Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns file photo

Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns

16 Feb 1942 - 1 Jan 1944

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Attack on Aruba
16 Feb 1942

Situated 27 kilometers north of Venezuela, the Dutch possession of Aruba of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea hosted two major oil refineries. The refinery near the Oranjestad harbor was operated by Arend Petroleum Maatschappij, and the refinery near the Sint Nicolaas harbor was operated by Lago Oil & Transport Company Limited. German submarine U-156, under the command of Fregattenkapitän Werner Hartenstein, arrived in the waters near Aruba on 13 Feb to conduct reconnaissance for a wolfpack of 5 German (U-67, U-502, U-129, U-156, and U-161) and 2 Italian submarines. At 0131 hours on 16 Feb, U-156 surfaced 1.5 kilometers off the Lago refinery near the Sint Nicolaas harbor, striking British tanker Pedernales with one torpedo, killing 8 of the crew of 26. British tanker Oranjestad lifted anchor and attempted to flee, but met the same fate of being struck by a torpedo from U-156, killing 15 of her crew of 22. At 0313 hours, U-156 surfaced near Oranjestad harbor, where she hit American tanker Arkansas (owned by the Texas Company, better known as Texaco) with a torpedo, causing little casualties. Hartenstein then ordered a bombardment of shore facilities with U-156's two deck guns. The gun crew, however, had forgotten to remove the water cap from the opening of the barrel of the 105-millimeter gun, thus when the gun fired, it blew up, seriously wounding Gunnery Officer Dietrich von dem Borne and mortally wounding his mate Heinrich Büssinger. The smaller caliber 37-millimeter gun fired 16 rounds, scoring 2 hits, one denting an oil storage tank and the other tearing a hole in a building. Realizing the 37-mm gun was too small to cause damage, U-156 departed from Oranjestad harbor, hitting the damaged tanker Arkansas with one more torpedo (out of three fired) as she sailed by.

During U-156's attack, the other Axis submarines patrolled the area to attack other tankers. U-502 under Kapitänlieutnant Jürgen von Rosenstiel sank British tanker Juana, British tanker San Nicolas, and Venezuelan ship Monagas in the Gulf of Venezuela. U-67, under Kapitän zur See Günther Müller-Stöckheim, fired first four torpedoes (all missed) and then two more at two tankers in Willemstad harbor at Curaçao, damaging Dutch tanker Rafaela with one torpedo from the second wave; an American A-20 Havoc bomber dropped bombs at U-67, but failed to hit her before she dove and departed.

The Axis submarines concluded the operation when they arrived at the French possession of Martinique, also in the Lesser Antilles. They had suffered only two casualties during this mission which saw the successful sinking of 6 tankers (totaling 14,149 tons) but also the complete failure to cause disruption to the shore facilities.

Attack on Mona
3 Mar 1942

A German submarine shelled the American island of Mona located about 40 miles west of Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles. The attack failed to cause significant damage.

Attack on Curaçao
19 Apr 1942

German submarine U-130, under Kapitän zur See Ernst Kals, shelled Bullen Baai Company oil storage tanks west of Willemstadt, Curaçao at 0215 hours on 19 Apr 1942 with her 88-millimeter deck gun. After firing only about 5 rounds, the submarine was located by Dutch troops, who immediately fired back with one round from the nearby 120-millimeter coastal defense gun. Kals decided to abandon his mission.

Attacks on Shipping

During the roughly two-year period between early 1942 and early 1944, German warships, mostly submarines but a number of surface raiders, ventures into the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to attack Allied shipping. About 150 ships were attacked during this period. While many attacks were successful, the most significant success of this aggressive offensive campaign was not in the tonnage sunk, but rather it had forced the Allies to operate convoys even this far from the main theaters of war.

