NH1 News Investigates: Nazis in NH
PORTSMOUTH - For years rumors have circulated Nazis trolling the waters off New Hampshire crept up on our shores during World War II for a little entertainment at Portsmouth's movie theaters.
"Great stories," said Jim Craig, the executive director of the USS Albacore museum. "They're very entertaining but there isn't a lick of truth to them."
What is true? At the end of World War II, four Nazi submarines or U-boats surrendered at Portsmouth's Naval Shipyard, considered the leader in cutting edge U.S. military submarine research and technology.
"This was a gold mine," said Craig. "It was like we want to get those boats here. We want to see what makes a U-boat tick."
The U.S. military had good reason to be hungry for the information. The Nazis trumped the United States in submarine engineering.
"It's like your classic Ford Mustang versus a BMW," said Craig."The BMW just has all those gadgets and gizmos that put it over the top."
The Nazi submarines could dive deeper, and stay under water longer. After researchers studied them at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the same technology started to show up on U.S. submarines like the USS Albacore, now a museum in Portsmouth.
As for the Nazis on board, the U.S. military held them captive for days inside this prison on the shipyard's grounds.
After a short stint there, the Nazis went to POW camps in other parts of the United States.
As for their submarines, one is on display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.
The U.S. military sunk the others at sea, after taking their secrets with them.