2367, another Type XXIII. She was scuttled on 9 May 1945 and raised in August 1956. She was recommissioned into the navy on 1 October 1957 as Unterseeboot Hecht (Pike).

She was a sister ship to Hai but had a less dramatic career, surviving until scrapped in 1966.

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As with Hai, two types of ribbon exist. A Fraktur ribbon made between October 57 and July 59 and a Latin script ribbon made between 1957 and 1962.

Both ribbons are hard to find and I have to thank Markus for gving me the opportunity to add the Latin script Hecht to my collection.

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Biggest of the ex-Kriegsmarine boats was the former U-2540 one of the large ultra modern ( in her day) Type XXI boats. She had been scuttled in May 1945 and was raised in 1957 and after refurbishment, was commissioned on 1 September 1960 as Unterseeboot Wilhelm Bauer. During her post war service her conning tower was redesigned and much of her internal layout was changed as newer more modern machinery and equipment was installed, much of it new design and under test.

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Again, ribbons exist in both Fraktur and Latin script. I believe the Fraktur style may be unofficial and not actually worn. Note the variants in the Latin script ribbon, one with a dash between the "U" and "B" and one with a dot. A further variant exists which I haven't been able to add yet, with the full name UNTERSEEBOOT WILHELM BAUER. Again, all of these bands are scarce, rarer in fact than some wartime ribbons.

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By the time these boats were all taken out of service, it was no longer politically incorrect to use the worrying term "U-Boat" and a numbering system was re-introduced.. The first postwar built type, the 201 Class had only three boats, U1-U3. U1 and U2 were built in 1962 and by the following year had already been removed from service due to deterioration of the weld seams in the pressure hull.

Strangely, for the next type, the Class 202, names were once again used. ONly two of the type were built and they were truly tiny vessels of just 100 tons and a crew of just six.

These boats were named as Unterseeboot Hans Techel, and Unterseeboot Friedrich Sch?rer.

This photo from the launch of Techel shows just how tiny they were.

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A similar ribbon was produced for Unterseeboot Friedrich Sch?rer. This boat was named after one of the leading figures in the U-Boat design and development field in WW2. Sch?rer was in fact awarded the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross for his achievements in this field.

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Techel and Sch?rer were the last boats to be formally named. Thereafter only numbers were used. The next major type was the Class 205, built in the early 1960s. These were still pretty tiny boats really and only eleven were made. The first batch, U-4 to U-8 were scrapped in the 1970s and the remained in the early 1990s.

One still exists, at the Marine Museum in Wilhelmshaven

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Gordon,

Very interesting thread. I would imagine that the small boats were for coastal use only? Probably tied to the German constitution prohibiting the German military of the time from service in other countries? The bigger boats must be ocean going craft.

Regards,

Gordon

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