Now It Can Be Told! - Our "Met" Men Fought Germans in the Arctic
The arctic wastes of Spitsbergen were in 1942 the scene of a great Allied adventure it was disclosed on June 9, 1945 when a small meteorological party, established there to obtain vital weather information for the North Russian Convoy system, waged a five-months' war against Nazi meteorologists carrying out a similar task in a neighbouring fjord. For months they carried on, using a disused coalmine as shelter against ceaseless enemy air attack; while R.A.F. Coast Command flying-boats kept them alive by dropping frequent supplies and evacuating wounded, as well as themselves carrying out valuable meteorological flights. Eventually, the enemy left the area, and the Allied scientists secured the all-important data.
The Met force arrive at Barentsburg, in Ice Fjord, on May 13, 1942 under the enemy's noses. The following day, while they were breaking the ice in Green Harbour, their ships were viciously attacked by four Focke-Wulf 200s. Only two of the 40 men sheltering behind tiny hummocks on the ice were, hit, however; although heavier casualties were sustained on the ships. Food, arms and clothing were lost, but the party managed to make do with old padded jerkins left behind by former Russian mineralogists, with dentists' white coats and bed-lines from the same source as camouflage.
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