Sand pounders? What are they?  Tools for creating a sand sculpture? Some new social media? I had come across the phrase while doing some research for something I was writing that involved World War II.

The Coast Guard Beach Patrol, eventually known as Sand Pounders, began in June 1942 in response to the threat of a German coastal invasion. The three main purposes were to “detect, observe and report offshore enemy vessels; to report enemy landing attempts; and to prevent people on land from communicating with the enemy at sea.” The threat of a coastal invasion by Germany was real to American citizens. German U-boats were a threat to ships crossing the Atlantic and were detected off the Eastern Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. There was also the fear of invasion on the West Coast by the Japanese.

Coast guards would often be mounted on horses or on foot and were armed with radios and weapons. Those on horseback could cover ground more quickly and efficiently and usually work in pairs. Those on foot were often accompanied by dogs who could aid in detecting and protecting. German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers and Airedales were used, with the German Shepherd the preferred breed.

At its height, the Beach Patrol consisted of around 24,000 men who protected 2,700 miles of coastline from potential enemy invasion; the patrols ended in 1944 when preparations for the Normandy invasion began. While the Coast Guard is not often given as much mention in World War II as perhaps the other military branches, the Beach Patrol played a vital part in protecting the United States coast from enemy attack.

35 thoughts on “SAND POUNDERS

  1. Loved this piece of historic information Jo… I had not heard of this term, but then I do live in England lol.. Here we had the ‘Dad’s Army’ They were the United Kingdom’s Home Guard as the reserve volunteers kept vigil and trained local butchers and bakers and local men etc to defend if need be their homeland in case the Germans invaded. Many were not equipped with riffles.. Thankfully our shores were never breached, or this may have had a different ending..
    Loved reading .. Thank you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hadn’t heard of the Sand Pounders. Even if invasion wasn’t likely, espionage was a very real possibility. My dad was born in New Orleans in 1938, and he remembers, as a little boy, hearing about U-boats near the mouth of the Mississippi. They sank 56 ships, most in the spring and summer of 1942. One U-boat was sunk, U-166, after it sank the passenger ship Robert E. Lee on June 30, 1942. U-166 was sunk by Navy boat PC-566, which had been escorting the Robert E. Lee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had not hear of Sand Pounders, but had read of German U-boats being sunk off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. I may do another post and focus on the sinking of the U-boats. There were so many, I will have to focus on one. Maybe I will check out the one you mentioned that sank the Robert E. Lee.

      I wanted to credit these photos but could not find anything. These two photos were found in more than one place. Any ideas? Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You might send them to the fellow known as Traces of Texas. He’s all about Texas history, and immensely knowledgeable; he’s written for Texas Monthly, etc. I came across him on twitter, but he also has this website. There’s contact information there, but there’s also a forum where you might find someone who knows more about the photos.

        This really is fascinating. I’d never heard of the Sand Pounders; what an interesting part of our history.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The photos were probably released by the Coast Guard to news organizations with the stipulation that the Coast Guard be referenced if the photos were republished. In all other respects I think they would have been considered in the public domain.

        Liked by 1 person

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