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Zašto Njemačka nije napala američke luke podmornicama tokom Drugog svjetskog rata?

Zašto Njemačka nije napala američke luke podmornicama tokom Drugog svjetskog rata?

Tokom Drugog svjetskog rata Njemačka je posjedovala brodove duž istočne obale SAD-a s podmornicama.

Pa ... zašto Njemačka nije ušla u američke luke i uništila infrastrukturu? Zašto su svoje akcije držali na moru (uglavnom)?

Da sam ja htio, pokušao bih biti što je moguće manje ometajući napadajući ciljeve visoke vidljivosti duž cijele obale - ne preuređene brodove. Šta daje?


Prema Gannonovoj knjizi, Operacija Drumbeat i citat zapovjednika U-123, poručnika kapetana Reinharda Hardegena, iz članka Sharkes in the Water, pitanje koje je najviše odvratilo podmornice od ulaska u američke luke bilo je to što nisu imali detaljne karte luka i bojao se nasukavanja. Hardegen je rekao da su se skoro nasukali blizu New Yorka kada su pogrešno zamijenili ulično svjetlo za svjetlo bove.


Napad na ciljeve u lukama najmanje je produktivan način korištenja vaših brodova iz najmanje dva razloga: 1) Šteta koju napravite može se lako popraviti i 2) najveće su šanse da vaši "brodovi budu uhvaćeni" ili potopljeni.

Japanci su to saznali u Pearl Harboru. Svi brodovi osim jednog koje su potopili podignuti su iz mora i reciklirani. (Samo je Arizona "minirana" i nije se mogla popraviti.) I dok je nekoliko hiljada američkih mornara poginulo u napadu, broj mrtvih bi bio mnogo veći u otvorenom okeanu (od utapanja za razliku od eksplozija bombe) bez spasilačkih objekata .

Luke su poput "motela sa žoharima". Neprijateljski brodovi koji uđu u njih obično ne mogu izaći. Naravno, postoje iznimke od ovog pravila, ali one su legenda. A podmornice su u tom pogledu najugroženije, kad dođu u plitku vodu i ne mogu se "potopiti".

Nijemci su 1942. potopili stotine brodova koji su ležali kraj atlantske obale na kojima se nisu mogle spasiti ni posade ni teret, izgubivši pritom pregršt podmornica. Nije imalo smisla pokrenuti "samoubilačke napade" u lukama i nanijeti štetu koja bi se mogla nadoknaditi ili popraviti.


Zato što bi to bilo samoubilačko i neproduktivno.

Većina njemačke flote podmornica jedva da je imala dovoljno dometa za operacije u Sjevernoj Americi. Radili su stvari poput punjenja rezervoara za vodu dizelom samo da bi dobili dovoljan domet za lov na konvoje. Veći, manje upravljivi tip IX imao je bolji domet, ali su bili i nespretniji i više uočljivi.

Čak i ako su stigli do američkih luka, podmornice nisu imale oružje za pravilan napad na luke. Što je još važnije, oni ne bi mogli izdržati konvencionalnu površinsku flotu. Podmornice su pretrpjele dovoljno gubitaka dok vrše prepad u konvoju.

Na kraju, cijela vaša strategija izgleda prilično sumnjivo. Podmornice su uništile trgovačku plovidbu. To je konkretan doprinos njemačkim ratnim naporima. Nisam siguran koliko bi "ometanje" pomoglo u usporedbi sa sprečavanjem vitalnih zaliha da dopru do Britanije.


Jedini brodovi koje su Nijemci mogli stići do američke obale bili su U-Boats. Imali su male pištolje i bez oklopa. Rezač obalne straže mogao bi ga rastrgati. Rupa od mitraljeza kalibra 50 mogla bi učiniti da podmornica više ne može potopiti.

Tako su ostali samo ispred luke i potopili brodove, sve dok SAD nisu počele konvojirati i pratiti trgovačke brodove. Potopilo je oko 300.000 tona broda dok se SAD nisu složile.


Ono što drugi odgovori nedostaju je jasno objašnjenje zašto je opasno da podmornica uđe u luku.

Razlog zašto podmornica ne može normalno ući u luku, poput luke Boston ili luke New York, je taj što su to plitka, ograničena područja. Njujorška luka je duboka oko 50 stopa. Bostonska luka je još plića, na mnogim mjestima ima manje od 20 stopa. Mora se stalno bagerisati, samo da bi se održali kanali duboki 40 stopa. Podmornica Drugog svjetskog rata visoka je oko 30-40 stopa, uključujući jarbole. Dakle, podmornica bi praktično virila iz vode u takvoj luci i bila lako vidljiva kao sjena iz zraka.

Takođe, ako bi podmornica ušla u luku i bila uočena, bila bi zarobljena, jer su ulazi i izlazi tako ograničeni.

Postoji vrlo poznat lučki napad: potonuće HMS Royal Oak u Scapa Flow 14. listopada 1939. To je bilo moguće samo zato što je Scapa Flow vrlo velika, duboka luka. Uprkos tome, bilo je odvažno i opasno ulazak podmornice.


(Najmanje jedan brod U je ušao u kanadske vode, ali izgleda da nije bilo veće štete.)

Prednost podmornica bila je njihova tajnost, ali kada su otkrivene, mogle su se poduzeti protumjere. Prilikom napada na američku luku, njihovu lokaciju bilo bi lako suziti, a u blizini bi bila velika saveznička vatrena moć. Daleko lakše i sigurnije napasti trgovačku plovidbu na udaljenim lokacijama uz minimalnu podršku saveznika.


Oldcat je već odgovorio za pomorske aspekte.

Bilo je i planova za nabavku strateškog bombardera dugog dometa koji bi iz Njemačke mogao pogoditi susjedne Sjedinjene Američke Države.

Iz Wikipedije:

Projekt Amerika-Bomber bio je inicijativa njemačkog Reichsluftfahrtministeriuma, kako bi se nabavio strateški bombarder dugog dometa za Luftwaffe koji bi bio sposoban pogoditi susjedne Sjedinjene Američke Države od Njemačke, na udaljenosti od oko 5.800 km (3.600 milja). [...] Predloženi su različiti prijedlozi [...], ali su svi oni na kraju odbačeni jer su bili preskupi i potencijalno su konzumirali previše prevelikog njemačkog postojano smanjenog kapaciteta zrakoplovne proizvodnje nakon 1942. godine.


Mog oca je U-653 u maju 1942. torpedovao na istočnoj obali SAD-a. Podmornice su lakše mogle izazvati ekonomsku sabotažu potapanjem brodova u američkim obalnim vodama nego napadom na američke luke.

Podmornice nisu opremljene za duel s obalnim baterijama. Podmornice su vrlo ranjive jer će ih i najmanja pukotina u trupovima pod pritiskom spriječiti u ronjenje. Njihovi takozvani balastni spremnici uglavnom su se koristili za skladištenje goriva, pa čak i neznatna oštećenja mogla su ih natjerati da na stotine milja prate naftu iza sebe, omogućavajući patrolnim zrakoplovima da slijede takav trag i unište ih.

U rujnu 1917. Scarborough je bombardiran od strane njemačkog podmornice, a u Australiji su japanske podmornice bombardirale Newcastle i Sydney tokom 1942. godine, ali to su bili samo napadi ubodom pinkom bez strateškog značaja. Takvi napadi bili su opasniji za podmornice nego što su bili za predviđene ciljeve.


Podmornica tipa VII koja se tada koristila imala je jedan, nezaštićen pištolj s palube 88 mm. Tip IX imao je veći top 105 mm. Njihova primarna upotreba bila je potonuti trgovačke brodove bez pratnje jer su torpeda skupa. Iako je domet naveden kao 12 km, ozbiljno sumnjam da bi noću s padinske palube podmornice mogli pogoditi čak i veliki industrijski cilj na pola tog dometa.

Iako 88 mm (3,5 ") zvuči veliko (to je za tenkove iz Drugog svjetskog rata) prema pomorskim standardima, to je pucač u zrna graška i malo je vjerojatno da će nanijeti dovoljno štete da bi bilo vrijedno riskirati brod. Vaš tipični obalni obrambeni pištolj bit će od 8" do 16 " , često oružje skinuto sa starih bojnih brodova.

I riskirali bi čamac! Morali bi biti na površini, vjerovatno noću (SAD su ostavile upaljena svjetla), u vidokrugu obale, s velikim brojem mornara na palubi, ispalivši topove. Bili bi vidljivi i ranjivi i sporo bi ronili u plitkoj vodi. Ako bi bili uočeni, mogao bi stići bilo koji broj patrolnih čamaca i aviona koji bi ih uznemiravali.

Na što bi pucali vrijedno je rizika i uspjeli su pogoditi i oštetiti? Spremnici za skladištenje goriva jedino su što mi pada na pamet. Ali nekolicina podmornica ne bi mogla umanjiti rezerve goriva u SAD-u. To je bio krajnji rezultat mnogih njemačkih planova za napad na SAD, previše rizičan, preskup, premali rezultat.

