LONG ISLAND DURING WW II

NEWSDAY COVER, DECEMBER 7, 1941Introduction

Long Island during the World War II years ... it wasn't all sunny Fire Island beaches, regattas, and croquet parties on the lush green lawns of the Hamptons. The island was a hotbed of war-related activity. Camp Hero, a few miles southwest of the Montauk Point lighthouse, was the site of several massive 16-inch coastal artillery batteries designed to protect the Atlantic approaches to New York Harbor. (A submarine watch tower still shares space on the point with the historic lighthouse, and a concrete observation bunker that tumbled off the cliff remains in situ at its base, part of the wall built by Army engineers to protect the point from further erosion by the action of the wind and sea.) Mitchel Field was a major point of embarkation for aircraft bound for the European Theatre of Operations; thousands of bombers and fighters, like the P-38 Lightnings depicted below, were flown to England from there to stock the newly forming squadrons of the 8th and 9th Air Forces being arrayed against the Third Reich. P-38 LIGHTNINGS (28 K) Moreover, there was the massive plane-building operations of Grumman and Republic, the vital economic lifeblood of the Island. The latter developed the famous P-47 Thunderbolt in its Farmingdale, LI facility and Republic test pilots logged thousands of hours above Long Island's farmland, beaches, and towns. Several U-boats (including at least one Type VIIC, as depicted below) now lay off the island in relatively shallow waters, victims of the ever-watchful coastal defenses. U-BOAT (12 K)

In this special presentation from Skylighters, you'll journey back in time to places like Camp Upton, one of World War II's largest reception centers, where hundreds of thousands of GIs, fresh from induction centers, stripped to their scivvies for their first Army physicals. To the bucolic Suffolk County town of Yaphank, where, during the 1930s, members of the German-American Bund walked down streets named after Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels and held rallies that rivaled those in cities and towns back in the Fatherland. To famous Montauk Point, where the Navy maintained a seaplane base and tested new torpedoes. To Camp Hero, where batteries of 16-inch guns were concealed from enemy eyes by a fake fishing village! And, finally, to the resort village of Amagansett, where four Nazi saboteurs were landed by submarine in the Summer of '42 with to carry out a two-year mission of destruction and terror.


Featured Stories

NAZI SABOTEUR GEORGE JOHN DASCH (13 K) Installment 1
George John Dasch and the Nazi Saboteurs
Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, 1942, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York, from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, primers, and incendiaries to support a planned two-year career in the sabotage of American defense-related production. What happened? Let's find out!

CAMP UPTON (20 K) Installment 2
Camp Upton, U. S. Army Reception Center
Amidst the desolation of Long Island's Pine Barrens, a windy, sandy place in the geographic center of the island, the Army, for two World Wars, maintained one of its largest reception centers. After recruits passed their physicals, especially in the New York – New England corridor, they were sent to Upton to take more tests to determine what branch of service they were suited for. Ask any WW II veteran about "Tent City" at Upton, and he'll either smile or curse. Ask any one who went through Upton or any reception center about the "shortarm," and he'll probably curse. What is left of Upton today? Let's find out!


Coming Soon

  • Goose-Stepping in Yaphank?
  • Floyd Bennett Field (Brooklyn IS on Long Island, after all!)
  • Camp Hero and the Eastern Coastal Defenses
  • Mitchel Field
  • Grumman & Republic: The Wartime Aviation Industry on Long Island
  • U-Boat Activity Off Long Island
  • The Navy at Montauk: Seaplanes, Torpedo Testing, and the ONI