A WWII-era German one-man torpedo submarine, “Marder.“ 

A WWII-era German one-man torpedo submarine, “Marder.“  (WikiMedia Commons/German Armed Forces Military History Museum Dresden)

The City of Vallejo announced plans to place the German Marder Submarine and Torpedo artifact at Mare Island’s Alden Park in a temporary storage facility.

Officials cited weather as the reason for the movement of the artifacts. According to a Vallejo news release on Thursday, “The passage of time and exposure to the elements have taken their toll, leading to visible signs of decay and rust on the metal structure.”

As stated on the historic plaque accompanying the submarine, this piece of history dates back to World War II, when it was captured and generously donated to the island in the 1940s. This torpedo was captured during World War II and donated to Mare Island in 1947.

Developed and used sparingly by the German Navy, they were used in the English Channel and Mediterranean. They were not considered successful — 80 percent of them were sunk.

The top section of this semi-suicide device was used to escape from the target area after the torpedo carried beneath was released by the operator who sat in the hooded cockpit.

“We are committed to ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate and learn from this significant artifact,” said City Manager Mike Malone in the same news release.

In light of the deteriorating condition of the artifact, Vallejo has collaborated with the non-profit Mare Island Historic Park Foundation to ensure its preservation. Together, the city and foundation have decided to temporarily relocate the submarine to a secure indoor facility, protecting it from further damage caused by the elements.

Following the relocation, the city and foundation will embark on a joint effort to establish a comprehensive preservation plan for this invaluable piece of our city’s history.

(c)2024 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.)

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