CAP Talk

General Discussion => Hysterical History => Topic started by: francisderosa16 on April 10, 2018, 02:10:26 PM

Title: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: francisderosa16 on April 10, 2018, 02:10:26 PM
I watched a documentary on CAP and CAP used to throw bombs at U-Boats in WWII out of a Cessna.
Is this true?

V/R
Cadet Airman
Francis DeRosa
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Holding Pattern on April 10, 2018, 03:07:57 PM
Yes it is true.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Civil_Air_Patrol#Coastal_Patrol
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: I_Am_Twigs on April 10, 2018, 03:14:36 PM
From my understanding we did not bomb the U-boats, we only found and reported them.

I'm not an expert on it so don't take my word for it!
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: SarDragon on April 10, 2018, 03:42:55 PM
Oh, we most certainly threw bombs at them, but the reports of actually sinking two subs were exaggerated.

Go here. (http://history.cap.gov/capnhp)
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Sriracha on April 10, 2018, 04:32:10 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: abdsp51 on April 10, 2018, 04:37:46 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

Been proven as false...
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: LSThiker on April 10, 2018, 04:38:40 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale.

More like, we have no evidence for sinking any submarines other than lore.  Critically disabled another is debatable with shaky evidence to no evidence to support it. 

But we most definitely dropped bombs.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Sriracha on April 10, 2018, 04:49:33 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale.

More like, we have no evidence for sinking any submarines other than lore.  Critically disabled another is debatable with shaky evidence to no evidence to support it. 

But we most definitely dropped bombs.
Thank you, I wasn't aware. I figured it was a bit of a tall tale. But, in regards to dropping bombs, we definitely did. Actually, I beleive one of the squadrons by the shore here in NJ has it featured on their squadron patch.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Eclipse on April 10, 2018, 05:03:33 PM
Thank you, I wasn't aware. I figured it was a bit of a tall tale. But, in regards to dropping bombs, we definitely did. Actually, I beleive one of the squadrons by the shore here in NJ has it featured on their squadron patch.

No one ever called into question that there were coastal patrols, bombs dropped, and those pilots
risked their lives from several vectors (not the least of which was wiring a bomb to the
bottom of a plane never intended for that purpose).

The veracity of the claims regarding the kills were called into question for decades,
culminating with what was essentially an admittance by the NHQ History Directorate
a few years ago that no hard evidence of this exists.

That is why it's been quietly removed form the verbiage of ad copy, tags lines, and
press releases.  There is still plenty around about the flights and the patrols,
but little about "sunken subs" anymore.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: MacGruff on April 10, 2018, 06:42:49 PM
Also, they were not flying Cessnas at the time...  but now I'm just quibbling...
 >:D
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: PHall on April 10, 2018, 07:03:53 PM
Also, they were not flying Cessnas at the time...  but now I'm just quibbling...
 >:D

That and we dropped the bombs. Even a 50 pounder is too big to toss out a door or window.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Dwight Dutton on April 10, 2018, 09:25:08 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale. Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

When I was a cadet in New Jersey in 1974 I actually got to know the pilot who did that.

So we did have at least one confirmed kill.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: LSThiker on April 10, 2018, 09:34:55 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale. Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

When I was a cadet in New Jersey in 1974 I actually got to know the pilot who did that.

So we did have at least one confirmed kill.

Unfortunately the evidence from the Navy’s Sea Diaries, the German U-boat records, and the Army Air Force inspection reports all indicate that CAP never sunk a submarine. All German U-boats have been accounted for and no U-boats were sunk in the area during 1942. Now, what the the famous First Kill story seems to indicate is that the crew dropped a bomb on the already sunken SS San Jose, which was in the exact area as the recorded bomb drop.  The first depth charge was dropped at 39° 21’ 5" N; 74° 13’ W, while the second was dropped at 39° 20’ N; 74° 11’ W.  While the crew, Farr and Haggin, did earn Air Medals, they did not earn it for that event on 11 July 1942, rather they earned the Air Medal for other sorties.

