St. Simons Island in Glynn County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
S.S. Oklahoma and Esso Baton Rouge
Attacked by U-123
After midnight on April 8, 1942, the German submarine U-123 was in position off the St. Simons Island sea buoy. Minutes later it chased and torpedoed two tankers, the Oklahoma and Esso Baton Rouge, killing twenty-two crew members. Survivors were brought here to the U.S. Coast Guard Station for debriefing. Five of those killed were buried in Brunswick's Palmetto Cemetery as "Unknown Seamen," but were positively identified in 1998. The ships were raised, towed to Brunswick for emergency repairs and reentered into service. Both ships were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean before the end of World War II.
Erected 2000 by The Georgia Historical Society and The Propeller Club of the United States--Port No. 91, Brunswick, Georgia. (Marker Number 63-3.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Heroes • Military • Notable Events • War, World II • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Georgia Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 8, 1942.
Location. 31° 8.741′ Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4201 First Street, Saint Simons Island GA 31522, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Demere Road (approx. half a mile away); Battle of Bloody Marsh (approx. 0.8 miles away); A Clash Of Cultures (approx. 0.9 miles away); Fort Saint Simons (approx. 1.1 miles away); Delegal's Fort (approx. 1.1 miles away); Old Spanish Garden (approx. 1.3 miles away); Slave Cabin (approx. 1.3 miles away); St. Simons Park (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Simons Island.
Regarding S.S. Oklahoma and Esso Baton Rouge . German U-boat commander: Oklahoma was "a sitting duck" (by Bill Hendrick; The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, February 14, 1999)
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Glynn County War Memorial
Also see . . .
1. Esso Baton Rouge. Uboat. net (Submitted on November 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
2. Oklahoma, excerpt from Uboat.net,. The torpedo struck the engine room and she quickly settled by the stern
In the meantime, the U-boat had torpedoed the Esso Baton Rouge at 08.44 hours, which caught fire and sank in shallow waters and then returned to finish off the Oklahoma with gunfire. Twelve rounds were fired and five hits scored on the bridge and bow after which the tanker caught fire. The survivors of both ships headed together for the Georgia coast. The next morning a US Coast Guard boat took them in tow and landed them at Brunswick. (Submitted on November 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
3. American Merchant Marine at War,. (excerpt The Atlanta-Journal Constitution http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/) This is the story of the Georgians who solved the mystery of the SS Oklahoma and its unnamed dead.
Between January and May 1942, 82 American vessels hauling badly needed war supplies were sunk by German submarines, often close to the U.S. coast -- including six off Georgia and Florida. (Submitted on November 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
4. Operations information for U-123. Kriegsmarine and U-Boat history. Unlike the Oklahoma and Esso Baton Rouge, the U-123 survived the war and was used by the French until 1959. (Submitted on November 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,700 times since then and 24 times this year. Last updated on January 25, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 3, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.