I knew when I took this photo back in 2014 that it might come in handy when I had few ideas for the last letter of the alphabet so it is now making its appearance - a T11 Zaunkönig 2 Torpedo, one of only 38 built towards the end of World War 2. It forms part of the 'U Boat Story' in Birkenhead. Zaunkönig means wren in German (literately 'king of the fence') but our example is a acoustic torpedo with an electronic guidance system designed to track ships by the sound of their propellers. The Allied code for the torpedo was another small creature, GNAT (German Navy Acoustic Torpedo) and they deployed a decoy (the Foxer) which contrasted to the sophistication of the torpedo by being two metal pipes which banged together when towed to create a noise. The Zaunkönig was 23' 7" long (7.186m) with a speed of 24 knots and a range of 6230 yards (5700m) was designed to be able to differentiate between the Foxer and propeller noise.
The torpedo was one carried by the U534, the damage on the side done by depth chargers dropped by RAF aircraft when it sunk in the Kattegat between Sweden and Denmark (most of the crew survived) at the end of World War 2. There were rumours it was carrying gold but when it was raised in 1993 it was discovered to be just a myth. One only four surviving U Boats (two in Germany and one in Chicago) it was almost sold for scrap but the Warship Preservation Trust brought it to Birkenhead. In 2008 it was cut into five pieces
and moved to the Woodside Ferry Terminal and became part of the U Boat Story museum
where one can peer back through time into its claustrophobic interior. The rusted interior contrasts with the painted exterior
Here is the part of the U Boat the German Navy call the wintergarten (the winter garden) our word of the bridge or conning tower is quite boring by comparison
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet coming to its end here