1918 | May 13

Chaser reach Gibraltar

On 13 May, 1918, the chasers in the Azores (including SC 93, shown), sailed for Gibraltar, the next step in their journey to the barrage lines at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea. Although still moving in a convoy, the chasers sailed ready to engage enemy submarines. In a letter home, Ens. George S. Dole, CO of submarine chaser SC 93, writes, "Do not expect any more letters for some time. ... We are going where the Hun subs are thick, and hope to choke them off, and will do so if it is within our power. I think it is."

Photo: On the bridge of submarine chaser SC 93, at Gibraltar. Ens. Dole is top left. 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photographs and diagrams, and rich with personal anecdotes, an up-close account of the early days of ASW based on rare, unpublished documents.