So at best it is just lore and falls into the fog of war. Unless you have more solid evidence than a story from a person years after it happened. I would be happy to hear about it.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Eclipse on April 10, 2018, 09:44:31 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale. Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

When I was a cadet in New Jersey in 1974 I actually got to know the pilot who did that.

So we did have at least one confirmed kill.

Knowing someone who says the sank a sub ≠knowing someone who actually sank a sub.
The claims were made for years, despite very thin evidence that didn't hold up to scrutiny.

That's despite any number of very enthusiastic people, both a part of CAP and outsiders, who
worked actively over the years to either debunk or confirm the assertions.

By some accounts the number of people claiming to have served during Vietnam increased
between the 90's and 2000' census to a number almost 4MM more then actually served.

I have personally known a number of high-profile "claimers" who, when scrutinized, were found to
be lacking evidence, even to the point of being exposed as stealing valor.

With all that said, that doesn't mean it's not possible, it means there is no verifiable evidence
to the claim.  It also doesn't mean your friend was lying, if either he believes he did,
or he did with no evidence.

But absent evidence, it's only a claim.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: SarDragon on April 10, 2018, 10:30:10 PM
Also, they were not flying Cessnas at the time...  but now I'm just quibbling...
 >:D

Actually, according to documents I've seen, there were a few Cessnas out there, too.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Sriracha on April 10, 2018, 10:35:32 PM
Also, they were not flying Cessnas at the time...  but now I'm just quibbling...
 >:D

Actually, according to documents I've seen, there were a few Cessnas out there, too.
I thought those were L-4 grasshoppers and piper cubs, as I know those were widely used, but I'm not sure.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: SarDragon on April 10, 2018, 10:55:36 PM
Also, they were not flying Cessnas at the time...  but now I'm just quibbling...
 >:D

Actually, according to documents I've seen, there were a few Cessnas out there, too.
I thought those were L-4 grasshoppers and piper cubs, as I know those were widely used, but I'm not sure.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

In the stuff I slogging through now, there is more mention of Stinsons and Wacos than anything else. They were faster, and had farther range than the Pipers (L-4 = military designation of the J-3 Cub). Load capacity was also a factor.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Sriracha on April 10, 2018, 10:58:49 PM
Also, they were not flying Cessnas at the time...  but now I'm just quibbling...
 >:D

Actually, according to documents I've seen, there were a few Cessnas out there, too.
I thought those were L-4 grasshoppers and piper cubs, as I know those were widely used, but I'm not sure.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

In the stuff I slogging through now, there is more mention of Stinsons and Wacos than anything else. They were faster, and had farther range than the Pipers (L-4 = military designation of the J-3 Cub). Load capacity was also a factor.
That would make sense. After all, the Cub was a civilian aircraft in a wartime role, it wasn't designed to carry bombs. Anything with more cargo or loading space would be exponentially better that job.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: SarDragon on April 10, 2018, 11:39:10 PM
NONE of these planes were designed to carry ordnance of any kind. "Good olde American ingenuity" was used to design bomb racks and other related devices to allow the flyers to accomplish their mission. If you go to the link I posted above, and surf around a bit, you will find several (many?) hours worth of reading on the Coastal Patrol effort.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Sriracha on April 10, 2018, 11:42:15 PM
NONE of these planes were designed to carry ordnance of any kind. "Good olde American ingenuity" was used to design bomb racks and other related devices to allow the flyers to accomplish their mission. If you go to the link I posted above, and surf around a bit, you will find several (many?) hours worth of reading on the Coastal Patrol effort.
Thank you for posting that, they're always interesting reads. I'm currently posting on my phone, but I'll be sure to read it when I get to my computer.

Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Dwight Dutton on April 11, 2018, 01:44:04 AM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale. Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

When I was a cadet in New Jersey in 1974 I actually got to know the pilot who did that.

So we did have at least one confirmed kill.

