U-Boat Navigator has returned to its port in Malta and we are going to share some photos from the concluding part of our Expedition to Britannic 2016.
We have completed a great number of dives to HMHS Britannic and SS Burdigala in Kea channel but it would’ve been silly to leave without thoroughly exploring another two curious objects – Ju 52 and SS Citta Di Tripoli, also located in the proximity of Kea.
We started with Ju 52 – an incredibly well preserved and intact WWII Luftwaffe transport aircraft. Junkers 52 ended his life journey at the bottom of the Aegean Sea back in 1943 on the 6th of September.
Manufactured by Prof. Hugo Junkers Company “Junkers Flugzeug-und Motorenwerke AG, Junkers Ju 52/3m, registration number 6590, the aircraft went missing after ditching caused by fuel supply issues followed by power loss. Later, one fatality and two serious injuries of the crewmen were reported. This particular Ju 52 is believed to belong to Squadron 1/Transport Group 4 from Kalamaki (the Old Hellenikon).
Ju 52 was an armored aircraft and carried MG 15, 7,92 mm machine gun, next to the cargo hatch at the upper part of its body. The aircraft carried 3 engines, 660 HP each, making her maximum speed 290 km/h. Max height of her flight was 6300 m, and operational endurance of about 1200 km.
Today Junkers 52 is a marvelous wreck, resting at the depth of 68 meters on a sandy bottom, upright, intact with just her central engine slightly tilted. Her machine gun is still in place and details in the cockpit are very well distinguished. The wreck is surrounded by all kinds of marine life and looks simply stunning.
Our next object of study was Citta Di Tripoli – a very beautiful wreck of an Italian steam ship lost during WWII to a torpedo attack. SS Citta Di Tripoli was built in 1915 and belonged to a Sicilian Company when the war broke out she was requested by Italian Royal Navy and served as a troop transport.
On her last voyage SS Citta di Tripoli she was heading to Piraeus from Samos, where she landed troops. She was in convoy with Citta di Savona, escorted by an Italian torpedo boat Libra, with a German aircraft circling overhead. She was struck by a torpedo, other ships managed to escape the attack. Libra dropped 18 single depth charges but the enemy submarine (HMS Torbay (N97)) managed to escape. Early morning 2nd July 1941 Citta Di Tripoli sank, taking with her 11 lives, another 48 were saved by Citta Di Savona.
HMS Torbay later, in 1943 and then in 1944 and 1945 paid several visits to Malta as a relay point in her voyages.
This Italian beauty now rests in the clear waters, at the depth of 118 meters, washed by strong currents of Aegean Sea. Her length is almost 97 meters and height – almost 12.
Take a look at these photos we are happy to share, as the wreck has really impressed us with its looks. SS Citta Di Tripoli is now resting on the seabed at an even keel, majestic and colorful, very well preserved with all the details available for in detail viewing.
We performed hours of dives to these two very diverse but still very picturesque wrecks, we are now in possession of some very beautiful footage that some day we are going to share. Two subs, two ROVs, and a team of supporting divers – Navigator’s crew did a very good job this year and we are happy with our work.
Having said “Good Bye” to all these beautiful Greek wrecks we have returned home now, only to continue working on our “The mystery of Britannic Project” so that we are ready in time with our documentary series about HMHS Britannic, marking her centenary this year.