A crest drawing of the Anti-Crime Brigade of Lorient includes a German submarine of the Second World War. An administrative inquiry was opened.
We see only it. In the photo, surrounded by the words “National Police – Crime Brigade”, stands out a stylised military submarine numbered 56, that of the department of Morbihan. Problem: the craft has no connection with the French army because it is a U-Boot – abbreviation of “Unterseeboot”, submarine in German – used by the Nazi regime during the Second World War, according to the editor of a local magazine. A choice of symbol that calls for a unit of the French National Police.
Je découvre via un ami l'existence de cet emblème de la Brigade Anti-Criminelle (BAC) de #Lorient. Symboliquement, un U-Boot (sous-marin de l'armée allemande durant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale), c'est un peu spécial quand même, non? @Prefet56 @gouvernementFR pic.twitter.com/fWq15k88NR— Gael Briand (@GaelBriand) August 6, 2019
“This badge was created on the occasion of the reopening of the BAC of Lorient,” said François Le Texier, departmental secretary of the “Unité SGP Police FO” union. Closed in 2016, the brigade reformed in the spring. “This is an allusion to the story of Lorient, ‘a city with five ports’,” said the union leader. “The BAC police wear their city on their hearts”.
An emblem of the city
For years, the port city has indeed sheltered the submarine base of Kéroman. Exploited by the German army during the Second World War and then used by the French Navy from the liberation in the 1990s, it now houses the S645 Flore, a submarine that is now a museum. It is this submersible that would be represented on the escutcheon, assures the union leader.
An explanation swept aside by several former Lorient sub-mariners. “This drawing has nothing to do with Flore,” says Michel Scarpellini. The former Navy officer knows the submarine well for having participated in its restoration with the association MESMAT (Atlantic Submarine Escadrille Museum), which he chairs. It is formal: it is not a French submarine on the escutcheon, but a U-Boot recognisable by its “characteristic look of the submarines of that time”.
A statement shared by other members of the Lorient Submariners Association. “Each country has its type of construction, each submarine is identifiable by the shape of its hull, its sail, and its cathedral [note: part beyond the bridge and allowing access to the submarine], says Marc Castel, a U-Boot enthusiast. “This is a drawing taken from a German submarine model.”
After reviewing the drawing, he would even say it is a Type IV U-Boot. Michel Scarpellini sees there rather a type VII, the model most used by the army of the Third Reich during the Second World War. “This is a type VII-C, recognisable by its superstructure holes [Ed: the lateral evacuation slots],” said Admiral Jehan Marion, co-author of “The encyclopaedia of French submarines“.