1918 | November 11


Mother ships at Corfu, Plymouth, and Queenstown relayed the message to the chasers: The Armistice had been signed.

From the records of subchasers SC 83 (stationed at Plymouth, England), a U.S. Naval Communiations Service memo read:

"All Allied man-o-war. The armistice is signed. Hostilities to be suspended forthwith. Submarines on the surface are not to be attacked unless their hostile intentions are obvious."

At Corfu, Greece, Lt. George S. Dole, CO of subchaser SC 93, wrote home:

“News of the signing of the Armistice by Germany came over the wire this a.m. This gang sure did send up a shout, and toot whistles. ... For all practical purposes the murderer is chained and modern Babylon fallen.” (From Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI.)

The days of service on the barrage lines were over. Soon the depth charges would be offloaded, and the crews would breathe more easily and wait for orders to return home

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and diagrams, and rich with personal anecdotes, an up-close account of the early days of ASW based on rare, unpublished documents.