Posted: Jul 15, 2014 10:19 PM by Trey Schmaltz
VENICE- As river boat pilots board ocean-going ships to help guide them upriver, a group of explorers and researchers are working some one-hundred or more miles south, dropping camera equipment nearly a mile to the bottom of the Gulf to look at wreckage that has become a war grave for pilots who never made it to port during World War II- their ships torpedoed and sunk by Nazis in U-Boats who sailed across the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, and a team spent the week exploring the Gulf from Texas to Louisiana to Mississippi. The group is documenting the Gulf floor, specifically looking at the wreckage of the SS Robert E. Lee and the German U-166.
U-166 sank the SS Robert E. Lee, killing 25 people, in July 1942. Soon after, U-166 was attacked by a Coast Guard escort vessel and sunk.
Today, the wreckage of the two vessels are relics of a battle few realize was fought right off the coast.
"Everyone thought the war was fought over there, as they would say," Ballard said in an interview with KHOU TV in Houston. "But Hitler brought the war to our doorstep."
The group, part of the Ocean Exploration Trust, documented what is left of the firefight of 72 years ago.