Source: Wikipedia

Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns Timeline

11 Feb 1942 US forces arrived at the Dutch islands of Curaçao, Bonaire, and Aruba in the Caribbean Sea.
13 Feb 1942 Axis submarines arrived in waters near Aruba.
16 Feb 1942 Operation Neuland: German submarine U-156 sank two ships and bombarded shore facilities at Aruba, U-502 sank three small tankers in the Gulf of Venezuela, while other German and Italian submarines conducted similar attacks on Allied shipping in the region.
17 Feb 1942 Dutch Marines attempted to disarm an unexploded torpedo at Aruba, launched by German submarine U-156 during the prior day's attack. The torpedo detonated unexpectedly, killing 4.
20 Feb 1942 German submarine U-156 damaged US ship Delplata with 3 torpedoes 60 miles west of Martinique at 1131 hours; all 53 survived and abandoned ship. Meanwhile, four Italian submarines operating in the Caribbean Sea commenced an operation that would see the sinking of fourteen merchant vessels over a four day period.
21 Feb 1942 German submarine U-67 sank Norwegian tanker Kongsgaard 7 miles off Curaçao in the Caribbean Sea at 1532 hours; 38 were killed, 8 survived. 20 miles west of Trinidad, U-161 sank British tanker Circe Shell at 2313 hours; 1 was killed, 57 survived.
22 Feb 1942 German submarine U-67 sank US tanker J. N. Pew 225 miles west of Aruba in the Caribbean Sea, killing 33; of the 12 survivors, 10 would die before being rescued.
23 Feb 1942 German submarine U-129 sank US freighter Lihue east of Martinique while German submarine U-502 sank Panamanian tanker Thalia and damaged another tanker off Aruba.
25 Feb 1942 German submarine U-156 sank British tanker La Carriere 70 miles south of Puerto Rico; 15 were killed, 26 survived.
3 Mar 1942 Unsubstantiated reports were made, mentioning the shelling of Mona island near Puerto Rico by a submarine.
10 Mar 1942 German submarine U-161 sank Canadian passenger ship Lady Nelson (25 were killed, 204 survived) and British freighter Umtata (4 were killed, 169 survived) off Port Castries, Saint Lucia at 0449 hours.
14 Mar 1942 German submarine U-67 sank Panamanian tanker Penelope 200 miles west of Dominica at 0200 hours; 2 were killed, 47 survived. In the same general area, U-67 sank Canadian ship Sarniadoc, killing the entire crew of 21.
15 Mar 1942 German submarine U-161 sank US Coast Guard lighthouse tender Acacia with her surface guns south of Haiti; all 36 aboard survived.
13 Apr 1942 German submarine U-154 sank British ship Empire Amethyst 40 miles south of Haiti at 0552 hours; all 47 aboard were killed.
16 Apr 1942 German submarine U-66 sank Dutch tanker Amsterdam 60 miles west of Grenada at 1745 hours; 2 were killed, 38 survived.
17 Apr 1942 German submarine U-66 sank Panamanian tanker Heinrich von Riedemann 100 miles west of Grenada at 0523 hours; all 44 aboard survived.
19 Apr 1942 German submarine U-130 attempted to bombard oil storage tanks near Willemstad on the island of Curaçao but was driven away by coastal defense guns before any damage was done.
26 Apr 1942 German submarine U-66 sank US ship Alcoa Partner 80 miles north of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea at 0830 hours; 10 were killed, 25 survived.
29 Apr 1942 German submarine U-66 sank Panamanian tanker Harry G. Seidel 50 miles west of Grenada; 2 were killed, 48 survived.
3 May 1942 German submarine U-506 sank Nicaraguan ship Sama 60 miles southwest of Miami, Florida, United States at 0812 hours; all 14 aboard survived. German submarine U-125 sank Dominican ship San Rafael with 1 torpedo and 32 rounds from the deck gun 50 miles west of Jamaica at 1723 hours; 1 was killed, 37 survived.
4 May 1942 In the late afternoon, German submarine U-507 sank US tankers Norlindo (killing 5 of 28 aboard), Munger T. Ball (killing 30 of 34 aboard), and Joseph M. Cudahy (killing 27 of 37 aboard) off the Florida Keys archipelago about 100 kilometers west of the tip of Florida, United States. At 2220 hours, U-125 sank US ship Tuscaloosa City 200 miles west of Jamaica; all 34 aboard survived.
5 May 1942 German submarine U-125 sank US ship Green Island and British ship Empire Buffalo off the Cayman Islands.
6 May 1942 German submarine U-507 sank US freighter Alcoa Puritan 60 kilometers south of Mobile, Alabama, United States.
7 May 1942 German submarine U-507 sank Honduran ship Ontario with the deck gun 100 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, United States at 0335 hours; all 45 aboard survived.
8 May 1942 German submarine U-507 sank Norwegian ship Torny in the Gulf of Mexico.
9 May 1942 German submarine U-125 sank Canadian tanker Calgarolite 50 miles west of Grand Cayman island; all 45 aboard survived.
10 May 1942 German submarine U-506 damaged US tanker Aurora 50 kilometers south of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, killing 1 of 50 aboard; Aurora was later towed to Algiers, Louisiana for repairs.
12 May 1942 German submarine U-507 sank US tanker Virginia immediately off the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 27 of 41 aboard. To the south, U-69 sank Norwegian tanker Lise with torpedoes and the deck gun 90 miles north of Bonaire island; 12 were killed, 21 survived.
