July 23, 2009 12:57 PM Subscribe
Relying on depth to avoid detection is a submarine's greatest ability, so the shallow water of our nation's rivers doesn't seem to work within a sub's advantages (just don't tell Kentucky). During WWII, however, the waterways of North America were exactly what U.S. submarines needed in order to avoid detection. The shipyards of Manitowoc, Wisconsin produced submarines for the war effort, but getting them to the sea proved difficult. German U-Boats waited outside the St Lawrence to torpedo any ships leaving the Great Lakes for the Atlantic. The submarines, instead, went cross-country - over two dozen subs were towed through the Heartland during WWII over several years, making their way from the Great Lakes, through Illinois and passing Peoria via the Illinois River, then entering the Mississippi River and past Cape Girardeau, where they entered the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans. Four of the subs were lost in battle, the rest scrapped over the next fifty years, and none ever saw St Louis again.
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