Unfortunately the evidence from the Navy’s Sea Diaries, the German U-boat records, and the Army Air Force inspection reports all indicate that CAP never sunk a submarine. All German U-boats have been accounted for and no U-boats were sunk in the area during 1942. Now, what the the famous First Kill story seems to indicate is that the crew dropped a bomb on the already sunken SS San Jose, which was in the exact area as the recorded bomb drop.  The first depth charge was dropped at 39° 21’ 5" N; 74° 13’ W, while the second was dropped at 39° 20’ N; 74° 11’ W.  While the crew, Farr and Haggin, did earn Air Medals, they did not earn it for that event on 11 July 1942, rather they earned the Air Medal for other sorties.

So at best it is just lore and falls into the fog of war. Unless you have more solid evidence than a story from a person years after it happened. I would be happy to hear about it.

I meant I knew the guy who Bombed the whale......
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: MisterCD on April 11, 2018, 08:19:50 AM
While researching CAP matters for a paper I presented at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Military History, I finally located records identifying the two incidents that appear to form the basis of the Civil Air Patrol's coastal patrol claim of "damaging or destroying" two enemy submarines. While the one event is well-known (11 July 1942 off Atlantic City) the other was forgotten and or lost until a month or two ago.

The two incidents forming the basis of the CAP claims are:

- 10 July 1942 from Coastal Patrol Base No. 5, Flagler Beach, FL (three 100-lb AN-M30 general purpose demolition bombs, most likely a Fairchild 24 with a brace and either another Fairchild 24 of a Stinson Voyager 10A; this is only an estimate and not to be taken as exact fact on the aircraft involved)

- 11 July 1942 from Coastal Patrol Base No. 1, Atlantic City, NJ (two 325-lb Mark 17 depth bombs from a Grumman G-44 Widgeon flying boat)

This information does not change what I have already determined from CAP, USAAF, USN, and German records: CAP did not sink or damage any enemy submarines during World War II. The USAAF and USN did not credit CAP during the war with damaging or destroying anything. The Tenth Fleet logged both of these July 1942 events as either "Insufficient Evidence of Presence of Submarine" or "Insufficient Evidence to Access." Using German records, I can state that there were U-boats patrolling in the areas of the attacks - U-89 for the CP-1 attack area, U-134 for the CP-5 attack area - but war diaries for both boats do not record hearing or experiencing any attacks during the days of the attacks. For the Type VIIC boat, U-89, there is no mention of sighting any aircraft or experiencing attacks on 11 July 1942. For U-134, another Type VIIC submarine, the war diary on 10 July 1942 records "No traffic, slight air, mostly float planes. From [Cape] Canaveral to the south heavy air surveillance.  Aircraft fly at night with set lights and sometimes search the water with searchlights." The two CAP attacks both occurred during the day, as CAP coastal patrol did not fly at night.

To add to the intrigue, CAP compiled and published statistical data on 20 October 1942 about its coastal patrol operations. This data included a report for the period of 25 June - 29 July 1942 of two "enemy craft definitely damaged." By April 1943 in a special report on all of CAP's wartime activities, this internal CAP statistic had changed to "2 enemy submarines have been damaged or destroyed by CAP bombs." The brief version of the report rephrases this to report "CAP planes have dropped 81 bombs against enemy submarines and are credited with destroying or damaging two." No new evidence was provided or is known to exist to support the shift from "damaged" to "damaged or destroyed." Postwar this changed to "destroyed/sank" two submarines - again, with zero supporting evidence. The Allied Antisubmarine Assessment Committee that evaluated all U-boat attacks never credited CAP with any attacks resulting in damage or destruction of U-boats.

Why the shift for CAP from “damaged” to “destroyed?” The shift seems to originate with CAP National Headquarters, specifically the writings of Captain Kendall K. Hoyt - founder of the cadet program. Hoyt served as the intelligence/public affairs officer for NHQ, while Col Harry Blee was operations officer overseeing coastal patrol. I have not encountered any documents attributed to Blee listing anything other than "damaging" submarines. I have a theory and or hunch that Hoyt changed the claim to frame the coastal patrol accomplishments in a better light. Postwar, NHQ public affairs appears to have dropped the "damaged or" element and instead reported "sank/destroyed two submarines."