13 May 1942 German submarine U-69 damaged American cargo ship Norlantic with two torpedoes at 0338 hours and deck gun at 0347 hours en route between Pensacola, Florida, United States and Venezuela; Norlantic's crew signaled for a ceasefire so the crew could board lifeboats, but U-69 continued to fire sinking the ship at 0411 hours; 12 men were killed during this attack. South of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, U-507 damaged US tanker Gulfprince while U-506 sank US tanker Gulfpenn (killing 13 of 38 aboard).
14 May 1942 German submarine U-564 sank Mexican tanker Potrero del Llano off Florida, United States; 13 were killed, 22 survived. German submarine U-106 sank Mexican tanker Faja de Oro off Key West, Florida, killing 3. South of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, U-506 seriously damaged US tanker David McKelvy, killing 17 of 36 aboard; she would later be written off. 50 miles west of Grenada, U-155 sank Belgian ship Brabant. 14 miles southwest by of Grand Cayman island, U-125 sank Honduran ship Comayagua.
16 May 1942 German submarine U-507 sank Honduran ship Amapala in the Gulf of Mexico at 0000 hours; 1 was killed, 56 survived. German submarine U-506 damaged US tankers Sun and William C. McTarnahan (killing 18 of 38 aboard) and sank US tanker Gulfoil (killing 21 of 40 aboard) 50 kilometers south of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
17 May 1942 German submarine U-103 sank US ship Ruth Lykes with her deck gun 200 miles south of the Grand Cayman island at 0044 hours; 6 were killed, 26 survived. Off Grenada, U-155 sank British tanker San Victorio at 0217 hours; 52 were killed, 1 survived). 75 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River in southern United States, U-506 sank US tanker Gulfoil at 0534 hours; 21 were killed, 19 survived. At 0952 hours, U-155 struck again, sinking US ship Challenger; 8 were killed, 56 survived.
18 May 1942 German submarine U-125 sank US tanker Mercury Sun in the Caribbean Sea at 0606 hours. At 2150 hours, U-125 struck again, sinking US ship William J. Salman.
19 May 1942 German submarine U-506 sank US freighter Heredia 100 kilometers southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States at 0856 hours, killing 36 of 62 aboard. Between Jamaica and Haiti at 1040 hours, U-751 sank US ship Isabela, killing 3 of 36 aboard. 200 kilometers southeast of New Orleans and 200 kilometers west of Havana, Cuba, U-103 sank US freighter Ogontz, killing 19 of 41 aboard.
20 May 1942 German submarine U-155 damaged Panamanian freighter Sylvan Arrow (of the Standard Oil and Transportation Company) 40 miles southwest of Grenada, killing 1 of 44 aboard; there would be an attempt to tow her back to port, but she would ultimately sink before she reached port. 60 kilometers west of Havana, Cuba, German submarine U-753 sank American liberty ship George Calvert with three torpedoes; 10 of 61 aboard were killed during the attack, and 3 survivors were killed while being captured by the Germans; the survivors of George Calvert were freed after interrogation and sent to Cuba on lifeboats. Also on this date in the Gulf of Mexico, U-506 sank US tanker Halo 50 kilometers south of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, killing 21 of 42 aboard; all but 3 of the survivors would not live before being rescued.
21 May 1942 German submarine U-103 sank US ships Clare at 0348 hours (all 40 aboard survived) and Elizabeth at 0415 hours (6 were killed, 36 survived) 40 miles west of Cuba. A few minutes later, at 0421 hours, U-106 sank Mexican tanker Faja de Oro to the north; 10 were killed, 27 survived. German submarine U-69 sank Canadian ship Torondoc 60 miles northwest of Martinique at 0753 hours; all 21 aboard survived as observed by the Germans, but none would be seen again. 40 miles northwest of Jamaica, U-558 sank Canadian ship Troisdoc by the deck gun at 1917 hours; all 18 aboard survived. U-156 sank Dominican ship Presidente Trujillo off Fort de France, Martinique at 1829 hours; 24 were killed, 15 survived.
22 May 1942 German submarine U-753 stopped British schooner E. P. Theriault with the deck gun 90 miles north of Cuba at 0730 hours and damaged her with depth charges during a failed scuttling attempt; the wreck would float and beach at Cuba, where she would later be repaired and pressed into Cuban service.
23 May 1942 German submarine U-103 sank US tanker Samuel Q. Brown 100 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico at 0926 hours; 2 were killed, 53 survived. U-155 sank Panamanian ship Watsonville just off Saint Vincent island in the Lesser Antilles islands.
24 May 1942 German submarine U-502 sank Brazilian ship Gonçalves Dias 100 miles south of Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic; 6 were killed, 39 survived. U-103 sank Dutch ship Hetor 60 miles northwest of Grand Cayman island at 1640 hours; 2 were killed, 29 survived.
25 May 1942 1942-05-25 German submarine-558 sank US ship Beatrice 50 miles southwest of Kingston, Jamaica at 0134 hours; 1 was killed, 30 survived. At 1552 hours, U-156 damaged destroyer USS Blakeley off Martinique, blowing away 60 feet of bow with a torpedo (6 were killed, 116 survived); Blakeley would be able to make it to Port de France, Martinique for temporary repairs.
