The Shipwreck That Never Was: The “UX-791” and Great Lakes Maritime History via JaySea Archaeology

JaySea over on his own fledgling blog has taken a crack at debunking bad archaeology reporting in the media. I think he did a bang-up job, and as he’s a bit a a pro at maritime archaeology too so I really recommend giving his blog a look.

In February 18, of 2016 came this headline: “USA: Mysterious Nazi Submarine from WWII Discovered In Great Lakes” from the infamous faux news site World News Daily Report. The issue isn’t the fact that this is a fake news article cobbled together from facts gathered from skimming Wikipedia and poor photo shopping. The issue is that people believed it. World News Daily Report is a fake news site done for the sake of satire and they actually say as much, that its done for entertainment purposes with a large picture of a finger pointing at you mockingly for believing it. Articles like this happen quickly and it was interesting to see it spread across social media with even reputable history pages sharing it. It was shared to various historians by those wondering if the story was true. Although this article has hence blazed its way across social media and has been discounted by Snopes, this post will go through the article and discuss each historical inaccuracy, accuracy and discuss the real history that was utilized for this article; finishing with the real story of a German submarine in Lake Michigan. An article like this that has been shared on Facebook 77.8K times certainly merits a closer look.

I like that JaySea takes pains to reference his post, and provide those to his readers. I also like how he make a solid solid argument and a tidy conclusion.

This article it an interesting one, even though it was entirely fictional it had a few nuggets of historical truth with the “UX-791” being amalgamation of two different submarines.  It is that little truth that helped make the story believable. The author must have had some advanced knowledge in order write this especially with the obscure information of the German prototype submarines U-791 and the V-80. The point I’m trying to make is that this story the World News Daily Report fabricated already essentially exists with the story of the UC-97. Shipwreck stories are captivating, sexy and people do generally find them interesting. So it’s easy to fabricate something as click bait in order to generate advertising revenue. The important fact is this is another misrepresentation of history that duped people into sharing it thinking its true. The true history is far more interesting.

Go and check the whole thing out yourself at the link below!

via The Shipwreck That Never Was: The “UX-791” and Great Lakes Maritime History — JaySea Archaeology

2 thoughts on “The Shipwreck That Never Was: The “UX-791” and Great Lakes Maritime History via JaySea Archaeology

Add yours

  1. Is the picture of the submarine above supposed to be the sub in the article?? Or perhaps it is just chosen to illustrate a suitable, old submarine, ostensibly moored lakeside. The pictured sub is a retired Soviet era November Class nuclear submarine, moored most probably in one of the Russian Northern Fleet bases, awaiting scrapping. The Northern and Pacific Fleet facilities have quite a lot of these, and other, old boats, in similar states of decay waiting the breakers, usually because de-fueling the reactors and breaking the boats for scrap takes time, money and technical resources. Of course, there is no indication of the date the photo was taken. In any case, not in the Great Lakes, not German, not of WWII vintage–Russian sub built in the late 50’s thru early/mid 60’s.


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