Two World War II Vessels Found Off North Carolina (Photo Gallery) - PassageMaker

Two World War II Vessels Found Off North Carolina (Photo Gallery)

A team of researchers discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found about 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
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A team of researchers discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found about 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

The German U-576 departing Saint-Nazaire, France, circa 1940-1942. The submarine was sunk in 1942 by aircraft fire after attacking and sinking the Nicaraguan freighter Bluefields and two other ships off North Carolina. (Credit: With permission from Ed Caram)

The German U-576 departing Saint-Nazaire, France, circa 1940-1942. (Credit: With permission from Ed Caram)

The discovery of the two vessels, lost for more than 70 years in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of the war.

“This is not just the discovery of a single shipwreck,” Joe Hoyt, a NOAA sanctuary scientist and chief scientist for the expedition, said in a statement. “We have discovered an important battle site that is part of the Battle of the Atlantic. These two ships rest only a few hundred yards apart and together help us interpret and share their forgotten stories.”

On July 15, 1942, Convoy KS-520, a group of 19 merchant ships escorted by the Navy and Coast Guard, was en route to Key West, Fla., from Norfolk, Va., to deliver cargo to aid the war effort when it was attacked off Cape Hatteras.

The U-576 sank the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter Bluefields and severely damaged two other ships. In response, Navy Kingfisher aircraft, which provided the convoy’s air cover, bombed U-576 as the merchant ship Unicoi attacked it with its deck gun. Bluefields and U-576 were lost within minutes and now rest on the seabed less than 240 yards apart.

CNN included a slideshow of historic photos with its report on the find; they can also be seen below.

Crew members are seen on a German U-boat, the U-576, in this undated photo released by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. The submarine was sunk during World War II more than 72 years ago, and its remains were recently found off the coast of North Carolina, NOAA announced Tuesday, October 21.

Crew members are seen on a German U-boat, the U-576, in this undated photo released by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. The submarine was sunk during World War II more than 72 years ago, and its remains were recently found off the coast of North Carolina, NOAA announced Tuesday, October 21.

The crew gathers around the conning tower.

The crew gathers around the conning tower.

The crew of U-576 poses for a formal photo aboard the sub.

The crew of U-576 poses for a formal photo aboard the sub.

German soldiers pose for a photo aboard the sub. All of the U-boat's 45 crew were lost when it was sunk July 14, 1942, during the Battle of the Atlantic.

German soldiers pose for a photo aboard the sub. All of the U-boat's 45 crew were lost when it was sunk July 14, 1942, during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Crew members gather around an 88mm gun.

Crew members gather around an 88mm gun.

Crew members are seen in the sub's conning tower.

Crew members are seen in the sub's conning tower.

This article originally ran on our affiliate site, Trade Only Today, and can be viewed here.

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