26 May 1942 German submarine U-103 sank US tanker Alcoa Carrier between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands at 0416 hours; all 35 aboard survived. At 1100 hours, U-106 sank US tanker Carrabulle 150 miles south of Louisiana, United States; 22 were killed, 18 survived. Beginning at 2000 hours, U-106 pursued US ship Atenas on the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, exchanging gunfire; Atenas would ultimately be able to escape, though suffering some damage.
27 May 1942 German submarine U-558 sank US Army transport Jack 100 miles southwest of Port Salut, Haiti at 1051 hours; 37 were killed, 23 survived. German submarine U-753 sank Norwegian tanker Hamlet in the Gulf of Mexico at 1103 hours; all 36 aboard survived.
28 May 1942 American freighter Sylvan Arrow (of the Standard Oil and Transportation Company), damaged by German submarine U-155 on 20 May 1942, sank in the Caribbean Sea while under tow. On the same day, U-103 sank US tanker New Jersey 90 miles southwest of Grand Cayman island (41 survived) in the Caribbean Sea, U-502 sank US ship Alcoa Pilgrim (31 were killed, 9 survived) in the Caribbean Sea, and U-106 sank British ship Mentor (4 were killed, 82 survived) in the Gulf of Mexico.
29 May 1942 German submarine U-156 sank British ship Norman Prince 60 miles west of Saint Lucia, Lesser Antilles islands at 0103 hours; 16 were killed, 32 survived. At 0217 hours, U-107 sank British ship Western Head 10 miles south of Rio Seco, Cuba; 24 were killed, 6 survived. Finally, U-50 sank British ship Allister 54 miles south of Grand Cayman island at 2337 hours; 15 were killed, 8 survived.
1 Jun 1942 German submarine U-107 sank Panamanian ship Bushranger west of Cuba at 0354 hours; 17 were killed, 26 survived. At 1140 hours, U-106 sank US freighter Hampton Roads 150 kilometers west of Havana, Cuba; 7 were killed, 23 survived. At the end of the day at 2351 hours, U-156 sank Brazilian ship Alegrete between Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent in the Antilles islands; all 64 aboard survived.
2 Jun 1942 German submarine U-158 sank US ship Knoxville west of Cuba at 0257 hours; 2 were killed, 55 survived.
3 Jun 1942 German submarine U-156 sank British schooner Lillian with her deck gun; 3 were killed, 22 survived.
4 Jun 1942 German submarine U-159 sank Norwegian ship Nidarnes 20 miles west of Cuba at 0400 hours; 13 were killed, 11 survived. 150 miles northwest of Trinidad, U-502 sank US tanker MF Elliott at 2156 hours; 13 were killed, 29 survived.
5 Jun 1942 German submarine U-158 sank US ship Velma Lykes 15 miles off Cancún, Mexico at 0332 hours; 15 were killed, 17 survived. 85 miles south of the Dominican Republic, U-159 sank Brazilian sail Paracury with her deck gun at 0527 hours. At 2010 hours, U-159 attacked again in the same area, sinking Honduran sailing vessel Sally with her deck. At 2049 hours, U-68 sank US tanker LJ Drake with 3 torpedoes off the Dominican Republic; all 40 aboard were killed.
6 Jun 1942 German submarine U-68 sank Panamanian tanker C. O. Stillman 60 miles southwest of Puerto Rico at 0307 hours; 3 were killed, 55 survived.
7 Jun 1942 German submarine U-107 sank Honduran ship Castilla 75 miles south of the western tip of Cuba at 0408 hours; 24 were killed, 35 survived. 50 miles north of the western tip of Cuba, U-158 sank Panamanian ship Hermis; 1 was killed, 46 survived. At 2224 hours, U-159 sank US ship Edith 200 miles southeast of Jamaica; 2 were killed, 29 survived.
8 Jun 1942 German submarine U-107 sank US ship Suwied 100 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico at 0119 hours; 6 were killed, 27 survived. At 0500 hours, U-172 sank US ship Sicilien 10 miles south of Cape Beata, Dominican Republic; 44 were killed, 31 survived. At 0700 hours, U-504 sank Huondran ship Tela with two torpedoes 100 miles southeast of Cozumel; 11 were killed, 43 survived. At 1800 hours, U-504 struck again, sinking British ship Rosenborg with her deck gun; 4 were killed, 23 survived.
9 Jun 1942 German submarine U-502 attacked Allied convoy TO-5 35 miles northeast of Cape Blanco, Venezuela, sinking Belgian ship Bruxelles and US tanker Franklin K Lane (4 were killed, 37 survived).
10 Jun 1942 German submarine U-107 sank US ship Merrimack 60 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico at about 0520 hours; 43 were killed, 10 survived. In the Caribbean Sea, U-68 sank British ship Ardenvohr at 0520 hours (1 was killed, 70 survived), British ship Surrey also at about 0520 hours (12 were killed, 55 survived), and British ship port Montreal shortly before 2359 hours (all 88 aboard survived, but 2 would die before being rescued).
11 Jun 1942 German submarine U-159 attacked a small Allied convoy off Panama in the Caribbean Sea, sinking British ship Fort Good Hope; 2 were killed, 45 survived. U-504 sank Norwegian passenger liner Crijnssen (1 was killed, 92 survived) and US ship American (4 were killed, 34 survived) 50 miles southwest of Grand Cayman Island. To the north, in the Gulf of Mexico, U-158 sank Panamanian tanker Sheherazade south of Louisiana, United States; 1 was killed, 58 survived.
12 Jun 1942 German submarine U-158 sank US tanker Cities Service Toledo 40 kilometers south of Abbeville, Louisiana, United States, killing 15 of 45 aboard.
13 Jun 1942 United States Coast Guard Cutter Thetis attacked German submarine U-157 southwest of Key West, Florida, United States on the surface; after U-157 dove, Thetis dropped depth charge attack, and after several minutes reported debris and oil on floating to the surface from the destroyed U-157. Off Panama, in the Caribbean Sea, U-159 sank US passenger linker Sixaola at 0412 hours; 29 were killed, 201 survived. At 1938 hours, U-159 struck again, sinking US ship Solon; all 53 aboard survived.
