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Giant mine depot in Yorktown spurred by WWI U-boat menace

Giant mine depot in Yorktown spurred by WWI U-boat menace

A century after President Woodrow Wilson seized more than 11,000 acres for what is now Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, it can be hard to understand the urgency behind his Aug. 7, 1918, proclamation commandeering this giant swath of York County for the largest Navy base in the world.

But just a year earlier he had delivered a defiant speech on the deck of a battleship in the York River, pledging to crush the German U-boat menace that had not only driven the Atlantic Fleet behind the anti-submarine net there but also come close to defeating Great Britain.

And a pioneering counter-weapon the Navy devised to “shut the hornets up in their nest” had given birth to a new kind of...

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