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Waterway and Maritime Disasters

German U-boat mine blasts brought Battle of the Atlantic to Hampton Roads

German U-boat mine blasts brought Battle of the Atlantic to Hampton Roads

Two minutes after 5 p.m. on the afternoon of June 15, 1942, thousands of startled spectators from Virginia Beach to Old Point Comfort saw the Battle of the Atlantic come to Hampton Roads in a spectacularly violent fashion.

Steaming in as part of Convoy KN-109 from Key West, the 11,615-ton tanker Robert C. Tuttle exploded on its starboard side, spewing out a plume of smoke so dark and high that it could be seen at the Hotel Chambelin many miles away.

Thirty minutes later, the 11,237-ton tanker Esso Augusta was rocked by a similar blast on its port side, sustaining damage so severe that it lost its steering and...

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