For thirty years few Americans were aware of how very close WWII German submarines were to the East coast of the United States. Ocracokers knew, because from their front porches they could periodically see huge plumes of black smoke rise up from the ocean after an attack.
In more recent years the situation has become more widely known.
From January to July, 1942 397 ships, mostly merchant vessels, were sunk or damaged off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States by German U-boats. More than 5,000 people, primarily civilians, were cut down, drowned or burned when their ships were attacked. The heaviest concentration of destruction was off the Outer Banks. This is generally considered the greatest single defeat ever suffered by the American Navy. The debacle has even been referred to as the "Atlantic Turkey Shoot."
On this date in 1942 the tanker "E.M. Clark" was "lost" offshore of Ocracoke.