If you’re like me, you A) are fond of Wolfgang Peterson’s exhilarating 1981 film “Das Boot” (though have only seen the director’s cut) and B) have little to no idea how German submarines actually operated. Fortunately, we’ve got the video for you.
From the “Das Boot – The Director’s Cut” DVD, this eight-minute featurette follows a German captain as he travels through and narrates each compartment of the ship, from the officer’s bunkroom to the control center to the torpedo room.
Fun facts you may have not picked up from the film itself: The boat was designed for 24 people but in wartime the crew was doubled to 48 (the captain being the only member who didn’t have to share a bunk). Large amounts of ammunition were stored right below these bunks. The electric motors allowed the boat to move silently underwater in case of approaching enemies. The motors had to U-96 submarines needed to recharge diesel engines, which is why they had to come up for air at least every eight hours.
But don’t take my word for it: Enjoy a splendid German captain saying it.