V-5705 Elsass

Other names: SH Grimwood, Oter I

The Kriegsmarine vorpostboot codnamed "Elsass" was lost on September 29th 1943. We first started our research on the Elsass in 2004, and in September 2018 it was discovered by sidescan sonar. The ship now rests upright on the bottom at 69 meters.

We first heard the story about the Elsass sometime in the 1990s. A friends father had witnessed the loss of the ship as a kid. He was living at Fleinvær at the time and could recall hearing an explosion and later seeing smoke rising over the small islands of the main approach to the Fleinvær archipelago. We later found references to the sinking in several books. As always we had a lot of help from the historian and wreckdiver

Erling Skjold, and recieved a lot of helpful information about the ship from him - including two map locations. We searched a few times using ordinary echo-sounder, but we were not successful.

Then in 2018 we got our hands on a Yellowfin sidescan sonar. On june 10th our members Frode Figenschou and Chloe Marechal was searching in less than optimal weather when a structure appeared on the screen. The possition was logged, and a few days later we got Polardykk AS and Hans Birger Nilsen to bring his ROV to the site to verify - and sure enough... it was the Elsass.

The front section of the ship now rests upright at the bottom at 69 meters. There seems to have been an explosion in the boiler - cutting the ship in two. The front section is fairly intact. There is one large gun at the bow, and a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun in front of the bridge. The ship had wooden open wheelhouse - and this has withered away. The masts are broken down - and we have not yet located them. The chimney was blown off by the exploding boiler and have not been located either.

The aft section lies next to the main ship - just off the port side and is quite damaged. There are quite a few depth charges, but we have not seen any spiked mines.

Here is a video from our 3rd dive at Elsass:

Elsass as a whaler, named "Oter I" at the time.

elsass (maybe).jpg

Elsass refitted as a patrolboat.

Sidescan image from when the wreck was first located.

V-5705 Elsass

Other names: SH Grimwood, Oter I

Location: Nordland, Fleinvær

Minimum depth: 60 m

Maximum depth: 69 m

Date lost: September 29th 1940

Souls lost: 21 (2 bodies recovered), 12 survivors

Year discovered: 2018

Other names: SH Grimwood, Oter I

Year built: 1929

Shipyard: Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd (Middlesbrough)

Owner: Kriegsmarine / A/S Ørnen, Sandefjord

Build no: 878

Length: 37.3 m

Width: 7.3 m

Draught: 3.9 m

Tonnage: 251 BRT, 90 NRT

History:

1929 - Built as "SH GRIMWOOD" at Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd (Middlesbrough) for Union Whaling Co. Ltd, Durban, South Africa. Launched March 14th.

1931 - Sold to A/S Ørnen (A/S Thor Dahl), Sandefjord. Renamed "OTER I" and joined the OLE WEGGER fleet.

1939 - Hired by the Norwegian Government for patrol service in Ytre Oslofjord together with whalers FRAM, SKUDD 2, HVAL II and POL III.

1940 - Confiscated by the Kriegsmarine, refitted and renamed "ELSASS". Lost during fisihing on September 29th by Fleinvær; 21 casualties, 12 survivors.

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