Maritim Museum U461 - Peenemünde - Germany

Address: Haupthafen, Peenemünde (See map)
Telephone: +49 (0)38371-28565

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: small
Year of visit: 2005
Overall rating:

Description: When you go down the small flight of steps into the dark belly of the U461, you're welcomed by Russian voices singing and talking to each other. Two life-like dolls dressed up as Russian sailors stare you in the face once you reach the bottom of the stairs, and you will encounter others during your walk-about inside the sub. These little extras really intensify the atmosphere and make it easier to imagine what it must have been like to live on such a submarine.

It's always fascinating on submarines to see all the cramped little hallways and rooms stuffed from floor to ceiling with tubes and machinery (makes you wonder how much bruises and bone fractures the average sailor must have had, especially after a couple of vodka's eh?!). In the case of the U461 this underground maze becomes even more surrealistic because every warning and inscription is written in Cyrillic lettering.

The JULIETT-class U461 was built in the early sixties and saw active service with the Red Flag Baltic Fleet well into the eighties. The ship and its crew have carried out long patrol-missions in the North-Atlantic during the Cold War. It was armed with various torpedos and 4 Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles, which could be fired from the top of the ship when it emerged to sea-level. At the end of the eighties the JULIETT-class submarines were generally used as reserves and finally taken out of service. Since 1998 the U461 can be seen in the harbour of Peenemünde.

The U461 is certainly worth a trip to the island of Usedom in north-east Germany. If you combine the submarine with a visit to the nearby Historisch-Technisches Informationszentrum Peenemünde, you're guaranteed to have a great day.

The U461 lying in Peenemünde harbour.

Front of the submarine.

A 'door' connecting one compartment of the sub to another, which can be used to hermetically shut off a section of the ship in case of emergencies.

The Russian lettering on all the machinery certainly adds to the experience.

Wall stuffed with all sorts of control mechanisms.

Probably indicators of speed and direction (our Russian is not that good!).

Cooling system of the ship.

The rear end of the ship, kitted out with four 400mm torpedo tubes.

Six 533mm torpedo tubes at the front of the ship.

A last view at U461. Notice the missile launching tubes at the back. Massive!