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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name U -85, shipwreck and remains
Reference Number 15000805
State North Carolina
County Dare
Town Nags Head
Street Address Offshore
Multiple Property Submission Name World War II Shipwrecks along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico
Status Listed 11/12/2015
Link to full file
The Type VIIB German submarine U-85 is significant to American maritime history, military, and historic archaeology as the first U-boat sunk during World War II by United States Naval forces off the American East Coast. U-85 is one of a number of shipwrecks associated with the Battle of the Atlantic off the United States East Coast and Gulf of Mexico that together become an assemblage of historic properties that collectively tells a more complete story of this significant period in American history. In order to make these broader connections to our maritime landscape individual properties like U-85 are examined and characterized and weaved into the larger story. Once the United States entered World War II Germany extended its handelskrieg (trade war) to American shores by dispatching U-boats across the Atlantic Ocean to sink Allied merchant shipping. For a brief period in early 1942 German U-boats attacks went unchallenged, but by the spring of 1942 U.S. and Allied forces started to gain the upper hand and deter and even sink a number of U-boats including U-85. On 14 April 1942 the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Roper fired on U-85 and sank it off North Carolina while the submarine was on its fourth war patrol. All 46 of U-85 crewmembers perished. U-85's archaeological remains are significant at the national level under National Register of Historic Places Criteria A and D with the period of significance being the year 1942.

Any Associated Files
World War II Shipwrecks along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria