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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

World War II-American Theater 1941-1946

In the first six months following the entry of the United States into the war the vast majority of merchant ship sinkings were west of the longitude where control of convoys was passed to the British.

In addition to the increasing requirements for added protection of the convoys, the Navy had to develop along the Atlantic Coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean the means, forces, controls, and techniques to protect ships delivering fuel and other critical materials and supplies to the eastern seaboard of the United States.

The numerous sinkings during the first half of 1942 made serious reductions in available shipping and gravely threatened United States productivity and its ability to support the war. All available means were brought to bear to defeat the U-boats, including the use of patrol aircraft and blimps, Naval Armed Guard crews, defensive minefield harbor entrance nets, the mobilization of yachts, and creation of the Tenth Fleet, a centralized command over antisubmarine warfare by Admiral King, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations.

Coastal convoys were initiated, as escorts became available. Escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer-escorts were formed into Hunter-Killer groups to carry the offensive against the U-boats wherever they might be found. In the South Atlantic, the Fourth Fleet waged relentless war against raiders, blockade runners, and submarines.

Through such actions the U-boat campaign in the Eastern Atlantic was defeated. Antisubmarine operations were required along the Pacific Coast, although the threat was much lower than in the Atlantic.

1 Bronze Star

1. Escort, antisubmarine, armed guard and special operations

07 August 1996