Tuesday, March 15, 2022

WWII East Coast Attacks?

Let's start with a trivia question. During WWII did more people die on the American Pacific coast (Pearl Harbor) or the American Atlantic coast (East Coast)?

You may be scratching your head. East Coast? We are all aware of the attack December 7, 1941, where 2403 service members and 68 civilians perished in the bombing on Pearl Harbor. But did you know that over 5000 seamen and passengers died on the East Coast and Gulf?

During WWII the Eastern Seaboard was terrorized by German U-Boats. U-Boat was short for unterseeboot or what Americans call submarines. The attacks started on January 13, 1942. Within a six-month period, more lives had been lost in the Atlantic than in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. So why don't many people know about this great loss of life on America's shores during WWII?

The U.S. Navy lied to the American public, keeping much of the information secret. The news media went along with the government lie, keeping the truth from the American public. Their failure to be able to stop the attacks was not only an embarrassment but also showed their lack of defense in protecting the ships sent out from the East Coast. But not all could be kept quiet because some of the attacks happened within sight of shore.

Germany believed if they could cut off the supply-line going to England they could cripple Britian and win the war. They were successful in sinking 255 ships along our coastline. The U-Boats continued to damage and destroy ships until 1945. However, the vast majority of those sunk were in 1942. 

The U.S. needed to stop the barrage of attacks on ships and tankers. It took three months for the military to realize they had to get a plan together quickly. So, by the end of April all tankers on the East Coast had to have escorts and merchant ships had to have small convoys. At night the merchant ships would come into safe harbors. 

In addition, private aircraft pilots began patrolling the coast. They would fly from Florida up to Maine, protecting the coast. With so many of our men fighting overseas, one-fifth of the pilots were women. The Civil Air Patrol didn't have the bombs to stop the U-Boats, but they were able to save many would-be attacks as the U-Boats were to submerge below water when spotted by aircraft.

By Office of Civilian Defense or U.S. Army Air Forces - Unknown source, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=691086

They were a success by any account. They flew nearly 87,000 missions and sent help for over 90 ships, reported floating mines, rescued 363 survivors, and reported U-Boat sightings. They lost 90 planes and 26 lives. They were a great asset to the military. They began their missions in March of 1942 by 1943 less than 15 ships were hit, and less than half of that the following two years. 

What about you? Did you know there were more lives lost on the Atlantic side coast than Pearl Harbor in WWII?


A broken heart, a controlling father, and an intrusive Scot leave Charlotte Jackson reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With the futures of her three younger sisters at stake, as well as her own reputation, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness.

Eager to find the traitor who caused the death of his brother, Duncan Mackenzie comes to America and attempts to fit in with Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan takes on a second mission—acquiring the lass's hand. After being spurned several times, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was
eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She writes in the medieval/renaissance period as well as 19th century. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 7 1/2 pekin ducks.


  1. Thanks for posting! I did not know of the casualties on the Eastern shores of the US. And my history-loving husband didn't know of it either. Was the Civil Air Patrol created for this specifically or did they already exist? Very interesting, thanks Debbie Lynne!

    1. Hey Connie! Yes the CAP was formed in 1941 because of the war. It’s funny how these little tidbits get lost in history. And so many lives were lost. Here I had thought we were safe on the Wast Coast.

  2. I love history. I had noidea about teh attacks but it makes since if we found spies on our shores from submarines. My son was in the CAP (civil air patrol) in high school. They had the same organization in my high school as well. It is similar to the junior ROTC at many high schools. CAP is sponsored by the Air Force while the junior ROTC are sponsored by other branches. They usually meet at small air field. Most of the kids don't learn how to fly but they have projects to complete to earn rank. And they have PT. My son eventually went into the army and that training was very helpful. As far as the news reports, I am sure their goal was to not let the Germans know what are plans might be by reading our papers.Also panic has always been the go-to response to that sort of news. Controlling the narrative is typical even if it isn't wise.

    1. Hello Jubilee! That’s great your son was in CAP. I come from a long line of military. And I married my high school sweetheart while he was in the Air Force. My son served in the Navy. What the military and media kept from the people was the boats that were being sunk. Not military manuevers. One has to ask, would some of those have chosen not to go out on enemy infested waters if they had known? We will never know. But when lives are at stake I think honesty is always best.