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Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim
Posted by: historynow11 ()
Date: January 29, 2012 02:04PM

This excerpt is from an article draft and remains a work in progress. I opted to post this excerpt here to tap into the collective knowledge of the forums, with the intention of seeing if anyone has information to the contrary or wishes to contribute to this research.

...In a restricted “Report of the Civil Air Patrol” published by the CAP National Headquarters on December 28, 1943 for the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Operations, Commitments and Requirements included a summary of CAP coastal patrol operations, dated September 3, 1943. This summary reported 82 “bombs dropped against enemy submarines” and listed two “enemy submarines definitely damaged or destroyed.”[1] On February 10, 1944, the navy published the August 1943 War Diary for the Eastern Sea Frontier, which included the same information released by the CAP in the December 1943 report, including the claim of two “enemy submarines definitely damaged or destroyed.” The navy war diary prefaced the information by noting, “the CAP Coastal Patrol left an interesting record of service.”[2] In March 1944, the headquarters of the Army Air Forces Air Inspector released his report of an investigation of the CAP from January to February 1944. Among the facts reported in the report, the document includes the September 1943 coastal patrol summary data “reported by the Civil Air Patrol”, further reproduced by the navy in the war diary published in February 1944. The investigator writes:

Because of the conclusion of these operations, no detailed study of the accuracy of these claims was made. However, access was had to the evaluations given by the Navy to all claims of sinking submarines and it was determined therefrom that in the case of four claims made by the Civil Air Patrol, one was evaluated “No damage”; two, “Insufficient evidence of presence of submarine”; and a fourth, “Insufficient evidence of damage.”
The armament carried by CAP planes during these operations was 100-pound demolitionbombs. The question is presented as to how much damage a bomb of that weight and character could inflict upon a submarine under most favorable circumstances.
[3]

The report thereafter makes no further reference to the coastal patrol claims. On August 31, 1944, Colonel Earle. L. Johnson, national CAP commander, sent a reply detailing corrections in response to the Air Inspector’s report. Johnson does not mention, question, or rebuke the inspector’s statements regarding the coastal patrol summary data.[4]

The navy’s publication of the CAP’s data gives the claim of damaging or sinking two submarines a veneer of credibility, but it appears that the Civil Air Patrol officially credited themselves for sinking and or damaging two U-boats. A complete survey of the Eastern Sea Frontier and Gulf Sea Frontier War Diaries from March to August 1943 does not reveal any mention of a CAP U-boat attack resulting in the damage or destruction of an enemy submarine.[5] Recent studies of all available data on the fate of all 1,154 U-boats commissioned into the Kriegsmarine indicate that no U-boats went missing off the East Coast from March 1942 to August 1943.[6] The discovery of a previously unknown U-boat off the coast of New Jersey in 1991 raised hopes that this confirmed a reported CAP attack on July 11, 1942, but years of underwater and archival research concluded the submarine sank in 1945.[7]...

Notes

[1] National Headquarters, Civil Air Patrol, “Report of Civil Air Patrol,” December 28, 1943, Appendix D, “Summary of CAP Coastal Patrol Operations,” dated September 3, 1943, folder 4, Earle L. Johnson Papers (ELJP), Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH (WRHS), Box 1.

[2] War Diary, Eastern Sea Frontier, August 1943, pgs. 40-41, World War II War Diaries, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center (NHC), Records Group 38, Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1875 – 2006, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC (NARA).

[3] War Department, Headquarters of the Army Air Forces, Dudley M. Outcalt to Air Inspector, on “Survey of the Civil Air Patrol,” March 8, 1944, pgs. 30-31, folder 3, ELJP, WRHS, Box 5.

[4] Earle L. Johnson to Commanding General, Army Air Forces, on “Report of Air Inspector’s Investigation of Civil Air Patrol, dated 8 March 1944,” August 31, 1944, folder 3, ELJP, WRHS, Box 5.

[5] The author searched through the entire Eastern Sea Frontier War Diary from March 1942 until August 1943, and the Gulf Sea Frontier War Diary from April 1942 (when CAP missions began in that command area) until August 1943. The first mention of the CAP in either war diary is in the Eastern Sea Frontier War Diary enemy action diary, dated March 11, 1942, when a CAP reported a submarine sighting south of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

[6] Combining American, British, Canadian, and German records, Axel Niestlé’s work is the most exhaustive study of the fate of all of Germany’s U-boats in World War II. See Axel Niestlé, German U-boat Losses During World War II: Details of Destruction (Annapolis, M.D.: Naval Institute Press, 1998). Dr. Niestlé also graciously shared his database of reported air attacks against U-boats off the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States from March 1942 until August 1943. No attacks, including those where the attacker remains unknown, match reported CAP attacks.

[7] The submarine discovered off New Jersey is the U-869. See Robert Kurson, Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II (New York: Random House, 2004).

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Subject Written By Posted
Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim historynow11 01/29/2012 02:04PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim lcdrusnret 03/10/2012 04:23PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim historynow11 03/10/2012 06:32PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim BHenderson 03/13/2012 12:55PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim lcdrusnret 03/13/2012 04:20PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim BHenderson 03/14/2012 04:27AM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim historynow11 03/15/2012 01:17PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim BHenderson 03/22/2012 05:30AM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim Derckert 08/02/2012 09:14PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim Derckert 08/02/2012 09:27PM
Re: Article excerpt on matter of Civil Air Patrol U-boat kill claim historynow11 08/02/2012 10:26PM


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