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100th Anniversary of World War I off North Carolina's Coast

painting of a u-boat sinking a ship

June 2018 marks the start of the 100th anniversary of World War I off the North Carolina coast. To honor the anniversary and the men who fought and died during World War I off our shore, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary actively conducts research on World War I and the ships that sank off our coast. Visit our World War I webpage to learn the history, discover the shipwrecks, and visit often as new data and images are added. If you want to dive a little deeper, click here to read the full document, The Enemy in Home Waters—How World War I Came Home to North Carolina.

North Carolina - Where the War Came Home

Just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, German submarines began patrolling U.S. waters off the East Coast, thus bringing the Battle of the Atlantic home to our shores. On January 18, 1942, a steam tanker, Allan Jackson, was torpedoed by a German U-boat, U-66, and sank 60 miles east-northeast of Diamond Shoals, North Carolina. It was the first ship sunk by a German U-boat off North Carolina's coast, but it would not be the last. Over the next six months, dozens of Allied and merchant vessels, along with four U-boats, sank off coastal North Carolina, making the area truly, where the war came home to the United States.

More than any other place in the United States, coastal North Carolina serves as a uniquely accessible underwater museum and memorial to our nation's rich maritime history. Since 2008, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and partners have documented and surveyed this unique collection of World War II Allied and Axis vessels. Over the next six months, we will highlight these shipwrecks on the 75th anniversary of their sinking. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and/or visit our shipwreck webpages to learn more about this magnificent collection of shipwrecks.

CBS Sunday Morning Airs Documentary on Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

first dive on J-576
First dive on the U-576. Photo: McCord, UNC Coastal Studies Institute/NOAA

On July 15, 1942, America had been in World War II for less than a year, but the fight had already come to the nation's shores with U-boat attacks along the East Coast. On that particular day, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the German U-boat U-576 sank the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter SS Bluefields in what is known as the Battle of KS-520.

For over seven decades, the location of these two ships remained unknown, until 2014 when NOAA confirmed their location. U-576 and SS Bluefields rest about 35 miles off Cape Hatteras, just 240 yards apart in about 700 feet of water. In August 2016, NOAA and partners used 2-person submersibles, provided by Project Baseline, to take the first look at these two vessels in over 74 years.

CBS Sunday Morning joined the expedition and produced a six-minute documentary on the expedition. To watch the video or read the transcript, visit CBS Sunday Morning.

To learn more about the expedition, read the expedition blogs or view the images, video and laser scans, visit OER's website.

New Monitor Trail Signs In Newport News, Virginia

On March 8th, three new Monitor Trail signs were dedicated in commemoration of the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads. The new signs are located at the Monitor - Merrimac Overlook Park in Newport News, Virginia. For more information, contact Tane Casserley.

Battle of Hampton Roads wayside signs
Three new wayside signs dedicated commemorating the Battle of Hampton Roads. Photo: NOAA


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