Skip to comments.Gulf camera reveals site of WWII sinking of SS Robert E. Lee, German U-boat
Posted on 07/14/2014 12:50:31 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
........[The] SS Robert E. Lee was carrying survivors from sister ships torpedoed in the Gulf, from Trinidad to New Orleans. On the June 30,1942, as it reached just 25 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, a German torpedo hit.
According to historical accounts, a lookout spotted the torpedo coming in and alerted the steamer's escort, the American submarine chaser USS PC-566. The sub immediately began dropping depth charges.
The German U-boat, U-166, which launched the attack, was sunk with no survivors. Its wreck cannot be disturbed, now protected as a war grave for the 52 crew lost.
On board the SS Robert E. Lee, lifeboats were scrambled and all but 15 of the 283 passengers and crew on board survived. They had just 15 minutes to get off before the boat disappeared under the waves......
........"I didn't know World War II was fought in our backyard," said Dr. Robert Ballard, who leads the trip. Ballard is among the world's most accomplished and well known deep-sea explorers, credited with the 1985 discovery of the wreck of RMS Titanic....
.....From the SS Robert E. Lee and U-166 they will move onto the Gulf Penn, a second world war tanker taken down by a U-boat in May 1942. They will then begin a dive on the SS Alcoa Puritan, a cargo ship torpedoed and sunk the same month.....
(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...
Meanwhile, much to the delight of the Houston Chronicle, Senator Rand Paul makes fun of Rick Perry's new glasses to counter Perry's critique of Paul's isolationist foreign policy positions.
Heather Alexander (author of the German U-boat sinks U.S. ships off the U.S. coastline article above) likes the images of the sunken ship's guns covered in colorful anemonies (as it is such a stark contrast to the violence of war) - maybe she should interview Rand Paul and publish a fluff piece on his 2016 aspirations.
This seems like small pickings for Ballard. Wish he’d go back to the Pacific to find and document the USS Lexington, Wasp, Hornet and the Japanese carriers sunk at Midway.
I’d like to see the ship my great grandfather came to America on. The SS Mount Temple was sunk by the Germans in WWI. It was carrying a load of dinosaur bones.
At first glance, the headline appears that the Germans named a U-Boat after Robert E. Lee.
In those days, convoys would come together outside Cheseapeake Bay ... to prevent sinking-ship contamination of highly productive Cheseapeake waters.
German subs were nightly busy out there ... sinking ships.
The convoys were carrying all sorts of supplies for our desperate allies.
There is a lot of history (and recent) of our efforts to protect our nation.
Not to dwell on the Paul-Perry dust-up but Gov. Rick Perry flew a C-130 Hercules.
> The Nautilus’ ambitious deep sea expedition launched last month and is funded by BP oil spill reparations.
Interesting, but can anyone tell me why oil spill money is paying for this?
did you expect the money to go to important things? You make money available to politicians, they will spend it on anything
There is a book about that called Torpedo Junction.
From the H Comical:
“According to historical accounts, a lookout spotted the torpedo coming in and alerted the steamer’s escort, the American submarine chaser USS PC-566. The sub immediately began dropping depth charges.”
Really? The sub dropped depth charges? What sank it?
Like I said in my 1st comment, Heather likes anemones.
The escort was a sub chaser. I think it must’ve been a destroyer or a Corvette, not a submarine.
Patrol craft. It was a surface ship.
Photo of class:
I read it that way as well. Very unusual name for a German U-boat.
I don’t believe that “PC-boats” were referred to officially with the prefix “USS”. They were boats, not ships. No steam plant like a destroyer or destroyer-escort would have. Diesel engines instead.
And the sub was dropping depth charges...
No, it was the american U-boat. Of course, a ship couldn’t be named after a great man like Lee anymore. It would be renamed to the SS Liberachi
Residents of North Carolina’s Outer Banks saw the same thing; according to historical records, almost 400 ships were sunk in U.S. waters from January to June 1942, and the area off Cape Hatteras was known as “Torpedo Junction.” The glow of burning tankers off-shore was bright enough (legend has it) that you could read a paper on the Hatteras beaches at night.
The Brits—who depended on our shipping as a lifeline— offered sound advice, which was largely ignored. We didn’t implement a convoy system until the middle of ‘42, and it took almost as long to enforce blackout policies along the coast. At one point early in the war, there was a single, antiquated Coast Guard cutter assigned to anti-sub patrols off the Carolina coast.
The results were predictable. A lot of merchant mariners paid with their lives for our lack of preparation early in the war.
I kinda figured that out myself. I was pointing out that submarines don’t drop depth charges, the patrol craft did.
The article says the sub immediately began dropping depth charges.
Yeah I saw that too. Writer left out “chaser” after “sub”.
Note: this topic is from 7/14/2014. Thanks Cincinatus' Wife.
and from 2015:
Best of the E/V Nautilus 2015 Exploration Season | Nautilus Live 2015 took E/V Nautilus from the Gulf of Mexico to the Galapagos to the California coast and all the way up to Canada. E/V Nautilus is exploring the ocean studying biology, geology, archeology, and more. Watch http://www.nautiluslive.org for live video from the ocean floor. For live dive updates follow along on social media at http://www.facebook.com/nautiluslive and http://www.twitter.com/evnautilus on Twitter. For more photos from our dives, check out our Instagram @nautiluslive.
Of course, the S.S. Robert E Lee deserved to be sunk. After all, it was named after a Confederate hero, a defender of slavery. It matters not that it was on a humanitarian mission. All such vestiges of that part of our national history must be condemned and erased; zero tolerance is the only acceptable policy.
I am really surprised Ballard was unaware German U-boats sank our ships off of our coast. I was taught that in junior high.
I had sailors on my ship that had fought in WWII as armed guard on merchant ships. They manned the mounted guns on merchant ships. The navy had what amounted to a hiring hall where the navy sailors (as opposed to the merchant sailors who had there own halls) would go to be assigned to merchant ships just before they sailed.
One of my sailors told me he saw a sailor, at the New York hall, assigned in the morning who then showed up in the evening soaking wet. His ship had been torpedoed, he was rescued and was then back waiting for his next assignment.
Forgot his name but that failed policy was because of one admiral.
The American admiral you were thinking of was King, who at the time commanded the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He has been severely criticized for failing to promptly organize submarine defenses and implement a convoy system. And for not getting blackouts organized faster. Some attribute his slowness to act to his hatred of all things English, who at the time were advising him what measures to take and even offered some patrol boats. Apologists claim that even if he wanted to act sooner King didn't have the resources, which were severely strained early in the war. In any event those were black days in a time of the war when it seemed every day was black.
destroying a Corvette ? that’s a war crime!