Discovered in the Atlantic: Two Second World War Vessels

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has found the wrecks of a German U-Boat as well as a US Freighter, 30 miles off the shore of North Carolina. These two vessels uncover exactly how close the Second World War that was fought over 70 years ago came to the American shores. The vessels were found in a territory known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

On the fifteenth of July 1942, a convoy of 19 vendor ships, the Convoy KS-520, was transporting materials to Key West, Florida from Norfolk, Virginia. While on its way and off Cape Hatteras, an attack was launched on the fleet by a German U-576 boat. The attack resulted to the sinking of the Nicaraguan-flagged Bluefields vessel. Two other ships were also seriously destroyed as part of the attack. As a counter attack, Unicoi, the American merchant vessel attacked the German U-Boat by using the firearm on its deck. The attack was then completed by the fleets’ air guards who sank the U-576 boat by throwing a bomb on it. And fortunately for the Bluefields team, there were no losses on their part, the New Historian reports.

In an NOAA press statement by Joe Hoyt, the chief researcher for the campaign said the recent findings was not just about a few wrecks, but more about the extensive and important role that was played by the U.S. naval team during the Second World War and the battles fought between Germany and the United States. According to David Alberg, the superintendent of the NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries, the fight is seen by a majority of the people as just one of the numerous ones that took place in the Atlantic. However, with this new discovery, the general public should be able to understand and acknowledge exactly how near to America’s shores; the Second World War really came.

The operation began in 2008 with the collaboration between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the NOAA. Their job was to search for vessels that went missing during the Second World War off the shore of North Carolina. The team conducted their initial survey at the beginning of this year. And by August, the identities of the ships were already verified. The wreckage site cannot be exhumed because it is a war graves for the German team that were on-board the U-576 boat. The reason for this is because Germany has taken possession of previous Nazi military fleets like the air ship or aircraft remains.

Despite the fact that the German government is not enthusiastic about recovering the leftovers of U-576 boats, they have requested for the wreckage to stay at the original site to enable the dead German service men rest in peace. According to the international law governing such cases, it is permitted for the wreckage to be seen and observed, so a few investigations on the wreckages are conceivable. About 45 German marine men are assumed to have been on-board the U-Boat when it was destroyed during that Second World War battle. The two shipwrecks are said to lie more or less 720 feet away from one another on the Atlantic seabed.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE