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What Taffy discovers is a ring of Nazi spies, and it is up to her to help the Coast Guard capture them. Partly based on a true story, the book is a tribute to the courage of the people who lived near "Torpedo Junction", a real place just off Cape Hatteras where German U-boats sank more than sixty American ships in just six months in Convert currency.
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Back in print A longtime favorite of several generations of Tar Heels, Taffy of Torpedo Junction is the thrilling adventure story of thirteen-year-old Taffy Willis, who, with the help of her pony and dog, exposes a ring of Nazi spies operating from a secluded house on Hatteras Island, North Carolina, during World War II. For readers of all ages, the book brings to life the dramatic wartime events on the Outer Banks, where German U-boats turned an area around Cape Hatteras into 'Torpedo Junction' by sinking more than sixty American vessels in just a six-month period in Taffy has been enjoyed by young and old alike since it was first published in Seller Inventory AAC More information about this seller Contact this seller.
Seller Inventory Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is working days from our warehouse. Incredibly unprepared for war, American officials had failed to order a blackout of the Atlantic coast. City and harbor lights lit up the Tar Heel shoreline. Prowling German submarines caught their prey silhouetted against the illuminated horizon.
Allied ships were also easy victims for other reasons. Their convoys were unescorted by warships, they failed to take evasive action like zig-zagging while running the gauntlet off the North Carolina coast, and they filled their radio transmissions with information about their cargoes and destinations. Even American naval vessels foolishly radioed their positions and departure dates, to the delight of the listening Germans. People living next to the shore heard the explosions and watched the fires burning at sea.
As the destruction continued, death tolls ran high. The total number of deaths mounted as the U-boats repeatedly moved in for the kill. They were sailors who could withstand danger, cramped quarters, and long hours of tension. In less than three months the U-boats sank fifty large vessels off the Tar Heel coast. So far not a single submarine had been destroyed. By mid-April, , however, the tide of battle began to shift in Torpedo Junction. The United States and its friends slowly developed methods to combat the sinister undersea boats. The American government finally ordered a blackout of the eastern coastline.
Great Britain dispatched a number of armed trawlers to search for U-boats off North Carolina. United States Navy and Coast Guard planes patrolled for submarines, and ship convoys adopted protective maneuvers.
ISBN 13: 9780807846193
American mines and nets blocked the approach of submarines and provided safe anchorage at Cape Lookout. Depth charges dropped by the coast guard explode in the Atlantic during a sub hunt. Coast Guard photo. With the enactment of these antisubmarine measures, the scene was set for the first sinking of a German U-boat by an American vessel during World War II. Depth charges from the destroyer tore apart the submarine.
Taffy of Torpedo Junction : Nell Wise Wechter :
These American successes did not halt entirely the destruction of Allied shipping off North Carolina. Between May and July, , twelve vessels were sunk, a number by German mines. Nevertheless, from the end of July, , to the close of the war, the Germans managed to sink only a few ships in North Carolina waters. According to David Stick, an authority on North Carolina ship disasters, eighty-seven vessels were lost off the Outer Banks during the war.
Two thirds of these went down during torpedo attacks by U-boats. The others struck mines, were stranded, or foundered at sea. One of the least-known stories of World War II is the internment of more than four hundred thousand enemy soldiers from Germany, Italy, and Japan on American soil. By the end of the war in , the United States government had established base camps and more than branch camps for prisoners of war POWs in forty-five of the forty-eight continental states the exceptions were North Dakota, Nevada, and Vermont. Most of these facilities went up in the South and Southwest, which offered isolation, security, and a warm climate.
The War Department eventually set up seventeen base and branch camps across the state at the following sites:. The United States generally treated POWs well and hoped that the Axis governments would reciprocate by treating American soldiers fairly. POWs in this country were housed either in tents with wood heaters or in heated barracks constructed from pine lumber and covered with tar paper siding and roofs.
The prisoners, most of whom were German, were astonished by the amount and quality of the food they received. During their free time, they formed music bands, worked on art projects, grew flower and vegetable gardens, and played their favorite sport from back home—soccer. They were initially imprisoned at Fort Bragg, where this photo was taken. Army photo. The Geneva Convention also allowed captor nations to employ POWs as long as the men were well cared for and did not work in war-related jobs.
Consequently, enemy prisoners became an important source of labor in the United States, which faced a shortage of manpower caused by military enlistments and conscription. Others cut timber for pulpwood or labored on military bases. Prisoners hired out to private contractors earned the same pay as regular workers.
However, they received only eighty cents per day, which went into their personal savings accounts or into coupons for use in the base canteen to purchase items such as candy, soft drinks, cigarettes, and soap. The remaining money from their labor went back to the United States government, and much of it was used to provide libraries, recreational equipment, and other comforts in camp.
Many of the German soldiers captured early in the war were members of the elite Afrika Korps, and they believed strongly in a Nazi victory.
Taffy of Torpedo Junction (Chapel Hill Books)
Those captured later had experienced firsthand the devastation brought on their country by the Allied armies, and they thought German defeat was inevitable. These two factions often clashed over their political views, and violence erupted in some camps. As the Allied victory approached, the War Department began to reeducate German POWs, teaching them about democracy and the American way of life before they returned home. At Camp Mackall in Richmond and Scotland Counties, prisoners organized political parties and voted on issues to understand the democratic process.
POWs at Camp Butner north of Durham learned about tolerance when a local Jewish merchant provided them with hard-to-find band equipment. After viewing films of liberated concentration camps, one thousand men at that camp removed their uniforms and burned them in outrage.
Yet some prisoners pointed out that widespread discrimination against African Americans and other minorities existed in the United States. With the return of peace, POWs in the United States continued to work until the American army was demobilized and the many thousands of veterans reentered the work force. Some German prisoners were moved to England or France for a year to help rebuild those shattered countries, but by most had returned home. Despite the large number of enemy soldiers in this country, few attempted to escape, and even fewer succeeded. Federal prisons saw more escape attempts than POW compounds during that time.
Most escapees were caught within a day or two, but Kurt Rossmeisl managed to avoid capture. Rossmeisl walked away from Camp Butner on August 4, , and caught a train to Chicago. There he lived under the name Frank Ellis, obtained a social security card, found employment, and even joined a local Moose lodge.
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Tired of being on the run and fearful of capture, Rossmeisl finally turned himself in on May 10, , fourteen years after the end of the war. One German POW escapee remains unaccounted for today.
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