“Operation Drumbeat”

Today in History, July 19, 1942:

Admiral Karl Donitz is forced to call off “Operation Drumbeat”, recalling Nazi U-Boats assigned to the American coast.

In the months after America’s entry into the war, there were no convoys along the coast and coastal cities did not engage in “black outs”. This meant merchentmen sailing the American coastline were sillouetted by city lights, making them easy targets.

Donitz ordered the long range submarines he had at hand to attack merchant shipping along the coast, and they sank 297 merchantmen by June.

The Americans finally got a convoy system in place, utilizing destroyers and patrol craft. As it became increasingly difficult for U-Boats to prey on US merchants, and as the patrol craft began taking the fight to the Nazis, Donitz called his subs off, sending them back to the North and Mid-Atlantic.