Just Prior to 1942 - The Lend-Lease Act

By the summer of 1940, France had already fallen to Germany. This left Britain on its own to fight the Germans. As the new prime minister of England, Winston Churchill, went to Roosevelt to ask for assistance. By December, Britain's currency and gold reserves were extremely low. It was virtually impossible for Britain to pay cash for military supplies or supplies. Roosevelt, having just been re-elected, had promised the people of the United States that he would keep them out of WWII. At the same time, he wanted to support Great Britain against Germany. After conversations with Churchill, Roosevelt began to work on Congress to convince them, as well as the American people, that providing aid to Great Britain was in the countries best interest.

The Lend-Lease Act was approved by Congress in March 1941. This act gave President Roosevelt the authority to direct materials such as ammunition, tanks, airplanes, trucks, and food to the war effort in Europe without violating the nation's official position of neutrality. Because England was at war with Germany, they were in dire need of ships to protect the home isle. The United States agreed to lend England fifty outdated WWI era destroyers and ten Lake Class Coast Guard Cutters in exchange for ninety-year leases on sites in the Bahamas, Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and British Guiana to establish military bases. The loan would last as long as England was involved in a war with Germany.

At the time of this agreement, the United States had an extensive fleet of unused naval ships since it wasn't involved in the war. This would change dramatically on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the war was declared against Japan and her allies, Germany and Italy. What started as an abundance of vessels now became a shortage.

1942 - A Time of Attack

In 1942, there was a tremendous amount of activity off the East Coast of the United States.sub attack German U-boats were spotted up and down the Coastline. However, the most active area was off the Outer Banks. This area became known as Torpedo Alley or Torpedo Junction.

During the first six months of 1942 residents of North Carolina were closer to war than most of our overseas troops.

Important to Remember in 1942

  • Over 70 ships sank off the Carolina coast
  • 3 German U-boats were sunk
  • More than 90% of ship sinkings off the Coast during the four years of submarine attacks during WWII occurred during the first 6 months of 1942
  • During March the U-boats averaged one sinking per day



One of Hitler's first actions after Pearl Harbor was to order submarine attacks on the east coast shipping routes. Six of his five-hundred-ton U-boats were assigned to patrol the east coast. Each U-boat was equipped with four torpedo tubes forward and one in the stern. A total of fourteen torpedoes were placed aboard plus deck guns. The U-boats were equipped with enough fuel to complete six weeks of duty before returning.hit ship

By January 1942, Hitler had upped the amount to a total of nineteen U-boats that were patrolling the western half of the Atlantic Ocean. The first two months of the year the U-boats attacks were rather haphazard. However, by the beginning of March, the Nazis had organized their forces. What was different from their methods of WW I was in the U-boats traveling in packs and exchanging information as to convoy locations by wireless and banding together, especially at night for their lethal attacks. They then began to station two to three permanently off Diamond Shoals. They would sit on the sandy bottom during the day and surface at night as ships attempted to move quickly through the area.


At the beginning of 1942, the U.S. had five sub-chasers, a nondescript collection of miscellaneous small craft, and a handful of shore-based airplanes. On January 18th, the lack of attention to the threat came to haunt us. On that day the first of many ships were attacked starting with the Allan Jackson.

As the Nazi's attacks continued to pound ships along the coast, the U.S. did not implement a coastal blackout until mid-April. The British began to patrol the coast with armed trawlers. Also, more planes and patrol vessels were assigned to the area. In addition, a mined and protected anchorage was provided at Cape Lookout. This allowed vessels to proceed at night. Most ships were able to make it from Cape Lookout to Hampton Roads between dusk and dawn.

By April, the tide had begun to turn, when the destroyerRoperwas able to attack and sink the German U-boat U-85 on April 14th. In May, the numbers of sunk ships began to diminish and the U.S. anti-submarine strategy paid off. During May the sub sank three ships.

