Monday, July 4, 2016

Land of the Free Because of the Brave

Battle of the Atlantic
4th of July

This July 4th, we enjoy a holiday here in the United States.  It is a time when families get together, have picnics,It should also be a time when we remember... 
and enjoy some fireworks. 

Why Are We Free?

Hopefully the answer to that question is obvious.  The brave men and women of the armed forces have kept us free for centuries.   In this article, we focus on just one event in our history that made a big difference.

U-505 Submarine

U-505 National Landmark 

U-505 AnchorThe U-505 Submarine is a National Landmark and a permanent memorial to the Americans who perished at sea during both World Wars.  It can be seen at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, IL.

This anchor, removed from the boat during bow repairs, is placed in the museum as an additional symbol of the bravery, commitment, and sacrifice of those Americans.

Besides the boat itself, the capture of the U-505 produced 900 pounds of code books and documents, as well as two Enigma machines - making it the largest intelligence seizure in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Tale of Two Men & Two Flags

U.S.N. Captain Daniel V. Gallery was in command of the USS Jenks the day that the U-505 was captured.  The 48-star U.S. flag shown in this picture was flying over the Jenks that day.

The ship assisted in the rescue of the German U-505 sailors that had abandoned ship per the order of their Captain, Harald Lange, who had instructed them to scuttle the boat.

The Nazi flag shown here was a spare flag that was found on the U-505 after capture.  There were two different sized flags flown on the U-505.  This variety would have flown on the bridge when the vessel surfaced.

Dangerous Mission

Until the time of the U-505 boat's capture, no German U-boat had been recovered by the U.S. Navy.   Even this one could have been lost except for the action of several brave sailors.

The Germans had started the process of scuttling the boat which means it was taking on water rapidly. In addition, there were several charges placed around the boat timed to explode to finish the deed.   They had found all but one of the known explosives when they came to this front hatch.   They were unable to steer the boat, so they needed to get inside the hatch to manually steer it via the black wheel you can see at the opposite end of the hatch.  Two volunteers stayed on the U-505 and slowly opened the hatch.  Fortunately, the explosive wasn't armed correctly, and it did not explode.   The U-505 was a prize catch during the Battle of the Atlantic and these sailors were just a part of that story.

In Memory of All that Lost their Lives at Sea

As we've traveled across the globe, there have been many reminders from the World Wars and other battles that have shaped our history for us to explore.   Museums such as @Msichicago can open the  cover to the pages of the past.   We highly recommend taking advantage of opportunities to explore history during your travels.

For larger images, click on the pictures. 
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Thank you to all the Brave Men & Women who have kept us FREE.   Happy 4th of July.

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