The US Coast Guard in WWII

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

The US Coast Guard in WWII

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:31 pm

Some obscure German WW II history from the obscure “Eagle Island Journal, Vol. IX, Fall 2004. By Capt. Donald M. Taub, USGG Ret. [This October I sailed out to the edge of Casco Bay, Maine, to Eagle Island, aboard the 72 ft. schooner “Bagheera”. The island had belonged to the arctic explorer, Admiral Robert E. Peary. UR].

“On April 9, 1940 Germany occupied Denmark and suddenly Greenland was cut off from its vital necessities. (Greenland had long been a closed colonial trading partner of Denmark ). Within a few days a commission was formed which in effect became Greenland 's government-in-exile during 1940-42. Its primary task was dealing with the economic affairs, material needs, and welfare of all the population of Greenland . Marie Peary Stafford became one of its original nine members. She lobbied for USA's assistance, and U S military bases. The United States was neutral then, but had vital interests there. On May 3, 1940 the resident councils in Greenland made a formal and urgent request to the United States . On May 7, 1940 the first U S Coast Guard ships got “sailing orders”, including establishing a U S Consulate at Godthaab, Greenland in what became a multiple mission; military, economic, and humanitarian. [We often forget valiant efforts of the USCG in WWII. The little 1500 ton USCG cutter “Modoc” was snooping around and its presence scarred and confused the hell out of “Bismarck” and “Prinz Eugen”; and the “Modoc” was even briefly aimed at by the jumpy HMS PoW which mistook her as “Bismarck”. UR] ... /vevas.htm

The mainstay of Greenland 's economic exports was the Cryolite mine at Ivigtut in southwest Greenland . Cryolite was a mineral that was then necessary to the production of Aluminum. [Cryolite is sodium aluminum fluoride (Na3AlF6) and it was essential to make aluminum from bauxite. UR]. This mine provided approximately 90% of USA 's needs (Some 300,000 aircraft were constructed in the United States during 1939-1945, largely thanks to this mine). USA 's military planners also foresaw the potential need for airbases to support the Trans-Atlantic ferrying of U S aircraft to Britain as Peary had preached in 1916. US Coast Guard's initial tasks included protection of the Cryolite mine, searching for potential sites for airbases and related facilities, and delivering supplies to the scattered Eskimo villages in what became known as the Greenland patrol of 1940-45. The United States had declared that Greenland was a part of the Western Hemisphere and invoked the “Monroe Doctrine” for belligerents on both sides to stay out of Greenland.”

“The Germans were also active on Greenland's East Coast starting in 1940. Northwestern Europe's weather largely originates over Greenland . A vital element of Germany 's preparations to invade England , initially planned to take place in September 1940, was the establishment of these weather stations on the East Coast of Greenland. These were vital to Germany 's ability to predict the right sea and air conditions for their planned amphibious invasion by more than 2000 vessels carrying the first 13 of 40 army divisions. These weather stations were eliminated in August 1940; and the Germans were “arrested as illegal immigrants”. The invasion date was reset three times to no avail primarily due to the weather, and Hitler canceled the operation and instead invaded USSR . (Germany annually persisted in establishing weather stations on the East Coast of Greenland and annually the US Coast Guard dealt with them to the end of the war).”