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,
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
1 Bronze Star
1. Escort, antisubmarine, armed guard and special operations