The CAP attack claim of 10 July 1942 from Coastal Patrol Base No. 5 is not listed in the Eastern or Gulf Sea Frontier War Diaries; additional information may lie in the Seventh Naval District War Diary. The Tenth Fleet files list two different incident reports for the 10 July 1942 event but under two separate dates (10 and 11 July). My hope is to find more details about the event and what exactly transpired. Whatever the records hold most will not change the ultimate conclusion that no enemy submarines were damaged or destroyed. Overall, this particular detail of CAP history provides an interesting "lesson learned" about how a public affairs statement can be altered to the point that the true narrative of an event is lost and a desired, albeit inaccurate, narrative substituted.

But moving back to the 30,000 foot level, two incidents must never define what CAP accomplished from March 1942 to August 1943. Although the CAP claims of damaging or destroying U-boats are at present disproven, CAP coastal patrol service provided a valuable deterrent and served as an integral component to the nation’s overall antisubmarine defense plan. CAP aircraft safely escorted untold numbers of American and Allied merchant ships along the nation’s coastlines, enabling passage to ports in the European and Pacific theaters of war. The untold numbers of men, ships, and war materiel that safely left American factories to defeat the forces of Germany and Japan owed a debt of protective gratitude to the CAP which cannot be calculated, either in dollars, lives, or the months of bloody fighting saved. It was not the primary duty of CAP coastal patrol aircrews to sink submarines. Rather, CAP coastal patrols were flown to deter and inhibit enemy submarines from sinking merchant vessels off the nation’s coasts. The CAP accomplished this mission in conjunction with the nation’s armed forces, and together ensured the safety of the nation’s coastal waters in the critical period after entry into World War II.

There is quite more to the story that can be factored in such as technical information about ordnance, training for and bombing techniques, availablilty or existence of bomb sights, etc. but in the interest of brevity I'll leave that be. When I have more time my intention is to release a monograph just examining the CAP submarine damage/destruction claim.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Holding Pattern on April 11, 2018, 11:36:15 PM
We sunk 1, critically disabled another, and I've heard we killed a whale. Sent from my HTC U11 life using Tapatalk

When I was a cadet in New Jersey in 1974 I actually got to know the pilot who did that.

So we did have at least one confirmed kill.

Unfortunately the evidence from the Navy’s Sea Diaries, the German U-boat records, and the Army Air Force inspection reports all indicate that CAP never sunk a submarine. All German U-boats have been accounted for and no U-boats were sunk in the area during 1942. Now, what the the famous First Kill story seems to indicate is that the crew dropped a bomb on the already sunken SS San Jose, which was in the exact area as the recorded bomb drop.  The first depth charge was dropped at 39° 21’ 5" N; 74° 13’ W, while the second was dropped at 39° 20’ N; 74° 11’ W.  While the crew, Farr and Haggin, did earn Air Medals, they did not earn it for that event on 11 July 1942, rather they earned the Air Medal for other sorties.

So at best it is just lore and falls into the fog of war. Unless you have more solid evidence than a story from a person years after it happened. I would be happy to hear about it.

I meant I knew the guy who Bombed the whale......

A claim with the same level of evidentiary problems.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Dwight Dutton on April 12, 2018, 05:14:11 AM
A claim with the same level of evidentiary problems.

Actually worse, the whales did not keep military loss records.

At least in 1974 every senior member in NJ wing was convinced it was true.   But such could just be the stories one tells to 16 year old cadets, which is what I was at the time.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: lordmonar on April 12, 2018, 06:35:00 AM
And a lot of this just points out how difficult it is to be a Historian and how important collecting and preserving all those records are.....even the stupid, lame, daily "No Contact" reports.

And for the record....confirming kills and getting good Battle Damage Assessments is still very hard to do today.

After Conflict reviews of both our and enemy forces records almost never match up.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: LSThiker on April 12, 2018, 09:56:04 AM
And a lot of this just points out how difficult it is to be a Historian and how important collecting and preserving all those records are.....even the stupid, lame, daily "No Contact" reports.

