‘Duel in the Deep’: When Jersey Sailors Stopped a Nazi Submarine From Their ‘Tin Can’ Destroyer

Local veteran and writer David Sears details a harrowing story of NJ heroes in World War II's Battle of the Atlantic.

David Sears, published by Naval Institute Press

Garden State history buffs have two reasons to pick up Duel in the Deep (Naval Institute Press). The new book by David Sears vividly portrays real-life military events, and those battles depended upon the bravery of New Jersey’s finest Navy sailors.

Bob Maher hailed from Kearny, and Jim Allegri and Eddie Johnson were from nearby Nutley, says Sears. In December 1940, a year before Pearl Harbor, Bob, Jim, Eddie and dozens of other Jersey boys from Hoboken, Jersey City, Lyndhurst, Montclair, North Arlington, Rutherford and Verona stepped aboard Borie, an aging, outmoded U.S. Navy destroyer whose thin hull and deck plates revealed why destroyers were jokingly reviled as “tin cans,” he says.

[RELATED: Point Pleasant Veteran’s D-Day Efforts Lauded as Crucial to U.S. Military History]

In this, his fifth book, Sears describes how these Greatest Generation heroes volunteered for the U.S. Navy ahead of the prewar draft, but few received proper uniforms, basic training or seagoing know-how. But, beginning in January 1942, Nazi submarines—U-boats—prowled off Garden State shores, savaging merchant ships and crews.

With the Eastern Seaboard unexpectedly thrust into the Battle of the Atlantic, World War II’s longest and fiercest sea campaign, these Jersey boys saw battle in October 1943 in a high-seas fight to the finish against U-boat submariners in the deepest waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

A decorated naval officer and Vietnam veteran, Sears has appeared on the History Channel.

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