submarine

Did a Nazi Submarine Attack a Chemical Plant in North Carolina?

It’s a sizzling July day at Kure Beach. Kids in bathing suits walk barefoot along Fort Fisher Boulevard; moms and dads lug lawn chairs to the sand…

(Via)

Motels with names like “The Hang Ten Grill” and “The Salty Hammock” bespeak a chilled-out lifestyle in this summer community, located 15 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina.

But just down Atlantic Avenue, a narrow four-block-long road from Kure (pronounced “Cure-ee”) Beach Fishing Pier, an old seaside cottage bears witness to a time when things weren’t all sunshine and Cheerwine along the Carolina coast. It was here on a July night in 1943 that a German U-Boat supposedly surfaced and fired shots at a factory complex located a half-mile off shore. If the incident actually occurred—and many believe it didn’t—it would have been the only time the East Coast of the United States was attacked during the Second World War.

“It’s a tradition among the old timers on Kure Beach that this happened,” says John Gregory III, who along with his sister, now owns a shorefront cottage built by his grandparents in the late 1930s. “It wasn’t just because my grandparents saw it, but lots of other people at the time, too.”

The now infamous story that Gregory’s grandmother told him goes like this: On the night of July 24, John E. Gregory Sr. and his wife, Lorena, both of whom would have been in their mid-50s at the time, were sitting on the porch in their rocking chairs (one of the chairs is still on the porch. It’s John’s favorite place to sit and admire the view.) Everything was swathed in a darkness accentuated by the blackout curtains that houses had hung to make the coastline less visible. (Civil authorities had imposed blackouts to hide the profiles of merchant marine ships from lurking U-Boats.)

The waters off the Carolinas had been swarming with U-Boats since the United States entered the war in December, 1941. The enemy fleet had collectively inflicted enormous damage to merchant shipping along the East Coast and elsewhere in the first six months of the war. By the summer of 1942, however, a combination of improved Allied intelligence, stronger coastal defenses, including anti-submarine technologies and air reconnaissance, and the all-important implementation of the convoy system, had weakened the U-Boat force.

This is the U-85, the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. in WWII. It was sunk of Nags Head, NC on April 14, 1942 in action with the USS Roper with the loss of all hands. (NC Maritime Museums)

Off the North Carolina coast alone, four U-Boats had been sunk in the summer of 1942. In his 2014 history The Burning Shore, military historian Ed Offley wrote that the U-Boats had concentrated their efforts along the Carolina coast for its relative safety; the U.S. had not yet organized a coastal defense system. “In July 1942,” he wrote, “that was longer the case.”

But those advances against the Germans weren’t readily apparent to the Gregorys or any other civilians along the coast. Military patrols “along the beach were still a common sight and a nighttime curfew was in effect. Suddenly, as the couple gazed out on the water, a spotlight just off shore bathed their porch in blinding light. It moved to the left, then to the right, scanning the beach. Then they heard what Lorena would describe as “artillery fire,” before poof! The light went dark.

“The whole thing happened in a minute or two,” says John Gregory, recounting the story his grandmother told him. “They just sat there petrified. There was nothing they could do. There was no phone in the house back then, so they couldn’t call anybody.”

The next morning, a number of neighbors said they’d also seen the light, or heard the firing. John Sr. sought out a military officer at the nearest command post to tell them what they’d witnessed. “The response was, `Nothing happened. You didn’t see anything,’” says John Jr. “But my grandparents and their neighbors knew what they saw…it was a German submarine.”

When Wilbur Jones, a local historian with a special interest in World War II-era Wilmington, came to see John Jr. about the matter in 2015, Gregory was happy to share the tale with him. Jones, a retired U.S. Navy captain, grew up in Wilmington and was a child during the war. Now 83, he is the author of two memoirs about life in the city during the war years, including A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown (2002).

A boomtown it was: During the Second World War, Wilmington was one of the great “Arsenals of Democracy.” The North Carolina Shipbuilding Company employed about 21,000 people during the war years. In their massive Wilmington shipyards, they produced the so-called Liberty Ships, cargo vessels that hauled all kinds of freight (and later, troops) and became a symbol of American industrial might. According to Jones, by mid-1943, construction time at NCSC for a single, 441-foot long, 10,800-ton Liberty Ship—from keel-laying to delivery—was about 30 days. A wartime commission headed by then-Senator Harry Truman had found the Wilmington operation one of the most efficient in the entire country.

There were other important military installations in and around the city, including the Ethyl-Dow plant, which extracted bromine, a component of aviation fuel, from seawater. The facility—a partnership between Dow Chemical and the Ethyl corporation—employed 1,500 people.

“That plant was one of just a couple in the U.S. that was producing the compound for aviation gasoline,” Jones said. “It was an important part of the defense industry in Wilmington at that time.” And, he adds, it would have been a high value target to the enemy, and its where many locals, the Gregorys included, thought the artillery fire was directed.

In the mid-1990s, when Jones began researching his memoir, he interviewed another man who had worked at the plant and claimed to have heard the whistling of the shells that night (which, the man pointed out, not only missed the factory but exploded harmlessly over the nearby Cape Fear River).

“We think [the shells] are still there, along the bank,” says Jones. He also read accounts and interviewed witnesses who said that the lights of the NCSC shipyard were turned off that night from roughly midnight to 5:30 a.m.—a drastic move at an around-the-clock operation, and probably the only time the plant shut down during the entire war.

After consulting other records and historians, including a 1946 report in the Raleigh News and Observer quoting eyewitness accounts from a chemist at the plant that night and the commander of the local Coast Guard Auxiliary, he reached his conclusion: “I think it’s very possible that a lone sub was operating here for intelligence,” Jones says. “They realized they had an opportunity to do something, so they did.” He hastens to add, “I’m not going to swear on a stack of Bibles, but all common sense and circumstantial evidence points to this.”

Jones gave considerable space in his book to the views of those who believe the attack never took place, foremost among them another retired Navy officer and Wilmington resident named David Carnell, now deceased. In a letter to Jones, Carnell—who had done his own research—dismissed the attack as “mythology.”

Jerry Mason, a retired U.S. Navy pilot whose website is widely recognized as a definitive source of information on the German submarines, agrees. “It’s highly unlikely,” he says. He bases his naysaying on his work with both the National Archives and WWII scholars in Germany, as well as his extensive set of U-Boat logs. Mason says that according to these records, by July 1943, there was only one submarine operating off the coast of the Carolinas—U-190—and its commander, Max Wintermeyer, was known for being cautious; a sensible posture for a U-Boat skipper at this point in the war.

Additionally, Mason says, the U-190 logs suggest the ship was far from Kure Beach that night and mention nothing about shelling the coast on that night in July, 1943. “Doing so on his own initiative would have been highly unusual,” he says, “because shore bombardment was a special task normally approved at the highest level of command.” Indeed, he points out, using deck guns to fire upon land was used rarely after a failed attack upon an oil refinery in Dutch-held Aruba resulted in missed targets and the gun exploding in the face of its operators.

Other experts—while stopping short of saying they believe the attack took place—argue that an attack by a lone wolf sub on a random, but symbolic, target is not something that should be completely ruled out. (It should also be noted that, Mason’s records show two other U-Boats entered North Carolina waters that same week).

Among the personal pictures found among the belongings of the ill-fated submarine crew is this image of U-85 taken sometime before her fourth and final war patrol (War Record of the Fifth Naval District, 1942),  To the right is a photograph by Brett Seymour of the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center, taken from a similar viewpoint in 2009, which shows a possible penetration of the pressure hull from USS Roper’s gunfire. The wreck of U-85 is considered a war grave by both the United States and Germany. (Courtesy the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))  

“Is it possible that a U-Boat commander would sneak up as close as he could, take a couple of pot shots and hope he gets lucky?” asks Joseph Schwarzer, director of the North Carolina Maritime Museum System. “Yes, it’s possible.”

A maritime archaeologist, Schwarzer has done extensive research on the U-Boat war along the Outer Banks, about 300 miles up the coast from Wilmington. There, enemy activity was most intense. “The German U-Boat commanders were pretty brazen in a lot of cases,” he says.

Richard MacMichael a historian with the Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, concurs. “U-Boats sank ships just outside Halifax and New York Harbors,” he said. “So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a submarine might be looking at targeting places along the East Coast, even later in the war.” And the fact that the story of the Kure Beach incident didn’t emerge until after the war isn’t all that surprising, he says. “If that submarine did pop up to say `Hi’ off Wilmington in July, 1943, well I’m not surprised if someone said ‘We don’t want this released,’” says McMichael. “You can imagine the panic. It would have been something they would have wanted hushed up.”

If what the Gregorys—and apparently many others—saw off the coast of Kure Beach wasn’t an enemy submarine, what else could it have been? And why did the NCSC go dark that same night?

Carnell believed it was a false sonar reading that caused the shutdown. But unless some hitherto-unknown documents turn up or fragments of German ordnance are someday fished out of the Cape Fear River, the argument may never be settled to everyone’s satisfaction. Regardless, John Gregory—who maintains that what his grandparents saw was an enemy vessel—believes the history here should be well-known to Kure Beach visitors. He has put up a historic sign about the incident in front of his cottage to educate the public about the alleged U-Boat sighting, as well as the realities of wartime life in this now-idyllic seaside retreat.

“Hundreds of people walk by here, all summer long,” a resident said. “And they have no idea that this was once a war zone.”

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NORTH KOREA’S NEXT MISSILE TEST COULD BE LAUNCHED FROM A SUBMARINE

http://www.newsweek.com/north-korea-missile-kim-jong-un-639420

 

North Korea may be preparing for another missile launch aimed at the United States.

Kim Jong Un’s regime conducted its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on July 4—Independence Day in the U.S.—with some experts speculating that the missile could reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii, or even the Pacific Northwest.

And now the totalitarian regime appears to be preparing for submarine-based missile launches in the future.

North Korea submarine testThis undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 25, 2016 shows a test-fire of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile being launched at an undisclosed location.KNS/AFP/GETTY

Two U.S. defense officials told CNN on Thursday that a North Korean submarine was engaged in “unusual deployment activity” over the past 48 hours. The 65-meter-long submarine has sailed 62 miles out into international waters in the Sea of Japan/ East Sea, farther than the vessel has ever gone before.

U.S. officials are following the submarine via reconnaissance and the abnormal activity caused American and South Korean forces to slightly raise their alert level, according to one of the officials.

Read more: North Korea’s new missile can probably nuke the U.S., what now?

North Korea has long claimed that its nuclear weapons program is a necessary defense against the prospect of regime change enforced by Washington. The east Asian state ramped up its anti-American propaganda following the first ICBM test, calling out U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and releasing two postage stamps, one with North Korean warheads pointed at the U.S. Capitol and another showing a fist destroying a U.S. missile.

Kim Jong UnNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with scientists and technicians of the DPRK Academy of Defence Science after the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017.KCNA/VIA REUTERS

The recent ICBM test has hammered home the prospect of a North Korean attack on the U.S. or on regional enemies such as South Korea or Japan. It provoked a range of reactions: U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to confront the threat from Pyongyang “very strongly,” but South Korea’s president has proposed military talks with the North in a bid to de-escalate tensions.

North Korea is thought to have around 70 submarines, however many of them may not be able to fire missiles. In May, the state conducted a successful missile test using a “cold-launch” system, an integral component for launching missiles from submarines without damaging the vessels.

North Korea icbmIntercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test launch in North Korea on July 4.KCNA VIA REUTERS

The country is already thought to have the capacity to launch a missile from a submarine, though it is unclear how far such a weapon would be able to travel. In August, experts claimed North Korea had conducted its first successful rocket launch from an underwater submarine; the missile was launched from a Gorae-class submarine, traveled 311 miles and was the first to reach Japan’s air defense identification zone, CNN reported.

U.S. intelligence agencies currently believe Pyongyang’s submarine missile program is in its early stages. But given the July 4 test and Pyongyang’s recent rhetoric, the latest developments will be a source of concern in Washington.

USS Liberty Survivor Says a US Submarine Filmed Israel’s Attack & Torpedoed The Ship

2015: WW2 Submarine Used by Top National Socialists Washes up on the Coast of Argentina

Something incredible has washed up on the coast of Argentina. Researchers believe it to be the remnants of a World War II German submarine or midget U-boat.

(War History Online)

What historians and researchers find most fascinating about this find is that this submarine makes it difficult to deny that that National Socialists did not leave Europe and fled to Argentina.

A historian in Buenos Aires, Fernando Martin Gomez, says that the submarine is a great discovery. The submarine has been hidden for 70 years but is in remarkable shape. Gomez stated that it is a particularly small submarine, which means it could have been used solely for National Socialists fleeing to South America. He claims that there were about 5,000 germans that fled to Argentina, but this submarine would have been reserved for higher-placed National Socialists.

 

What Gomez seems to miss is the fact that the Third Reich has produced a range of miniature submarines that were supposed to be used to counter an Allied invasion. One of these midget submarines was The Biber (German for “beaver”). These were armed with two externally mounted 21-inch torpedoes or mines, they were intended to attack coastal shipping and were the smallest submarines in the Kriegsmarine.

The Biber was hastily developed to help meet the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe. This resulted in basic technical flaws that, combined with the inadequate training of their operators, meant they never posed a real threat to Allied shipping, despite 324 submarines being delivered. One of the class’s few successes was the sinking of the cargo ship Alan A. Dale.

