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Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 21:32:42 +0200
I'm working on a history on the nowadays Antartic continent , based partly in "Mountains of Madness" , partly in Glancy's "P-103" , and own paranoid thinkings , using material that comes directly from the source (the dotation of the Biological Investigation Vessel Hesperides , of the Spanish Navy).
Some things that are not mentioned in any Elder Thing's /Shoggoth /Antartica post is the "Operation Highjump". For the unfamiliar , i will say the data :
The max population in antartica , during the summer , never reaches more than 4000 persons nowadays. Normal population are 2700
In 1946, the US Navy began the largest Antarctic expedition ever attempted. Overall command of the operation was placed in the hands of Richard Byrd. The expedition was comprised of 13 ships, 23 aircraft and a total of 4700 men. Task Force 68 was placed under the command of Rear Admiral Richard Cruzen. The expedition was divided into three groups, the Eastern, Western and Central Groups. The Central Group was to penetrate the pack ice and establish a base of operations at the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea. From here they were to make an aerial survey of the interior of the continent while the other two groups sailed in opposite directions around the continent carrying out the same surveying.
Scientific Results : NONE
Official justification : Tests & Training
Suspicious?..i think yes
A conection with P-103 : The sunken a "Pirate" german sub
" In January 1941, German Commander Ernst-Felix KrÃ¼der, aboard the Pinguin, captured a Norwegian whaling fleet (factory ships Ole Wegger and Pelagos, supply ship Solglimt and eleven whale-catchers) in about 59Â°S, 02Â°30'W. The Pinguin was finally sunk off the Persian Gulf by HMS Cornwall on May 8, 1941"
Maybe a supply sub for the Boys in the ice cave….
Another funny things that were in that timeline :
"Also in January , 1947 , famous aviator Eddie Rickenbacker was pushing for American exploration in Antarctica, including the use of atomic bombs for mineral research"
Humm…. A-Bomb's targetting Antarctica in 1947?…sounds familiar };->
Of course , the Brit's don't stand rear…see this :
" The article went on to charge that the British was leading the race by sending a "secret expedition" to occupy Byrd's 1939-41 "East Base" at Marguerite Bay on the Antarctic peninsula."
Yeah! .. Antarctic secret expedition….PISCES was then Shan infected?
ok..let's sit and relax…
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 00:33:29 +0200
In the link below, youÂ´ll find some stuff on german activities in the antarctic around 1940. Hope it will be of use to someone!
From: Michael Layne
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 12:37:03 EST
This would make an interesting "lost expedition" to kick off a DG op to
the Ice Palace tho'.
You asked about HIGHJUMP?
I've been doing a little reading on the expedition over the past six months, and some of this might be useful in comparing the "historical" and "DG" timelines for HIGHJUMP, and for those working to simulate DG operations in the Antarctic during HIGHJUMP…
So I guess my hand is up.. :)
Some of this data was previously mentioned in my post of 5 September 98, some wasn't…
A good source on the web for data on HIGHJUMP is:
http://www.south-pole.com/p0000150.htm This is a stamp-collector's site, but has a surprising amount of information concerning the expedition.
There is coverage of the expedition, including the names of the leaders, a listing of the ships involved, subdivisions of the expedition and the routes they took, a gallery of HIGHJUMP mission photos (at: http://www.south-pole.com/gallery.htm), Antarctic maps (at: http://www.south-pole.com/map.htm), Antarctic exploration timeline (at: http://www.south-pole.com/p0000052.htm), and (http://www.south-pole.com/p0000153.htm) an account (by a survivor of the crash) of the loss of "George 1", one of the expedition's PBM Mariner aircraft. ("George 1" is the one aircraft that the official histories of HIGHJUMP admit to losing — no comment at this point on whether unofficial losses included a few F7F-4N Tigercats, F8F Bearcats, or even XF5U-1 Flying Discs!)
Bigger than any Antarctic expedition before or since, HIGHJUMP involved over 4,000 personnel (some sources suggest closer to 4,700), and some 13 ships of various types. (See: http://www.south-pole.com/hj1.jpg for a picture of some of the ships — in order, the ones depicted in the photo are Northwind, Merrick, Yancey, and Mt. Olympus.) Over a dozen tracked vehicles were carried, including Caterpillar tractors and Weasels. (See: http://www.south-pole.com/hj34)
USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CV-47) (see: http://www.navsource.org/Archives/CV/cv47.htm and: http://www.south-pole.com/philippine.htm) was an ESSEX-class carrier (899 feet, 3,448 men wartime complement (counting air units), 39,800T full load), fairly new at the time (launched in September of 1945, just too late to take part in WWII), which served as RADM Byrd's flagship for at least part of the op. She was armed with a dozen 5-inch/38 dual-purpose guns (in four twin enclosed mounts and four single open mounts), some thirty-two 40mm guns (in twin and quad open mounts), and forty-six single 20mm Oerlikon AA guns. (The five-inch and some of the 40mm could fire under radar control if necessary.) Even with all the AA guns, her major protection, if she came under attack, was considered to be her aircraft. She was "straight-deck", as the angled landing deck so familiar to modern carrier sailors had not yet been introduced.
