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Wartime USN Captain Finally Exonerated

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, May 7, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    The fog of war made clear again.
    "The reputation of a disgraced wartime navy captain has been restored, thanks to the discoveries of a documentary featuring the finder of the Titanic.
    For more than 60 years, Captain Herbert G. Claudius was blamed for letting a Nazi U-boat ‘get away’, after it sank the Robert E. Lee passenger freighter in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942.
    But an undersea expedition – aided by Dr Robert Ballard who rediscovered the Titanic 30 years ago – has revealed the first published pictures of the submarine’s wreckage, showing how bombs dropped by Cpt Claudius’ crew successfully sunk the attacker U-166.
    Oceanographer Dr Robert Ballard, who discovered Titanic's wreck, was part of an Ocean Exploration Trust crew that filmed the remainder of the U-166 German submarine after an expedition in the Gulf of Mexico
    'Nazi Attack on America', which premiered on PBS on Wednesday night, reveals how the discovery has helped restore Captain Claudius' reputation, after evidence first emerged in 2001 that the U-boat had been destroyed.
    Captain Claudius passed away in 1981, but his son received a Legion of Merit medal in December for his wartime service.
    Speaking to NBC News, Dr Ballard said there 'wasn't a dry eye in the house' when navy secretary Ray Mabus presented the medal.
    'This really brings closure to a story that began a month before I was born, 73 years ago', he added.
    U-166 was part of the Nazi's Operation Drumbeat, which during 1942 saw a fleet of German submarines torpedo shipping boats in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as drop off spies to the east coast of the USA.
    On July 30, 1942, the Robert E. Lee passenger ship carrying 407 people was sunk by a torpedo dispatched from U-166.
    Exploring of the successfully sunken Nazi U-Boat, the U-166
    Captain Claudius and his men pursued the submarine after the attack and dropped depth charges, but the German u-boar never surfaced
    The US team declared victory and set about rescuing passengers from the sunken ship - but days later, 140 miles, there was another sighting of the deadly Nazi submarine.
    Captain Claudius was reportedly hauled in front of his bosses to be reprimanded for letting the U-boat get away, and he was ordered to return to naval college.
    Twenty years after he died, the US Navy's marine archaeologists received evidence than the remains of a German U-boat had been found close to where the Robert E. Lee sank."
    KodiakBeer likes this.
  2. Sandwichery

    Sandwichery Active Member

    Mar 9, 2013
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    Redding, Calfornia
    Better late than never I guess. Not sure who these posthumous awards, apologies, etc. ever benefit. The persons directly involved are past caring. This guy in all likelihood went to his grave believing that he did his job, no matter what the bureaucrats thought.
  3. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

    Mar 19, 2010
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    Speaking for family survivors and friends.........although it is the individual who performs the heroic acts in warfare......so often it is a result of the upbringing, friendships, brotherhood and so many familial influences that inspire that individual we must appreciate all the ingrediants that may contribute to the acts performed by that great individual. I am happy when survivors receive their due "closure" for what they were in sometimes, a voiceless influence, in the acts that got performed.

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