Navy Captain Gets Credit for U-Boat Hit, 72 Years Later

Pentagon sets record straight, posthumously, for Herbert Claudius
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2014 5:31 PM CST
This photo provided by the National World War II Museum shows the German U-boat U-166.   (AP Photo/National World War II Museum)

(Newser) – In 1942, a US Navy captain named Herbert Claudius managed to sink a German U-boat that had just attacked an American passenger ship off the coast of Texas. This week, the Navy finally got around to thanking him, posthumously, reports National Geographic. Cladius told his superiors after the battle that he thought he had destroyed the U-166 because he saw oil and debris surface. But his superiors, thinking he was incorrect, actually sent him back for training on how to battle submarines.

Claudius has since been proven correct, thanks in part to the work of underwater explorer Robert Ballard, who found the U-boat on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, right where Claudius said it should be. It had suffered damage consistent with the depth charges set off by Cladius' vessel. His ship "did sink that U-boat, and it's never too late to set the record straight," said Navy chief Ray Mabus at a ceremony this week. A U-boat expert tells National Geographic: Claudius "should have returned home a hero, but he was humiliated and sent back to school." (Read more U-boats stories.)

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