John M. Wagner
WAVES OF CARNAGE: A HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL, AND GEOGRAPHICAL STUDY OF THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC IN NORTH CAROLINA WATERS.
(Under the direction of Professor Nathan Richards) Department of History, Program in Maritime History, April 2010
By the end of World War II, the waters of North Carolina were littered with the hulks of merchant vessels and German U-boats as well as the bodies of sailors from many different nationalities.This wreckage and loss of life attest to the carnage wrought by the German submarines in the waters of North Carolina, which were the deadliest waters along the American East Coast during the war.Although much previous study into the Battle of the Atlantic has focused on the vessels lost along the American Coast, the battle was not devoid of other phenomenal accounts of survival, defensive operations, and additional war-related tragedies.It is the compilation of all of these events that provide a broader understanding of the U-boat war off the coast of North Carolina.
This thesis uses statistical and geospatial analysis of the events occurring offshore to provide a more complete view of the battle and to determine the boundaries of this maritime battlefield.Through the use of tangible evidence of the war such as shipwreck locations in conjunction with the intangible evidence of the battle including routing orders, attack reports, and survivor rescues, this thesis examines the historical events and behavioral trends that shaped the geographical extents of the engagement.