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Old 01-26-2020, 12:17 AM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
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Jan 26th, 2020 : Last Surrender

One factor, maybe the biggest, the military dealt with in WW II was the weather.
You can’t shoot what you can’t see, move in a muddy morass, ships go bump in the night, and bombing... fugetaboutit!
Planning for it rather than reacting to it was a huge tactical advantage.



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By August 1941, the Allies had captured many weather stations operated by the Germans on Greenland and on Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard Archipelago in Norway. These stations were critical because the air over Svalbard told a lot about what was coming over the North Atlantic and continental Europe. Spitsbergen was an especially important location as it enabled the Germans to monitor weather conditions on the Allied convoy route to northern Russia.


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The Germans made many attempts to set up weather stations on Spitsbergen, but all failed or fell to the Allies. In October 1941, the Nazis established a reporting station in Spitsbergen, but this was chased away by British warships the following month. A second station was established at Ny Alesund in 1941 and remained in operation for a year until this too was evacuated.

In September 1944, the Germans set up their last weather station, code named Operation Haudegen, on Nordaustlandet, one of the most remote and northerly of the main islands in Svalbard. A U-boat and a supply vessel deposited eleven men, along with equipment, arms, ammunitions and supplies on the island and hurriedly retreated back to Norway before they could be discovered by Allied warships. The men set up the weather station and erected two inconspicuous flat-roofed huts using wooden panels and camouflaged with white nets.


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Operation Haudegen started in December 1944. Five times a day, the station transmitted encrypted weather forecasts to the German naval command at Tromsø. In addition, once a week, they sent a hydrogen-filled weather balloon to 8,000 meters to obtain data from the upper atmosphere. The remaining time was spent exploring the island and learning about science, geography, philosophy and mathematics from the leader of the expedition, Dr. Wilhelm Dege. The young men built a sauna and helped themselves to the ample food supplies, enjoying delicacies like reindeer meat which most Germans at that time could only dream of in their bomb cellars.
Living Large.



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But of course, life in the Arctic was harsh. Temperatures went well below freezing, there were snow storms and daylight was scarce. Polar bears were another threat. The men had to carry rifles with them every time they went outside. The men had been given rigorous training to deal with the hardship. They learned to ski, rappel down cliffs, build igloos, cook and bake, pull teeth, attend to gunshot wounds, and even amputate frozen limbs.
Still, living larger that the rest of the German military.
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On May 8, 1945, the men received a message from their commanders in Tromsø that Germany had surrendered and the war was over. They were ordered to dispose of explosives, destroy secret documents and send weather reports unencoded. Then there was complete radio silence. The men tried contacting base but there was no reply.
I wonder if Tromsø played, “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”
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They started transmitting their coordinates on the wave lengths the Allies used but no ship or aircraft appeared. The men had two years worth of ration, but the idea of getting stuck on ice for any amount of time held little appeal. The men worried about their families back in Germany, whether they were still alive or killed by air raids. In desperation, they started transmitting on Allied distress channels.
Towards the end of August, a reply was received. Norwegian authorities assured the stranded men that a ship would set sail for Spitsbergen in early September. Their joy was boundless when on the night of September 3rd and 4th, a vessel arrived in the fjord near the weather station. It was a seal-hunting ship that was chartered by the Norwegian navy in order to pick up the Germans.


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The Norwegians came ashore and they all had a big celebratory meal together. Then the commanding officer of the Germans formally surrendered—four months after the war ended—by handing over his service pistol to the Norwegian captain.
"The Norwegian stared at it and asked ‘Can I keep this then?’”, recalled Dr. Eckhard Dege, the son of Wilhelm Dege, the commanding officer. “My father explained that he could because they were surrendering.”
They spent three months in a POW camp then went home, unlike the Japs that stayed their post for 20 years.

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Old 01-26-2020, 12:37 PM   #2
Diaphone Jim
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Six stove pipes in that little shack. Burning what do you suppose?
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:19 PM   #3
xoxoxoBruce
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At one time the was a coal mining industry on those islands but I don't know if is was ever on that particular one.
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