Historic battles, daring rescues, and covert missions—the untold story of the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II
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Americans called it “Torpedo Junction,” Germans “Devil’s Gorge,” but historians know it as the Battle of the Atlantic—the Allied struggle to move desperately needed supplies from America to Europe through devastating assaults by German U-boats, ships, and aircraft. Now for the first time, Bloodstained Sea describes in vivid detail the heroic actions of the Coast Guard ships that defended Allied convoys en route through the North Atlantic to England and Russia.
Eyewitness accounts assembled from hundreds of interviews propel the reader into the thick of a battle. There, courageous but overmatched Coast Guard escorts braved the torpedo attacks of U-boat wolf packs to rescue thousands of men while thousands of others perished. Told in the voices of the men who lived it, this epic drama reveals the indomitable fighting spirit of the World War II Coast Guard.
“We weren’t too far from Ireland when we saw a lifeboat and the red lights on the lifejackets of the men. We got on the lee side and let the boat drift down next to ours to pick them up. When we got them alongside, they all got excited aboard and went to one side. A wave came along and capsized the boat. That’s the last we saw, the lights drifted back and that’s the last we saw of them. We picked up only one guy, one British merchant seaman he was.
“I was talking to him aboard ship. He wanted to give me something, but he didn’t have anything; he lost everything he had. So he cut a button off his coat and gave it to me just to remember that he was the only survivor we got off his ship. I still have that button.
“Back then, you took it in stride you know, just part of the routine. You picked up whoever you could and let go of the rest.”
Ed Tritten, Boatswain’s Mate,Coast Guard Cutter Ingham