World Battlefronts: AT SEA: War on U.S. Shipping

The Japanese attempted last week to do what the Germans did in World War I. Then German U-boats slipped boldly into U.S. waters, clipped cables, laid mines, sank an estimated 170,000 tons of shipping. The Japanese hoped by the same means to divert U.S. naval strength, to cripple U.S. merchant shipping, to fan U.S. war jitters with repeated, savage submarine attacks on West Coast merchant vessels. The initial Japanese showing was dismal.

In repeated attempts from Dec. 18 to Dec. 25, submarines off the California coast sank but one U.S. vessel, damaged two, cleanly missed six. The Japanese could blame the...

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