Skip to comments.US Navy Ship Sunk In World War II Battle Found
Posted on 09/11/2009 8:32:14 PM PDT by Saije
A NOAA-led research mission has located and identified the final resting place of the YP-389, a U.S. Navy patrol boat sunk approximately 20 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, by a German submarine during World War II.
Six sailors died in the attack on June 19, 1942. There were 18 survivors. The wreck is located in about 300 feet of water in a region off North Carolina known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, home to U.S. and British naval vessels, merchant ships, and German U-boats sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic.
NOAA and its expedition partners mapped and shot video of the wreck using high-resolution camera equipment, multibeam sonar and an advanced remotely operated vehicle deployed from the NOAA ship Nancy Foster. ******
Built originally as a fishing trawler, the YP-389 was converted into a coastal patrol craft and pressed into service after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The ship was equipped with one 3-inch deck gun to protect the ship from enemy aircraft and surfaced submarines and two .30-caliber machine guns. However, on the day of the attack by the German submarine U-701, the ships deck gun was inoperative, and the YP-389 could return fire only with its machine guns.*****
The story of the YP-389 personifies the character of the Battle of the Atlantic along the East Coast of the United States, where small poorly armed fishing trawlers were called to defend American waters against one of Germanys most feared vessels, said David W. Alberg, expedition leader and superintendent of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. It is one of the most dramatic accounts of an engagement between Axis and Allied warships during the dark days of World War II.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Oh yeah. They sunl lots of ships on the east coast
Thanks. Interesting map. I thought I knew a lot of WWII history but never this part.
I wonder how we’d react today.
My uncle, Bliss Evans, was killed in such an incident. He and other officers went into the water while the enlisted were in a lifeboat. One of their own depth charges blew up as the vessel sank deeper and killed the officers.
Thanks, it answered my question about why we were depending on refurbished fishing trawlers.
Also, fascinated by this in the Wiki article:
“The first sinking of a U-boat by a U.S. Navy ship off the coast of the U.S. did not occur until April 14, 1942, when the destroyer USS Roper sank the U-85. It has come to light in recent years that the famous “Loose Lips Sink Ships” propaganda campaign in the U.S. that started in 1942 was not so much designed to deny German agents knowledge of vessels’ sailing times (there were no such agents anyway) but rather to keep American civilian morale high by reducing communication about how much shipping was being sunk during Operation Drumbeat.”
Can you imagine the gov’t getting away with that today?
They went all of the way into the gulf of Mexico.
Also, the Civil Air Patrol’s Coastal Patrol reported 173 U-boats, 57 of which were attacked by CAP aircraft with 83 ordnance pieces. Two U-boats were confirmed sunk as a result of CAP attacks.
According to this rather interesting site, about 175 (!) merchant ships were sunk off the east coast during WW2.
[more of a summary list]
Per my very quick read of the site, that 175 number almost *exactly* matches the number sunk in the North Atlantic. (+/- 1 or 2 ships)
I have not sorted the listings into “damaged” versus “sunk”, but you can see the vast majority were sunk.
They would surface early in the war and sink merchant ships with the deck gun using the lights from east coast cities to silouette them.
“Close to the coast?”
The Germans sailed right up into the Chesapeak Bay and up the Patomac River!
Well, since they were within 200 miles of the US coast, it would be up to the FBI to investigate and work with Interpol to bring the criminals to justice.
Ha! I wonder, I really do. I can see a strong statement of protest at the UN, definitely.
Statement, yes; protest... Well, do we really want to antagonize another nation? Maybe it is their culture to strike out, we need to be tolerant of their rights and claims to Atlantic waters, too!
Besides, I’m sure it’s just an isolated case, not at all sponsored officially by the German Government.
We snicker, but it’s not really all that much of a stretch.
There would certainly be some who would counsel patience and that we shouldn’t assume armed subs massing off our coast was a sign of hostility or anything. Maybe they come in peace. It’d be like that alien invasion movie with some grinning half-wit holding up a “Welcome to Earth” sign who gets zapped with a ray gun from the spaceship. (Independence Day?) I can see the welcome committee forming now.
At the outbreak of war, the navy Department had just a handful of ships and planes to defend the entire coast from Maine to Texas. This small force proved totally inadequate to deal with the U-boat offensive launched against America by German submarines. Over the first seven months of 1942, the Germans sank nearly 400 vessels, including more than thirty-five ships off Florida.
The most dramatic sinking in Florida waters took place the night of April 10, 1942, when U-123 torpedoed the tanker Gulfamerica off Jacksonville Beach.
The resulting fiery explosion was clearly seen onshore and curious crowds gathered to view the ship's destruction and looked on in shock as the German submarine surfaced and fired its deck gun at the tanker.
In response to the Gulfamerica sinking, in which nineteen crew members were lost, Governor Spessard Holland ordered a blackout of lights that could be seen at sea and might silhouette passing ships.
The number of sinkings declined dramatically in the fall of 1942 due to increased escort and anti-submarine patrols by ships and blimps of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, as well as by Civil Air Patrol aircraft and private vessels. The continued presence of U-boats in Florida waters was confirmed, however, by the shooting down of an American military blimp by a German submarine in waters off the Florida Keys in July 1943.
German Saboteurs in Florida:
Florida became the scene of a bizarre plot in June 1942 when four saboteurs came ashore from German submarine U-584 near Ponte Vedra Beach. They buried boxes of explosives and other equipment in the dunes for future use. The men then boarded a bus for Jacksonville, before splitting into two groups that traveled to New York and Chicago. The agents were to join with four other saboteurs, who had landed on New York's Long Island, and then planned to bomb key railroads, bridges and factories producing goods for the war. Fortunately, one of the New York band had misgivings about his mission and surrendered them to the FBI.
By June 27 all of the men had been apprehended. A military court later tried the eight Germans and found them guilty of spying. Six of the spies, including all of the Florida group, were executed.
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