"When the war broke out, we had to protect the ships in the Gulf because they were sinking them all during the night time," says retired Coast Guard Senior Chief George Boggs. He's talking about the German U-boats that set up shop in the Gulf and were sinking about a hundred ships off the coast in 1942. Coast Guard planes were being called on to protect merchant ships.
Senior Chief Boggs was a radioman onboard one of those amphibious planes, and on August 1, 1942, just two days after it sunk its last merchant ship, the U-166 met up with Boggs' plane. "We saw something up on the surface we took the glasses and looked and it actually was a submarine, so we started preparations for the attack."
The U-166 started to submerge and in doing so allowed the amphibious plane to dive attack the sub without being shot down by the U-Boat's deck guns, which Boggs says would have knocked them out of the sky.
"When the submarine just broke the surface we dropped a depth charge on him, when we dropped the bomb it was from 250 feet, and it exploded."
When the plane circled back, there was no wreckage on top of the water, but they did see a small oil slick. In a report filed by the pilot on the day of the attack he said he was confident it was a direct hit. Boggs and the pilot were sure they sunk the U-Boat, but just last week, it was confirmed when the wreckage was found in the Gulf almost 60 years later.
"One of the guys from Germany called me two days ago, and I told him there was no doubt in my mind that I sunk the thing, but it's good to have it clarified."