135: German Attack on U.S. Mainland

German submarine U9 (1914) 1914 photograph.
A 1914 photograph of German submarine U9. (Photo via Wikimedia)

On July 21, 1918, the only German attack on U.S. soil during World War One occurred.

Here are a few facts about the attack on Orleans, Massachusetts and other attacks on the American mainland.

First, German submarine U-156 fired on a tug boat and barges from about three miles off the coast of Cape Cod, with some shells landing on the shore. The Americans responded with dive-bombers dropping loads of TNT. The submarine headed north, where it attacked other American and Canadian ships. It was the first foreign shelling on the American mainland since the Siege of Fort Texas during the Mexican-American war in 1846.

Second, the U.S. mainland would come under enemy fire again during World War Two when Japanese submarines shelled Fort Stevens near the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon and Ellwood, California, near Santa Barbara.

Third, the Japanese also attempted to cause forest fires in the U.S. by using incendiary bombs and other bombs carried by balloons. Six people died when a child tampered with a balloon bomb found near Bly, Oregon, on May 5, 1945, they were the only Americans killed in the continental United States as a direct result of enemy action.

Our question: Who directed the movie “1941” which was a comedy loosely based on the shelling of Ellwood, California?

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