North Atlantic Weather War

World War II in the Arctic

the Arctic 1943.1022

North Atlantic Weather War

Arctic disputes, Winter War, Weather War, World War II, Cold War, Climate Change (22 October 1943)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

Increasing Allied dominance of the Arctic also gave them a massive advantage in meteorology - storms would often arise in this region and placing weather stations in the Arctic was the most accurate way of forecasting when these fronts would hit Europe. As weather data was not only vital for planning convoys, bombing raids, and amphibious assaults, but also predicting when they might occur, the Germans made continuous attempts to covertly place manned and unmanned weather stations in the far north, especially in Svalbard and Greenland.

Main Events

Battle of the Komandorski Islands

The United States and the Empire of Japan fought a naval engagement south of the Komandorski Islands, Soviet Union. Although both fleets suffered damage, the Japanese were forced to withdraw, ending their attempts to resupply their garrisons in Attu and Kiska.

Battle of Attu

United States forces landed on Attu Island, Territory of Alaska, defeating the strongly entrenched Japanese occupation force over the following weeks.

Operation Cottage

United States and Canadian forces landed unopposed on Kiska Island, Territory of Alaska. Despite the Japanese garrison having departed two weeks earlier, confusion, mines, and thick fog would lead to over 300 casualties during the securing of the island.

Operation Zitronella

In Operation Zitronella, 600 German soldiers supported by the battleships Tirpitz and Scharnhorst and nine destroyers attacked Free Norwegian positions on Spitsbergen Island in an eight-hour raid. After briefly seizing installations at Barentsburg and destroying coal depots and other facilities, the Germans withdrew. At the same time, under cover of the attack, the Luftwaffe installed a weather station on Hope Island.

Bassgeiger weather station

A German meteorological expedition established Bassgeiger weather station at Kap Sussi on the north tip of Shannon Island, Greenland; in the process wrecking their ship Coburg off the Shannon coast. The station survived under difficult conditions for about nine months, eventually being evacuated by air after a clash with the Northeast Greenland Sledge Patrol in April 1944.

Schatzgräber station

The Germans established the Schatzgräber ("Treasure Hunter") meteorological station on Alexandra Land, in the Soviet archipelago of Franz Josef Land. After most of the expedition were stricken with trichinosis after eating raw polar bear meat, the station was abandoned and the survivors evacuated.

Weather Station Kurt

In the only known armed German military operation on the North American mainland during World War II, a German U-boat crew erected automatic Weather Station Kurt (Wetter-Funkgerät Land-26) in northern Labrador, Dominion of Newfoundland. After the war, the station was forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1977.

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