The Battle of the Atlantic Project (2008-2014) was a multi-year, multi-institutional project led by NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and focused on research regarding the maritime history and archaeology of ships and shipwrecks lost off North Carolina’s coast during the Second World War. Since 2008, two programs at the Coastal Studies Institute have been involved with academic research, education, and outreach on this topic.
Staff of CSI’s Maritime Heritage Program collaborated on the creation of research designs for expeditions occurring in 2008, 2011 and 2012. In 2009, Drs. Nathan Richards (CSI MH & ECU’s Program in Maritime Studies) and Dr. Tom Allen were awarded a grant from ECU’s Coastal Maritime Council to collect baseline historical and geospatial data pertaining to the extent of the NC battlefield. In 2010, the same team were awarded a large grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program (part of the National Park Service) to aid in the identification and assessment of WW2 shipwrecks off the coast. This project happened in tandem with NOAA’s remote sensing operations. This project culminated in a major report focused on the delineation KS-520 convoy battle.
Additionally, over the period 2010-2016, Dr. Richards advised six MA’s in the Program in Maritime Studies on subjects connected to Battle of Atlantic datasets. These ranged from examinations of the geospatial extents of the entire theater and reconstructions of particular conflicts, to studies of the adaptation of naval technologies during conflict and site-specific examinations of certain shipwrecks.
The data collection phase began to wind-down in 2014, with additional thesis research and publications likely to emerge from the datasets over coming years, as a new series of NOAA-led “Battle of the Atlantic” expeditions focused on the First World War continues.