War Zone is the story of the time the enemy entered America’s front door unhindered, when the United States suffered but overcame the German U-boat menace. For seven months, black smoke and orange flames from torpedoed vessels filled the ocean skies from New England to New Orleans. Explosions rattled window panes and the nerves of coastal residents. Beaches were awash with wreckage, oil, empty lifeboats, and bodies. The majority of these attacks occurred off the North Carolina coast.
“Why didn’t I know about this?” many people ask about one of the most spellbinding but least-known chapters of American history. Decades of military secrecy, reluctance by those involved to remember painful memories, and the disregard of this important history in educational curriculums are a few of the answers.
War Zone is a gripping panorama of the shameful betrayal of merchant sailors, of young Coast Guard recruits watching helplessly as sailors plunged into pools of burning oil, and of the baby born in a lifeboat. Learn about the intrepid men and women who defended America in little boats and in small planes; the truth behind the famous phrase “Sighted sub, sank same;” and the children who spied on German spies. Discover the real story behind the legends of secret agents, midget-submarine landings, a busload of naked Nazi U-boat POWs at New Bern, and the shelling of a chemical plant on Kure Beach. Follow the accounts of three climactic engagements between U.S. forces and German U-boats off the North Carolina coast with the Battle of the Atlantic hanging in the balance; and the time a tearful son from England visited his father’s grave on Ocracoke Island for the first time in 62 years.
War Zone is a classic American story told from the perspective of everyday people who daily faced daunting challenges with perseverance, patriotism, and uncommon valor. Shocking, emotionally stirring, humorous, and ironic, War Zone preserves these memories of the greatest generation of Americans living on the coast of North Carolina in 1942.