Konačno, bilo je jako malo podmornica koje su napadale SAD. Prvi val bio je samo pet tipa IX, koji su dizajnirani da rade tako daleko od kuće. Treći val na Karibima bio je samo 11. Nemam podatke za drugi, ali Nijemcima nikad nije bilo dovoljno podmornica.

Japanci did bombardirali Zapadnu obalu SAD -a s malim rezultatom. Pucali su u rezervoare goriva, tvrđavu i svjetionik. Japanci su imali prednost mnogo većeg pištolja (140 mm) i nisu mogli ništa pogoditi.

Šta je sa pucanjem na civilne ciljeve i izazivanjem panike? Iako imamo sliku ludog Hitlera koji naređuje bombardiranje centra Manhattana, takve stvari su se dogodile mnogo kasnije u ratu kada je otpustio ili ubio većinu svojih dobrih zapovjednika i nije mu ostalo ništa osim partijskih ulizica. U ovoj fazi rata, njemačko vojno zapovjedništvo podržalo je barem furnir časti. Njemačka je pobjeđivala i mogli su si priuštiti poštenu borbu. Moje nagađanje je da ovo ne bi prošlo dobro s Dönitzom ili kapetanima i posadama podmornica. Možda se čini čudnim povući granicu između pucanja na civile u gradu i pucanja na civile u čamcu, ali moje je nagađanje da bi to učinili.

Na kraju, cilj nije bio naštetiti SAD -u, cilj je bio spriječiti ih da projektuju moć u Europu. Oni su to radili samo dobro toneći brodovi, a SAD su radile dobar posao dozvoljavajući im.


Američko pozorište (Drugi svjetski rat)

The American Theatre [1] je bio pozornica operacija tokom Drugog svjetskog rata, uključujući cijelu teritoriju kontinentalne Amerike, i protezao se 200 kilometara (320 km) u ocean.

Zbog geografske odvojenosti Sjeverne i Južne Amerike od centralnih kazališta sukoba (u Europi, Mediteranu, Pacifiku i Aziji) prijetnja invazijom sila Osovine na kontinentalne SAD ili druga područja u Americi bila je zanemariva, a kazalište vidio relativno mali sukob.

Međutim, unatoč relativnoj nevažnosti američkog kazališta, unutar njega su se odigrale neke bitke, uključujući bitku na riječnoj ploči, napade podmornica na istočnoj obali, kampanju Aleutskih otoka, bitku kod Svetog Lovre i napade na Newfoundland. Špijunski napori uključivali su operaciju Bolívar.


7 načina na koji su vojni obroci bili puno bolji

Objavljeno 02. aprila 2018 09:37:51

Vojni naučnici neumorno rade na tome da moderne obroke učine što lakšim, hranjivim i zdravim za ratnika. Ali izgleda da ih uopće nije briga što su odlični. Evo 7 stvari koje su uklonili s menija u modernim trupama.

1. Alkohol

Fotografija: Wikipedia/Bbadgett

Od rata za nezavisnost do 1832. godine, vojnici su dobivali omjer duhova ” od ruma, rakije ili viskija. Standardni obrok žestokih pića zamijenjen je kafom i šećerom, ali su vođe i dalje mogle naručiti posebne obroke alkohola za svoje vojnike sve do 1865. godine, kada je naređenje Ratnog ministarstva prekinulo tu praksu.

2. Cigarete

Foto: Signalni korpus američke vojske

3. Obroci gotovo u potpunosti od slatkiša

Fotografija: Wikipedia/Hershey ’s

Jurišni obrok Drugog svjetskog rata sadržavao je čokoladu, karamel, žvakaće gume, kikiriki i sušeno voće, kao i cigarete, soli i tablete za pročišćavanje vode. Davali su između 1.500 i 2.000 kalorija, ali očito su im nedostajali važni nutrijenti poput proteina, vitamina i svega ostalog što nije šećer.

4. Pakovanja začina

Foto: Signalni korpus američke vojske

Stručnjaci na terenu znaju da sa sobom na teren donose pakete začina, ali su ih vojnici nekada izdavali. Najmanji paket je osmišljen u Drugom svjetskom ratu i služio je 100 vojnika 10 dana, pa su vojnici ipak morali stići do sjedišta čete ili više da koriste začine.

5. Oprema za kuhanje na terenu

Trupama u ratu za nezavisnost kroz građanski rat izdata je oprema za kuhanje. Obično bi jedan od svakih pet -ak vojnika dobio opremu za kuhanje, a vojnici bi kuhali kao grupa. To im je omogućilo da dodaju sastojke koje su pronašli u maršu samo ih bacivši u lonac.

6. Sapun

Fotografija: Wikipedia

Očekuje se da će se trupe danas oprati maramicama za bebe prikupljenim iz paketa za njegu i kupljenim na razmjeni, ali vojnici iz rata za nezavisnost do Drugog svjetskog rata dobili su sapun u svojim obrocima. Izdata količina varirala je između 0,183 unci do 0,64 unci dnevno.

7. Izuzetno visokokalorični obroci

MRE sadrže oko 1.250 kalorija, a trupe mogu pojesti tri dnevno u operacijama za 3.750 kalorija. U Drugom svjetskom ratu, vojska je izdavala obroke sa 4.800 kalorija po osobi dnevno, pa je vjerovatno bilo manje pritužbi na to da ste i dalje gladni nakon obroka. Ali ovo nisu bili#8217t lijepi pokloni iz vojske. Ovo su bili planinski obroci dizajnirani posebno za muškarce u skijaškom trčanju i planinarenju. Sličan omjer borbe za džunglu je sadržavao 4000 kalorija.

Članci

Njemačka podmornica U-505 | Član posade Hans Goebeler sjeća se da je zarobljen tokom Drugog svjetskog rata

Prošlo je više od 50 godina od nosača aviona USS GuadalcanalGrupa lovaca i ubica zauzela je njemačku podmornicu U-505 | uz Cape Blanco u francuskoj zapadnoj Africi, ali za bivšeg člana posade Hansa Goebelera sjećanja su svježa kao i uvijek. 74-godišnji penzioner još uvijek se ljuti na bilo koji prijedlog U-505 |, prvi brod koji je američka mornarica zauzela na otvorenom moru od rata 1812, bio je nesretan brod.

‘Nema razloga da kažemo da je U-505 | bio brod teške sreće, ’ kaže Goebeler. ‘ Bez obzira na to što joj se dogodilo, uvijek nas je vraćala. Ne bi dopustila da se bilo šta dogodi Amerikancima koji su se ukrcali u nju. Ti drugi takozvani sretni brodovi, pa, možda ste se jučer obrijali s njima jer su svi sada staro gvožđe. Ali U-505 | je izložen u Chicagu [u Muzeju nauke i industrije] kao spomenik dječacima s obje strane koji su poginuli u ratu. Mislim da je naš brod bio najsrećniji brod u Drugom svjetskom ratu. ’ Goebeler bi trebao znati više o tome da je prije 50 godina, u toplim oceanskim vodama uz zapadnoafričku obalu, upravo on ‘ izvlačio utikač ’ U-505 | — podmornica koja ne bi umrla.

Goebeler je rođen 1923. godine u maloj hesejskoj poljoprivrednoj zajednici Frankenburg, oko 75 milja sjeveroistočno od Frankfurta. Njegov otac je bio njemački službenik Reichsbahn željezničkog sistema i odgajao svog sina s čvrstim uvjerenjem u vrijednost vrijednog rada, samopouzdanja i patriotizma. ‘Moj otac je bio vojnik u Prvom svjetskom ratu, ’ Goebeler kaže. ‘ Borio se na istoku, ali su ga zarobili Rusi. Vidio je užasne, neizrecive stvari koje su boljševici radili tokom revolucije. Oni su to učinili svom narodu u ime komunizma! Zakleo sam se da ću raditi na tome da Njemačku učinim jakom i da nikada ne dozvolim da komunisti preuzmu moju zemlju. ’

Još kao mladić, Goebeler je pokazivao sposobnosti koje su njemačkoj mornarici bile potrebne za elitnu podmornicu. Pridružio se Deutsches Jungvolk, ogranak organizacije Hitlerove mladeži za dječake u dobi od 8 do 14 godina. Pokazujući preuranjenu inteligenciju i harizmu koja i danas sjaji, brzo se uzdigao i postao najmlađi DJ lider u zemlji. U rijetkim prilikama, Goebeler se može nagovoriti da pokaže svoju posebnu knjižicu lidera Hitlerove omladine i prateću fotografiju na kojoj je prikazan u uniformi, okružen svojim mnogo starijim i višim pripadnicima jedinice.

Goebeler je imao 15 godina kada je Evropa ušla u Drugi svjetski rat i odmah je pokušao da se dobrovoljno prijavi za njemačku mornaricu. Odbačena od mornarice zbog svoje mladosti i pogrešne dijagnoze daltonista, on je svoju energiju usmjerio na školske poslove. Goebeler se istakao u svojim studijama, pokazujući posebnu sposobnost za mašinstvo. Do svoje 17. godine stekao je vozačku dozvolu#8217 i završio četvorogodišnje naukovanje za majstora mehanike u pola uobičajenog vremena. Međutim, deset dana nakon što je dobio majstorsku svjedodžbu, njemačka mornarica ga je konačno prihvatila.

