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US NAVY'S LONG COVERUP ABOUT U-853 - USS EAGLE (PE-56) torpedoed Portland Hbr

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Postby U-5075 » Wed Jun 11, 2003 1:22 pm

Saturday, 5 JUL 03. at 8:00PM Eastern time, the History Channel.

There will be a documentary about the sinking of the PE-56 in Portland Maine's harbor, by U-853 about two weeks before the end of WWII. The US Navy then insinuated that the sinking was due to poor boiler maintenance and operation by the crew. The Naval board of inquiry ignored the crew's comments of a U-boat surfacing just after their sinking........... "Tell us about the boilers." Was their response. One official comment I read somewhere was that U-boats never operated close to our shores. So what caused those big explosions and fireballs close to our shores????

The captain of U-853 was a tad too gung-ho. About two weeks before the end of the war, in his u-boot he should have been somewhat less agressive. And as some of you know about one or two days AFTER the war had ended the
U-853 torpedoed a US ship just off of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. To say that the US Navy was angry was an understatement. The 853 was accurately pounded with many, many depth charges. To say that the 853 crew did not survive would be a gross understatement.

A short number of years ago a chance comment made in a bar was overheard. Then there was a paper chase done in the US Naval Archives. Declassified Ultra messages were finally unearthed and they proved that the 853 had most probably sunk the PE-56. It was only a couple of years ago that the US Navy acknowledged that the 853 was responsible for the sinking.

For some, paper chases can be fun. This should be an interesting program.
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Postby U-5075 » Tue Jul 01, 2003 9:17 am

ERATTA, ADDENDUM

On 4 May Admiral Doenitz and U-boat Hq. started sending out a signal to all U-boats to cease hostilities effective 8AM 5 May 1945. Apparently either U-853 did not hear this transmission or they choose to ignore it. There is no record (US or German) of them acknowledging this message.

It was on at 5:40PM on 5 May that the 396 foot coal carrying ship SS Black Point had the back 50-some feet of her stern blown off by the 853. This was off of Point Judith, on the SW entrance to Narragansett Bay. Twelve men were killed and thirty four were saved.

The 853 was declared sunk the next morning at 10:45AM on 6 May. It is located about 7 nautical miles (true) east of Grove Point on the northern end of Block Island. One can see it on navigational charts as an area marked with a circle and "DANGER Unexploded depth charge May 1945."

Germany surrended on 7 May.

The water depth is about 110-120 feet in this location more serious (experienced) recreational divers visit this wreck site. And there have been several diving deaths here over the years.

Of additional interest: along the coast, if you look at US nautical charts you will see other circles indicating unexploded depth charges. Many of these locations have dates that are in the mid-1950's, during the time of the US/Soviet Cold War. For there to have been an unexploded depth charge in a location, it means that there were probably a lot more dropped in that area that did explode. Put the pieces together. Pun intended.
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Postby U-5075 » Wed Jul 02, 2003 7:42 am

MORE STORY DETAILS AND UW PHOTOS, side scan image of 853.

Good review of the USS Eagle's being torpedoed, the paper chase and U-853's final kill off of Pt. Judith.

http://www.njscuba.net/dive_sites/wreck_u-853.html
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Postby U-5075 » Sun Jul 06, 2003 8:37 am

POSTSCRIPT. Or what the History Channel program did not cover too well.

Diver/historian Paul Lawton originally tried to discover the sunken halves of the USS Eagle. Numerous side scan sonar runs were made off of the Portland Harbor area. Then a few dives were made on the likely/possible wreck sites. The Eagle wreck site was not found. The damage to the wreck halves would have shown whether the explosion was internal or external. It was also hoped that perhaps the back end of the German torpedo would be found, thus providing a real smoking gun. A lot of time, money and logistics were spent on these searches. Try to get about 4-5 divers together and a suitable boat and side scan equipment. T'aint easy.

When one goes on a worthy quest against the US Government it helps to have a congressman strongly on your side to champion your cause. Otherwise people (government employees) will for the most part ignore you. The late Congressman John Joseph Moakley. Provided a lot of support and help by prodding the right people. God bless him, Joe Moakley was getting sicker and his schedule was becoming tighter because of his health. But even then he helped a lot.

The US Archives and the US Navy Archives are huge, beyond belief. You have to know which building, which floor, which row, which shelf and which box to start searching. Senior Archivist Bernard Cavalcanti of the US Navy Historical Center was the one who was actually doing and overseeing the paper search. And there were a lot of dead ends and a very large number of documents that were actually read.

A similiar search was being conducted at the U-boot Archiv in Germany. It cost time and money. They get zillions of requests for information. And their terms are now CIA (cash in advance) only.

The cover-up.
The people who did it are long dead. I go along with the theory that the CO for that geographical area was behind the cover-up. The other main factor was that there was a total news blackout about U-boat activities off of our coast during WWII. The latter was done to avoid an embarressment about the US Navy's not being in total control of our coastlines. At the beginning of WWII the US Navy was on the hot seat with Congress and the public for all of the sinkings just off of our coastlines. A lot of oil got washed up on our beaches along with debris and bodies. In frustration the US Navy just made news and info about sinkings and U-boat sightings classified. My opinion is that our having broken the U-boat codes was not a significant reason for this cover-up.

In a little bit of fairness to our Navy, I did a search at the library at the USS Nautilus Museum. While looking for info about US Navy submarines in WWI I made the uncomfortable discovery that there was NO news blackout about U-boat activities. And people were seeing, and news papers were reporting U-boats all over the place. There are a lot of white caps out there. And our own submarines were getting shot at because everyone thought that they were U-boats.

The word chaos comes to mind.
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