Captain Schlitt went to the toilet and sank his ship. What happened 76 years ago on a German submarine.

Commissioned on March 16, 1944, U-1206 was one of the last German submarines to be sunk.

Until July 1944, U-1206 was part of the 8th submarine flotilla, participating in exercises, and then transferred to command of 27-year-old Lieutenant Commander Karl-Adolf Schlitt of the 11th Submarine Flotilla boats.

Captain Schlitt went to the toilet and sank his ship. What happened 76 years ago on a German submarine.

Schlitt led two subsequent training patrols in March and April 1945, and on April 6, 1945, U-1206 departed from Kristiansand for its first ever active patrol mission.

Toilet "Hi-tech"

During World War II, the toilet was one of the problems on submarines. Because of the high pressure, unlike ships, they cannot simply dump human waste into the ocean.

Most submarines at the time used tanks to store waste and then quickly dump it into the ocean upon surfacing. However, tanks are extra cargo and volume, which is not permissible on a submarine.

This is why German engineers during World War II began developing a toilet that could be flushed even under water. The result is a high-tech toilet.

Simply put, a toilet works by channeling human waste through a series of chambers and valves into a sealed airlock. Then, using compressed air, the waste is thrown into the ocean.

The toilet management process was so difficult and complex that each submarine had a trained toilet operator known as “waste disposal specialist». The submarine U-1206 also had such an operator.


On April 14, 1945, U-1206 was sailing just 9 miles (15 km) off the coast of Scotland when Captain Schlitt went to use the high-pressure toilet.

The captain, without consulting the operator, decided to operate the system himself. It was a big mistake. He soon realized the complexity of the system and called in a toilet specialist. But the specialist, having misjudged the problem, opened the wrong valve and... Tons of water (including what was in the toilet) poured into the boat.

Soon, water spilled onto batteries directly under the toilet, and very toxic chlorine gas was released. Captain Schlitt quickly ordered the boat to surface.

When the boat surfaced, British Air Force patrols spotted it. A heavy bombardment ensued, which killed one crew member and severely damaged the boat.

The crew members headed for the Scottish coast in rubber boats. Three died on the way, all the rest were captured.

Captain Schlitt has repeatedly denied toilet abuse allegations, according to his official account of the incident.

Due to the lack of definite evidence and documentation, historians lean towards the guilt of Captain Schlitt. But no matter what happened in this toilet on April 14, 1945, U-1206 sank and still remains at the bottom of the ocean.

24 days after the incident, on May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered, marking the end of World War II in Europe.

As for Captain Schlitt, he lived to be 90 and died in 2009.

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