Ships Sunk off the Coast in 1942
Allan Jackson Tanker Jan. 18, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Brazos Cargo Jan. 18, 1942 Cape Hatteras
City of Atlanta Cargo Jan. 19, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Norvana Freighter Jan. 20, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Ciltvaira Tanker Jan. 20, 1942 Gull Shoal
Empire Gem Tanker Jan. 23, 1942 Creeds Hill
Venore Cargo Jan. 23, 1942 Creeds Hill
Norvana Freighter Jan. 20, 1942 Kill Devil Hills
Amerikaland Motor Merchant Feb. 3, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Victolite Tanker Feb.10, 1942 Caffeys Inlet
Blink Cargo Feb. 11, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Buarque Passenger Feb. 15, 1942 Kill Devil Hills
Olympic Tanker Feb.23, 1942 Kill Devil Hills
Norlavore Cargo Feb. 24, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Cassimir Tanker Feb. 26, 1942 Cape Fear
Marore Cargo Feb. 26, 1942 Gull Shoal
Raritan Cargo Feb. 28, 1942 Cape Fear
Anna R. Heidritter Schooner Mar. 1, 1942 Ocracoke
Arabutan Cargo Mar. 7, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Chester Sun Tanker Mar. 10, 1942 Big Kinnakeet
Caribsea Cargo Mar. 11, 1942 Cape Lookout
John D. Gill Tanker Mar. 12, 1942 Cape Fear
Ario Tanker Mar. 15, 1942 Cape Lookout
Resource (? ) Mar. 15, 1942 Kill Devil Hills
Ceiba  Cargo  Mar. 17, 1942 Nags Head
Tenas Barge Mar. 17, 1942 Creeds Hill
Australia Tanker Mar. 17, 1942 Diamond Shoals
Kassandra Louloudis Cargo Mar. 18, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Papoose Tanker Mar. 18, 1942 Cape Lookout
W. E. Hutton Tanker Mar. 18, 1942 Bogue Inlet
E. M. Clark Tanker Mar. 18, 1942 Ocracoke
Liberator Cargo Mar. 19, 1942 Cape Hatteras
 Teresa  Cargo  Mar. 21, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Naeco Tanker Mar. 23, 1942 Cape Lookout
Dixie Arrow Tanker Mar. 26, 1942 Ocracoke
USS Atik Q-Ship March 27, 1942 Nags Head
Equipoise Cargo Mar. 27, 1942 Caffey's Inlet
City of New York Passenger Mar. 29, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Rio Blanco Cargo Apr. 1, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Otho Cargo Apr. 3, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Byron D. Benson Tanker Apr. 5, 1942 Oregon Inlet
British Splendour  Tanker  Apr. 6, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Lancing Tanker Apr. 7, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Kollskegg  Tanker  Apr. 7, 1942  Cape Hatteras
Malchace  Freighter Apr. 9, 1942 Cape Lookout
San Delfino  Tanker Apr. 9, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Atlas Tanker  Apr. 9, 1942  Cape Lookout
Tamaulipas  Tanker Apr. 10, 1942 Cape Lookout
U-85  German sub Apr. 14, 1942 Nags Head
Empire Thrush  Freighter Apr. 14, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Desert Light  Cargo  Apr. 16, 1942  Oregon Inlet 
Alcoa Guide   Steam Merchant Apr. 17, 1942 Cape Hatteras 
Empire Dryden   Cargo Apr. 19, 1942  Oregon Inlet
Chenango Freighter Apr. 20, 1942 Kill. Devil Hills
Bris   Cargo Apr. 21, 1942 Cape Lookout
Ashkhabad   Cargo Apr. 29, 1942  Cape Lookout
Senateur Duhamel  Trawler May 6, 1942  Cape Lookout
U-352  German sub May 9, 1942  Cape Lookout
HMT Bedfordshire Armed Trawler May 12, 1942  Cape Lookout
West Notus Cargo  June 1, 1942  Cape Hatteras
Manuela Cargo  June 5, 1942  Cape Lookout
Pleasantville Cargo June 7, 1942  Cape Hatteras
F. W. Abrams  Tanker June 10, 1942  Ocracoke
USS YP-389  Antisub Trawler  June 19, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Ljubica Matkovic   Cargo  June 24, 1942 Cape Lookout
Nordal  Cargo  June 25, 1942 Cape Lookout
William Rockefeller   Tanker  June 28, 1942 Cape Hatteras
City of Birmingham  Cargo  June 30, 1942 Cape Hatteras
U-701 German sub  July 7, 1942 Cape Hatteras
Keshena Tug  July 19, 1942 Cape Hatteras
 Mayfair Schooner  Nov. 9, 1942 Carolina Beach
 Louise  Cargo  Dec. 16, 1942  Kinnakeet
 Parkins  Trawler  Dec. 19, 1942  Cape Lookout

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