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24 Jul 2023
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The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras Village is still closed as work continues on enlarging and improving the display area. But with the addition of a WWI German 88 millimeter deck will greet visitors as they walk up the front steps.

In WWI and WWII German U-Boats plied the waters off the Outer Banks, wreaking a horrific toll in lives and shipping. Although German U-Boats may have had this type of rapid firing cannon as a deck gun, there is no evidence that this particular weapon was ever on a German submarine.

According to historians, the gun most likely originated from one of the German battleship SMS Ostfriesland. The ship was declared surplus by the terms of the 1918 Armistice and given to the victorious allies—the United States, France and England. The ship eventually was given to the US Navy and the Army Air Corps for a bombing demonstration.

The Navy and Army were convinced that bombs could not sink a modern battleship. General Billy Mitchell disagreed, and over two days, July 20 and 21, 1923, he proved them wrong off the cost of Virginia when bombers under his command sank the  Ostfriesland,

Army and Navy high command called foul, saying he did not follow the rules of the demonstration.

Although whether the gun came from the Ostfriesland is an educated guess, it is known that after WWI the gun was a lawn ornament decorating the front yard of Josephus Daniels. Daniels was the Secretary of the Navy during WWI, although in North Carolina he is probably best known  as the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer.

So much history and so much to explore on the Outer Banks from Corolla to Hatteras. Be sure to play your next Brindley Beach Vacations getaway as soon as you can.