Iako Goebeler i njegovi kolege regruti to tada nisu shvatili, bili su vrlo pažljivo posmatrani i ocjenjivani tokom osnovne obuke. Na svoj neizmjeran ponos i zadovoljstvo, Goebeler je saznao da je izabran za službu u elitnim podmorničkim korpusima mornarice. ‘Na početku je naša obuka bila uglavnom vezana za borbe pješadije, ’ sjeća se. ‘ Kasnije smo prebačeni u školu za podmornice i morali smo naučiti svaki ventil i vod u podmornici. Već sam se školovao za mehaničara motora, ali mornarica me natjerala da pohađam tečajeve električara za podmornice. Na taj način dobili su dva po cijeni jednog za koji sam mogao raditi ili na dizelskim motorima ili na elektromotorima na podmornici. ’

Početkom rata, novi članovi posade obično su slani iz podmorničkih škola u brodogradilišta kako bi pratili konačnu izgradnju podmornica u kojima će služiti, kako bi se bolje upoznali sa tehničkim detaljima. Goebelerovo ovladavanje materijalom, međutim, omogućilo mu je da bude postavljen direktno u operativnu jedinicu, drugu flotilu podmornica, stacioniranu u Lorientu na francuskoj obali Francuske#8217.

U-505 |Kobilicu ‘s postavilo je brodogradilište Deutsche Werft u Hamburgu 12. juna 1940., baš u trenutku kada se francuski otpor urušavao pred naletom njemačke blitzkriega. Kad je završila u kolovozu sljedeće godine, više od 8 milijuna tona savezničkih brodova je potopljeno, a podmornice su zamijenile Luftwaffe kao najveću prijetnju opstanku Britanije. Situacija u Atlantiku dosegla je tako kritičnu fazu da su Sjedinjene Američke Države, tehnički još neutralne, pružale prateće brodove za savezničke konvoje u Englesku, pratnja ih je prijavila ili napala sve podmornice na koje su naišle. To je bilo u ovoj odlučujućoj fazi rata U-505 | službeno je primljen u njemačku mornaricu 26. avgusta 1941.

U-505 | bila podmornica tipa IXc, jedan od većih brodova dugog dometa koje je zapovjednik flote podmornica admiral Karl Donitz namjeravao koristiti na periferiji Atlantika. Dugačka više od 252 stope i istisnuvši 1.232 tone kada je potpuno napunjena, dizajnirana je za rad većinu vremena na površini, roneći samo kada je to potrebno za napad ili bijeg. Njeni električni motori na baterije mogli su je pogurati pri samo 7 čvorova dok je bila potopljena, iako su njezini dizelski motori mogli napraviti više od 18 čvorova na površini. Bila je naoružana palubnim topom kalibra 105 mm koji se nalazi ispred kule za skretanje i maksimalno 22 torpeda. Kasnije u ratu, kada su saveznički avioni počeli sa površinskim napadima na njemačke podmornice, s razornim učinkom, njen palubni pištolj je uklonjen i zamijenjen protuzračnim naoružanjem.

Prvi komandant dodijeljen U-505 | bio je kapetan Axel Loewe, temeljito obučeni profesionalac čiji je samopouzdan način izazvao trenutno povjerenje u zelenu posadu od četiri časnika i 56 ljudi. Kapetanovo ime, što na njemačkom znači ‘Lov ’, dalo je inspiraciju za prve oznake U-505 | — divljajući lav koji drži sjekiru. Veliki štit s novim amblemom broda#8217 ponosno je naslikan s obje strane zvonika, simbolizirajući otisak koji je Loeweova snažna ličnost imala na njegovoj posadi.

Do kraja novembra 1941., nakon nekoliko obuka i krstarenja po Baltičkom moru, U-505 | i njena posada prošli su posljednje testove operativne spremnosti. Na brod su ukrcana živa torpeda, a podmornica je proglašena spremnom za raspoređivanje u ratnu zonu.

U-505 |Prva operativna misija ‘ bila je njeno putovanje iz pomorske baze Kiel do podmorničkih pera druge flotile podmornica u Lorientu, Francuska. Lorient, u Biskajskom zaljevu, bio je jedna od primarnih luka njemačkih podmornica koje su pokušavale zadaviti Englesku i spriječiti dotok zaliha do nje.

Po standardnoj proceduri, U-505 | izbjegao kraći, ali daleko opasniji put od Kiela kroz La Manche. Umjesto toga plovila je sjeverno oko Škotske i Irske, zatim južno i istočno do Biskajskog zaljeva. Iako je brod naišao na nekoliko britanskih razarača, izuzetno loše vrijeme onemogućilo je bilo koju stranu u napadu. Loewe se morao zadovoljiti dvotjednim krstarenjem provodeći vježbe. Do sredine februara 1942. U-505 | bila napunjena namirnicama i bila je spremna isploviti iz Lorienta u svoju prvu pravu ratnu patrolu.

Goebeler je stigao u Lorient dvije sedmice prije broda. Njegov prvobitni zadatak bio je U-105, ali kada se otvorio otvor U-505 |, s nestrpljenjem je prihvatio premještaj. Prijavljujući se na dužnost u svojoj novoj uniformi, Goebeler je bio iznenađen kada je saznao da ga je Loewe izabrao za operatora kontrolne sobe, a ne za mehaničara, kao što je obučen. ‘The Kapitän nije obraćao mnogo pažnje na rang ili obrazovanje osobe,#sjeća se Goebeler. ‘Na podmornici vas je zanimalo samo koliko je čovjek dobro obavio svoj posao. Neki od dječaka čak su imali problema s policijom. Ali Loewe je rekao: `Pa, morate imati mozga i vještine da prođete kroz teške situacije. Ako koriste te vještine kako bi održali moj brod u životu, bit ću sretan što ih imam! ’ Bio sam samo Stroj Gefreiter [mehaničar prve klase], ali me je rasporedio u kontrolnu sobu U-505 | nakon što smo razgovarali u njegovoj kabini. ’

Iako mu je nedostajalo njeno prvo putovanje, Goebeler je bio u pratnji U-505 | na svakoj sljedećoj ratnoj patroli koju je napravila, sve do velikog finala 4. juna 1944., kada bi riskirao život da potopi vlastiti brod.

Goebelerova prva ratna patrola nije samo ozbiljno testirala njegove živce, već je i teško testirala njegovu fizičku izdržljivost. Manji i mlađi od većine svojih drugova, Goebeler je morao dvaput napornije raditi kako bi parirao performansama iskusnijih članova posade. ‘Ja nisam ’t još dobio svoje `morske noge ’ i morao sam se prilagoditi morskoj bolesti, ’ Goebeler objašnjava. ‘U toj prvoj misiji prošli smo po vrlo teškom vremenu. Ali bez obzira na to koliko je neko bio bolestan, morao je obavljati svoju dužnost bez grešaka u kontrolnoj sobi. Čak i da se sve kotrljalo 30 stupnjeva s jedne na drugu stranu, on mora raditi savršeno, inače bi mogao potopiti čamac. Na neki način, imao sam sreću što je vrijeme bilo tako teško, jer kad stvari započnete na teži način, kasnije će vam biti lakše. Čak i tako, neki muškarci se nikada nisu prilagodili. Jedan oficir vratio se na dužnost razarača jer se nikada nije navikao na kretanje podmornice. ’

Ta prva ratna patrola, koja je trajala od 11. februara do 7. maja 1942. godine, uzela je U-505 | do zapadnoafričke obale u blizini Freetowna. Tamo je djelovala kao vuk samotnjak, prelazeći morske putove u potrazi za brodovima koji opskrbljuju savezničke snage u borbi protiv feldmaršala Erwina Rommela u sjevernoj Africi. U to su vrijeme njemački podmornici i posada još uvijek bili laki za odabir U-505 | bio je nestrpljiv da se vrati u Lorient sa zvonikom punim pobjedničkih zastavica, kao odgovor na dobrodušno zadirkivanje koje su dobili od veteranskih posada. Nisu morali dugo čekati. Uveče 5. maja uočili su britanski teretni teret od 6.000 tona Ben Mohr kreću se prema Freetownu bez pratnje. Ispaljivanjem tri torpeda, U-505 | izvršio prvo ubistvo. U narednih nekoliko sedmica, Loewe je iskoristio preostala torpeda da pošalje još dva teretna vozila i tanker na dno mora, za ukupno 26.000 tona potopljenih.

