text by Martin Waligorski
photo by Peter Alsterberg
Derived from the hull of the type XVIII, the type XXI had a diesel-electric engine system comparable to that of older U-boats, but with greatly enlarged battery capacity. This earned it the name Elektrik Boot. Together with the streamlined hull this allowed the type XXI to reach high speeds under water – 17 knots submerged compared to 16 knots on the surface. The boat could stay under water for up to three days. This made the 2100-ton submarine a much more dangerous adversary than the older type VII, which had become far too vulnerable to aircraft attack. Shipyards delivered 120 of this type to the Kriegsmarine, but it appeared too late to turn the tide of the war in the Atlantic.
André Kristoffersen assembled this model from the 1/144th scale Revell kit. No extra details have been added, however, the detail contained in the kit is very impressive and required a lot of work to assemble and (especially) paint.
The model represents the famous U-2540. This particular ship was launched in January 1945. She was then commissioned on 24 February, 1945, and subseqently scuttled near the Flensburg lightship on May 4, 1945 by her commander Oblt. Rudolf Schultze. Her wreck was raised in 1957 and she became the research vessel Wilhelm Bauer in the new Bundesmarine on 1 Sept, 1960. Transferred to the German maritime museum in Bremerhaven in 1984, she is the only remaining Type XXI U-boat left in the world today.
This article was originally published in IPMS Stockholm Magazine in September 1999.