July 21, 1918 – Attack on Orleans
Today in 1918, while visitors prepared to end their Cape Cod vacations, German submarine U-156 appeared off the shore of Orleans, Massachusetts. Skippered by Captain Richard Feldt, whose orders were to cause as much schrecklichkeit or fearfulness as possible, began his attack along the North American coast. SM U-156 destroyed several barges and fired deck guns upon the town, the U-boat struck fear in the hearts of Americans, who now experienced the U-boat terror first hand. The attack on the barges severely injured two men and caused minor injuries to another.
Eventually United States pilots counter-attacked the submarine, forcing the SM U-156 to dive and retreat. With great luck, everyone survived the attack and all the shells missed the town. Even today, a marker designates the beach and marsh where the shells hit the coast.
This attack on American soil represented the first attack on mainland United States since the Siege of Fort Texas in 1846.