Patrola nije bila bez momenata opasnosti za U-505 |. Podmornicu su stalno maltretirali saveznički avioni i brodovi za pratnju, a posada je izdržala nekoliko bombardovanja i dubinskih napada. U jednom trenutku, zbog tehničkog kvara, sigurnosni ventil na ronilačkom spremniku br. 7 zaglavio se u zatvorenom položaju. Rezultirajuća neravnoteža težine dovela je do toga da je podmornica lebdjela na površini krmom koja je stršila u zrak pod kutom od 40 stupnjeva. Posada je doživjela nekoliko tjeskobnih trenutaka prije nego što je Loewe uspio ukrcati brod na ravno kobilicu i zaroniti kako bi pobjegao od britanskog letećeg broda Short Sunderland. Loeweovo rješavanje incidenta impresioniralo je Goebelera. ‘Bilo je to jedno vrijeme kada je a Kapitän bilo bi opravdano za vikanje, ali je ostao hladan i miran, "sjeća se Goebeler. ‘Imali smo veliko poštovanje prema Kapitän‘s ima samokontrolu, iako je naš čamac izgledao kao noj, s glavom zakopanom u vodu i repom u zraku! ’

U drugom incidentu koji ilustrira njegovo vodstvo, Loewe je isplovio U-505 | preko ekvatora tokom zatišja u misiji, dopuštajući muškarcima da izvode vjekove rituale inicijacije Neptuna. Do tada U-505 | stiglo do svoje baze u Lorientu, 50 ljudi na brodu bila je ponosna i profesionalna posada. Zajedničke opasnosti, ponos u uspješnom trčanju i povjerenje u svog kapitena zajedno su proizveli vrstu timskog duha koji je potreban za preživljavanje zastrašujućih događaja koji slijede.

U-505 |Siguran povratak u bazu bio je razlog za slavlje u Lorientu. No, postojao je i duboki osjećaj olakšanja jer je Biskajski zaljev, patroliran sve većim brojem savezničkih bombardera, brzo postajao poznat kao "groblje podmornica".

Da bi se moral održao na visokom nivou usprkos sve većim gubicima, pomorska vrhovna komanda osigurala je da posade podmornica uživaju u luksuzu nedostupnom borbenim ljudima u drugim rodovima njemačkih oružanih snaga. Goebeler se s nostalgičnim zadovoljstvom sjeća svojih dana u Lorientu: ‘ Mornarica nas je zaista tretirala prvom klasom. Tamo su imali bend koji nas je dočekao, a mi smo imali puno vremena za opuštanje. Naravno, imali smo stalnu obuku za učenje o novoj opremi, ali smo tokom mnogih večeri bili slobodni uživati ​​u gradu. Postojalo je vojničko kazalište u kojem smo mogli vidjeti njemačke filmove, a oni su se pobrinuli da imamo dovoljno svježeg voća, bijelog hljeba, kobasica i piva. A ne ersatz pivo koje su svi drugi pili imali smo pravu stvar! A bilo je i žena. Postojalo je mjesto na koje su vojnici mogli odlaziti gdje su žene redovno pregledavane kako ne bi#8217 oboljele. Ali bilo je toliko Francuskinja da nikad nisam morala ići tamo. Francuzi su se prema nama podmorničarima ponašali vrlo dobro, čak i nakon što su Britanci počeli bombardirati to mjesto. ’

Nedelje su brzo prolazile U-505 |Renovirani su motori motora#8216s, a na brod je utovareno svježe zalihe torpeda. Posada, ponosna na uspješno prvo putovanje podmornice, bila je željna dodatne akcije. Posjetio je i sam admiral Donitz U-505 | po povratku i zapisana u njenom ratnom dnevniku, ‘Prva misija kapetana s novim čamcem, dobro i smišljeno izvedena. ’ Ali osjećao se i prisiljenim dodati, ‘Uprkos dugom vremenu u operativnom području, nedostatak prometa nije dozvolio veći uspjeh. ’

Za sljedeću ratnu patrolu U-505 |, nije se očekivalo da će promet biti problem Donitz je odlučio poslati brod u plodna lovišta Kariba. 7. juna 1942, tačno mjesec dana nakon povratka iz prve patrole, U-505 | iskliznuo iz luke, krenuo prema američkim vodama. Loewe je jurio preko Atlantika, trčeći gotovo cijelo putovanje na površini, koristeći dizelske motore. Saveznički nosači pratnje još nisu bili raspoređeni, a posada se osjećala dovoljno sigurnom da se smjesti na vrhu, sunčajući se. U jednom trenutku su čak postavili stol za ručavanje na palubi i uživali u ručku na otvorenom.

Međutim, kako su se približavali Karibima, rat je ponovo ušao. 28. juna posljepodnevno sunčanje posade prekinulo je viđenje velikog američkog teretnog broda. Loewe je manevrirala ispred zigzagiranog broda teškog 6.900 tona i ispalila dva torpeda u nju. Za Loeweov osjećaj časti i humanosti bilo je tipično da je čekao cijeli sat, kako bi omogućio posadi broda da se ukrca u čamce za spašavanje, prije nego što ju je potopio trećim torpedom. U-505 |‘sreća se nastavila sljedećeg dana — posada je ugledala još jedan američki teretnjak, 7.400 tona Thomas McKean. Loewe je još jednom ispalio dvostruki hitac torpeda da zaustavi brod i dopustio posadi da pobjegne prije nego što ju je dokrajčila, ovaj put vatrom iz palube.

Za Goebelera, napad na Thomas McKean ostaje jedan od ratnih incidenata kojih se sjeća s velikim emocijama. ‘Neko posade teretnjaka je povrijeđen, pa smo im dali lijekove i upute gdje da veslaju na sigurno, "prisjeća se Goebeler. ‘Mnogi ljudi misle da su njemački podmornici potopili brodove bez milosti, ali ako smo imali priliku, uvijek smo pokušavali pomoći njihovoj posadi. Na kraju krajeva, i oni su ljudi. Tek kasnije u ratu, kada su avioni napadali, nismo mogli čekati nakon što smo ispalili torpeda. Od kraja rata, ja sam prisustvovao nekim okupljanjima sa bivšim neprijateljima. Svi smo plakali i grlili se kao braća. Nikada nismo mrzili Amerikance samo smo izvršavali svoju dužnost, baš kao i dječaci na brodovima koji nas love. ’

U-505 |Činilo se da je dvostruki uspjeh uplašio sve ostale brodove u tom području. Sledećih mesec dana podmornica nije primetila ništa osim savezničkih aviona. Morala je padati u prosjeku više od jednom dnevno kako bi izbjegla napad. Zatim, 22. jula, naizgled beznačajan incident označio je kraj mandata Axela Loewea kao kapetana U-505 |. ‘ Vidjeli smo trojarbolnu škunu koja nije vijorila zastavu i koja je pravila nasilne cik-cakove naprijed-natrag, ’ sjeća se Goebeler. ‘Ne vrste cik -cakova koje jedrenjak pravi da se kreću po vjetru, već vrste koje brod čini kako bi izbjegao torpeda. To nas je učinilo sumnjivim pa smo se pojavili i Kapitän naredila da joj se ispali hitac preko luka. Pa, oficir na palubi mora da je pogrešno shvatio njegovo naređenje jer je prvi hitac skinuo s nosača broda#8217, a taj brod više nije bio#8217t jedrenjak! Nismo mogli ostaviti dokaze kako plutaju, pa smo je potopili pištoljem.

‘ Pokazalo se da je čamac vlasništvo kolumbijskog diplomate, a incident je uzrokovao da Kolumbija objavi rat Njemačkoj! Pa, u tom trenutku rata, to što je Kolumbija objavila rat Njemačkoj bilo je poput psa koji zavija na Mjesecu, to uopće nije važno za Mjesec. Ali Kapitän Loewe je okrivio sebe. Konačno smo morali prekinuti patrolu i vratiti se u Lorient ranije nego što je planirano. Loewe je imao jako loših problema sa slijepim crijevom, ali mislim da je njegova briga oko jedrenjaka bio glavni problem. ’

Admiral Donitz komentira U-505 |Ratni dnevnik ‘s je bio da je potonuće škune bilo bolje "poništiti." U-505 |Druga ratna patrola#8216, koja je počela tako povoljno, završila se frustracijom.

Došao je kapetan Peter Zschech U-505 | sa veoma visokom reputacijom. Kao prvi stražar U-124 |, obučavao ga je Jochen Mohr, kapetan posade koja je potopila više od 100.000 tona savezničkih brodova. Međutim, druga je stvar biti zapovjednik podmornice. Iako je izabrao novi amblem za U-505 | koji je milostivo uključio simbol sjekire Loeweove naredbe, bilo je jasno da je Zschech bio vrlo osjetljiv po pitanju toga ko je sada kapetan. Vremenom je prirodna volja posade i poštovanje prema novom zapovjedniku počeli narušavati.

Dana 4. oktobra 1942. U-505 | otplovila na svojoj trećoj ratnoj patroli, djelujući još jednom kao vuk samotnjak u okolici Trinidada. Odnosi između kapetana i posade pogoršali su se kako je Zschechova nasilnička ličnost postala izraženija. Even the crew’s continuing success against Allied shipping did not help improve morale. On November 7, U-505 sank a 5,500-ton freighter, but other targets escaped when the engineering officer raised the periscope too far, alerting the intended victims.

