Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:
German uboats touched american soil three times during world war two
In reality, the leader of the group, George Dasch, turned all of them into the FBI. laimed all the credit but only when Dasch called the FBI did they have any idea German saboteurs were in the country.
In spite of many tall tales, German U-boats only touched American soil three times and they didn’t stay very long. Approaching an enemy coast to land agents was extremely dangerous since the boat had to go into shallow water and close an enemy coast with no intelligence.
Since the only real protection a U-Boat had was going deep underwater, being in shallow water made this impossible. Officers and crewmen intensely disliked missions such as this because it put them in such danger.
Over the years, dozens of people have told me how they had heard about German U-Boat coming ashore in the US to shop, go to the movies, have a beer, you name it. Absolutely none of these stories are true. A work colleague many years ago told me UBoat men used to come ashore for an evening of dinner, drinks, and dancing in Palm Beach. His grandfather met many of them. This is impossible but stories like this abound.
I have asked the two top U-Boat historians in the world Jak P Mallman-Showell and Dr. Timothy Mulligan if any of these stories are true and they both said, “no.” And gave me permission to quote them.
NEW YORK TIMES 10 December 1945
Aircraft and many other key armaments, relied on aluminum. As rugged as they seem, you could punch a sharpened pencil through the side of a B-17. Aluminum production in the US skyrocketed during the war. Because it is difficult to make and requires huge amounts of electricity, there are many points in the production cycle which a saboteur could disrupt.
The USS Idaho was the USS Mississippi‘s sister ship and was commissioned for the US Navy in 1908. She was subsequently sold to Greece in 1914 and was then renamed Lemnos. Lemnos saw minimal action during WW 1, assisted the White Russian Forces in the 1919 Allied Crimean expedition, and was decommissioned in 1932 when her guns were removed and used as a coastal battery. The rest of the ship was sunk by German Bombers in April 1941 while docked at Salamis Naval Base.
USS Idaho, fitting out at the Cramp shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 1906.
USS Idaho, dressed with flags during the Naval Review off New York City, October 1912.
At Constantinople, Turkey, probably in 1919. The Greek torpedo boat Dafni (completed 1913) is alongside. Lemnos was the former USS Idaho (Battleship # 24).
Firing a salute to US Navy Admiral Mark L. Bristol, at Smyrna, Turkey, 15 September 1919. Lemnos is flying the US and Greek flags at the foremast peak and the Italian flag at the mainmast peak. A British D-class light cruiser is in the right distance, also with the Italian flag at the mainmast peak. Lemnos was the former USS Idaho (Battleship # 24).
Sunk in the basin of the Greek naval base at Salamis after they were hit by German air attacks on 23 April 1941. Seen from the harbor pier following the arrival of the German army. Kilkis, the former USS Mississippi (Battleship # 23), is in the foreground. Lemnos, ex-USS Idaho (Battleship # 24), is in the distance, with her guns removed. Photograph and some caption information were provided by Franz Selinger, via the US Naval Institute.
Bomb damage to HMV (His Master’s Voice) gramophone shop, Oxford Street, London, 1940. The shop had been opened by Sir Edward Elgar in 1921Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum
The Blitz, London, 1942. A workman with a wheelbarrow clears up fallen debris from the roof of St Mary-le-Bow after its first bombing. Subsequently the church was completely destroyed. The church was rebuilt after the war. It was said that a genuine Cockney was a person born within the sounds of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow. Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum
Bomb damage to the church of St Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall, London, 1940. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the church suffered major damage during the Blitz and was rebuilt to Wren’s original design in 1957. Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum
London Blitz: Young woman pulled alive from rubble of bombed building by London Air Raid Precaution emergency workers
Payback is a Bitch
Stuttgart after a visit from RAF Bomber Command in 1943
USS Guardian runs aground. Navy writes ships off as complete loss
“…Navy has never disclosed why USS Guardian was transiting into these restricted waters in the first place.”
SULU SEA (March 12, 2013) The U.S. Navy contracted vessels Jascon 25 and the tugboat Archon Tide are positioned next to the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship ex-Guardian (MCM 5) during salvage operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anderson Bomjardim)
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) admitted that the coastal scale Digital Nautical Chart (DNC) supplied to USS Guardian was flawed due to human error on the part of the NGA. This was an error that mislocated the Tubbataha Reef by 7.8 nautical miles (14.4 km; 9.0 mi) east-southeast of its actual location. NGA was aware of this error in 2011 and updated a smaller scale electronic chart. NGA failed to publish a correction for the larger scale chart that the USS Guardian was using when she ran aground.
However, the Navy has never disclosed why USS Guardian was transiting into these restricted waters in the first place.
HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney were the only two battleships in the British Royal Navy with 16 inch guns.
All three main batteries were in the forefront of the ship before the bridge giving them an unusual appearance and the only battleships designed this was. During testing the Royal Navy discovered that if the turret closest to the bridge was traversed abeam to the maximum extent, then firing it broke all the windows on the bridge.
Built to the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, the ships had heavy guns and heavy armour but had to reduce engine capacity to stay within the treaty limits. Unfortunately, their maximum speed was only 23 knots and that was on commissioning in the 1920s. They had a difficult time making that speed in World War Two although on occasion they made that speed and even higher such as when Rodney was trying to close with the Bismarck.
HMS Rodney had severe problems with water leaking into the ship due to defective riveting. In spite of extensive repairs made in the US Navy shipyard in Philadelphia the ship continued to have significant problems with water leaks–not a problem one wants in a man o’ war.
In her clash with the Bisarck, HMS Rodney fired 340 16-inch shell. While most firing was done in salvos, that is one barrel per turret would fire, the Rodney did fire a few broadsides. This meant all nine 16 inch guns fired at the same time. While designed for this, a full broadside was tough on the ship.
While the photo above is of HMS Rodney’s sister ship, HMS Nelson, you can see just how big were these 16 inch guns. HMS Nelson was the first of the ships constructed so they were known as “Nelson class” battleships. These were the only two battleships which carried main battery guns actually larger than than the Bismarck’s 15 inch guns.