Secrecy News

German Subs Off the Atlantic Coast (1920)

The threat of German submarines laying explosive mines off the east coast of the United States was a source of alarm during World War I, but the residual hazards had diminished within a few years of the war’s end, according to a comprehensive survey (large pdf) published by the U.S. Navy in 1920.

“The reports of the sightings of submarines have been without number,” the Navy said, “and great care has been exercised to try to corroborate or validate the reports, and all have been rejected which do not answer such conditions as to accuracy.”

“The information received as to the number of mines in each area and the reports of their destruction leave little or no doubt that the Atlantic coast is free from any danger as to mines,” according to the 1920 Navy report, which was digitized by the Combined Arms Research Library at Fort Leavenworth.  See “German Submarine Activities on the Atlantic Coast of the United States and Canada,” Department of the Navy, 1920.

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