"MSW crew-mate Jan Klarbæk (Mr.Mox) took a recent trip to Laboe, Germany, to the Marinen Ehrenmal (Maritime memorial), and has shared his experience in this MSW feature with us."
If you happen to be in the northern part of Germany, there is a number of interesting sites to visit from a modeller’s point of view.
If you are an armour-nut the tank museum in Munster just 70 km. south of Hamburg is a must, but if you are more into the wet element, then a visit to the Marinen Ehrenmal (Maritime memorial) at Laboe is equally a must.
Laboe is a small town situated on the eastern side of the outlet from the Kieler fjord a aside from a nice beach and slight "tourist trap" impression, it has been home to the Marinen Ehrenmal since it was conceived in the mid twenties and finally inaugurated in 1936 as a memorial to German losses in first world war.
It has since 1954 been turned into a general memorial to all losses in maritime warfare, civilian or navy and covering all nations, and was transferred to the administration of Deutschen Marinebund. (DMB)
The memorial in it self is situated around a large square with a huge tower that with the height of 85 meters offers a splendid view over the area, under the square is a memorial hall and opposite the tower, is a museum with a large array of model ships and informative posters.
There is some minor exhibits outside the museum, including one propeller from the cruiser Prinz Eugen that has be raised from the wreck at the Bikini atolls (target ship for nuclear test in the forties)
The memorial and museum in itself are quite impressive, even if the posters could use a update to more modern museum standards, but what many probably will consider the main attraction, is the 1943 vintage type VII C submarine, the U 995, that is fully restored and situated on the beach in front of the memorial.
There is access to the submarine against a modest fee, and you enter through a door in the aft torpedo room and walk all the way to the front torpedo room where you exit. Upon exit you are free to walk around the submarine and its quite striking how small it really is. The cunning tower is not accessible neither is it possible to get on the deck. But with some care you can take some photos from the Marinen Ehrenmal tower with a good zoom.
The submarine was transferred to the Norwegian navy in 1947 where it was in service as S-309 "Kaura" until decommissioned in 1965 and given to DMB as a gift. Restoration and fundraising took until 1972 where the submarine found its final resting place.
The submarine is returned to World War 2 configuration and is generally well-kept which means, that if you are my size, you have to be careful walking trough the sub. It’s small and cramped and it takes only little imagination to feel how miserable life onboard must have been on the Atlantic 3-4 weeks into a patrol.
German U-boats took some heavy losses with 30.000 men being lost out of 40.000 in service with losses increasing from mid 1942 onwards, primarily thanks to improved anti submarine technology like the ASDIC and the British ability to read German Enigma coded signals.
All in all the Marinen Ehrenmal is worth a visit, and it’s easy to spend a few hours going through the museum.
A link to the homepage marinebund.de