1918 | April 2

Preparing for a twelve-day journey overseas

100 years ago today: Preparing for the long, overseas journey. "The next leg of the journey will be a corker," Ens. George S. Dole writes from SC 93 to his brother Louis. "Wish you could get a taste of the salt air and breezes fresh from the open sea."

During their stay in Bermuda, the chaser crews made repairs and repainted. Soon they would depart Bermuda and cross the Atlantic ocean under their own power, on a twelve-day trip to the Azores.

To his parents, Ens. Dole writes, "... Am anxious to get over there and get my news first hand, as well as take part in the scrap."

Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI

Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI
Woofenden, 2006. Softcover, 224 pages. $23.95. Available on Amazon.com

In 1918, a war time fleet of 303 U.S. submarine chasers formed a new offensive against the enemy, armed with depth charges, deck guns and an array of new, top secret submarine detection and pursuit devices.

These miniature wooden war ships, the smallest commissioned vessels in the American navy, were the first major deployment mechanism for early antisubmarine warfare equipment, and were remarkable in their capabilities and service: Chasers crossed the Atlantic Ocean on their own power; performed submarine hunts and attacks from bases in Plymouth, Queenstown (Cobh) and Corfu; assisted with post-war diplomacy along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea; helped facilitate troop evacuation in northern Russia; and participated in the clearing of the North Sea mine barrage.

This is the history of the submarine chasers of the Great War, extensively illustrated with period photographs and diagrams, and rich with personal anecdotes, an up-close account of the early days of ASW based on rare, unpublished documents.