Friday, February 27, 2015

Historian today discusses WWII submarine warfare off North Carolina coast

Feb. 26, 2015 
For seven months in 1942, black smoke and orange flames from torpedoed vessels filled the ocean skies off the coast of North Carolina, and at 7 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 26), historian Kevin Duffus will tell the story at the History Museum of Carteret County in Morehead City.  He will detail the fate of those involved in what is called the greatest single defeat ever suffered by American naval forces. As the fate of the allied war effort in World War II hung in the balance off the east coast of the United States, its epicenter of losses took place between Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras according to the book War Zone, written by Mr. Duffus.
A total of 397 ships were sunk or damaged, and 5,000 people died. For six months, 65 German U-boats hunted merchant vessels, practically unopposed, within view of coastal communities – the greatest of these attacks being off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Mr. Duffus has compiled a collection of eyewitness stories from those who survived the events.
The presentation will discuss the facts behind the decades-old urban legends of German spies, sympathizers and saboteurs. The story will expose efforts of faith, courage and determination as well as infamy, irony and innocence, according to the N.C. Humanities Council.
Explosions rattled windowpanes and the nerves of coastal residents. Beaches were awash with wreckage, oil, empty lifeboats and bodies. Mr. Duffus will reveal this amazing story of World War II that took place just of the coast and how if affected the lives of merchant sailors, allied servicemen, lifesavers and island residents. 

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