14 Jun 1942 German submarine U-172 sank US ship Lebore in the Caribbean Sea at 0854 hours; 1 was killed, 94 survived. At 1912 hours, U-504 sank Latvian ship Regent 200 miles southwest of the Cayman Islands; 11 were killed, 14 survived.
15 Jun 1942 German submarine U-502 sank 2 US ships and 1 Panamanian ship 90 miles west of Grenada. On the same day, U-172 sank Norwegian ship Bennestvet 50 miles off Costa Rica. 20 miles off Colombia, U-68 sank Vichy French tanker Frimaire in a case of mis-identification; all 60 aboard were killed.
16 Jun 1942 German submarine U-126 sank US ship Arkansan at 0230 hours (4 were killed, 36 survived) and US ship Kahuku at 0320 hours (17 were killed, 46 survived) 70 miles west of Grenada. At 0400 hours, U-67 sank Nicaraguan ship Managua 50 miles north of Matanzas, Cuba; all 25 aboard survived. Elsewhere in the Caribbean Sea, U-161 stopped Dominican sailing boat Nueva Altagracia at 1410 hours, capturing her crew of 8 and her cargo of fruit, and scuttled the boat with charges.
17 Jun 1942 German submarine U-161 stopped Dominican sailing boat Ciudad Trujillo in the Caribbean Sea, capturing her cargo of fruit, and released the boat along with 8 prisoners captured from sailing boat Nueva Altagracia on the previous day. In the Gulf of Mexico, 280 miles south of Galveston, Texas, United States, U-158 sank Panamanian ship San Blas at 0450 hours (30 were killed, 14 survived) and Norwegian tanker Moira at 1300 hours (1 was killed, 18 survived). At 2300 hours, U-129 sank US ship Millinocket 10 miles north of Cuba; 11 were killed, 24 survived.
18 Jun 1942 German submarine U-159 sank Dutch ship Flora 12 miles off Colombia at 0245 hours; all 37 aboard survived, but one of them would die before reaching land. At 0500 hours, U-172 sank British tanker Motorex with gunfire 80 miles off Panama in the Caribbean Sea; 1 was killed, 20 survived.
19 Jun 1942 German submarine U-107 attacked US sailing vessel Cheerio with gunfire 20 miles west of Puerto Rico at 1102 hours; she was driven off by a US patrol aircraft, but Cheerio would soon sink from the damage; all 9 aboard survived. At 1730 hours, U-159 sank Yugoslavian ship Ante Matkovic with gunfire 20 miles north of Colombia; 6 were killed, 23 survived.
20 Jun 1942 German submarine U-67 damaged Norwegian tanker Nortind with a torpedo 90 miles south of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States at 1125 hours, killing 1.
22 Jun 1942 Norwegian tanker Nortind, damaged by German submarine U-67 in the Gulf of Mexico two days prior, arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana, United States for repairs. German submarine U-159 disabled US tanker E. J. Sadler with gunfire 175 miles south of Puerto Rico at 2035 hours; all 36 aboard escaped via 4 lifeboats.
23 Jun 1942 German submarine U-159 sent a boarding to US tanker E. J. Sadler 175 miles south of Puerto Rico just after 0000 hours to scuttle the tanker which she had disabled at 2035 hours on the previous day. German submarine U-158 sank US Army transport Major General Henry Gibbins 400 miles west of Key West, Florida, United States; the entire crew of 47 and all 21 gunners survived, to be rescued on the following day. 40 miles south of South Pass, Louisiana, United States, U-67 sank US tanker Rawleigh Warner, killing all 33 aboard. In the Caribbean Sea, U-68 sank Panamanian tanker Arriaga 100 miles west of Aruba; 1 was killed, 24 survived. 200 miles east of Nicaragua, U-172 sank Colombian sailing boat Resolute with gunfire and hand grenades; 6 were killed, 4 survived.
27 Jun 1942 German submarine U-129 sank Mexican tanker Tuxpam with torpedoes (1 of 2 hit) and her deck gun 50 miles north of Veracruz, Mexico; 8 were killed, 31 survived. 20 miles west of Barbados, U-126 sank Norwegian tanker Leiv Eiriksson at 1055 hours; 4 were killed, 40 survived (2 of the survivors would die of their wounds at a hospital at Barbados). At 1525 hours, U-129 struck again, sinking Mexican tanker Las Choapas with a torpedo also about 50 miles north of Veracruz, Mexico; 4 were killed, 28 survived.
28 Jun 1942 German submarine U-154 sank US ship Tillie Lykes 100 miles south of the Dominican Republic at 0350 hours; all 33 aboard were killed.
29 Jun 1942 German submarine U-67 sank British tanker Empire Mica southwest of Cape St. George, Florida, United States at 0750 hours; 33 were killed, 14 survived.
1 Jul 1942 German submarine U-129 sank Norwegian ship Cadmus in the Gulf of Mexico at 1744 hours; 2 were killed, 20 survived. US Navy cargo ship USS Luckenbach struck two US mines and sank 10 miles south of the Florida Keys, Florida, United States; lost with the ship was a very large supply of tungsten, prompting the Americans to later launch an operation to salvage it.
2 Jul 1942 German submarine U-129 sank Norwegian ship Gundersen in the Gulf of Mexico at 0617 hours; 1 was killed, 25 survived.
3 Jul 1942 German submarine U-161 sank Panamanian ship San Pablo in the harbor of Puerto Limón, Costa Rica at 0400 hours, killing most aboard and killing 23 stevedores. 50 miles north of Trinidad, U-126 damaged US tanker Gulfbelle, killing 2.
