The Luckiest Man in the Battle of the Atlantic

U-Boot beim Tauchen
U-Boot beim Tauchen

(photo courtesy of German National Archive. The caption translates as “U-Boat diving.”)

 

The Luckiest Man in the Battle of the Atlantic was a crewman aboard U-223 which was damaged in a surface encounter with a Royal Navy escort ship. The commander of U-223 ordered the boat to submerge. One of the bridge lookouts thought the commander said “abandon ship” and jumped overboard. He didn’t even take his life jacket with him.One can only imagine his state of mind as he watched his U-Boat disappear and leave him by himself in the cold water of the North Atlantic. In that situation any man would make your peace with God.

Two hours later, hypothermic and barely afloat, the sailor watched in open mouthed astonishment as by sheer happenstance, in the vastness of the North Atlantic, U-359 surfaced just meters away from him. The crew dragged him aboard and his shipmates from U-223 were quite surprised to see him when he returned to port.

Source: U-Boat Operations of the Second World War

posted by Charles McCain, author of An Honorable German, a World War Two naval epic featuring a heroic but deeply conflicted German naval officer and U-Boat commander who is the honorable German of the title.

 

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

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statue of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut in the middle of Farragut Square in Washington DC.

(photo courtesy of US National Park Service)

This statue of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut forms the centerpiece of Farragut Square in Washington, DC. Farragut was a renown naval commander, with many of his accomplishments occurring during the Civil War. Although he was from Tennessee, he stayed loyal to the Union.

He was the first Admiral in the US Navy.

Among his famous accomplishments was running the Confederate defenses of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. As Farragut led his fleet into the Bay, a lookout on the bow saw clusters of primitive sea mines, then known as ‘torpedoes,’ floating just beneath the surface of the water.
“Torpedoes ahead!” the lookout shouted.
Upon hearing this warning, Admiral Farragut, leading his fleet of Union ships aboard his flagship, USS Hartford, bellowed out his famous order, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!”
The statue is cast in bronze which came from one of the bronze propellers of his flagship. The sculptor was Vinnie Ream, the first woman ever to receive a commission from the Federal Government to sculpt a statue.

 

Source: Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, DC by Kathryn Allamong Jacob. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Victory in Europe Day In London

 

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Huge crowds gathered in Piccadilly Circus to celebrate the German surrender in 1945

(Photo courtesy BBC)

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Then prime minister Winston Churchill addressed thousands of people from the Treasury balcony

(Photo courtesy BBC)

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American soldiers joining in the VE Day party in 1945

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The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh in lighting the first of hundreds of beacons.

 

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Prince Andrew led those laying wreaths at the Cenotaph

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Residents on Warwick Street in Grangetown, Cardiff, celebrated VE Day 70 years ago

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The band of the Welsh Guards played during the commemorations in London

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Randolph Churchill gave an extract from the speech made by his great grandfather Winston Churchill