1918 | March 2

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean

100 years ago today on submarine chaser SC 93, crossing the Atlantic Ocean:

"... The sea sure looked majestic and grand. It was a beautiful sight and the boat did all that could be asked of it. The engines were right on the job in pinches. For a few minutes the sun appeared through a rift in the clouds and I do not ever recollect a more inspiring sight. The sea was white as snow at times with big combers. The velocity of the wind was as high as 85 to 90 miles per hour at times. On the whole the boat was fairly comfortable and the pilot house is still on deck. I think it will stay there from my recent experience."

-- Ens. George S. Dole. (See Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI, page 61).

The convoy had just reached Bermuda, the first stop on the way to Europe. It was the chasers' first experience navigating through a storm at sea.

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and diagrams, and rich with personal anecdotes, an up-close account of the early days of ASW based on rare, unpublished documents.