The fact that high-ranking Nazi’s escaped to South America has been known for decades, even during the war the first Nazi’s that saw the end was coming started to setup Ratlines, escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe.

These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Bolivia. Other destinations included the United States, Great Britain, Canada and the Middle East. There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany to Rome to Genoa, then South America; the two routes “developed independently” but eventually came together to collaborate.

After the end of the war in Italy, Spiritual Director of the German People resident in Italy, Bishop Hudal became active in ministering to German-speaking prisoners of war and internees then held in camps throughout Italy. In December 1944 the Vatican Secretariat of State received permission to appoint a representative to “visit the German-speaking civil internees in Italy”, a job assigned to Hudal.

Hudal used this position to aid the escape of wanted National Socialists, including Franz Stangl, Gustav Wagner, Alois Brunner, and Adolf Eichmann — a fact about which he was later unashamedly open.

Some of these wanted men were being held in internment camps: generally without identity papers, they would be enroled in camp registers under false names.

According to Mark Aarons and John Loftus in their book Unholy Trinity, Hudal was the first Catholic priest to dedicate himself to establishing escape routes. Aarons and Loftus claim that Hudal provided the objects of his charity with money to help them escape, and more importantly with false papers including identity documents issued by the Vatican Refugee Organisation.

These Vatican papers were not full passports, and not in themselves enough to gain passage overseas. They were, rather, the first stop in a paper trail—they could be used to obtain a displaced person passport from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which in turn could be used to apply for visas.

In his 2002 book The Real Odessa Argentine researcher Uki Goñi used new access to the country’s archives to show that Argentine diplomats and intelligence officers had, on Perón’s instructions, vigorously encouraged Nazi and Fascist war criminals to make their home in Argentina. According to Goñi, the Argentines not only collaborated with Draganović’s ratline, they set up further ratlines of their own running through Scandinavia, Switzerland and Belgium.

The status of the National Socialists in Argentia became institutionalised, according to Goñi, when Perón’s new government of February 1946 appointed anthropologist Santiago Peralta as Immigration Commissioner and former Ribbentrop agent Ludwig Freude as his intelligence chief. Goñi argues that these two then set up a rescue team of secret service agents and immigration advisors, many of whom were themselves top National Socialists, with Argentine citizenship and employment.

The Italian and Argentine ratlines have only been confirmed relatively recently, mainly due to research in newly declassified archives. Until the work of Aarons and Loftus, and of Uki Goñi (2002), a common view was that National Socialists themselves, organised in secret networks, ran the escape routes alone.

The most famous such network is ODESSA (Organisation of former SS members), founded in 1946 and according to Paul Manning, “eventually, over 10,000 former German military made it to South America along escape routes ODESSA and Deutsche Hilfsverein …”

Simon Wiesenthal, who advised Frederick Forsyth on the novel/filmscript The Odessa File which brought the name to public attention, also names other NS escape organisations such as Spinne (“Spider”) and Sechsgestirn (“Constellation of Six”).

Some of the National Socialists who escaped using ratlines include:

Adolf Eichmann, fled to Argentina in 1950, captured 1960, executed by Jews in Israel on 1 June 1962

Franz Stangl, fled to Brazil in 1951, arrested in 1967 and extradited to West Germany, died in 1971 of natural causes

Gustav Wagner, fled to Brazil in 1950, arrested 1978, committed suicide 1980

Erich Priebke, fled to Argentina in 1949, arrested 1994, eventually died in 2013

Klaus Barbie, fled to Bolivia with help from the United States, captured in 1983, died in prison in France on 23 September 1991

Eduard Roschmann, escaped to Argentina in 1948, fled to Paraguay to avoid extradition and died there in 1977

Aribert Heim, disappeared in 1962, most likely died in Egypt in 1992

Andrija Artuković, escaped to the United States, arrested in 1984, died in prison in Croatia in 1988

Ante Pavelić, escaped to Argentina in 1948, initially survived an assassination attempt in 1957, but died of his wounds in Spain in 1959

Walter Rauff, escaped to Chile, never captured, died in 1984

Alois Brunner, fled to Syria in 1954, died around 2010

Josef Mengele, fled to Argentina in 1949, then to other countries, dying in Brazil in 1979. Remains exhumed in 1985 and probably destroyed.

Christmas on a Uboat – Original National Socialist Newsreel of German Submarine (VIDEO)

http://whiteresister.com/index.php/8-archives/206-christmas-on-a-uboat-original-national-socialist-newsreel-of-german-submarine-video?utm_source=WR-News+Campaign+1st&utm_campaign=911e2e3299-WR-News+Campaing+1st&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_70e342152e-911e2e3299-48298879

 

Footage of a UBoat in the Carribean. Its christmas time on the submarine!

