Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




At the outbreak of the Second World War, Germany launched a devastating submarine campaign against the merchant marine traffic along the eastern seaboard of America. The antisubmarine defenses mounted by the United States were insufficient in the first months of 1942. This thesis examines how the United States Navy, in cooperation with the Army and the Coast Guard, began antisubmarine operations to protect the Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding area from the menace of Germany's U-boats during the first year of America's participation in World War II.

This thesis complements the other histories of antisubmarine warfare during World War II, seeking to cover new ground by examining the defenses of Chesapeake Bay region in the antisubmarine campaign. Given the circumstances the nation faced at the start of the conflict, it was impossible to prevent the initial slaughter suffered by the merchant vessels off the Virginia shores.

The thesis relies primarily upon the records held at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. Other sources include museums and archives throughout the Tidewater area, official histories, local historians, chronicles kept in private collections, and newspaper accounts.

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