She carried six ski-wheel equipped R4D Skytrain transports (naval version of the Douglas C-47/DC-3) lashed on deck. These were being transported down to the Antarctic for land-based operations, and would not be able to land aboard the carrier once launched. (See: http://www.south-pole.com/hj54.jpg , http://www.south-pole.com/hj55.jpg , and http://www.south-pole.com/hj77.jpg.) Most likely, it was one of these R4Ds that was involved in Admiral Byrd's mapping flight that reportedly returned 3 hours late, due to severe weather (or encounters with Nazis, or some combination of the two). :)
CV-47 was rated to carry up to 100 aircraft (all considerably smaller than the R4D), in squadrons of Grumman F8F Bearcat and F7F Tigercat fighters (the latter the radar-equipped F7F-4N night fighter version of the twin-engine TIgercat), Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo planes, and Curtiss SB2C Hell Diver dive-bombers (The Navy crews, who perversely preferred the old SBD Dauntless dive-bomber that the Hell Diver had replaced, insisted the designation meant "Son of a Bitch, 2nd Class…).
For HIGHJUMP, many of these aircraft would likely have been left behind, as they could not operate off the flight deck until after the R4Ds had flown off; any remaining would have been struck below in the hangar deck before the R4Ds were lifted aboard by crane at the Navy base.)
In the DG timeline, with Byrd expecting to encounter diehard Nazis down south, more of the planes are likely to have been embarked, together with appropriate ordnance (ammo, rockets, bombs, aerial torpedoes… (I have data on the magazine loadouts of the ESSEX class, if anybody wants to get that detailed:)), and the embarked aircraft might have included "black program" service versions of the Vought XF5U-1 Flying Disc (which would have been appropriate to do battle with the Nazi discs). The Navy's initial jet fighter squadron (VF-17A, flying McDonnell FH-1 Phantoms) wouldn't embark on the "Philippine Sea"'s sister carrier "Randolph" until May of 1948, so all of HIGHJUMP's aircraft would have had props.
A handful of Sikorsky helicopters (see: http://www.south-pole.com/hj27.jpg) were apparently along (the abovementioned graphic shows a helicopter operating off the icebreaker "Northwind" during HIGHJUMP), but helicopters would not figure prominently in Antarctic exploration until Operation WINDMILL (the expedition following HIGHJUMP).
USS CURRITICK (AV-7) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/curritick.htm) and USS PINE ISLAND (AV-11) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/pine.htm) were CURRITICK class seaplane tenders (9,106 T). Designed to support squadrons of seaplanes (in this case Martin PBM Mariners), they were equipped with large stern-mounted cranes (strong enough to hoist a PBM on deck for repairs), and carried a wartime complement of 1,247 each.
USS HENDERSON (DD-785) (see: http://www.plateau.net/usndd/info/infdg785.html and http://www.south-pole.com/henderson.htm) and USS BROWNSON (DD-868) (see: http://www.navsource.org/Archives/DD/DD-868_Brownson.jpg and http://www.south-pole.com/brownson.htm) were GEARING class destroyers (2,425 T), each with six 5-inch guns (in 3 twin mounts), two quintuple 21-inch torpedo tube mounts, and a dozen 40mm AA guns). Capable of 35 knots at full power, each carried 350 men.
USS MOUNT OLYMPUS (AGC-8) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/olympus.htm), was an amphibious force flagship, built on a converted C2-S-AJ1 single-screw freighter hull (7,430 T). Equipped with extensive communications gear and quarters for an amphibious force commander and staff, plus plenty of radio operators, she carried a wartime complement of 633.