2015: WW2 Submarine Used by Top National Socialists Washes up on the Coast of Argentina

Something incredible has washed up on the coast of Argentina. Researchers believe it to be the remnants of a World War II German submarine or midget U-boat.

(War History Online)

What historians and researchers find most fascinating about this find is that this submarine makes it difficult to deny that that National Socialists did not leave Europe and fled to Argentina.

A historian in Buenos Aires, Fernando Martin Gomez, says that the submarine is a great discovery. The submarine has been hidden for 70 years but is in remarkable shape. Gomez stated that it is a particularly small submarine, which means it could have been used solely for National Socialists fleeing to South America. He claims that there were about 5,000 germans that fled to Argentina, but this submarine would have been reserved for higher-placed National Socialists.

What Gomez seems to miss is the fact that the Third Reich has produced a range of miniature submarines that were supposed to be used to counter an Allied invasion. One of these midget submarines was The Biber (German for “beaver”). These were armed with two externally mounted 21-inch torpedoes or mines, they were intended to attack coastal shipping and were the smallest submarines in the Kriegsmarine.

The Biber was hastily developed to help meet the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe. This resulted in basic technical flaws that, combined with the inadequate training of their operators, meant they never posed a real threat to Allied shipping, despite 324 submarines being delivered. One of the class’s few successes was the sinking of the cargo ship Alan A. Dale.

The fact that high-ranking Nazi’s escaped to South America has been known for decades, even during the war the first Nazi’s that saw the end was coming started to setup Ratlines, escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe.

These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Bolivia. Other destinations included the United States, Great Britain, Canada and the Middle East. There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany to Rome to Genoa, then South America; the two routes “developed independently” but eventually came together to collaborate.

After the end of the war in Italy, Spiritual Director of the German People resident in Italy, Bishop Hudal became active in ministering to German-speaking prisoners of war and internees then held in camps throughout Italy. In December 1944 the Vatican Secretariat of State received permission to appoint a representative to “visit the German-speaking civil internees in Italy”, a job assigned to Hudal.

Hudal used this position to aid the escape of wanted National Socialists, including Franz Stangl, Gustav Wagner, Alois Brunner, and Adolf Eichmann — a fact about which he was later unashamedly open.

Some of these wanted men were being held in internment camps: generally without identity papers, they would be enroled in camp registers under false names.

According to Mark Aarons and John Loftus in their book Unholy Trinity, Hudal was the first Catholic priest to dedicate himself to establishing escape routes. Aarons and Loftus claim that Hudal provided the objects of his charity with money to help them escape, and more importantly with false papers including identity documents issued by the Vatican Refugee Organisation.

These Vatican papers were not full passports, and not in themselves enough to gain passage overseas. They were, rather, the first stop in a paper trail—they could be used to obtain a displaced person passport from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which in turn could be used to apply for visas.

In his 2002 book The Real Odessa Argentine researcher Uki Goñi used new access to the country’s archives to show that Argentine diplomats and intelligence officers had, on Perón’s instructions, vigorously encouraged Nazi and Fascist war criminals to make their home in Argentina. According to Goñi, the Argentines not only collaborated with Draganović’s ratline, they set up further ratlines of their own running through Scandinavia, Switzerland and Belgium.

The status of the National Socialists in Argentia became institutionalised, according to Goñi, when Perón’s new government of February 1946 appointed anthropologist Santiago Peralta as Immigration Commissioner and former Ribbentrop agent Ludwig Freude as his intelligence chief. Goñi argues that these two then set up a rescue team of secret service agents and immigration advisors, many of whom were themselves top National Socialists, with Argentine citizenship and employment.

The Italian and Argentine ratlines have only been confirmed relatively recently, mainly due to research in newly declassified archives. Until the work of Aarons and Loftus, and of Uki Goñi (2002), a common view was that National Socialists themselves, organised in secret networks, ran the escape routes alone.

The most famous such network is ODESSA (Organisation of former SS members), founded in 1946 and according to Paul Manning, “eventually, over 10,000 former German military made it to South America along escape routes ODESSA and Deutsche Hilfsverein …”

Simon Wiesenthal, who advised Frederick Forsyth on the novel/filmscript The Odessa File which brought the name to public attention, also names other NS escape organisations such as Spinne (“Spider”) and Sechsgestirn (“Constellation of Six”).