The last straw came at noon on November 10. Planes from the British air base on Trinidad had been constantly harassing the boat for weeks, and the second watch officer, noting the cloudy conditions that Captain Loewe used to call ‘perfect air surprise weather,’ suggested to Zschech that the lookouts be doubled. Zschech responded angrily to the implied comparison between himself and the former captain.

Goebeler remembers clearly what happened next: ‘A lookout suddenly shouted the alarm, and a second later there was a gigantic explosion. We had suffered a direct hit by a bomb that nearly tore the boat in half. The airplane that dropped the bomb was itself destroyed by the blast, and it crashed into the ocean next to us. The body of one of the pilots was lying on a part of a wing that was floating nearby, but we didn’t have time to think of him. The Kapitän gave the order to abandon ship, but the chief petty officer said, `Well, you can do what you want to do, but the technical crew is staying on board to keep her afloat.’

‘Other boats with the same damage might have sunk, but our crew knew what to do, and we did keep her afloat. That lucky boat, U-505, was the most heavily damaged German submarine to ever get back to base during World War II. Two days after the bombing was my birthday, so now I celebrate my birthday on both days because it is a miracle we survived.’ It took six months of intensive repairs before U-505 was ready for action again. On July 3, 1943, she set sail on her fourth war patrol, but after only four days a series of serious malfunctions forced her to return to base. Back in Lorient, it was discovered that shipyard workers had sabotaged U-505.

The next two missions were also aborted due to shipyard sabotage. One often-used trick was to undermine the integrity of the hull by packing ropes into welding seams. Another ingenious trick involved drilling a small, pencil-sized hole in the fuel tank that caused U-505 to trail a line of diesel oil, which could be spotted miles away by Allied aircraft. At one point, Goebeler himself was instrumental in the arrest of a saboteur whom he had overheard gloating to his friends in a tavern.

The damage to U-505 was minimal compared to the corrosive effect recent events were having on Zschech’s morale. During the time U-505 was in the dockyards for repairs, several of Zschech’s closest friends were killed in action. Ugly rumors circulated among officers and men alike regarding his competence and bravery, exacerbating his depression. Kada U-505 sailed on her sixth war patrol, Zschech finally cracked. Goebeler was there when it happened. ‘We were being depth-charged very closely by some destroyers,’ he recalls. ‘All the lights were out, and we had been knocked off our feet by the explosions. I looked over and noticed the Kapitän and saw him slowly begin to lean over. The radio petty officer came out of the radio room and carried him to his bunk. When the lights came on, I saw the blood and found out he had shot himself in the head with his pistol during the depth charge attack. The depth-charges were so loud I never noticed the sound of the pistol.’

Quick thinking by first watch officer Meyer enabled U-505 to escape the destroyers. The crew was informed of the captain’s death, but only those in the control room knew exactly how he had died. A few hours later, Captain Zschech’s body was buried at sea, and U-505 turned back toward Lorient.

The third and final captain of U-505 was Lieutenant Harold Lange, an older, almost fatherly reserve officer who was hand-picked by U-boat headquarters to take over. The new commander desperately needed a morale booster for the crew, and an opportunity presented itself almost immediately.

Sailing from Lorient on December 20, 1943, U-505 was in the middle of the Bay of Biscay when the crew heard the sounds of gunfire. Sixty nautical miles away, a battle between British cruisers and a small force of German destroyers and torpedo boats was taking place. Realizing that survivors would not last long in the frigid winter waters, Donitz ordered Lange to race U-505 to the battle area on the surface. As dawn broke, the crew rescued 34 survivors from torpedo boat T-25, including the captain. The rescue of the sailors made the crewmen of U-505 heroes.

Mechanical problems continued to plague U-505, however, and the crew was stranded in the submarine base at Brest for 10 weeks while her diving planes were repaired. On March 16, 1944, the boat left Brest Harbor to prowl her old hunting grounds off Freetown, West Africa. It was to be her last patrol of the war.

Allied shipping had moved away from Freetown to the Mediterranean, leaving U-505 to her fruitless search for targets. As Lange steered back to Lorient, American aircraft buzzed the boat almost constantly. Aircraft and coastal radar alerts were so frequent that the sub could not even stay surfaced long enough to charge her batteries. As Lange suspected, the U-boat was being hounded by a carrier task group — one that had sunk two of U-505‘s sister boats from Lorient only a few weeks earlier.

The carrier in question was the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal, which, in conjunction with four destroyers, formed hunter-killer Task Group 22.3. The group was commanded by Captain Daniel V. Gallery, one of the most talented and determined American sub-hunting skippers of the war. On April 9, the task force had forced U-515 to the surface and destroyed her with gunfire. The enormous amount of firepower the boat endured before she finally sank gave Gallery the idea that it might be possible to capture a U-boat before she was sunk or scuttled. Plans were drawn up, and men were trained for such an opportunity. On June 4, 1944, Gallery’s men got their chance.

On that day, shortly after 11 a.m., U-505‘s faulty sound detection equipment picked up faint propeller noises. When Lange rose to periscope depth to investigate, the sight he saw made his blood run cold. U-505 was in the midst of a carrier task group and about to be attacked by three destroyers and several aircraft. The boat immediately dived, but freakish water conditions allowed the aircraft to see the sub and use bursts from its .50-caliber machine guns to mark her submerged position for the destroyers.

‘They really gave it to us!’ Goebeler remembers. ‘They fired hedgehogs and about 64 depth charges at us. The explosions were the biggest I ever heard. One depth charge was so close it damaged torpedoes stored in the upper deck. Other depth charges jammed our main rudder and diving planes. Lange managed to fire one torpedo, but soon there was nothing for us to do but surface and abandon ship before she sank for good. When we reached the surface, Lange opened the hatch but was wounded right away by the gunfire. Men started jumping overboard, but I stayed in the control room to make sure the boat sank. It was the chief engineer’s job to set the demolition charges and scuttle her, but he was already in the water, trying to save his own neck. The boat wasn’t sinking because she was hanging on the air bubble in diving tank No. 7. We tried by hand and by air pressure to open the relief valve for the tank, but it wouldn’t budge because the relief valve shaft had been bent from a depth charge explosion.

‘I went behind the periscope housing and took off the cover of the sea strainer. This let an 11-inch stream of water into the boat and I thought, `This will do it!’ I climbed topside and helped four other men get a big life raft loose. The destroyers and planes were giving us hell, firing anti-aircraft, anti-personnel and high-explosive weapons at our boat. We swam away from the sub as quickly as possible. The planes were shooting the water between us and the boat, chasing us away from U-505 like a cat playing with mice. But none of us was crazy enough to want to go back to that boat because she was sinking fast! Only the very front of the boat and the top of the conning tower was still above the water. Well, the American skipper must have had some men who were very brave, or very crazy, because they boarded the sub, found the sea strainer cover and closed it. They somehow kept the boat afloat and took it in tow.

‘We were picked up by destroyers and brought to the carrier, where they locked us in a cage just below the flight deck. The heat from the carrier’s engines was so terrible that we lost 20 or 30 pounds during those weeks from sweating. They brought us to the Bermudas for about six weeks, where we gained some weight and began looking human again.

‘We were transported to Louisiana and sent to a special prisoner-of-war camp for anti-Nazis. You see, that particular camp wasn’t covered by the Geneva Convention. The Americans didn’t want the Red Cross to interview us and let our navy know that a U-boat had been captured. We worked there in Louisiana on farms and in logging camps until 1945, when we were transferred to Great Britain. We were confined there until December of 1947, when we were finally released.’

Through an incredible series of events, U-505 survives today, on display at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. More than half a million visitors a year tour the boat’s decks and gaze at her battle-damaged conning tower.

Hans Goebeler lives in semiretirement in central Florida with his wife and daughter. He makes a modest living selling coffee mugs emblazoned with pictures of famous U-boat captains and other German war heroes, and his eyes still sparkle with life when telling about his days aboard the U-505 — the U-boat that wouldn’t die.

This article was written by John P. Vanzo and originally appeared in the July 1997 issue of Drugi svjetski rat časopis.


U-Boats off the Outer Banks

At a little after two o’clock in the morning on Monday, January 19, 1942, an earthquake­like rumble tossed fifteen-year-old Gibb Gray from his bed. Furniture shook, glass and knickknacks rattled, and books fell from shelves as a thundering roar vibrated through the walls of the houses in Gibb’s Outer Banks village of Avon. Surprised and concerned, Gibb’s father rushed to the windows on the house’s east side and looked toward the ocean. “There’s a fire out there!” he shouted to his family. Clearly visible on the horizon, a great orange fireball had erupted. A towering column of black smoke blotted out the stars and further darkened the night sky.