4 Jul 1942 German submarine U-129 sank Soviet tanker Tuapse in the Caribbean Sea; 8 were killed, 36 survived. On the same day, U-575 sank US ship Norlandia also in the Caribbean Sea; 9 were killed, 21 survived.
6 Jul 1942 German submarine U-154 sank Panamanian fishing boat Lalita with shellfire 20 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico at 1837 hours. U-67 sank Norwegian ship Bayard 45 miles south of Pascagoula, Mississippi, United States at 1857 hours; 11 were killed, 21 survived.
8 Jul 1942 German submarine U-571 damaged US tanker J. A. Moffett, Jr. 4 miles off of the Florida Keys, Florida, United States at 0616 hours, killing 1 of 42 aboard; the tanker ran aground to prevent sinking, but she would later be declared a total loss.
9 Jul 1942 U-575 sank British ship Empire Explorer 100 kilometers east of Grenada at 0247 hours; 3 were killed, 75 survived. U-571 sank Honduran ship Nicholas Cuneo with her deck gun 50 miles north of Havana, Cuba at 1601 hours; 1 was killed, 19 survived. Again 100 kilometers east of Grenada, at 2305 hours, U-203 sank British ship Cape Verde; 2 were killed, 40 survived.
10 Jul 1942 German submarine U-67 heavily destroyed US tanker Benjamin Brewster 60 miles south of Louisiana, United States at 0619 hours; 25 were killed, 15 survived; the wreck would burn for 9 days, melting much of the ship.
11 Jul 1942 German submarine U-166 sank Dominican sailing vessel Carmen with the deck gun 8 miles off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic at 1900 hours; 1 was killed, 7 survived.
12 Jul 1942 German submarine U-129 sank US ship Tachirá 50 miles southwest of Grand Cayman island; 5 were killed, 33 survived.
13 Jul 1942 Destroyer USS Landsdowne sank German submarine U-153 in the Caribbean Sea 50 kilometers northwest of the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal; all 52 aboard were killed. 20 miles north of Cárdenas, Cuba, German submarine U-84 sank US ship Andrew Jackson; 3 were killed, 46 survived. 2 miles east of Cuba, U-166 sank US ship Oneida; 6 were killed, 23 survived. 80 miles south of Mississippi, United States, U-67 sank US tanker R. W. Gallagher; 10 were killed, 42 survived.
15 Jul 1942 German submarine U-571 disabled tanker Pennsylvania Sun 200 kilometers west of Key West, Florida, United States at 0749 hours; 2 were killed, 59 survived on 3 lifeboats. The tanker would later be repaired and would return to service.
16 Jul 1942 German submarine U-160 fatally damaged tanker Beaconlight with 2 torpedoes 10 miles northwest of Galera Point, Trinidad at 0934 hours; 1 was killed, 40 survived in 3 lifeboats; British tug HMS Roode Zee sank the wreck to prevent it from becoming a hazard. German submarine U-166 stopped small trawler Gertrude 30 miles northeast of Havana, Cuba; Gertrude was sunk by gunfire after the crew of 3 abandoned ship as ordered.
19 Jul 1942 German submarine U-84 sank Honduran ship Baja California off the Florida Keys archipelago; 3 were killed, 34 survived. In the same area at 1912 hours, U-129 sank Norwegian ship Port Antonio; 13 were killed, 11 survived.
21 Jul 1942 German submarine U-84 damaged US Liberty Ship William Cullen Bryant of Allied convoy TAW-4J 40 miles southwest of Key West archipelago, Florida, United States at 0908 hours; all 54 aboard survived.
22 Jul 1942 German submarine U-505 sank Colombian sail boat Urious with her deck gun 100 miles east of Nicaragua at 1335 hours; 13 were killed.
23 Jul 1942 German submarine U-129 sank US ship Onondaga 5 miles north of Cayo Guillermo, Cuba at 2222 hours; 20 were killed, 14 survived.
26 Jul 1942 German submarine U-66 sank Brazilian ship Tamandaré 12 miles east of Tobago at 0815 hours; 4 were killed, 50 survived. At 0945 hours, U-171 sank Mexican ship Oaxaca off Corpus Christi, Texas, United States; 6 were killed, 39 survived.
30 Jul 1942 German submarine U-166 sank American freighter Robert E. Lee 50 kilometers southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States at 2230 hours; 25 were killed, 379 survived. Escorting patrol chaser USS PC-556 counterattacked with depth charges and sank the German submarine, although the sinking was not confirmed until after the war; all 52 aboard U-166 were lost.
12 Aug 1942 German submarine U-508 sank Cuban freighters Santiago de Cuba (10 were killed, 19 survived) and Manzanillo (23 were killed) 10 miles south of Key West, Florida, United States at 1355 hours.
13 Aug 1942 German submarine U-658 sank Dutch ship Medea of Allied convoy WAT-13 between Cuba and Haiti at 0507 hours; 5 were killed, 23 survived. German submarine U-171 sank US tanker R. M. Parker, Jr. with two torpedoes and her deck gun 25 miles off Louisiana, United States at 0750 hours; all 44 aboard survived. At 0948 hours, U-600 attacked Allied convoy TAW-12 between Cuba and Haiti, sinking Latvian ship Everlza (23 were killed, 14 survived) and US passenger-cargo ship Delmundo (8 were killed, 50 survived).
17 Aug 1942 German submarine U-658 attacked Allied convoy PG-6 between Cuba and Haiti at 0619 hours, sinking Egyptian ship Samir, sinking British ship Fort la Reine (3 were killed, 41 survived), and damaging British merchant ship Laguna (all aboard survived).
18 Aug 1942 German submarine U-553 attacked Allied convoy TAW-13 close to the coast of southeastern Cuba, sinking British merchant ship Emipre Bede at 0559 hours (2 were killed, 43 survived), US merchant ship John Hancock at 0913 hours (all 49 aboard survived), and Swedish merchant ship Blankaholm at 0913 hours (5 were killed, 23 survived).