Some of the National Socialists who escaped using ratlines include:

Adolf Eichmann, fled to Argentina in 1950, captured 1960, executed by Jews in Israel on 1 June 1962

Franz Stangl, fled to Brazil in 1951, arrested in 1967 and extradited to West Germany, died in 1971 of natural causes

Gustav Wagner, fled to Brazil in 1950, arrested 1978, committed suicide 1980

Erich Priebke, fled to Argentina in 1949, arrested 1994, eventually died in 2013

Klaus Barbie, fled to Bolivia with help from the United States, captured in 1983, died in prison in France on 23 September 1991

Eduard Roschmann, escaped to Argentina in 1948, fled to Paraguay to avoid extradition and died there in 1977

Aribert Heim, disappeared in 1962, most likely died in Egypt in 1992

Andrija Artuković, escaped to the United States, arrested in 1984, died in prison in Croatia in 1988

Ante Pavelić, escaped to Argentina in 1948, initially survived an assassination attempt in 1957, but died of his wounds in Spain in 1959

Walter Rauff, escaped to Chile, never captured, died in 1984

Alois Brunner, fled to Syria in 1954, died around 2010

Josef Mengele, fled to Argentina in 1949, then to other countries, dying in Brazil in 1979. Remains exhumed in 1985 and probably destroyed.

Russia Bolsters Its Submarine Fleet, and Tensions With U.S. Rise

NAPLES, Italy — Russian attack submarines, the most in two decades, are prowling the coastlines of Scandinavia and Scotland, the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic in what Western military officials say is a significantly increased presence aimed at contesting American and NATO undersea dominance.

Adm. Mark Ferguson, the United States Navy’s top commander in Europe, said last fall that the intensity of Russian submarine patrols had risen by almost 50 percent over the past year, citing public remarks by the Russian Navy chief, Adm. Viktor Chirkov. Analysts say that tempo has not changed since then.

The patrols are the most visible sign of a renewed interest in submarine warfare by President Vladimir V. Putin, whose government has spent billions of dollars for new classes of diesel and nuclear-powered attack submarines that are quieter, better armed and operated by more proficient crews than in the past.

The tensions are part of an expanding rivalry and military buildup, with echoes of the Cold War, between the United States and Russia. Moscow is projecting force not only in the North Atlantic but also in Syria and Ukraine and building up its nuclear arsenal and cyberwarfare capacities in what American military officials say is an attempt to prove its relevance after years of economic decline and retrenchment.

Independent American military analysts see the increased Russian submarine patrols as a legitimate challenge to the United States and NATO. Even short of tensions, there is the possibility of accidents and miscalculations. But whatever the threat, the Pentagon is also using the stepped-up Russian patrols as another argument for bigger budgets for submarines and anti-submarine warfare.

Rostov-on-Don, a diesel-electric attack submarine, being launched in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2014. Credit Anatoly Maltsev/European Pressphoto Agency
American naval officials say that in the short term, the growing number of Russian submarines, with their ability to shadow Western vessels and European coastlines, will require more ships, planes and subs to monitor them. In the long term, the Defense Department has proposed $8.1 billion over the next five years for “undersea capabilities,” including nine new Virginia-class attack submarines that can carry up to 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles, more than triple the capacity now.

“We’re back to the great powers competition,” Adm. John M. Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said in an interview.

Last week, unarmed Russian warplanes repeatedly buzzed a Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea and at one point came within 30 feet of the warship, American officials said. Last year some of Russia’s new diesel submarines launched four cruise missiles at targets in Syria.

 

Mr. Putin’s military modernization program also includes new intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as aircraft, tanks and air defense systems.

To be sure, there is hardly parity between the Russian and American submarine fleets. Russia has about 45 attack submarines — about two dozen are nuclear-powered and 20 are diesel — which are designed to sink other submarines or ships, collect intelligence and conduct patrols. But Western naval analysts say that only about half of those are able to deploy at any given time. Most stay closer to home and maintain an operational tempo far below a Cold War peak.
The United States has 53 attack submarines, all nuclear-powered, as well as four other nuclear-powered submarines that carry cruise missiles and Special Operations forces. At any given time, roughly a third of America’s attack submarines are at sea, either on patrols or training, with the others undergoing maintenance. American Navy officials and Western analysts say that American attack submarines, which are made for speed, endurance and stealth to deploy far from American shores, remain superior to their Russian counterparts.

The Pentagon is also developing sophisticated technology to monitor encrypted communications from Russian submarines and new kinds of remotely controlled or autonomous vessels. Members of the NATO alliance, including Britain, Germany and Norway, are at the same time buying or considering buying new submarines in response to the Kremlin’s projection of force in the Baltic and Arctic.