Only seven miles away, a German U-boat had just torpedoed the 337-foot-long U.S. freighter, City of Atlanta, sinking the ship and killing all but three of the 47 men aboard. The same U-boat attacked two more ships just hours later. Less than six weeks after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the hostilities of the Second World War had arrived on America’s East Coast and North Carolina’s beaches. This was not the first time that German U-boats had come to United States waters. During World War I, three U-boats sank ten ships off the Tar Heel coast in what primarily was considered a demonstration of German naval power. But by 1942, U-boats had become bigger, faster, and more deadly. Their presence in American waters was not intended for “show” but to help win World War II for Germany.

The abbreviated name “U-boat” comes from the German word unterseeboot, meaning submarine or undersea boat. However, U-boats were not true submarines. They were warships that spent most of their time on the surface. They could submerge only for limited periods—mostly to attack or evade

detection by enemy ships, and to avoid bad weather. U-boats could only travel about sixty miles underwater before having to surface for fresh air. They often attacked ships while on the surface using deck-mounted guns. Typically, about 50 men operated a U-boat. The boats carried fifteen torpedoes, or self­propelled “bombs,” which ranged up to twenty-two feet long and could travel thirty miles per hour. Experts have described German U-boats as among the most effective and seaworthy warships ever designed.

Within hours of the U-boat attack near Avon, debris and oil began washing up on the beaches. This scene seemed to be repeated constantly. For the next six months, along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, at least sixty-five different German U-boats attacked American and British merchant ships carrying vital supplies to the Allies in Europe— cargos of oil, gasoline, raw vegetables and citrus products, lumber and steel, aluminum for aircraft construction, rubber for tires, and cotton for clothing. By July of 1942, 397 ships had been sunk or damaged. More than 5,000 people had been killed.

The greatest concentration of U-boat attacks happened off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where dozens of ships passed daily. So many ships were attacked that, in time, the waters near Cape Hatteras earned a nickname: “Torpedo Junction.” U.S. military and government authorities didn’t want people to worry, so news reports of enemy U-boats near the coast were classified, or held back from the public for national security reasons. For many years, most people had no idea how bad things really were. But families living on the Outer Banks knew—they were practically in the war.

“We’d hear these explosions most any time of the day or night and it would shake the houses and sometimes crack the walls,” remembered Blanche Jolliff, of Ocracoke village. Even though ships were being torpedoed by enemy U-boats almost every day, just a few miles away, coastal residents had no choice but to live as normally as possible. “We sort of got used to hearing it,” Gibb Gray said. “The explosions were mostly in the distance, so we weren’t too scared. I remember we were walking to school one day, and the whole ground shook. We looked toward the ocean, just beyond the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, and there was another huge cloud of smoke. That was the oil tanker, Dixie Arrow.”

Some Outer Bankers came closer to the war than they would have preferred. Teenager Charles Stowe, of Hatteras, and his father were headed out to sea aboard their fishing boat one day when they nearly rammed a U-boat, which was rising to the surface directly in front of them. The elder Stowe’s eyesight was not very good. He told his son, who was steering their boat, to keep on going—he thought the vessel ahead was just another fishing boat. “I said, ‘Dad, that is a German submarine!’ And it sure was,” Stowe recalled. “He finally listened to me, and we turned around and got out of there just in time.”

The war cut back on one favorite summer pastime for Outer Banks young people. “That summer we had to almost give up swimming in the ocean—it was just full of oil, you’d get it all over you,” Mrs. Ormond Fuller recalled of the oil spilled by torpedoed tankers. Gibb Gray remembered the oil, too: “We’d step in it before we knew it, and we’d be five or six inches deep. We’d have to scrub our feet and legs with rags soaked in kerosene. It’s hard to get off, that oil.” It is estimated that 150 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea and on the beaches along the Outer Banks during 1942.

Some local residents thought Germans might try to sneak ashore. Others suspected strangers of being spies for the enemy. “We were frightened to death. We locked our doors at night for the first time ever,” said Ocracoke’s Blanche Styron. Calvin O’Neal remembered strangers with unusual accents who stayed at an Ocracoke hotel during the war: “The rumor was they were spies, and the hotel owner’s daughter and I decided to be counterspies, and we tried our best to follow them around, but we never caught them doing anything suspicious.”

At Buxton, Maude White was the village postmistress and a secret coast watcher for the U.S. Navy. She was responsible for observing unusual activities and reporting them to the local Coast Guard. In 1942 one couple with German accents attracted attention by drawing maps and taking notes about the island. White became suspicious, and so did her daughter, who would follow the pair from a distance—riding her beach pony. After being reported by White, the strangers were apprehended when they crossed Oregon Inlet on the ferry. Records fail to indicate whether or not the strangers really were spies, but White’s daughter became the inspiration for the heroine in author Nell Wise Wechter’s book Taffy of Torpedo Junction.

Slowly but surely, increased patrols by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, and planes of the Army Air Corps, began to prevent the U-boat attacks. Blimps from a station at Elizabeth City searched for U-boats from high above, while private yachts and sailboats with two-way radios were sent out into the ocean to patrol and harass German warships. The military set up top-secret submarine listening and tracking facilities at places like Ocracoke to detect passing U-boats.

Many people who lived along the coast during World War II remember having to turn off their house lights at night and having to put black tape over their car headlights, so that lights on shore would not help the Germans find their way in the darkness. Even so, the government did not order a general blackout until August 1942. By then, most of the attacks had ended.

On April 14, 1942, the first German U-boat fought by the American navy in U.S. waters was sunk sixteen miles southeast of Nags Head. Within the next couple of months, three more U-boats were sunk along the North Carolina coast: one by a U.S. Army Air Corps bomber, one by a U.S. Coast Guard patrol ship, and one by a U.S. Navy destroyer. North Carolina’s total of four sunken U-boats represents the most of any state. By that July, the commander of Germany’s U-boats became discouraged. He redirected his remaining warships to the northern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, Germany considered its attacks against the United States a success, even if they failed to win the war. Gerhard Weinberg, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has since called the war zone off the U.S. coast in 1942 “the greatest single defeat ever suffered by American naval power.”

As the years have passed, most of the physical evidence of World War II U-boat encounters off North Carolina’s coast has vanished. Submerged off the state’s beaches are the remains of at least 60 ships and countless unexploded torpedoes, depth charges, and contact mines. Even today, small patches of blackened sand offer reminders of the massive oil spills of 1942. On Ocracoke Island and at Cape Hatteras, cemeteries contain the graves of six British sailors who perished in North Carolina’s waters. Many people living in the state don’t know about the time when war came so close. But older Tar Heels who lived on the coast back then remember. In fact, they would love to tell you about it.

*At the time of the publication of this article, Kevin P. Duffus was an author and documentary filmmaker specializing in North Carolina maritime history. He lectured for the North Carolina Humanities Council on topics that included World War II along the state’s coast.


Prednji Nazad
What did the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare refer to? B. Germany’s policy to sink any ship without any warning
How did the Treaty of Versaille affect postwar Germany? A. Legacy of Bitterness and hatred

Unrestricted submarine warfare occurs when submarines attack merchant ships without warning rather than following prize regulations. Used again in World War II, it was generally accepted by all combatants though technically banned by the 1930 London Naval Treaty. Examples: World War I: Germany against the Allies.


Florida's World War II U-Boat War

People packed the pier on Jacksonville Beach on that warm evening in the spring of 1942. As the war in Europe raged, Americans still felt safe at home. Then, without warning a tremendous explosion echoed across the water.

At first, everybody thought two oil tankers had collided in the busy shipping lanes just miles from shore. Freighter traffic was a common sight as the United States struggled to keep its ally Great Britain supplied with oil, aluminum and other goods necessary for the fight against Nazi Germany.

Then a German submarine surfaced between the packed pier and burning ship, finishing the stricken vessel off with its deck gun. The sinking of the Gulfamerica – an 8,000-ton steam tanker on its maiden voyage from Port Arthur, Texas, to New York City – just miles off the crowded boardwalk is probably the most famous battle in a U-Boat war few know was waged so close to Florida's shores.

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean are littered with rusting hulks of freighters and the submarines that sank them in the opening months of World War II. These war relics are the favorite haunts of recreational scuba divers, but few know the full story of the last time hostile warships patrolled American waters.

One week after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, five German submarines left their secret bases in the Bay of Biscay in the North Atlantic and set sail for the East Coast of the United States. It took two weeks for the U-boats to get within sight of land, and when they did, their captains were surprised to see the lights of the coastal cities shining brightly.

There was still no blackout, so ships running against the coastline made easy targets. The German code name for the coordinated attack was Paukenschlag, or Drumbeat. And before it ended on Feb. 5, the five "sea wolves" had sunk 25 ships. The Germans returned to France, refitted and re-armed, then returned later that spring. For a while, early in the U-boat war, the Germans sank an average of 100 ships a month.

The sinking of the Gulfamerica was not only unique because of its close proximity to land, but also to the boldness and subsequent chivalry of the German captain, Reinhard Hardegan. The young U-boat commander had sunk nine Allied ships on his first sortie into U.S. waters.