USCGC BURTON ISLAND (WAG-88) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/burton.htm) and USCGC NORTHWIND (WAG-282) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/northwind.htm) were two of the seven WIND class icebreakers (3,500 T) built by Western Pipe Co. of San Pedro during and just after WWII. They employed diesel-electric drive, to a pair of main screws, and a bow-mounted screw under the forefoot (which had a habit of breaking in heavy ice, and was later removed during refit). They were heavily reinforced to break ice (by smashing through thin ice, or by ramming thicker ice, sliding partway on top of it, and smashing it down with their weight. The icebreakers were a rough ride, both when breaking ice (for obvious reasons), and in heavy seas (their rounded hull cross-section, with no bilge keels, made them roll heavily). In 1946, these two ships each mounted a twin 5-inch mount (similar to those in the DDs) forward, plus up to a dozen 40mm AA guns, and carried a small helicopter (replacing the floatplane — generally a Grumman J2F Duck — previously embarked) for scouting the best routes through the icepack. This soon after WWII, both icebreakers are very likely to have been in wartime grey, rather than the more familiar white (and later red) their hulls were painted in later years. These were considered to have been some of the best US icebreakers ever built, and the last WIND class vessel was not retired until about 1980.
USS SENNET (SS-408) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/sennet) was a BALAO class submarine (1,525 T surfaced, 2,415 T submerged), launched in June of 1945. Of a type familiar to all of you who have watched WWII submarine movies, she carried 80 men, and could make 20 knots on the surface on her diesel engines (if she used all four of them to run the electric motors rather than charge her batteries), and could make up to 10 knots for short periods submerged under battery power. She had six torpedo tubes forward, four aft, but, while normal loadout for this class of sub is two dozen "fish", she might or might not have carried torpedoes during HIGHJUMP. She was probably not yet equipped with a snorkel. The BALAO class fleet submarines were a development of the earlier GATO class, with the main difference being a thicker pressure hull, rated for 400 feet, rather than the GATO's 300 feet (although in wartime submarines of both classes dived substantially deeper on occasion). (For information on the layout and equipment of a USN WWII fleet sub, check out http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/2560/liontour.html, and http://www.coos.or.us/~ftoon/memory/diagram.html)
At one point during HIGHJUMP, "Sennet" apparently got stuck in the ice, and was pulled free by the icebreaker "Northwind"! (see: http://www.south-pole.com/hj29.jpg)
USS CACAPON (AO-52) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/cacapon.htm and http://metalab.unc.edu/hyperwar/USN/ships/AO/AO-52_Cacapon.html) and USS CANISTEO (AO-99) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/canisteo.htm) were Navy oilers of the CIMARRON class (Type T3-S2-A1; 7,256 T), launched in mid 1943. In response to the Japanese air threat of their era, the CIMARRON class oilers were constructed with one 5-inch gun, and a dozen 40mm guns (by 1946, four of the 40mm had been replaced by two twin mounts of the then-new 3-inch AA gun). The two oilers each carried a crew of 304, and were equipped to refuel other ships underway, at sea. (see: http://www.navsource.org/Archives/Assorted/fuel.jpg and http://www.navsource.org/Archives/Assorted/unrep.jpg)
IIRC, the difference between "tanker" and "oiler", in Navy usage, is that the oiler is equipped to refuel warships underway.
USS YANCEY (AKA-93) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/yancey.htm and http://www.south-pole.com/hj21.jpg) and USS MERRICK (AKA-97) (see: http://www.south-pole.com/merrick.html) were attack cargo ships (Type C2-S-B1) of the ANDROMEDA class (6,556 T). They were built to carry heavy military equipment for a landing force (an attack transport (APA) would carry the troops for a landing), and to land the equipment with their landing craft (15x LCVP, 8x LCM(3), 1x LCP(L)), but, for HIGHJUMP, were serving as supply ships.
(Most of the above ship data is from "US Warships of World War II", by Paul H. Silverstone, the USN's Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS), "American Warplanes", by Bill Gunston, "US Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History", by Norman Friedman, and "Encyclopedia of the World's Warships", by Hugh Lyon.)
Other coverage of HIGHJUMP (not nearly as good — they get ship names and other details wrong, for instance) can be found at:
Case Officers researching Antarctic ops might also be interested in the data at http://www.theice.org which includes "Your Stay at McMurdo Station Antarctica" , and "Your Stay at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Antarctica" — text of the actual orientation manuals issued by USARP.