But Moscow’s recently revised national security and maritime strategies emphasize the need for Russian maritime forces to project power and to have access to the broader Atlantic Ocean as well as the Arctic.

Russian submarines and spy ships now operate near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians could attack those lines in times of tension or conflict. Russia is also building an undersea unmanned drone capable of carrying a small, tactical nuclear weapon to use against harbors or coastal areas, American military and intelligence analysts said.

And, like the United States, Russia operates larger nuclear-powered submarines that carry long-range nuclear missiles and spend months at a time hiding in the depths of the ocean. Those submarines, although lethal, do not patrol like the attack submarines do, and do not pose the same degree of concern to American Naval officials.

Two nuclear-powered cruise-missile submarines, Smolensk, left, and Voronezh, at a base in northern Russia in March. Credit Lev Fedoseyev/TASS, via Getty Images
Analysts say that Moscow’s continued investment in attack submarines is in contrast to the quality of many of Russia’s land and air forces that frayed in the post-Cold War era.

“In the Russian naval structure, submarines are the crown jewels for naval combat power,” said Magnus Nordenman, director of the Atlantic Council’s trans-Atlantic security initiative in Washington. “The U.S. and NATO haven’t focused on anti-submarine operations lately, and they’ve let that skill deteriorate.”

That has allowed for a rapid Russian resurgence, Western and American officials say, partly in response to what they say is Russia’s fear of being hemmed in.

“I don’t think many people understand the visceral way Russia views NATO and the European Union as an existential threat,” Admiral Ferguson said in an interview.

In Naples, at the headquarters of the United States Navy’s European operations, including the Sixth Fleet, commanders for the first time in decades are having to closely monitor Russian submarine movements through the maritime choke points separating Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom, the G.I.U.K. Gap, which during the Cold War were crucial to the defense of Europe.

The United States attack submarine Virginia, lead boat of its class, moved up the Clyde en route to the naval base at Faslane, Scotland, last month. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times
That stretch of ocean, hundreds of miles wide, represented the line that Soviet naval forces would have had to cross to reach the Atlantic and to stop United States forces heading across the sea to reinforce America’s European allies in time of conflict.

American anti-submarine aircraft were stationed for decades at the Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland — in the middle of the gap — but they withdrew in 2006, years after the Cold War. The Navy after that relied on P-3 sub-hunter planes rotating periodically through the base.

Now, the Navy is poised to spend about $20 million to upgrade hangars and support sites at Keflavik to handle its new, more advanced P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. That money is part of the Pentagon’s new $3.4 billion European Reassurance Initiative, a quadrupling of funds from last year to deploy heavy weapons, armored vehicles and other equipment to NATO countries in Central and Eastern Europe, to deter Russian aggression.

Navy officials express concern that more Russian submarine patrols will push out beyond the Atlantic into the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Russia has one Mediterranean port now, in Tartus, Syria, but Navy officials here say Moscow wants to establish others, perhaps in Cyprus, Egypt or even Libya.

“If you have a Russian nuclear attack submarine wandering around the Med, you want to track it,” said Dmitry Gorenburg, a Russian military specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses in Washington.

This month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency christened a 132-foot prototype drone sea craft packed with sensors, the Sea Hunter, which is made with the intention of hunting autonomously for submarines and mines for up to three months at a time.

The allies are also holding half a dozen anti-submarine exercises this year, including a large drill scheduled later this spring called Dynamic Mongoose in the North Sea. The exercise is to include warships and submarines from Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the United States.

“We are not quite back in a Cold War,” said James G. Stavridis, a retired admiral and the former supreme allied commander of NATO, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “But I sure can see one from where we are standing.”

Germany Gives Israel Another Nuclear Attack Submarines as “Holocaust Reparations”

Israel is arming submarines ordered from a German shipbuilder with nuclear weapons, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported.

According to the magazine’s Spiegel’s investigative report, submarines built by the shipyard HDW in the northern German city of Kiel are being outfitted by Israel with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Der Spiegel that Germans should be “proud” that through these defense measures they have helped ensure the preservation of the state of Israel “for many years.”

Three submarines have been delivered to Israel, with three more under contract for delivery by 2017, and the purchase of more being considered.

Despite official government statements in the past disavowing knowledge of Israel’s deployment of nuclear weapons on the submarines, former high-ranking officials from Germany’s Defense Ministry have told the magazine that they had always assumed Israel would outfit the submarines with nuclear defense capabilities.

