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Basic Information

A tauchretter is a combined inflatable life vest and rebreather issued to all personnel onboard a German U-Boat during World War Two. It's a little heavier than what you might expect for a flotation device.

The life vest wraps around your neck and shoulders in the usual fashion, but includes a tube and mouthpiece to breathe through, a built-in nose plug, and comes packaged with a pair of water-tight goggles. You'd breathe the air in the life vest itself, and a filter inside would scrub the CO2 out. Construction was predominantly canvas, with additional leather, metal, rubber and glass.


1. Joe's Tauchretter Website - has great photos
2. The Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago has several with the U-505 exhibit

Game and Story Use

  • Every crewman aboard a U-Boat was assigned exactly one of these, just in case they had to abandon ship in an emergency.
    • If you know how to use a tauchretter, it should help with swimming or survival rolls. But if you've never seen one before, and especially if you can't read the German instruction manual, figuring out how to use it while the ship is sinking around you is somewhat challenging.
  • Nazi frog men coming ashore in such gear will look particularly strange to the locals. This could start all sorts of rumors, superstitions, red herrings, etc.
    • Especially if the Nazis landed near Innsmouth.
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