Sunken Nazi Sub Claim is Questioned
BOSTON (AP) _ A former U.S. Navy blimp pilot says he dropped a bomb that blew a hole in a Nazi submarine off Cape Cod in October 1944. Now, the pilot’s commanding officer and other aviators from the same squadron are blowing holes in his story.
Ed Michaud, a commercial diver, claimed recently to have found the sub four miles off Cape Cod in 41 feet of water. Michaud said Joseph Fallon, 72, told him he piloted the blimp that sank the submarine on Oct. 28, 1944. The blimp was one of eight in Squadron ZP-11 out of South Weymouth.
Retired Capt. Robert Connor, the squadron’s executive officer in 1944, said Fallon’s account was untrue.
″I can flatly state that there was no sub sunk in that area at that time,″ Connor said Friday.
″I certainly would have known if there had been an attack close in shore on the Cape by anything, because that was our responsibility,″ said Connor, a career officer who retired as assistant secretary of the navy in charge of operations.
German Embassy officials also have doubts about Michaud’s claim.
″We have inquired back home with our U-boat register,″ said Ekkehard Brose, the spokesman. ″Our register seems to suggest that the last known position of that U-boat was just off Iceland.″
A spokesman for Michaud said the sinking of U-1226 was an official secret because it was a spy submarine.
″What I know from Joe Fallon is that when he filed his report on the sinking of that vessel, the Office of Naval Intelligence removed the report and he was told not to discuss it. That’s why there wouldn’t be a record of it,″ said Ted Agne of ″Divers Down,″ the syndicated sport diving television show that plans to document Michaud’s find.
Michaud was in meetings Friday and couldn’t be reached. He said last week that he had located the boat and that sonar images confirmed it was a submarine. But he has not yet made a dive to confirm his find.
Michaud has been secretive about details of the submarine’s history and its current location, saying he doesn’t want scavengers finding it. Michaud told The Boston Herald Friday he had disclosed the location to the U.S. government and asked for help in protecting it.
Michaud and ″Divers Down″ also had attempted to keep Fallon’s identity a secret.
Michaud said earlier this week that the pilot told him he was patrolling with his five-man crew when they were directed to the surfaced U-boat, which was sending an urgent radio message home to Germany.
Fallon said Friday he was the pilot of the airship that dropped a depth charge on the submarine.
″They asked me where it was and I put my finger right on it, and they said that was it,″ he said.
A former Navy intelligence telegrapher also said he had listened to the transmission that Michaud claims alerted U.S. forces to the U-boat’s presence.
″I was in the radio shack at the time the transmission was intercepted,″ said Preston Howley, 68, who said he was based on Cape Cod.
″It was an hour later when I heard one of the (intelligence) chiefs say, ’We nailed one of the bastards,‴ Howley said.
But Tom Fucile, a former crew chief with the squadron, said: ″I was there, and if somebody had done that, even if they were told to hush it up, sooner or later, somebody would have said something.″
Two other former blimp pilots in the squadron, Bob Forand and Grant Southward, also disputed Fallon’s account.