19 Aug 1942 German submarine U-162 attacked an Allied convoy 40 miles west of Grenada, sinking US ship West Celina at 0437 hours (1 was killed, 43 survived); at 1007 hours, U-564 joined in on the attack, sinking British ship Empire Cloud (3 were killed, 51 survived) and British tanker British Consul (2 were killed, 40 survived). German submarine U-217 sank British sailing vessel Sea Gull D. 75 miles southeast of Bonaire island in the southern Caribbean Sea at 2112 hours; 3 were killed, 71 survived.
22 Aug 1942 A Panama Canal Zone-based B-18 Bolo bomber of US 45th Bombardment Squadron sank German submarine U-654 with depth charges 185 miles north of the Panama Canal in the afternoon, killing all 44 aboard.
25 Aug 1942 German submarines U-164 and U-558 attacked Allied convoy WAT-15 between Jamaica and Haiti, sinking Dutch ship Stad Amsterdam (3 were killed, 35 survived) and British ship Amakura (13 were killed, 31 survived).
27 Aug 1942 German submarine U-511 attacked Allied convoy TAW-15 with two torpedoes 15 miles east of Haiti at 0629 hours, sinking British tanker San Fabian (26 were killed, 33 survived), sinking Dutch tanker Rotterdam (10 were killed, 37 survived), and damaging US tanker Esso Aruba; Esso Aruba was beached at Guantanamo Bay to prevent sinking but she would later be repaired.
28 Aug 1942 German submarine U-94 attacked Allied convoy TAW-15 off Haiti. American PBY Catalina aircraft, Canadian corvette HMCS Halifax, Canadian corvette HMCS Snowberry, and Canadian corvette HMCS Oakville counterattacked, forcing the submarine to the surface. HMCS Oakville then rammed U-94 twice, leaving it dead in the water. A Canadian boarding party captured the submarine, killing two in the process. It was soon realized that the Germans had already scuttled the ship, and the boarding party successful returned to HMCS Oakville. U-94 sank with 19 of her crew; 26 survived.
30 Aug 1942 German submarine U-564 sank Norwegian tanker Vardaas 10 miles north of Tobago island at 0612 hours; all 41 aboard survived. 50 miles to the northeast, U-162 sank US ship Star of Oregon at 0828 hours; 1 was killed, 52 survived.
3 Sep 1942 British destroyers HMS Vimy, HMS Pathfinder, and HMS Quentin sank German submarine U-162 northeast of Trinidad with depth charges, killing 2 in the process. 49 survivors were captured and sent to the United States as prisoners of war.
4 Sep 1942 German submarine U-171 sank empty Mexican tanker Amatlan 15 miles off of the coast of Northern Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico at 0430 hours; 10 were killed, 24 survived; 10 torpedoes were expended on this attack.
6 Sep 1942 German submarine U-164 sank Canadian ship John A. Holloway 150 miles northwest of Aruba at 2227 hours; 1 was killed, 23 survived.
11 Sep 1942 German submarine U-514 sank Canadian ship Cornwallis off Bridgetown, Barbados at 2237 hours in shallow waters. She would later be raised, put back into service, and lost again to another German submarine.
13 Sep 1942 German submarine U-515 sank British ship Ocean Vanguard at 0227 hours (11 were killed, 40 survived) and Panamanian ship Nimba at 0634 hours (20 were killed, 12 survived) 45 miles east of Trinidad. At 0622 hours, U-558 fired 3 torpedoes at Allied convoy TAG-5, sinking Dutch ship Suriname (13 were killed, 69 survived) and British ship Empire Lugard (all 47 aboard survived) 100 miles west of Grenada.
14 Sep 1942 German submarine U-515 sank British ship Harborough 40 miles east of Trinidad at 1410 hours; 5 were killed, 45 survived.
15 Sep 1942 German submarine U-514 sank British ship Kioto near the coast of Tobago island at 1517 hours; 20 were killed, 54 survived.
27 Sep 1942 German auxiliary cruiser Stier sank American liberty ship Stephen Hopkins in the Caribbean Sea at about 1000 hours, but sustained damage in the engagement. Later on the same day, dead in the water, Stier's crew scuttled the ship just before noon.
15 May 1943 An American reconnaissance aircraft detected German submarine U-176 off Havana, Cuba. Nearby Cuban submarine chaser CS-13, escorting two freighters, was notified and closed in, attacking with depth charges and sinking U-176, killing the entire crew.
5 Jul 1943 German submarine U-759 sank American ship Maltran of Allied convoy GTMO-134 70 miles west of Port Salut, Haiti. The entire crew survived.
7 Jul 1943 German submarine U-759 sank Dutch cargo ship Poelau Roebiah of Allied convoy TAG-70 east of Jamaica; 2 were killed and 68 survived.
8 Jul 1943 German submarine U-759 was reportedly to be lost, though later records show she might had not been destroyed until 23 Jul 1943.
15 Jul 1943 US Navy Patrol Squadron 32 PBM-3C Mariner aircraft sank German submarine U-759 in the Caribbean Sea south of Haiti with depth charges (all 47 killed).
18 Jul 1943 US Navy airship K-74 detected an enemy submarine in the Straits of Florida between the United States and Cuba at 2340 hours by radar and commenced the attack on German submarine U-134 10 minutes later. The anti-aircraft guns of U-134 hit the airship, and she crashed at 2355 hours. K-74 was the only American blimp to be shot down during the war.
23 Jul 1943 US Navy PBM Mariner aircraft attacked a German submarine in the Caribbean Sea, possibly U-759.