Another interesting page is http://www.thule.org/snowcruiser.html — it describes the "Snowcruiser", a large wheeled Antarctic vehicle tested by ADM Byrd on an expedition just before WWII. The vehicle was not entirely successful, and the expedition was recalled before any modifications could be made to the machine, which was abandoned on the ice. A later expedition — possibly during WINDMILL — tracked down the "Snowcruiser" and dug it up from beneath the snow, but didn't move it. However, an even later expedition came looking for it, and found it missing! Theories include the piece of ice with the "Snowcruiser" on it breaking off and floating out to sea (something like this happened with a Navy R4D which got set adrift!), or its recovery (and transport eleswhere for testing?) by a Russian expedition… (The "Snowcruiser" may still be parked at one of their out-of-the-way bases, or may be sitting up on blocks in Siberia!):)
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 01:04:29 +1300 (NZDT)
From: Svend Andersen <zn.ca.wuv.snas|dnevs#zn.ca.wuv.snas|dnevs>
Thanks to Michael Layne for the excellent data on the ships of HIGHJUMP. I'm meant to be running a game this weekend based around an incident related to HIGHJUMP, involving American schenanigans in New Zealand territories:
"In March 1947 the icebreaker Eastwind was returning from Antarctica where it had been participating in the US Navy's "Operation Highjump", when it passed through a fairly severe storm which caused slight damage to the vessel. The commanding officer used this as an excuse to put into Antipodes Island without the knowledge or consent of the New Zealand government. The real purpose of the visit was to carry out a survey of the island's topography and resources, presumably to determine its suitablity as a US Naval base. …"
- Protest: Demonstrations Against the American Military Presence in New Zealand.
Now, there was no governmental stink - the US has a bunch of surveilance bases in NZ, and practically runs the GCSB (our equivalent of the NSA), just like Britain had a large hand in setting up the SIS (the internal spy-guys). But I digress…
The scenario I am thinking of running goes something like this: the players are people on the Southwind. I'm going to lay hints that the storm might have been a bit convenient, and that the group of Government Men who are always tucked away in that off-limits cabin might have had something to do with it… (Of course, one of the players will get to be a low ranking Government Man. :)
When the island is actually investigated, it turns out that the Americans were not the first people to think that this would make a good remote base. Just as the Government Men suspected, the Nazis had landed here… (cue Nazi regalia, hastily abandoned camp (a la Marie Celeste?), and one or two Resucitated Casualties… :)
Now, this should get them a bit nervous… and when a search party simply goes missing, they should get even more so. My current feeling is that this island (or whatever was here previous) was considered as a base for things far older than the Nazis, and the unfortunate fascists germinated some kind of Spaceport seed, with attendant shoggoths or what-have-you. This is the haziest bit, and any suggestions are greatfully accepted. Preferably, the players get to try and blow up the cave in which the Space Port has been growing, and Seal The Monstrosity Away For All Time… ;)
Now, there are a few things I'd appreciate help with:
the Government Men - they are likely to be ONI?
how many crew do the Wind class ships take? What kind of military grunts are they likely to pack, and/or what kind of training would the sailors have?
Antipodes Island is a wee hunk of rock in the middle of nowhere - a bit of vegetation, seals, birds, and that's about it. It's called Antipodes Island because it is exactly oposite to Grenwich. I've got a reference that mentions that it's volcanic… does anyone have any other details available? I'll be hitting the library too, of course…
any thoughts on the makers of the Spaceport seed? Or for a more appropriate menace?
Of course, what would then be fun is to run a modern DG game where MAJESTIC is trying to reopen the sealed port… :)
From: Michael Layne
Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 15:56:57 EST
The scenario I am thinking of running goes something like this: the
The two icebreakers involved in HIGHJUMP were the "Northwind" and the "Burton Island".
There is a web site for "Burton Island" at: http://www.discoverynet.com/~greel
This impressive site includes various links, and photos such as a picture of "Burton Island", possibly at the builder's yard, at http://www.discoverynet.com/~greel/ag88_1.JPG.
"Northwind" has one at: http://www.acadiacom.net/edisto/uscgcNWD.htm (the NRFJ was her radio call sign — "Nan Roger Fox Jig" in the phonetic alphabet of the era…) A picture of the "Northwind" in the icepack can be found at: http://acadiacom.net/edisto/images/nrthwnd2.jpg
See also the "Westwind" web site at: http://www.lava.net/~gardiner/westwind (This one includes vital stats and photos) and the "Edisto" site at: http://www.acadiacom.net/edisto/decommissioned.htm.
