When WWII came to the east coast of Florida, it wasn’t in the form of grainy newsreel footage – instead, smoke and flames polluted the sea and filled the horizon. Beaches were strewn with oil, boat parts and drowned and charred bodies. The residents watched and wondered if the German U-boats would turn toward them. And then later in the war, see the German POWs working in the sugar fields not far from unnerved homemakers.
In the first weeks after Pearl, the enemy subs began their deadly missions. A US Navy report read: “Nowhere else in the world could Germany find such a concentration of ships in such a small area.” Within 4 months, 24 ships, 16 from Cape Canaveral to Boca Raton, were sunk, sometimes hours apart.
The number of military bases jumped from 8 to 172, seemingly overnight. Hotels and other facilities were…
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