London, Feb.3 : Three German U-boats, nicknamed "Hitler's lost fleet", have been found at the bottom of the Black Sea.
The vessels, including one once commanded by Germany's most successful U-boat ace, formed part of the 30th Flotilla of six submarines, taken by road and river across Nazi-occupied Europe, from Germany's Baltic port at Kiel to Constanta, the Romanian Black Sea port.
In two years, the fleet sank dozens of ships and lost three of their number to enemy action. But in August 1944, Romania switched sides and declared war on Germany, leaving the three remaining vessels in the Black Sea as the war neared its end.
Now, according to the Sunday Telegraph,explorers have located the submarines off the coast of Turkey 60 years later.
The submarines' hulls were discovered by a team led by Sel§uk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, who will present his findings to a shipwreck conference in Plymouth this week.
Kolay established the boats' positions through research in German archives, interviews with surviving sailors and by sonar studies of the seabed.
He has already completed successful dives to the wreckage of one vessel, a U-20, two miles offshore in about 80ft of water.
He believes he has discovered another, U-23, at twice that depth, three miles from the town of Agva, but bad weather forced him to suspend diving until the spring.
He thinks he is also close to pinpointing the third boat, U-19, thought to lie more than 1,000ft down, three miles from the Turkish city of Zonguldak.