Photos Photos of the US Army in the ETO

Another batch of 351st Eng. G.S.R. pics.

Kind of ETO? Anyhow, I like the story!

This photo, published on December 14th 1944, two days before the beginning of the German onslaught in the west, shows US Coast Guard men disembarking on the shores of an island in eastern Greenland. All tough geographically separated form the Ardennes by thousands of miles, this pictures is closely related to the tragedy that would unfold in the German-Luxembourg-Belgian borderlands a few days later.



The picture shows ”Coasties” disembarking on the shores of Eastern Greenland, on a mission to hunt down German weather stations. These secret stations were of the uttermost importance to the German forces, for they allowed the NAZI’s meteorological service to establish reliable long term weather forecasts for the Atlantic and western Europe. These forecasts were crucial for Hitler and his cronies to set the date for launching “Operation Wacht am Rhein”.

The first German secret meteorological station had been installed on the eastern coast of Greenland as early as August 1942. For two years the barren ice deserts of Greenland had been the setting for a game of cat and mouse going on in between the German weathermen and the US Coast Guard, helped by Eske Brun’s “North East Greenland Sledge Patrol”. The last German station in Greenland, “Edelweiss II” was attacked and captured by US Coast Guard personnel in early October 1944. Only a few days earlier the US icebreaker “USCGC Eastwind” had replaced the “USCGC Northland”, on one of it’s first missions “Eastwind”’s J2F “Duck” scout plane spotted the German station. In the early hours of October 4th the crew of “Eastwind” put a landing party ashore which stormed “Edelweiss II” and captured the 12 men German weather team, under the command of “Leutnant Karl Schmidt”.

Ten days later the USCG scout plane discovered the German vessel “Externsteine”,the cargo, which had the order to resupply “Edelweiss II” had been trapped in the ice and could not escape. The boarding party from “Eastwind” managed to prevent the German crew to ignite scuttling charges, and with the help of a few well placed charges of C4, they were able to free the German ship from the ice. It was immediately rechristened “USCGC Eastbreeze” and commissioned into the US Coast Guard.

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