Shipwreck hunter’s Nazi U-boat find was ‘ultimate piece of treasure’ before his death

Nazi U-Boat captured during World War Two

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Nazi Germany’s U-boats – or submarines – were a major plank of Adolf Hitler’s military might during World War 2. Many British ships crossing the Atlantic with supplies from the US were destroyed by the German subs. However, at the end of the war, as Hitler’s Third Reich crumbled, some U-boats were reportedly converted into smuggling vessels. A small fleet of subs was said to have been repurposed to carry gold and artwork looted by the Nazis to South America.

It has also been claimed that high-ranking Nazi officials fled Germany on the subs, including even Hitler himself.

Famous treasure hunter Roger Miklos, who died in 2018, was among those who had tried to track down the U-boats.

The explorer, who discovered a string of high-profile wrecks packed with treasure during his career, claimed to have found one of the U-boats.

He said the vessel, which he claimed was carrying 18 high-ranking Nazis and 50 tonnes of gold, sunk off the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

In the last televised interview, he gave before his death the treasure hunter was asked about the “ultimate piece of treasure he thought he’d found”.

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He replies: “As far as I have, it’s that U-boat”, adding, “You want to get into the U-boat? I’ll tell you the story of it.”

The archive footage is included in a fresh season of the History Channel US documentary, ‘History’s Greatest Mysteries’.

Episode two, ‘Hunting Hitler’s U-Boats’, looks at the efforts of a new team of researchers led by diver and explorer Mie Fletcher.

The show is presented and executive produced by US actor and director Laurence Fishburne.

Mr Miklos was notoriously secretive about his treasure hunting but after his death, his family turned over his cache of evidence to Mr Fletcher for his own efforts to find the U-boat.

In 1981 Mr Miklos and a small crew sailed around the Turks and Caicos on a six-week expedition.

They were searching for La Pinta, one of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first transatlantic voyage to the New World in 1492

Their magnetometer – a device used to detect metal on the ocean floor – picked up a reading, which Mr Miklos said led him to the U-boat.

Recalling the moment in his last interview, he said: “The magnetic field is disturbed by iron and heavy metals, maybe a car, a refrigerator, but it’s definitely iron man.”

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He said the crew anchored their main ship, while he used a smaller boat to go and inspect the find.

He said: “I swam down 45 feet, I saw the two back propellor blades, highly polished from going up and down in the sand.

“There’s these enormous zeppelin fins on this damn thing and I go, ‘what?’

“And I realise ‘holy cow’ this thing goes and goes, it’s under an island.

“I got to the top of the conning tower and then I notice a glint, a goldy glint colour.

“They put a commission plaque on the starboard side by the conning tower.

“I rubbed the grass off of it and there it is, ‘Blohm+Voss, Hamburg, 1944’ with a German eagle and swastika on the damn thing, now I know it’s German. This is a U-boat.”

History’s Greatest Mysteries is available on the History Channel US.
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