U-1206 was one of the late war boats equipped with a new deep water, high pressure toilet that allowed it to be used while running in deep waters. It was a sophisticated setup and required special technicians who were trained to operate them.
On 14 April, 1945, U1206 was cruising 61m (200 feet) below the surface while just off the coast of Scotland. While it was cruising below the surface an action that we all do every day caused a drastic chain of events. A member of the crew flushed the toilet, but it didn’t exactly flush. Instead of carrying away the waste, the toilet immediately started flooding with sea water. The forward section where the toilets were located became flooded. This flooding of the forward section also flooded the batteries that were stored below the toilets. When this happened they released chlorine gas, which left the crew with no choice but to surface.
How did a U boat submarine get sunk by its toilet once it had surfaced?
That should have been the end of their troubles. They should have been able to drain the water and repair the batteries, but they were spotted and bombed by British patrols. The U boat commander had no choice left but to scuttle the submarine. This resulted in a U boat submarine being sunk due to a toilet. One man died during the attack, and three others drowned in the waters after. 46 German submariners were taken prisoner. The remains of U1206 were discovered in the mid 1970’s.