Watching X Company, I was reminded of the Battle of the St. Lawrence, when German U-boats patrolled the Gulf and mouth of the river during the Second World War in search of Allied ships to sink. In Tuesday’s new episode of Hell Below, attacks are ordered along the east coast of the United States in an attempt to threaten the war effort.
In “Hitler’s Revenge,” airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel Canada, the German Commander of U-boats, Karl Dönitz, wanted to follow up the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor—which caused the U.S. to enter the war—with a full-scale assault along the eastern seaboard. With men like Kapitanleutnant Reinhard Hardegen at the helm of U-123, Dönitz hoped Hardegen and the captains of four more Type 9 submarines would get the job done via Operation Drumbeat. There’s a ton of interesting facts revealed in the episode, including background into Hardegen’s pre-submarine war career, the truly awful conditions inside the U-boats and the lengths crews would go to make 80-day missions aboard them somewhat livable.
There are plenty of action and tense moments. The plan to attack off the coast of New York City is so rushed no accurate maps of the water depth are available and Hardegen has to resort to a city guide and map to figure out what The Big Apple looks like. As with past episodes of Hell Below, stunning recreations, CGI and real war footage bring these harrowing tales to life.
Is Hardegen’s mission a success? Tune in to find out.
Hell Below airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel Canada. You can watch past episodes via Smithsonian Channel Canada’s website.