When he spotted the Gulfamerica five miles off Jacksonville Beach on April 11, 1942, the tanker loaded with 101,500 barrels of furnace oil was not running a zigzag course, a standard for ships in a combat zone. Hardegan's U-123 fired one torpedo, which hit amidships and set the tanker ablaze.

The captain wanted to conserve torpedoes but knew he had to ventilate the hull to make sure the tanker sank. Noting the innocent civilians on shore, Hardegan positioned his U-boat between the burning freighter and the beach and opened fire, knowing any stray shells would land in the open ocean.

The Germans sank their first ship in the Gulf of Mexico on May 4, 1942, when U-507 torpedoed the freighter Norlindo, west-northwest of Key West. U-boats sank an average of about one ship per day that month. A headline from the July 19, 1942 edition of the St. Petersburg Times proclaimed "Ship Toll Passes 400-Mark."

An accompanying photograph shows a burning ship with the caption, "Flames and smoke burst from a sinking U.S. cargo ship, which was torpedoed by an enemy submarine in the Gulf of Mexico while lying close to shore and blacked out. Fifteen crewmen struggled to a partially burned lifeboat and escaped, but 27 perished."

That same morning, while St. Petersburg residents read about the freighter, another ship had troubles of its own. The Baja California, a Honduran-flagged steam merchant owned by a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company, was en route from New Orleans to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, when it was hit by two torpedoes fired from the U-84.

The freighter, carrying a load of military vehicles, tobacco and several tons of glassware, turned on its side and sank in 10 minutes about 40 miles northeast of Rebecca Shoals. According to one account of the sinking, three men were killed and 10 wounded in the initial attack. But while the stories of the men who served aboard the Baja California may be lost to history, the ship still has a tale to tell.

Scuba divers can still find old bottles around the wreck, especially after a storm. According to the ship's manifest, the Baja carried a general cargo, which included tobacco and cotton, as well as military vehicles and several tons of empty bottles.

As the ship was sinking, the bow section split off and now rests about 50 feet from the rest of the wreck. Salvagers removed the ship's 14-foot steel propeller years ago. The .50-caliber machine gun that was mounted on its foredeck also is gone, but the 4-inch deck gun that guarded the stern is intact.

Dive charters from Fort Myers Beach make regular trips to the Baja California. The wreck lies midway between Fort Myers Beach and the Dry Tortugas in 115 feet of water, which makes it a trip only for "advanced" divers. The Baja is completely encrusted in barnacles, sea anemones and other marine life, the decks having collapsed decades ago.

If you dive the Baja today, you undoubtedly will encounter large schools of amberjack that seem to serve as silent sentinels for the sunken ship below. The Baja also has a resident barracuda population, which can make it difficult for spear fishermen to get their catch to the surface.

If you make it all the way down to the wreck, you can see what’s left of the jeeps and trucks that were lost in the sinking, as well as 1940s-era glass bottles.

The Baja isn't the only World War II relic accessible to divers. The Empire Mica, sunk off the Panhandle, as well as a half-dozen wrecks off Canaveral and Fort Pierce, also are popular diving destinations. The U-boats -- and there are three known to have sunk off Florida's coast -- tend to be in deeper water and, as a result, are visited only by technical divers trained in the use of mixed gas.

The Germans sank their last ship in the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 4, 1942, but the War in the North Atlantic continued into the following year. Eventually the convoy system, combined with the use of attack aircraft and fast surface vessels, turned the tide against the Germans.


The sinking of the R.P. Resor

Local newspapers at the time included accounts of the wrecks, describing the glow visible in the distance. When the German submarine U-578 torpedoed the tanker the R. P. Resor off of Manasquan with a full load of crude oil on Feb. 28, 1942, a newspaper commissioned a boat to carry a reporter and photographer out to the ship, Bilby said in a recent interview.

“You could see the fire all the way up to Belmar,” Bilby said. There were only two survivors, Seaman John Forsdal and Coxswain Daniel Hey.

One memorable report in a shore town weekly paper at the time reassured residents not to worry about the balls of tar washing up on the beaches. It was only oil spilled from the sunken tankers.

The R. P. Resor didn’t sink right away and was towed to its current resting place, about 30 miles East of Barnegat Lighthouse (Google Earth)

According the Bilby, the British warned the Americans about the likelihood of submarine attack. But for half of 1942, most ships remained defenseless against the unseen torpedoes. There had been naval attacks off the New Jersey coast in World War I, Bilby reported, but while that war is best remembered for intractable trench warfare and the widespread use of poison gas, in these cases the submarine captains were reluctant to torpedo civilian craft. In one case in 1918, the sub surfaced and demanded an ocean liner surrender. A German officer evacuated the crew and passengers before scuttling the ship.

This is the Naval blimp squadron based in Lakehurst, N.J., inside their hangar, Jan. 15, 1942. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)

A generation later, things were not nearly so genteel. Ships were sunk from under water as military and civilian officials scrambled to respond. By late summer in 1942, civilian ships traveled with navy escorts and air support, including sub-spotting blimps from the Lakehurst base. The Army Air Corps began to coordinate with the navy while America scrambled to build coastal defenses. The U-boats began to concentrate on convoys heading to England.

Those months before America found an effective defense against submarine attacks were known to the German submarine crews as the “happy time,” according to Bilby’s book and several other sources.


Clark Field, the Philippines, December 1941

General Douglas MacArthur had been in the Philippines since 1935, serving as a Field Marshal of the Philippine Army, and after July 1941 as commander of all US forces in the Philippines, including the federalized Philippines Army. Under his direct command were the US Army Air Force aircraft, which included more than 90 P-40 Warhawks and almost three dozen B-17 bombers, organized as the Far East Air Force, the largest such command outside of the United States. MacArthur had a full ten hours in which to disperse his aircraft following the debacle at Pearl Harbor, but he left them parked on the airfield in rows, awaiting the inevitable Japanese attack.

When the Japanese did attack Clark Field, as part of the overall launch of their invasion of the Philippines, MacArthur&rsquos air forces were completely destroyed as a viable fighting force. Japan had complete control of the air over the Philippines, making the defeat of the American and Filipino forces inevitable. Without air cover the defense of the Philippines was virtually impossible, other than as a giant holding action to bleed the enemy as much as possible. MacArthur&rsquos failure to disperse his air forces was a mistake which certainly was a major factor in what became one of the greatest humiliations in US military history.


Our Great American Heritage

(Above image: An illustration of a U-boat attack during World War 1. The steamer is sinking in the background, while the German crew on the U-boat watch. Painting by Willy Stöwer , 1864–1931)

Most Americans do not realize just how close the Germans were to winning the war in Europe. In 1941, and just before the U.S. entered the fight, most of Europe had already surrendered to Hitler’s aggression, and England was hanging on by her fingernails. It was losing the battle in the Atlantic, suffering as many as 100 warships lost between June and September 1941. In addition to attacking British shipping, both military as well as non-military vessels, the U-boats even targeted ships containing innocent children, such as SS City of Benares, and the SS Voldendam, both passenger liners. The Voldenham was attacked 2 weeks prior to the Benares, and had carried 320 children luckily it was close to shore and all survived. Both ships were torpedoed at night during a tumultuous storm. On September 18, 1940 the SS City of Benares went down with a loss of 260 people, including 77 children. It was hit by one torpedo directly in the stern and went down in less than 30 minutes.

Because of the heavy German air bombardment in England, the country had set up a program to transport children to safer places during the war. The children on The City of Benares had been on their way to Canada when attacked. Some families, such as the Grimmonds from Brixton, South London, faced an almost unimaginable loss: five of their children — Violet, Connie, Lennie, Eddie and Gussie — had perished. Despite the horrific losses the British refused to give up. The level of fear, however, continued to grow as Hitler’s own words began to resonate and haunt an entire nation, “ since foreign seamen cannot be taken prisoner … the U-boats are to surface after torpedoing and shoot up the lifeboats.” The gruesome stories of German ruthlessness stirred the emotions of Americans. They anxiously read and carefully listened to the daily news reports of the war, and particularly the war in the Atlantic. An entire nation wondered what would happen next.

Children boarding a ship for a safe haven during the WW 2.

British children just before leaving Liverpool, England to a safe haven during WW 2. 1940.

British children just before leaving Liverpool, England to a safe haven during WW 2.1940.Image: The National Archives UK @ Flickr CommonsEngland was all that stood in Hitler’s way of conquering Europe. Defeating her, however, required more than the German air bombardment of English cities. Adolph Hitler realized that England’s surrender would occur only when her resources to fight back were shut off. Stopping the flow of merchant ships carrying supplies, especially oil, and military equipment to English harbors was the only answer. The commander of Germany’s U-boat fleet proclaimed that if he had 300 more U-boats, “he could strangle England and win the war.” Many historians agree with that assessment. To defeat Germany, however, required the Allies to destroy their wolf pack, those submersibles which quietly operated in groups, surfaced at night and torpedoed unsuspecting ships, sometimes full of innocent passengers.


