This map of German submarine operations in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II demonstrates how close the war really was to home. In the summer of 1942, U-boats in the Gulf sank fifty-eight ships, forty-one in May alone. Of the twenty-four U-boats that passed through the Gulf of Mexico during the course of the war, only three failed to make it back into the Atlantic. One such submarine, designated U-166, sank just forty-five miles from the Louisiana coast on July 30, 1942, to remain undiscovered until 2001.
In 1986, Carl D. Vought made this facsimile map, charting the paths of U-boats operating within the Gulf of Mexico during the war. As the map shows, the Port of New Orleans served as a point of convergence for U-boat activity. The list at right details the ships sunken as a result of U-boat activity; black crosses mark the locations of the sunken U-boats.
Citation 1: 
1986; lithograph
Citation 2: 
by Carl D. Vought, draftsman
Accession #: 
gift of Carl D. Vought, 1991.156
Ashton Robinson, Tulane University