Photographs

US tanker Pennsylvania Sun burning after being torpedoed by German submarine U-571 in the Gulf of Mexico, 15 Jul 1942Land-variant OS2U Kingfisher aircraft of US Navy Scouting Squadron 44 flying convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols, Hato Field, Curaçao, Dutch West Indies, 2 Nov 1942-1 Feb 1943, photo 1 of 3Land-variant OS2U Kingfisher aircraft of US Navy Scouting Squadron 44 flying convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols, Hato Field, Curaçao, Dutch West Indies, 2 Nov 1942-1 Feb 1943, photo 2 of 3Land-variant OS2U Kingfisher aircraft of US Navy Scouting Squadron 44 flying convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols, Hato Field, Curaçao, Dutch West Indies, 2 Nov 1942-1 Feb 1943, photo 3 of 3
See all 9 photographs of Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Fernando says:
    15 May 2011 02:10:29 AM

    Interesting a lot this chapter. Many "americanos" (from Canada, US, México o Brazil) gave their lifes to defeat Axis. Venezuelan oil fueled decisively allied machinery to this end. But the sub's nazi raids all across America killed more crew members than the jap attack in Pearl Harbor.
  2. Keith says:
    1 Jul 2014 06:00:08 AM

    A man named Clifford Callaway told me of a ship that was sunk 19 miles off of the Alabama coast during World War 2 and later became a fishing reef. Does anyone know any details related to this incident?
  3. Stuart says:
    1 Sep 2014 10:03:39 AM

    Why in the world did the German's not make a more concerted effort to attack and destroy the oil refineries at Aruba, where nearly half of the supply gas and oil was being manufactured for the war effort. To cripple or destroy these refineries would have seriously hampered the war effort and the supply of badly needed petroleum for the British and U.S. Forces.
  4. David Stubblebine says:
    1 Sep 2014 08:46:06 PM

    Stuart:
    Your question about the Aruba oil refineries is very timely since I am currently reading a book called The U-Boat War in the Caribbean by Gaylord T.M. Kelshall where he addresses this very question and a lot more. The short answer to the Aruba question is that Aruba was at the extreme outer edge of Germany’s ability to strike, 9,000 miles round-trip from the nearest German controlled port at Lorient, France. Even so, the German presence in the Caribbean was much greater than many post-war histories acknowledge. The ratio of Allied ships sunk to German U-Boats sunk in the greater Caribbean theater was 23-to-1. By the end of 1942, the close of the U-Boat heyday, the tonnage of shipping lost in the Caribbean amounted to 36 percent of all wartime shipping losses world wide. Another author adds a question to that tonnage statistic that wonders: Which is the greater loss, 10,000 tons of oil in the Caribbean or 20,000 tons of blankets in the North Atlantic?

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Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns Photo Gallery
US tanker Pennsylvania Sun burning after being torpedoed by German submarine U-571 in the Gulf of Mexico, 15 Jul 1942
See all 9 photographs of Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns



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