A World War I German U-boat was found off the coast of Belgium. Researchers indicate that the submarine, which sank over a hundred years ago, was part of a campaign to attack allied ships. These submarines were a part of a fleet that was used to keep allied boats in check.

According to a report by BBC, West Flanders Governor Carl Decaluwé said that the location was being kept a secret to stop tourists or plunderers from going near it and looting and damaging the wreck.

"The submarine is in such good condition that we reckon all the bodies are still on board," he said in the report.

According to a report by ABC News, The submarine was discovered in the North Sea, near the Belgian coast. It was found lying at a 45-degree angle on the ocean floor. The bodies of the 23 crew members are thought to be in the wreckage.

The submarine which was found at a depth of 82 to 98 feet, was identified as a Type UB II U-boat. These were a smaller class of submarines which operated in exclusively coastal water. They could dive up to 50 meters. They were typically armed with 6 torpedoes and an 88-millimeter gun on the deck. Thirty of these UB II submarines were deployed during the war but not all were found or accounted for after the war was over.

The ABC News report also states that the damage to the submarine was restricted to its bow, and the angle at which it sunk was taken into account, it is safe to say that the damage may have been due to a mine.

Historic reports have pointed to a German Type UB II submarine which in 1917 struck a mine off the coast of Zeebrugge. This submarine was conducting training dives. The submarine was not discovered and the entire crew was said to be lost with the vessel.

During WWI, the German Navy used the Belgian port of Zeebrugge as a base for its submarines, known as U-boats during that time, to attack trade shipping in the North Sea.

“It’s quite amazing that we found something like this,” Decaluwé said in the ABC report. “The impact damage was at the front, but the submarine remains closed and there are 23 people still on board.”

The BBC report also states that the team of researchers also believe that the “mine could have been dragged up towards the surface as the submarine became caught up in a cable.”

Eleven of these German submarines from World War I have been found off the coast of Belgium. This one was the best preserved of all with the periscopes and the torpedo tubes still found to be intact. 

According to a BBC report, of the 375 German submarines that were deployed during WWI by Germany, 202 were lost in action. Most were destroyed during attacks by the Allies or mechanical failure and accidents accounted for others.