Leopoldville: it runs on Christmas Day

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The Belgian personnel carrier was sunk by a German submarine 24 December 1944, to 6.5 miles northeast of the port of Cherbourg.

In the service of Great Britain and converted into troop carriers in 1940, he was torpedoed off the coast of Cherbourg as he led 2 237 men of the 66th U.S. division from Southampton.

After landing in June 1944, the war effort continued. To power the front human and material, an endless stream of ships of all kinds across the Channel from England and docking at Cherbourg.
The risk is always there, lurking in the depths of the ocean. The German U-boats are watching and fly many times on these convoys often consist of civilian ships, such as Leopoldville.
This ship is a ship of the Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), Antwerp, built in 1928, of 11 500 tons, measuring over 170 meters long. It was requisitioned as a troop transport.

On Christmas Eve 1944, 2 237 U.S. soldiers from the 66th U.S. division are on board.                          div 66

The Leopoldville has left the port of Southampton in convoy towards Cherbourg.

Thirteen other vessels accompanying it.


Bott U-486 is five nautical miles from the entrance to the harbor of Cherbourg when the train is present on 30 to 17 hours.

The submarine fired its deadly torpedo.

The Leopoldville was hit in the back.

He quickly took the lodging. The evacuation order is given.

Distress messages are sent for England and Cherbourg that can be seen through the snowflakes. HMS Brilliant is approaching. Hawsers are launched, but they break one by one. The two ships collide, thereby crushing the lifeboats.

Despite the cold outside and the icy water, American soldiers threw themselves into the water. Relief consisting of three tugs and a few fishing boats arrive from the coast and save some sea by high waves. Suddenly, the Leopoldville sinking in water. The bow rises to the sky and the ship stops, it just hit bottom. Shortly after 20 h 30, it disappears forever.

This shipwreck was 763 dead and 493 missing.

The name of his men were on the wall of the missing in the cemetery of Colleville sur Mer, think about them when you walk along the wall filled with names

Only 802 soldiers, five sailors and the captain were rescued.

This wreck was a national disaster killed the men on board were from 46 states out of 48 that made the USA at that time.
N It is the Deleware and WYOMING that have not been touched by this tragedy.



Léopoldville: plaque commémorative.


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On May 19, 2005, under the leadership of Mr Patrick Daudon, Frédéric Lavernhe and a team of divers from the Fire Brigade CSP Cherbourg (under the authority of Major Ragot) filed a plaque on the Leopoldville to commemorate the date of December 24 1944. (Pictured: Jerome Ragot, Mickael Guérin, Sébastien Bonamy, David Leterrier)

This action culminated with the help of the Lajoie's entreprise from St Sauveur le Vicomte.



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Leopoldville: the wreck.

Measuring over 170 meters long, this huge ship is considered one of the most beautiful wrecks of the Channel. He lies to port with about 60 meters on the bottom of hard sand. The wreck is still in excellent condition, and the explosion of the torpedo was cut in two at the rear mast. The stern is upright, connected to the rest of the building by the keel. Back to the starboard side 20 feet above the sand.

Beware a dive on the "LEO" is not improvised, and this unforgettable experience is reserved for experienced divers. The bow and the front axle are intact. Beyond, alleyways invite you to a dangerous incursion well ... Stay clear and do not engulfed in this dark labyrinth. Explore a small part of the wreck, taking time to observe its inhabitants: pollack, pouting, Congress and Lobsters.


This wreck is subject to authorization diving!





Léopoldville: Monument commémorative Fort Benning.

Photo Fdlm

Leopoldville drawn by Hergé album "Tintin in the Congo"

Léopoldville par Hergé

Monument to soldiers who died during the sinking of the Leopoldville December 24, 1944 at Fort Benning

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Photo FdlmView Site Memorial Leopoldville