The Souffleur submarine was sunk by the British submarine HMS Parthian on 25th of June 1941 at south of Beirut, as the Souffleur submarine appeared to recharge the batteries. Four torpedoes HMS Parthian shot down, one of them tore the U-boat in two parts. Five men out of the six on deck tried to swim to shore, one of them drowned, while fifty-two sailors found their death. Here comes the story:
The Souffleur submarine was a U-boat of the Requin-Class (requin = French, shark). Nine of the boats were made and launched from 1925 to 1926. She was built in 1924 in Cherbourg dockyard. It was 257 feet long, 22 feet large and had a draught of 15 feet. Souffleur submarine was a deep-submarine of the French Navy. Designed for diving on the depth of up to 80 meters the drive was like in conventional submarines, a usual combination of two diesel engines for the water ride and two battery-operated electric motors for the dive trip. On the time between the beginning of the Second World War on 1st of September 1939 and the German-French ceasefire on the 22nd of June 1940, the submarines were mainly in the Mediterranean, and patrolled off the French and North African coast. In June 1941 the British, together with French forces occupied Syria and Lebanon, until they stood under the control of the Vichy-France. During the fighting, the Souffleur submarine was sunk by a British submarine.
25th of June 1941
That day, at 06:55 GMT, the ‘Souffleur’ was two or three miles off the coast between Ras Damour and Ras Beirut; she was compelled to surface to charge her batteries. Six men were on bridge deck. Suddenly four torpedo wakes, launched from HMS ‘Parthian’, could be seen cruising toward ‘Souffleur’.
Officer Morange gave order to maneuver, unfortunately one torpedo hit the ‘Souffleur’ and broke her in two parts, and she sank immediately. Fifty-two men went down with their ship. Five men out of the six on deck tried to swim to shore, one of them drowned. HMS ‘Parthian’ was lost in August 1943, possibly in the southern Adriatic Sea, while on patrol. Nothing is known for certain about what happened to her, she failed to arrive at Beirut on 14th August.
The French Submarine Souffleur Wreck Diving:
The wreck lies on a sandy bottom at 40 meters deep, at Khaldé Bay about 10 km from Beirut. You will find one of her torpedoes still within its hull and the other faithfully on her side on the sandy bottom. In addition you will observe many types of fish and rays have taken this submarine as a sanctuary.
Diving information The French Submarine Souffleur is only accessible by boat. It’s rarely visited and it is in good condition. The boat is broken into two parts, so one can see many details. The front part is on the side, torpedoes evident, one of the torpedoes is in the launch tube. Also visible: the air gun + rotary tower. On the back: Rowing very well preserved.
It is a marine life sanctuary and a Great location for advanced recreational divers and for Advanced Nitrox divers.
Here is a YouTube Video for The French Submarine Souffleur Wreck diving, but don’t forget the rule when you do wreck diving to see a military submarine wreck, like The French Submarine Souffleur Wreck. Enjoy watching the video!
Basic rule if it’s military and sunk.
Look, don’t touch!
Have some respect, don’t go in!
Accessibility: By Boat
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Posted by: Ibrahim K. Msallam