U-Boat Diving


Welcome!

Welcome to the Coral Edge Adventures U-Boat Diving page.  This page is intended to give interested potential students of our U-Boat Diving course a flavor of some of the historical subjects covered in the course.  It is not intended to be an encyclopedia of German U-Boat operations in World War II. There are many excellent sites that already do that. However, if you are a scuba diver and are interested in history, look over the site and read about what we offer in the course.  Information about the course and how to sign up can be found here:  U-Boat Diving Course Information.  Enjoy!

Why U-Boats?

German submarines, or unterseeboot, occupy a special niche in the American psyche, having played such a prominent role in the history of the early half of the 20th Century.  During the First World War, it was Imperial Germany's use of unrestricted submarine warfare that directly led to American involvement in that conflict.  During World War II, German submarines brought the fighting to America's front door.  The wrecks of German World War II U-Boats now found off the US East Coast are important artifacts of one of the most important naval campaigns in history.  As scuba divers, we are able to enjoy these artifacts as others cannot, and diving these wrecks allows us physical contact with this history.


Photo: Pete Peril

The U-Boat Menace


Within 10 days of Germany’s declaration of war on the United States on December 8, 1941, the Kriegsmarine, or German Navy, launched the first what would be several hundred U-Boat patrols to the US East Coast.  The aim of this initial U-Boat offensive, as devised by Admiral Doenitz, the commander of the German U-Boat force, was to strike a devastating blow to Allied shipping before effective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) countermeasures could be mounted by the US Navy.  The period between January and August 1942 became known to the men of the German U-Boat force as the “Second Happy Time” and was a time of great success by the German submarine fleet.  During this period, the Kriegsmarine mounted some 184 patrols to American waters and sank some 609 ships for over 3 million tons.

By late summer 1942, however, the US Navy had begun implementing effective countermeasures to the German U-Boat offensive, including the employment of coastal convoys, mustering the necessary resources for and initiating ASW patrols by shore-based aircraft and blimps, and the institution of a coastal blackout.  Due to the increasing effectiveness of these countermeasures and the subsequently diminished returns for the significant effort required, the Kriegsmarine scaled back its effort against coastal shipping in US waters.  In August 1942, the German U-Boat force returned the focus of its efforts to attacks against the North Atlantic convoy routes between North America and Great Britain.  German U-Boat patrols to the US East Coast continued, however, for the remainder of the war, albeit on a much-diminished scale from its height in 1942.  It is as a result of this offensive in 1942-45 that there are now five German World War II submarines off the US East Coast within recreational diving limits.

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