The bridge and ship's wheel are shown at: http://www.lava.net/~gardiner/westwind/images/helm.html
For those of you interested in such things, check out the "Ship's Store" on the "Burton Island" site for ship's caps (the period one for "Burton Island" would be the AG-88 cap), and a 1/300 scale model of the "Wind" class icebreaker (from Revell, $20.00 incl. shipping, not bad as the kit is apparently now out of production… It could be put in the markings of any of the "Wind" class with a little decal work, and a good enough modeler could probably do the conversion to the early configuration, going from the various photos of "Wind" class vessels on the web and elsewhere…) :)
Are you figuring the High Ranking Government Men _caused_ the storm? I'd think that was beyond even the ability of such "Top Men"! :)
Storms at sea, especially the type that occur in polar latitudes, are no minor matter, even for an icebreaker — perhaps especially for an icebreaker, as their rounded hull form, designed to keep them from getting crushed by the ice, tends to cause them to roll considerably in heavy weather! In the "Screaming 60s" (about 60 degrees South), "Burton Island" rolled 58 degrees during a storm, and she has tilted as far as 65 degrees. Combine this with a period of 7 seconds, and you'll see why some nights aboard her near the ice pack are sleepless… During a cruise in early 1961, the icebreaker "Edisto" was buffeted by 90 knot winds, and ice spray formed 6 feet thick on her foredeck, adding about 600 tons of topweight at a rather inconvenient time!
Now, there are a few things I'd appreciate help with:
o the Government Men - they are likely to be ONI?
Very likely. Early 1947 would have been after the disbanding of the OSS and before the establishment of the CIA and NSA.
o how many crew do the Wind class ships take? What kind of military
grunts are they likely to pack, and/or what kind of training would the
The authorized WWII complement for a "Wind" class vessel was 316 (21 officers, 295 CPOs and enlisted). "Westwind" of this class had 350 assigned during 1944. Peacetime authorized complement was 175 (13 officers, 2 WOs, 160 CPOs and enlisted). "Edisto" of this class carried a peacetime complement of 204 (15 officers, 189 WO, CPOs, and enlisted men), and on polar deployment added a Medical Officer, 4 Naval Aviators (pilots), and 12 aviation ratings (to maintain the aircraft). Add in a few scientists and observers, and the total was about 225. The icebreakers each carried a detachment of trained SCUBA divers (with insulated dry-suits) to inspect the hull and screws for damage, etc.
When built, the ships mounted a Mk38 twin 5-inch/38 caliber gun turret (technically, an "enclosed mount") forward. (Some, such as "Westwind", mounted another one aft, as can be seen in some photos, such as: http://www.lava.net/~gardiner/westwind/images/44portqtr.html; when there were two mounts like this, the forward one was referred to as "Mount 51", and the aft as "Mount 52"… The plating on the mount was a maximum of 1/2 inch thick.) This was a dual-purpose gun, usable against surface targets and aircraft. The power-operated twin mount required a crew of 27, including 15 in the turret itself, could sustain 18 rounds/barrel/minute, could engage surface targets up to 17,306 yards at 45 degrees elevation, or air targets up to 32,250 feet at 85 degrees elevation. About 400 rounds were available to the turret from a magazine below the waterline (each gun had its own shell hoist); ammo types included Common (standard explosive round), Armor Piercing, VT Frag (proximity fuzed AA), and Illumination (Starshell round). Each round weighed 55 lbs. The mount may have been linked to a Mk-33 (?) radar/optical director atop the bridge structure, though it could also fire in local control.
Most of the icebreakers were delivered with three quad-mount 40mm (Bofors), six single 20mm (Oerlikon), one Hedgehog projector (a spigot-mortar launcher throwing 24 contact-fuzed charges ahead of the ship in a circular or elliptical pattern), and two stern depth-charge racks (probably 8-charge racks, as in the "Fletcher" DDs, with two 5-charge stowage lockers inboard of them, for a total of 26 depth charges). The depth-charge racks, and possibly the Hedgehog, some of the 20mm, and one of the quad 40s, would have been removed after the end of the War.
The quad Bofors were open mounts in circular "gun tubs", and required a crew of 11, several of which were concerned with simply keeping the rapid-fire weapons loaded. Each gun used a four-round clip (4.8 pounds per shell, with a loaded clip weight of a bit over 19 lbs) inserted atop the breech, and a rate of fire of 160 rounds/minute/barrel meant they went through four shots in about a second and a half! So clips had to be fed to each gun at about forty a minute! Luckily, the feed atop each gun could hold two clips, so fire could be sustained continuously by passing clip after clip into the gun. The Bofors had a surface range of about 11,000 yards, and at maximum elevation could engage air targets at up to 22,000 feet. No proximity-fused 40mm round had seen service by 1946, but the guns could use armor-piercing, high-explosive, and incindiary rounds, each projectile weighing about 2 lbs. The mount could be fired under local control, or directed by a separate radar.
The Oerlikons were rapid-fire single-barrel 20mm cannon, open-mount and manually aimed, that were rapid-fire (drum-fed, much like large machine guns), but by 1945 were generally considered too light to deal with dive-bombers and kamikazes.
