Thread: German U-boats in the Gulf
02-04-2012, 07:13 PM #1
German U-boats in the Gulf
Coming Thursday, Feb. 9, you can relive the history of the German U-boat invasion of the Gulf of Mexico in 1942. I have given this lecture at the college in Niceville plus the Coastal Branch Library in their winter Prime Time program.
When I was a young man (that is b.c.), I was fishing out in the Gulf with my father, and one of the crewmen was an old chap like I am now. He spun a yarn about how he used to see smoke on the horizon from sinking boats. Fascinated, I asked the fisherman what he was talking about.
“German U-boats attacking our ships, son.”
I was hooked more on the story than on hooking a fish, so later in life I investigated the events and wrote a small book in the 1980s. Then came some requests for a lecture, and the Coastal Heritage Society helped put the slide series together.
Unlike today’s national negative press about American war efforts, the press in World War II was supportive of our defense.
Not wanting to cause alarm, very little information was released in order to keep a nervous nation at ease and reassured that our shores were safe. Most Americans thought the German ocean action was in the Atlantic with a few rogue torpedo hits on America’s eastern shore. The Gulf of Mexico was nothing to worry about, they said, but it was actually a fiery bloodbath.
In May and June of 1942, more Allied shipping was sunk in the Gulf than the Atlantic! Most of the ships sunk were ours and along our northern coastline. They were plunging to the bottom on a daily basis.
Bodies washed ashore from Texas to our coast and farther south. The large hotel in Grayton Beach called “Wash Away” (still there to this day) was a Coast Guard station. Riding more mules than horses, the Guardsmen patrolled our shoreline. Our convoy escorts were racing in and out of ship convoys to England, and nothing much was available for the Gulf. Then came the May, June, and July slaughter that finally woke authorities up! Six U-boats were running along the area with a “milk cow,” which was a supply submarine freely torpedoing and laying mines.
Even worse, a passenger ship went down.
There’s more to hear, so I hope to see you at the Coastal Heritage Society slideshow and lecture that will be at 7 p.m. at St. Rita Catholic Church, located on Moll Road (directly off U.S. Highway 98) in Santa Rosa Beach. Call the office for 267-2558 for better directions.
Fair winds to ye, matey.
Chick Huettel is a long-time Walton County resident, writer and artist.
I have a copy of that book. It was a good read.Anthony
What is the name of the book?
02-28-2012, 07:10 AM #4
i would like to read this book
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