Protecting Our Nation's World War II Battlefield tells the story of World War II and when it came to America's shores off the North Carolina coast in 1942, and how Monitor National Marine Sanctuary is working to preserve this amazing collection of World War II ships lost during the Battle of the Atlantic. Video Credit: NOAA
In 2016, following several years of archaeological research, NOAA proposed and solicited public input on a proposal to expand Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off North Carolina to include additional historic shipwreck sites. The proposed expansion would include one of America's only World War II battlefields and protect an internationally significant collection of shipwrecks at risk from numerous threats.
Learn more about the proposed expansion and the expansion process.
Check out the latest curriculum guide, Battle of the Atlantic: Discovering and Exploring When the War Came Home, that introduces students to World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. In this guide, students learn about the battle's importance and determine the role that North Carolina played in the battle during 1942. They also explore the causes of World War II, life on the home front, the role of the U.S. Merchant Marine during the war, and how NOAA works to preserve our nation's maritime heritage.
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.
Dixie Arrow burning after being torpedoes by U-71. Photo: National Archives
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 filmed, photographed, and surveyed this unique collection of World War II Allied and Axis vessels to honor the men who served and died on them as they helped to rid our country of tyranny. We are always adding new data, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and/or visit our shipwreck web pages to learn more about this historically significant collection of shipwrecks and this important part of our nation's maritime heritage.