Israeli does not comment officially on its nuclear military program.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for Merkel, told Der Spiegel that all submarines had been delivered unarmed, and that the government “will not speculate on subsequent arming.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Agence France-Presse, “I can confirm that we have German submarines. It’s no secret. As for the rest, I am not in a position to talk about their capacity.”

Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since 1961.

The first two submarines were paid for by the German people, and the following three were heavily subsidized, according to Der Spiegel. The newspaper has reported, based on a WikiLeaks cable, that the submarine subsidies were a response to Israeli demands for “Holocaust reparations from Germany”.

Israel deploys German-donated nuclear-armed subs off Iranian cost

The Israeli press reports that the three nuclear-capable submarines supplied by Germany (one at no charge, the others at a discount) are being deployed off the coast of Iran. This will bring every Iranian city and village within range of submarine-launched missiles. One of the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that states with nuclear weapons must not threaten to use nukes against states without the weapons. While Iran is a signatory to the treaty and abides by its provisions, Israel refuses to sign and is blatantly engaging in nuclear blackmail against  Iran, as is clear from the article below. So why is the world applying economic sanctions against Iran while heaping gifts and tribute on Israel?

submarine1

Israel Submarines Headed for Persian Gulf  (from the Israel National News)

Israel has allegedly deployed a permanent submarine presence in the Persian Gulf to keep an eye on Iran, according to  media reports published Sunday. The three German-built submarines are reportedly equipped with nuclear cruise missiles.

Flotilla 7 is comprised of three submarines that have visited the region before – the Dolphin, the Tekuma and the Leviathan. Each crew includes between 35 to 50 soldiers and is commanded by a colonel.

At least one will remain in the area at all times, until further notice, according to “Colonel O,” the commander of the force quoted in the reports. “We are an underwater assault force, operating deep and far – very far – from our borders,” he said.

Submarine and robot find Napoleonic-era shipwreck – quite by accident

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/18/shipwreck_discovery_sonar_auv_north_carolina/

A manned submersible diving deep beneath the ocean surface – operating together with an unmanned robo-sub – has discovered the wreck of a long-lost sailing ship dating perhaps from the late 18th century. But it wasn’t what the boffins in the sub were looking for.

The shipwreck was first sighted a week ago when researchers from Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon were carrying out a deep-sea methane expedition aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) ship Atlantis.

The marine bods, quite by accident, located “the wreck while using WHOI’s robotic autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry and the manned submersible Alvin,” said Duke University in astatement on Friday.

“The team had been searching for a mooring that was deployed on a previous research trip in the area in 2012,” it added.

The site of the wreck – which was found more than a mile deep underwater resting along the path of the Gulf Stream that has been used as a “maritime highway” between north and south America for centuries – was “undisturbed and well preserved,” said the Marine Heritage Program’s chief archaeologist Bruce Terrell.

This was due to the “near-freezing temperatures” on the sea floor.

The university’s marine lab director Cindy Van Dover explained how the team had stumbled across the shipwreck:

I have led four previous expeditions to this site, each aided by submersible research technology to explore the sea floor – including a 2012 expedition where we used Sentry to saturate adjacent areas with sonar and photo images.

It’s ironic to think we were exploring within 100 metres of the wreck site without an inkling it was there.

Artefacts – which hold vital clues about date and country of origin – uncovered from the shipwreck’s remains included wooden ship timbers, a metal compass, an iron chain, glass bottles and an unglazed pottery jug.

Shipwreck remains found at bottom of sea off coast of North Carolina. Pic credit: Duke UniversityShipwreck remains found at bottom of sea off coast of North Carolina. Image credit: Duke University

“The find is exciting, but not unexpected,” said Marine Heritage Program director James Delgado. “Violent storms sent down large numbers of vessels off the Carolina coasts, but few have been located because of the difficulties of depth and working in an offshore environment.”

The mooring, however, continues to elude the boffins. Who knows, perhaps it will be uncovered hundreds of years from now. ®

Bootnote – Napoleonic or Revolutionary era?

During the period which the wreck appears to be from, some of Britain’s North American colonies had recently “freed themselves” from British rule (the freedom was not for everyone: for many years the only way an American slave could become free was to escape to British territory). So, to many Americans, this period is the Revolutionary Era.

In the rest of the world, throughout most of the same period, the British were engaged in a massive global struggle against the French dictator Napoleon, who had a forged a genuinely oppressive empire which at its peak conquered much of the Western world. This perhaps rather more serious and genuine struggle for freedom leads Brits to speak instead of the Napoleonic era. -Ed