German U-boat 1942.By early December 1941, Americans were acutely aware of the almost daily sinking of ships by Nazi U-boats. The war, however, was in Europe, and Americans could read and hear about the terrible atrocities from the comfort of their homes, far from the danger. That changed, however, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the United States declared war against Japan. This triggered the Axis Treaty, which was between Japan and Germany, and in return, Germany then declared war on the United States. Within two weeks, Hitler’s high command had sent three U-boats to the shores of the United States.

Striking in the dark of night, and especially during stormy weather, U-boats had proven to be the nightmare of the Atlantic. The U.S. did not anticipate German U-boats coming into U.S. ports . It was also unimaginable that a German vessel would operate in daylight, above the surface, and, in clear view of an American coastline. It was felt that because of the design of the U-boat, it was unlikely that the vessel could even cross the ocean to the American coastlines. With a crew of 44 men, a U-boat was not a pure submarine, but it was considered a submersible watercraft. When surfaced, it was powered by large diesel engines, and when submerged, the engines would shut down, and the vessel would operate off 100 tons of lead-acid batteries. Operating the boat underwater required that the ship had to surface every few hours for air, and the recharging of the batteries off the diesel engines. If spotted, the hull of the ship was easily penetrated by Allied gunfire, and once punctured it would be nearly impossible for it to re-submerge. It would be a death sentence for a U-boat to be spotted on the surface by Allied forces. America was confident that her shores were safe. The Germans, however, were also confident that America was not prepared for a coastal invasion, and they were right.

Allied oil tanker torpedoed by U-boat.

In January 1942, the British Navy officially notified the U.S. Navy that German U-boats had indeed crossed the Atlantic towards the east coast of America. The United States ignored the warnings, and left the coastline unprotected. In England most seaside towns and cities had been shutting off all lights (blackout) at night, but on the east coast of America everything, including ships in port, New York skyscrapers, and street lights, all remained lit up, silhouetted and huge targets.

Within three months, U-boats had sunk so many ships in U.S. waters that Americans thought that the Germans had sent an entire fleet of submarines, instead of only a few. On the bottom of the ocean during the day and rising to the surface at night, by the end of March 1942 bodies began to wash up on the shores from the New York harbor to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

German U-boat operated underwater by batteries, which made the vessels very slow.

The Dallas Morning News offered a running account of U-boat activities along the coast of the United States:

  • January 14 and 15, 1942. In New York harbor two large tanker ship carrying crude oil were torpedoed. The engine room of the SS. Coimbra was quickly engulfed in flames and spread to the entire the ship, killing 36 crewmen. It was reported in the German papers, “ twas a fantastic sight for us, and no doubt a terrifying sight for the Yankees.” Also, and destined for an English harbor, the same U-boat sank the huge tanker SS Norness with three torpedoes, and luckily, with no loss of life. From the bridge, the captain of the U-boat, Reinhardt Hardegen could see the lights of skyscrapers in Manhattan saying, “I cannot describe the feeling in words,” he said “but it was unbelievable and beautiful and great. . . We were the first to be here, and for the first time in this war a German soldier looked out on the coast of the USA.”
  • January 29, 1942. The passenger liner Lady Hawkins was torpedoed and sank so quickly that the crew was not able to signal S0S for assistance. The first torpedo struck the number 2 hold on the port side, and forward of the bridge the second one wrecked the engine room and the ship lights and power were knocked out. There were 250 killed and 71 survivors. The survivors remained on life boats for five days until rescued, 150 miles off Cape Hatteras. The ship had left the port in Boston.
  • February 2, 1942. The W.L. Steed, an American tanker, was torpedoed off the New Jersey coast in broad daylight leaving 34 dead. As the ship went down, men were getting in the lifeboats, but, the U-boat surfaced and began shelling the ship and the lifeboats.
  • February 6, 1942. The cargo ship Major Wheeler was torpedoed and sank off the coast of Cape Cod with the loss of its entire crew of 35.
  • May 10, 1942. “U-boat Crew Watches as Torpedo Victims Drown” Out of a crew of 35, one survivor was rescued after 14 days on a raft. The survivor stated that the U-boat cruised among the “bobbing heads of the sailors until they thought they were all dead.”
  • June 1, 1942. Off the coast of New Orleans four merchant ships, three of them American, were sunk by U-boats in four days with a loss of 9 sailors.
  • October 14, 1942. On the St. Lawrence River, near Canada, a U-boat sank the railroad passenger ferry SS Caribou. Upon surfacing the U-boat capsized a large life boat, killing 44 in the boat, including a woman who was holding on to her baby. The U-boat then just watched as people drowned. In total, 137 were lost with the sinking of the Caribou.

Many consider the sinking of the Gulf-America, an oil tanker, the most spectacular, as well as outrageous of all U-boat attacks off the coast of the United States. On April 10, 1942 hundreds of visitors, including a number of military personnel, were enjoying the roller coasters and ferris wheels at an amusement park located in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. A U-boat slipped in close to the beach and torpedoed the anchored oil tanker. As the ship exploded into massive flames, the U-boat surfaced, and idled there in full view of the beach, taunting the captive audience of shocked onlookers. Many of the ones along the shore jumped into small watercraft hoping to save some of the ships crews. Years later the the U-boat captain John Hardegen said in an interview about the attack at Jacksonville Beach, “there was no blackout. I could see the big wheel in the amusement park and all the lights an motorcars and the hotel in full light. It was easy for me, I could see the ship silhouetted against the lights.”

In less than a year, German U-boats had sunk nearly 25% of the commercial tanker fleet that provided supplies to the Allies. Additionally, over 5,000 seamen and passengers were killed in these attacks during early 1942. During January U-boats sank 35 Allied ships and a British destroyer killing 1219 crew and passengers. In March alone, 48 ships were attacked by U-boats, and nearly all were sunk. During the first half of the year German U-boats sank Allied merchant ships, tankers, passenger liners, and of course warships with relatively no challenge. They were easy prey since the forces of the United States generally offered no resistance to the attacks of the German U-boats. In fact, until spring 1942, American ships continued to lie anchored at night with full lights blazing on her decks, and coastal towns and cities made no attempt to dim their lights either. As the numbers of attacks mounted, and tension grew, Americans began voicing their concerns and the military began changing its strategy.


U.S. Navy officers searching for U-boats in the Atlantic.Initially, U.S. authorities began by laying mine fields in harbors, and installing artillery in places that protected significant ports and waterways. Light planes and shore watercraft were ordered to be ready and prepared for battle when U-boats were spotted. The American Navy was highly criticized for not taking some defensive measures sooner. After a number of attempts the British were able to finally persuade the inept U. S. Navy that a new plan had to be developed. The English had been dealing with U-boat attacks for several years and had finally found a successful method to deal with the German Wolfpack. The English began using a system of convoys. Warships would escort groups of merchant ships, with the intentions of luring the submarines into a battle. The U-boats would be forced to surface every few hours, and were then vulnerable for attack from the warships. If the submarines did not surface they would use their radar technology to detect where they were and begin dropping depth charges in those areas.

Operating on the surface was a death sentence for U-boats, as evidenced in this picture. As the war progressed sea planes equipped with radar were able to spot the vessels once the surfaced.On April 14, 1942 the United States sank its first U-boat. Off the coast of North Carolina the destroyer USS Roper used its new radar system to find U-85. After shelling the vessel it began to submerge, but the Roper finished it off with depth chargers. Unfortunately, U-85 had sunk 3 Allied ships before it was stopped. Later that month the United States developed an anti-submarine warfare plan that included 65 anti-submarine vessels, all equipped with the latest in radar technology and loaded with depth chargers. Seaplanes were equipped with seaborne radar, as well as HF/DF (high frequency direction finding) which could enable the detection of U-boats operating on the surface. As more patrol planes became equipped with the technology, the tables were finally turned on the U-boats, and many were attacked at night while operating on the surface. Other measures included not allowing oil tankers to sail unless escorted by warships, and merchant ships traveled in escorted mini-convoys known as bucket brigades. These long overdue measures reduced the effectiveness of the U-boat, and their attacks began to reduce. The most significant and strongest blow to U-boat attacks occurred when commercial shipping ceased sailing at night, and put into protected harbors. The success of U-boat attacks on Allied shipping was due to their element of surprise, and that surprise was generally because they attacked at night, and were able to easily slip away into the darkness. In the end, the cost was great. Podmornice su potopile preko 3.500 trgovačkih brodova i 175 savezničkih ratnih brodova prije nego što su savezničke sile uništile flotu podmornica, a na kraju i Treći Reich.

Ako želite dodatne informacije, pogledajte:

Jutarnje vijesti iz Dallasa (1942)

Poraz njemačkih podmornica: Bitka za Atlantik, autora David Syrett

Vučji čopor: Priča o podmornici u Drugom svjetskom ratu, autora Gordon Williamson

Čuda na vodi: Heroji koji su preživjeli napad podmornicama iz Drugog svjetskog rata, Tom Nagorski


Pogledajte video: Подводница Слава последно плаване музей заснемане с дрон Bulgaria aerial Slava submarine drone (Novembar 2021).

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