1918 | April 27

Subchasers Arrive in the Azores

On 27 April, 1918, SC 93 and the other chasers in the convoy arrived in the Azores. They had run for twelve days under their own power, refuelling at sea. Lt. Dole's father, George Henry Dole, had given a sermon in support of the Allied cause, a copy of which reached Lt. Dole on SC 93. And as Lt. Dole contemplated heading to his assigned port and joining the barrage lines, he replied:

“Read your sermon this morning ... It was fine. One of your best. Two of the crew have read it already, and found it very profitable and helpful. I do not think Germany will be permitted to gain the ascendancy by the methods she has been using. Provided that her cause was just, which it is not, her methods would defeat her in the end. Germany must be defeated on the field of battle, as you say, and I believe she will be.”

Hunters of the Steel Sharks, The Submarine Chasers of WWI, p. 72

Photo: Fruit vendors in the Azores, selling to crewmen on a submarine chaser. G. S. Dole Collection.

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photographs and diagrams, and rich with personal anecdotes, an up-close account of the early days of ASW based on rare, unpublished documents.