32nd Fighter Squadron the Wolfhounds

Canal Zone – Soesterberg / Camp New Amsterdam – Ramstein

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Battle of the Caribbean


Battle of the Caribbean


The Caribbean was due to its oil fields, oil refineries and the Panama Canal of great military
strategically significant.
The two small Dutch islands Curacao and Aruba, home of two of the largest refineries in the
Caribbean, was therefor of great interest, both by the Allies and by the Axis powers.
Germany declared war on the United States, four days after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on
December 07, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II.

Shortly after the United Stated State Department had sent a delegation,
after an invitation of the Dutch authorities,
German submarines opened Operation Neuland (New territory) in the Caribbean.

The first offensive against the Caribbean refineries was organized by the Germans under
Operation Neuland , by sending five U-boats, U-156, U-67, U502, U-129 and the U-161,
to the Caribbean.
The first three U-boats launched simultaneous attacks on February 16, 1942.

The U-156, under the command of Werner Hartenstein, entered San Nicolas harbor on Aruba
and torpedoed three oil tankers, the Pedernales, Oranjestad and the Arkansas.
U-156 then attempted to shell the Aruba refinery with its 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun,
but the gun barrel burst when the first shell detonated within the barrel because the
gun crew failed to remove the tampion.
The oil tankers Pedernales and the Arkansas was damaged but later repaired.
One torpedo ended up on Eagle Beach, close to the pier, unexploded.
The next day during a demolition attempt, the torpedo unexpectedly exploded killing four
and wounding three bystanders.

The U-67, under the command of Günther Müller-Stöckheim, entered Willemstad harbor on
Curaçao to launch six torpedoes and hit three oil tankers., the Rafaela was damaged but later

The U-502 under the command of Jürgen Von Rosensteil sank the oil tankers Tia Juana, San Nicholas
and Monagas between Lake Maracaibo and Aruba (narrow passage in the waterway) .

The oil fields, oil refineries nor the Panama Canal was directly affected by the German attacks.

As a result of the attacks, an increased American co-operation with the islands in the Caribbean
began, for its protection.

The USAAF assigned the Sixth Air Force in February 1942, for the responsibility for the aerial defense
of the Caribbean and the Panama Canal, expecting a possible attack of Germany or Japan.
The same month the Sixth Air Force established the Antilles Air Task Force with its headquarter
at Borinquen Air Base, Puerto Rico.

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Antilles Air Command Patch




This Air Task Force operated from scattered airfield throughout the Caribbean,
including the airfields on Curacao and Aruba.
One of the Squadrons assigned to the 6th Air Force was the 32nd Pursuit Squadron
“The Wolfhounds”

The 32nd Pursuit Squadron / Fighter Squadron the Wolfhounds would be operation
the entire WW2 in the Caribbean, hunting for Axis Naval vessels,
especially for German U-boats (wolfpacks, The term wolfpack refers to the
mass attack tactics against ship convoys used by German U-boats) and
Japanese activity in the Caribbean and the Panama Canal.





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