War Zone is a history of the time the enemy entered America’s front door unhindered, when the United States suffered but overcame the German U-boat menace. For seven months, black smoke and orange flames from torpedoed vessels filled the ocean skies from New England to New Orleans. Explosions rattled window panes and the nerves of coastal residents. Beaches were awash with wreckage, oil, empty lifeboats, and bodies. The majority of these attacks occurred off the North Carolina coast.
A gripping panorama, War Zone tells the story of the shameful betrayal of merchant sailors, of young Coast Guard recruits watching helplessly as sailors plunged into pools of burning oil, and of the baby born in a lifeboat. Learn about the intrepid men and women who defended America in little boats and in small planes; the truth behind the famous phrase “Sighted sub, sank same;” and the children who spied on German spies. Discover the real story behind the legends of secret agents, midget-submarine landings, a busload of naked Nazi U-boat POWs at New Bern, and the shelling of a chemical plant on Kure Beach. Follow the accounts of three climactic engagements between U.S. forces and German U-boats off the North Carolina coast with the Battle of the Atlantic hanging in the balance; and the time a tearful son from England visited his father’s grave on Ocracoke Island for the first time in 62 years.
This is the classic American story told from the perspective of everyday people who daily faced daunting challenges with perseverance, patriotism, and uncommon valor. Shocking, emotionally stirring, humorous, and ironic, War Zone preserves these memories of the greatest generation of Americans living on the coast of North Carolina in 1942.
Kevin Duffus is a real-life history detective, a researcher, a filmmaker and an author. In 2002, Duffus solved the long-standing mystery of the lost 1854 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Fresnel lens and rescued the artifact that has since been described as a national treasure. Duffus’s research has produced stunning revelations and added new perspectives to traditional accounts of North Carolina’s maritime history featuring pirates, shipwrecks, German U-boats and lighthouses. He is the author of The Lost Light—A Civil War Mystery, Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks—An Illustrated Guide, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate, and War Zone—World War Two Off the North Carolina Coast. Duffus presents informative, entertaining lectures on maritime history throughout the U.S. He lives in Raleigh.