The icebreaker wouldn't have carried any Marines, but would have had a "Landing Force Bill" prepared, detailing which personnel would be sent as a landing party, and what their duties would be.
Going from the data in my 1940 "Bluejacket's Manual", the Landing Force Bill for "Northwind" would likely have specified a maximum of a platoon, consisting of three eight-man squads, plus a four-man headquarters element.
HQ would consist of the officer commanding the landing party, a RTO (Radio-Telephone Operator — generally one of the ship's Radiomen) with a backpack radio, and two messengers.
Each squad would consist of a squad leader (generally a CPO or PO1), a deputy squad leader, two scouts, an auto-rifleman and substitute auto-rifleman, a grenadier, and a submachine gunner.
The auto-rifleman carried a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) — probably the M1918A1 version with bipod, and six 20-round magazines; his substitute carried 9 more magazines for the BAR.
The submachine gunner carried a Thompson (possibly an M1928A1, which could accomodate the 50-round drum, but more likely the simplified M1 Thompson with a 20-round or 30-round box magazine), and the squad leader might also carry a Thompson rather than a rifle. The Thompson gunner (and likely the squad leader) would wear pistol belts with M1911A1 .45 auto-pistols.
Except for the auto-rifleman, the Thompson gunner, and possibly the squad leader, the men would carry eight-shot Garand rifles (the 1940 manual specified the M1903 Springfield rifle, but, by the end of WWII, the Garand would have been available in quantity). All who carried a rifle would also have a bayonet and scabbard, and four men per squad carried intrenching tools. (Two of the other four carried a mattock, and the other two a machete which could be used for intrenching.) The grenadier had a launcher attachment on the muzzle of his rifle, and carried several rifle grenades, as well as hand grenades.
Standard kit for "Light Marching Order" included cartridge belt with pouches, haversack, steel helmet, compass, toilet kit (with shaving stuff, toothpaste, towel, etc.), canteen with cover and cup, first aid kit, and rubber poncho. ( "Heavy Marching Order" included extra rations, shelter halves, extra clothing, etc.)
The officer commanding the landing party could be a junior officer sent to gain some experience, or (depending on the situation) even the ship's XO. The officer would have field glasses in a case, plus a map case, and would theoretically be armed with only a .45 (as his job would be to direct the fighting). In practice, many officers signed out a Thompson to supplement their pistol. The RTO might have just a pistol (vacuum tube radio backpacks were heavy), but the two messengers would have rifles.
As far as training goes, they would have run through a number of drills, and, this close to the end of WWII, many would have had combat experience to some degree, although they were admittedly sailors, rather than Marines. (Someone on the landing force is likely to be a trained forward observer, in case the party has to call for fire support from the ship.) Some of the HIGHJUMP ships still had experienced crews left from the War, while the postwar demobilization meant that other vessels were largely crewed with inexperienced men. I think it would be safe to assume the icebreakers were in the first category.
The Captain of an icebreaker would generally be a Commander (O-5), though he would be addressed as "Captain". Second in command would be the Executive Officer (XO) — generally a Lieutenant Commander (O-4). The ship would be organized into several departments, with department heads LT (O-3) or LTJG (O-2):
Operations (handles all sensors, such as radar, also includes Communications Division) Gunnery (handles operation and maintenance of ship's weapons (guns, and also ASW weapons when carried), probably also has custody of the ship's explosives supply (icebreakers tended to carry charges of Composition 3 and dynamite for blasting ice floes and the like);
Deck Division (headed by the ship's First Lieutenant (generally an O-3)) handles deck seamanship, ship's boats, underway replenishment, any maintenance that isn't another department's problem)
Navigation (keeps track of where the ship is, and where she is going)
Engineering (keeps the engines and other machinery going; under the Chief Engineer are the Damage Control Assistant (responsible for shipboard damage control, and for auxiliary systems such as plumbing, heaters, heeling & trimming system, and evaporators for producing fresh water) and the Main Propulsion Assistant (responsible for the six Fairbanks Morse diesel engines, the Westinghouse DC generators, and the propulsion motors))
Supply (Keeps track of, and issues, various items, ranging from notebooks and light bulbs to portable radios and precision instruments. Responsible for food and food services. An important Department — an icebreaker tended to stock up on five or six months' worth of supplies, both for a long deployment, and in case she got stuck in the ice for a few months… Supply Officer tends to know where every light bulb is stowed…)
Medical (Treats injuries, keeps the crew healthy. Apparently icebreakers generally used an independent duty Corpsman in home waters, and embarked a Medical Officer (an MD) for polar missions.)
