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TOWARD HISTORY he Graveyard of the Atlantic is aptly named. Thousands of ships have met their demise in the waters off eastern North T Carolina since 1526. Many sank after fatal encounters with the treacherous shoals or the ever-shifting sandbars that make navigation a challenge. Some were the victims of powerful storms. Pirates sent a few to the ocean floor. And at least one was sunk by a U.S. By Pam Creech Coast Guard Cutter. U-352 was a Type VIIC German submarine, part of Nazi Germany’s Kreigsmarine dispatched after the United States entered World War II in December 1941. The unterseeboots’ mis-sion was to sink merchant ships along the United States’ East Coast. Sinking dozens of ships in the first months of 1942, they wreaked havoc off the poorly defended coast. But as antisubmarine measures were put into place, the U.S. THE HOME FRONT began to strike back. A part of the third U-Boat Flotilla, U-352 was launched May 7, and com-missioned August 28, 1941. Her overall length was 220 feet, 2 inches, with a beam of 20 feet, 4 inches. She traveled at a speed of 17.7 knots surfaced, 7.6 knots submerged. Her range was 8,500 nautical miles. She was armed with 14 torpedoes. The U-boat’s first patrol south of Iceland from August 28, 1941, to May 1942 failed to sink any ships. The sunken remains of U-352 lie some 26 miles southeast of Beaufort Inlet. The top image is a mosaic of the wreck pieced together from 35 images shot as diver/photographer Chris O’Riley swam the length of the ship. A spotted moray eel (left) is among the marine life making their home in or around the wreck. The U-boat’s emblem (above left) featured the coat of arms of the German city of Flensburg, where Kapitänleutnant Hellmut Rathke lived. Rathke, who made the ill-fated decision to fire on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Icarus, mistaking it for a merchant ship, survived to paint a watercolor of his vessel (above right) while in a prisoner of war camp. 49 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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