Nazi submarine off the coast of Texas

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$100 Site Donor 2021
Apr 28, 2008
Ontario, Canada
Robert S. Ballard and his team of ocean explorers have taken new crystal-clear photos of a Nazi submarine in the Gulf of Mexico, right off the Texas' shoreline: U-166 was one of the many Kriegsmarine U-boats that swam like sharks waiting for prey around the United States' coast. Admire it in all its decrepit glory—in high resolution. The U-166 was a type IXC U-boat built in 1940, a revision of the IX long range submarine series. The C version carried an additional 43 tons of fuel, which further extended the Kriegsmarine's area of influence right to the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the U-166 was the only U-boat of any class ever sunk in that coast. While in the Gulf the U-166 destroyed four ships in the month of July 1942: the Carmen—a sailing vessel with Dominican Republic flag—the Oneida—an American steam merchant—the Gertrude—an American fishing ship—and the Robert E. Lee—an American passenger steamer that was sunk on July 30, 45 miles off the mouth of the Mississippi River. 25 people died of a total of 404 people aboard. The Robert E. Lee lies only a few miles from the U-166. Right after the attack against the Robert E. Lee, the escort US Navy patrol craft PC-566 launched deep charges against the U-166, sinking her and all of her crew members, 52 sailors.
Very nice! I always like seeing old ships discovered and photographed for all to see. Thanks for posting!
Thanks for posting this. Imagine how brave this crew must have been. They must have been aware that they were on a one-way mission. The crossing from Europe would have been difficult, since all manner of American and British shipping would have been about, along with their escorts of destroyers. Once a destroyer found a sub, the sub's chances were pretty slim. This crew then had to get around Florida and up into the Gulf. They must have known that their time in the Gulf would be limited after they revealed themselves by sinking their first vessel.
Good stuff. As a guy who spent 10 years going to sea on Submarines and still working on them today, I can tell you German U-boats were the good stuff. Their technology for the time was amazing! Thanks for sharing!
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Thanks for posting this. They must have been aware that they were on a one-way mission. The crossing from Europe would have been difficult, since all manner of American and British shipping would have been about, along with their escorts of destroyers.
Actually, none of the above. The time period 1/42 to 8/42 was known among the U boat crews as "Second Happy Time." 609 ships for 3,000,000 tons sunk for the loss of only 22 boats. US defenses were rather pathetic, and returning boat commanders, (thus, not a one way mission. Or even looked at as one.), would write of many ships running with lights on, not even zigzagging. The crossing was not difficult at all, being that the ocean is a big place, and they could avoid the convoy routes to get there. And with a surface range of 24,880 nautical miles at 10kts, a IXC didn't need to head straight to the US coats.
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It certainly turned out to be a one way mission for this crew. Also, surface range is great and this is an impressive range for a relatively small diesel electric boat, but a boat caught on the surface by any defender was in real trouble. Even an unarmed merchantman of decent size could simply run over it. I realize, of course, that the crew of the boat would have kept a sharp lookout for approaching surface craft, both as targets and as threats and would dive at the sight of the stack smoke of approaching shipping. I'd thought that convoys were better defended by mid 1942, but I was apparently wrong and that had yet to come.
The overall casualty rate for German U-boat crewmembers in WWII was about 70%. After 1942, Allied anti-sub countermeasures won the Battle of the Atlantic.
For the first several months, the Germans enjoyed little resistance and really ruled the seas. We took quite a while to get our battle heads about us, in-spite of pleas from the Brits. Once we finally started sending some iron over the pond and protecting the convoys (both with zigzag maneuvers and armed escorts), then things slowly started to change. With our shear numbers and ability to to recover losses at sea, it was inevitable that the Allies would eventually become victorious. However, the path to victory was long and grueling, with substantial losses of life and property for all involved.
If you look at the map of the U-boat wrecks in the link it appears there is one directly off the coast of Nova Scotia, that's one I'd love to check out!
There's a wiki on the one sunk off Nova Scotia:
German submarine U-754 was a Type VIIC U-boat deployed by Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during the Second World War against allied shipping in the Atlantic Ocean. She was a successful if short-lived boat, sinking 13 ships during her career. She was most notorious for her final attack, in which she shelled and sank the small fishing vessel MV Ebb, and killed a number of its crew with machine-gun fire as they attempted to launch a life raft. She was sunk with all hands by a Royal Canadian Air Force bomber three days later on 31 July 1942. The U-754 was built in the Kriegsmarinewerft at the main fleet base of Wilhelmshaven in Northern Germany on the North Sea. She was completed on 28 August 1941, and given to the experienced Kapitänleutnant Johannes Ostermann to command. Following her work-up period in which the boat was tested and the crew trained, she was despatched on her first patrol.
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