I'll keep looking for more data, and let you know what I find…
Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 11:29:57 EST
Thanks for all the info - now all I have to do is mostly finish writing
Since my last post, I've been doing some research including "Quest for a Continent" (by Walter Sullivan, McGraw-Hill, 1957 — plenty of data (too much for even me to post) concerning HIGHJUMP, and expeditions that preceded and followed it!), "Operation Deepfreeze" (by RADM George J. Dufek, USN, Harcourt Brace & Co, 1957), and "Guardians of the Sea" (Robert Erwin Johnson, Naval Institute Press, 1987).
Before heading up DEEPFREEZE, Dufek was along on HIGHJUMP — he commanded the Eastern Task Group (seaplane tender "Pine Island", destroyer "Brownson", and oiler "Canisteo"). His mission during HIGHJUMP was to operate PBM Mariner seaplanes from outside the ice belt, flying them over some 300-400 miles of ice inaccessible to ships to the unknown coastline of that section of Antarctica called the "Phantom Coast", which according to Dufek, had "the worst weather in the world"! His command was the one that — in some of this bad weather — lost Mariner George One (the only plane the official accounts admit to losing during HIGHJUMP), and Dufek did a commendable job directing the search and rescue efforts, and recovering the survivors.
Skipper of the icebreaker "Northwind" during HIGHJUMP was Captain Charles W. ("Tommy") Thomas, USCG (a Captain in rank as well as posting — equivalent to an Army Colonel), a veteran who, according to Dufek, "has probably broken more ice than any seagoing icebreaker skipper in the polar seas". (On his character sheet, I'd give him a skill of 90+ in "Shiphandling (Icebreaker), and high ratings in Military Science, Navigation (Sea), Glaciology, Geology, and History…):) Thomas is described as "a keen student of glaciology, geology, and history". He might also have been the era's equivalent of a DG Friendly!
(Cue background music from "Ice Station Zebra" and/or "Where Eagles Dare"…):)
Back during WWII, the Germans seem to have taken an interest in Greenland — apparently for weather observation, though some of the Karotechia activities reported in the DG sourcebook and on-list make me highly suspicious of other motives… :)
In the spring of 1944, an Allied sledge party on the ice reported sighting an apparent German weather station near Shannon Island, some 600 miles north of Iceland. The ice-reinforced Coast Guard cutter "Northland", commanded by Thomas, and the small Coast Guard icebreaker "Storis", transported a small Army detachment to destroy it.
On arrival, they found the station totally deserted and the instruments smashed. (Sounds a little like some of the reports of the 1928 Mountains of Madness expedition?) They took some photos, gathered up any documents they could find, and blew the station up to prevent the Germans from later re-occupying it. Shortly thereafter, the "Northland" found the German trawler "Coberg", a few miles away, crushed in the ice and gutted by fire. The accounts I've read never mention any German survivors being found.
Now, it's possible that the Germans simply realized their station had been spotted, and broke those instruments they couldn't carry with them, retreated to the trawler which brought them, and got a little careless with their space heater…
On the other hand, it's also possible that (if the party was Karotechia covered as meteorologists) that Something wandered into their camp, broke some items, and ate some personnel, before the survivors beat a hasty retreat to the "Coberg". Worried about that Something, the Special K sorcerer among the team decided to summon Something Else, making the classic mistake of summoning a being he has not learned the Bind spell for… Whatever he was trying for, he might have brought in a Fire Vampire, or even Cthugua (sp?) himself! (Although the latter would probably not have left enough of the trawler for the Coast Guardsmen to find…)
Shortly after this incident, Thomas was ordered to turn command of the "Northland" over to LCDR Reginald W. Butcher, USCG, and proceed south to his new post — new construction — the icebreaker "Eastwind". This was the first of the "Wind" class icebreakers the Coast Guard would actually commission. (Before her had been the original "Northwind", which the US loaned to the Russians under Lend-Lease prior to commissioning, and didn't get back until 1950 — the "Northwind" that took part in HIGHJUMP was actually a replacement "Wind" class vessel built for the Coast Guard and assigned the name!)
By September, the "Eastwind" had completed her shakedown and was on her way from Boston to Greenland. Thomas was eager to test his new ship in the ice, and was reportedly very pleased with her performance. On his arrival he became the senior officer for the Greenland Patrol, and ice pack movements required him to order some of the other ships, such as the "Storis" and "Northland", back to Iceland. "Eastwind"'s new sister ship "Southwind" was on her way north and due to show up soon.
In the meantime, the J2F Duck amphibian carried by "Eastwind" had been making some spotting flights to find the best route through the icepack, and had sighted a ship to the northward, standing out to sea. Although nightfall and a heavy fog prevented further contact, air recon by the Duck the next day revealed that building supplies and materials had been landed on North Little Koldwey Island.