And for the record....confirming kills and getting good Battle Damage Assessments is still very hard to do today.

After Conflict reviews of both our and enemy forces records almost never match up.

Exactly.  I am sure that the reports I submitted while overseas have some errors in them.  Perhaps some day decades from now, someone will be sitting there debating about an error I have made in my reports that does not align with some other command's mistake.  :)
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: THRAWN on April 12, 2018, 10:22:57 AM
It might not have been a mistake, but perhaps it was intentional misinformation. Over 70 years later, this still keeps coming up. Has it influenced how our enemies viewed and reacted to our civilian population and their potential/perceived/actual role in national defense? Was it part of a legitimate campaign of propaganda to influence the Axis and later Warsaw Pact forces? Or is it just a really good sea story?
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: kwe1009 on April 12, 2018, 10:46:51 AM
It might not have been a mistake, but perhaps it was intentional misinformation. Over 70 years later, this still keeps coming up. Has it influenced how our enemies viewed and reacted to our civilian population and their potential/perceived/actual role in national defense? Was it part of a legitimate campaign of propaganda to influence the Axis and later Warsaw Pact forces? Or is it just a really good sea story?

I'm pretty sure our enemies have even less of an idea of who CAP is and what it may or may not have done than most Americans.  The only time I ever heard about CAP's involvement in national defense it was coming from a CAP source.  I'm sure the Germans were aware of CAP doing sub watch duties but were more concerned with getting spotted by them than getting bombed by them.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: Mitchell 1969 on April 12, 2018, 05:42:07 PM
It might not have been a mistake, but perhaps it was intentional misinformation. Over 70 years later, this still keeps coming up. Has it influenced how our enemies viewed and reacted to our civilian population and their potential/perceived/actual role in national defense? Was it part of a legitimate campaign of propaganda to influence the Axis and later Warsaw Pact forces? Or is it just a really good sea story?

I'm pretty sure our enemies have even less of an idea of who CAP is and what it may or may not have done than most Americans.  The only time I ever heard about CAP's involvement in national defense it was coming from a CAP source.  I'm sure the Germans were aware of CAP doing sub watch duties but were more concerned with getting spotted by them than getting bombed by them.

Which leads into the other vague, yet incredibly specific claim regarding U-Boats.

I’m referencing, of course, the oft-repeated tale involving a captured Kriegsmarine officer who supposedly was asked what made the U-Boat campaigns end.  The answer was “It was because of those [darn]ed red and yellow airplanes!”

In different versions of the story, the German officer is a Kriegsmarine officer, a former U-boat captain, a German admiral and, in one version I saw multiple times, even Dönitz himself.

I don’t believe that’s why they left the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. I don’t believe any German officer ever said it. I’m pretty much convinced that the story was the result of a “latrineogram” passed along from CAP member to CAP member, finally making its way into “Flying Minute Men” and from there becoming a combination of service pride, holy writ and, ultimately, official history.

If anyone has an accurate and factual source for the story as being true, I’d like to hear about it.


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Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: AdAstra on April 12, 2018, 07:13:47 PM
A few years ago, I came across Neprud's manuscript and notes for "Flying Minutemen" at the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB. I managed to look through less than half of it and made some photocopies before running out of time. Plus, at the time I wasn't specifically looking for the source of that quote. But it's gotta be in there....

Mitchell 1969, you're a lot closer to Montgomery than I am at the moment. Feel up for a field trip to track it down??
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: NIN on April 12, 2018, 07:25:27 PM
 I'm at Maxwell right now,  but no time on the agenda to see the AFHA folks
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: SarDragon on April 12, 2018, 10:02:46 PM
I will be going there in July. Let's get some ducks in a row as to who to talk to, and what to ask for.
Title: Re: CAP History of taking out German U-boats
Post by: OldGuy on April 12, 2018, 11:15:12 PM
Flying Magazine Jan 2003 article (https://tinyurl.com/R-Y-airplane)

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=585474 (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=585474)

[edited top link because of profanity filter]