"Eastwind" cleared a way through the ice, her small boats put her Landing Force ashore early the following morning, and — surrounded and outgunned — the 12 Germans surrendered without firing a shot! (One wonders if they included Karotechia personnel with instructions to take up where the ill-fated "Coberg" party left off?)
Captured documents indicated that their supply vessel was the 178-foot "Exterstine" — a new German vessel designed for ice navigation, and CPT Thomas was sure she was still someplace in the vicinity. She was located in the ice off Shannon Island on 14 October, by which time the "Southwind" had joined the "Eastwind" onsite. Both icebreakers sustained some damage to their screws in closing in on "Exterstine", but the "Eastwind" got within range late that night.
With her aft twin 5-inch mount illuminating the target with star shells, and the "Southwind" training a searchlight on "Exterstine", the "Eastwind"'s forward guns bracketed the "Exterstine" with a salvo.
Faced with the choice of surrender or being blasted to tiny bits, the Germans sent a surrender signal by blinker light. On checking out the prize, Thomas noted that no attempt had been made to scuttle — the Germans smugly told him it was unnecessary — the ship was stuck in the ice, and wasn't going anywhere — ever!
The next morning, Thomas proved them wrong, using the "Eastwind" to break her out, and putting a prize crew aboard. The "Exterstine"'s prize crew promptly renamed her the "Eastbreeze", and, since she was in good condition and radar-equipped, she got added to the Greenland Patrol force.
Unfortunately, her evaporators went off-line (due to sabotage?), and could not be repaired, so the "Eastbreeze" was detached within a week and sent south to Boston via Reykjavik and Argentia, Newfoundland. In Boston, she was taken over by the Navy, which unimaginatively renamed her the "Callao", and used her as a test ship for the next five years.
"Exterstine" was the only German surface naval vessel taken at sea by the USCG during WWII. (U-505 was a U-boat, and was captured by the Navy.) It is unknown if the ancient custom of "Prize Money" was revived for this deed, which sounds more like Captain Horatio Hornblower than World War II!
During HIGHJUMP, CPT Thomas' exploits with the "Northwind" included towing out the submarine "Sennet", which had become trapped in the ice, and towing the "Merrick", disabled in the icepack, about 1,000 miles to New Zealand despite hurricane-force winds and mountainous seas!
Impact with an ice block had broken the "Merrick"'s rudder shaft, and the rudder fell off entirely an hour or so later. Towing of "Merrick" was with an immense span of steel cable, which hung far below sea level and acted as a spring between the two ships. Without any sign that could be detected on the two diving and rolling ships, the cable parted during a 70-knot storm on 16 February 1947, and for 40 hours the rudderless "Merrick" wallowed in the storm. She took quite a pounding, and CPT Thomas was prepared to work his icebreaker into the lee of the crippled ship to take off her men — although the violent rolling would probably smash the "Northwind"'s superstructure. Luckily, the storm subsided enough that "Northwind" could pass a replacement tow line. With "Merrick" using her own engines, they made fairly good time to New Zealand. ADM Cruzen, in charge of the ships of HIGHJUMP, reported that "Further damage and possible disaster was averted only by the superior seamanship of the Commanding Officers of the "Northwind" and "Merrick"."
So, when the "Northwind" arrived at New Zealand, for your HIGHJUMP related scenario, she was commanded by an excellent Captain who might have been a DG Friendly (or whatever they were calling them in 1947), and was probably accompanied by a crippled Navy cargo ship which required dry docking to replace the rudder. The ONI types aboard the "Northwind" may have simply been taking advantage of the opportunity this visit to New Zealand offered!
We know CPT Thomas wasn't killed in the incident —- he later became RADM Dufek's Chief of Staff during DEEPFREEZE!
"Northwind" was re-engined in 1974-75, was (together with "Westwind") one of the last two "Wind" class vessels operated by the USCG, and was retired by the Coast Guard about 1980 — not so much because she was worn out, as because the bean-counters in Washington slashed the Coast Guard budget, and she ended up being one of the corners the Coast Guard had to cut! She is apparently at a port in the southern US now, where she will be cut up for scrap… (Too bad — one of these ships deserves to be preserved as a museum, IMO!)
"Westwind", one of her sister ships, was apparently last seen in Hawaii, on her way to be scrapped in the Far East… (Or possibly a DG front company bought her from the scrappers and refitted her? Why, there are _countless_ things a conspiracy could do with its very own 6,500 ton diesel-electric icebreaker!):)