They are everywhere, there is no where they are not! In 1938, Nazi Germany sent an expedition to Antarctica with the aim of exploring locations for possible bases and formally appropriating territories on behalf of the Third Reich. To prepare them for the mission, they invited the great Polemic explorer Richard E. Byrd to give them lectures on what awaits them there. The following year, a month after the start of the conflict in Europe, the Germans returned to Neuschwabenland to complete what had been started, and there are many indications that it was a matter of building a base.
Nine years later, Richard E. Byrd, who in the meantime had become the admiral of the American war girl, was sent to Antarctica with the largest battle group ever assembled for any failed mission. According to Admiral Byrd himself, the mission (whose code name was Highjump – High Jump) was primarily of a military nature. Many claim that the battle group was sent to destroy a secret Nazi base in Queen Maud Land, which the Nazis renamed Neuschwabenland, and which has never been explored in as much detail as the rest of Antarctica. But, and a big but, is the fact that Admiral Byrd was talking about flying objects that could fly from one pole to the other pole at incredible speeds, and with well-documented German activity before, during and immediately after the end of World War II.
When it comes to the Antarctic mystery, Britain is always mentioned only by the way. That fact is surprising in itself, especially since British forces were active in Antarctica from the beginning to the end of the war, and it is easily possible that they took the initiative in removing the Nazi threat to Antarctica a full 12 months before Operation Highjump. British activities in Antarctica, although less well documented and secret, are as intriguing as the supposedly very famous Operation Highjump. Although it won the war, Britain, unfortunately, experienced bankruptcy and humiliation from two new superpowers. But Britain had the opportunity to regain some of its pride and bring a bit of empty unrest among its alleged allies in the final, decisive battle against the surviving Nazis: a battle that will not be written in history textbooks; a battle that would make her claim to that continent more legitimate, but, most importantly, a battle that would end the war she was forced to wage.
In February 1946, a set of postage stamps was issued with the permission of His Majesty of Kratovo. The stamps caused international outrage and brought a diplomatic crisis to war-torn Britain. Eight insulting postage stamps pointed to the British claim to the colony of the Falkland Islands, but one of them contained a political map of Antarctica on which Chile’s claims and most of Argentina’s claims to that continent were completely overlooked.
Why would Britain, at a time when the world economy was in such a predicament, cause an international crisis because of a part of the world that at first glance seems completely devoid of life? Many historians argue that British post-war interest grew because the British in Antarctica saw a solution to their over-need for materials, stamps were a way to give British claims validity. This claim, although partially true, does not explain why British forces, as part of Operation Taberlan, were on that continent during and immediately after the war. Operation Taherlan was launched as a measure to monitor German activities on the Antarctic continent. Well-known British bases were located mainly on the Antarctic Peninsula, in places such as Port Lockroy and Hope Bay, and on the islands surrounding the peninsula, such as secret bases on the islands of Deception and Wiencke, although some were also set up on the mainland.
The most secret of all has not been revealed, and probably never will be. The base in Maudheim, near the Mtihlig-Hoffinann mountain range in Queen Mary Land, or Neuschwabenland, was so secret that it was never given a name or even a mark on official maps. Were the stamps perhaps published in honor of a successful mission in Queen Mary Land? Facts and rumors, as well as the story of a wartime SAS officer, could shed some light on the many mysteries of the Antarctic arena – a battlefield that has been kept secret for 60 years – and on a clash that will never be revealed to the public.
Britain has covered up so many war events in the name of national security that today, though over 60 years have passed, many people are no better acquainted with the secrets of war – from Rudolf Hess and peace parties to even darker events involving Britain’s knowledge of Nazi concentration camps. deaths, the Irish Republican Army’s flirtation with the Nazis, and lesser-known secrets such as Nazi concentration camps on British soil in Aldemey and the Channel Islands!
With only these few events mentioned, a pattern of blurring emerges – and in some cases usually complete denial. Antarctica is no exception. As time goes on, the people who took part in the Neuschwabenland campaign are no longer with us. The last survivor told the following story of that forgotten battle:
At the time when the victory in Europe was announced, my unit was resting in a cave in the former Yugoslavia. I was happy that the war was finally over, although because of the war that was still going on in the Pacific and the growing tensions in Palestine, we were warned that our war could continue. Fortunately, I was spared participation in the war against Japan – but alas, I was sent to Palestine where the immigration of Jews, along with the rise of Zionist terrorism, caused unrest not only among the people of Palestine, but also among members.
British forces sent to stop the influx of Jews and quell the uprisings. I was warned that my ministry in Palestine would continue indefinitely. I saw the death of many of my comrades. Fortunately, in early October 1945, I received an order to report to my commander, because I had been chosen for a mission that was so secret that none of my superior officers knew why they were sending me to Gibraltar. I was not told why I had to report, but I left hoping to be released into civilian life soon. How wrong I was – another Christmas was waiting for me in a war environment.
When I arrived in Gibraltar, an officer secretly took me and informed me that I would be sent to the Falkland Islands to receive additional instructions, and that several more soldiers from other elite British units would join me. The mystery deepened when we all flew to the Falklands in complete silence. We were ordered not to even guess why we were chosen and where we were going. Upon arrival in the desolate and repulsive Falkland Islands, we were introduced to the officer who led the expedition and to a Norwegian, a member of the Norwegian resistance movement, an expert in winter warfare who was to train us for a mission we had no idea about. The Falkland Islands are today considered the best kept secret in the British army, and being deployed there usually means spending a couple of easy years; however, things were different in the 1940s — especially for me and others in the select group. We were forced to train hard for a month, preparing for war in winter conditions. From jumping into the icy Atlantic to facing the elements in a tent in South Georgia, the training was harsh, and the madness we had to endure didn’t seem to make much sense. However, after a month of training, we were invited to talk to an officer and a scientist, and as the mission was revealed to us, it became clear that there was little chance that we would all return alive, especially if the suspicions turned out to be true.
We have been informed that we are embarking on an exploration of ‘unusual’ activities around the Mtihlig-Hoffman mountains from the British base in Maudheim. As we were told, Antarctica was a ‘British secret war’. We are then briefly briefed on British activities at the South Pole during the war. We sat intrigued by what was revealed to us; none of us have heard anything so fascinating or frightening. Not everyone was aware that the Nazis were present in Antarctica in 1938 and 1939, and even less was the fact that Britain, in response, began building secret bases around Antarctica. The one we were supposed to visit, Maudheim, was the largest and most important, as well as the most secret of all the bases in Antarctica. The reason for its importance was the fact that it was located less than 200 miles from the place where the Nazis allegedly built their Antarctic base. We sat in astonishment, but the mystery deepened further.
We have been informed about German activities in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. We have also been informed that an unknown number of German submarines are missing and that their whereabouts are unknown; but, worse, some of those who surrendered months after the end of the war sparked even more speculation. British forces captured the three most important people in the Nazi party – Hess, Himmler and Donitz – and with their capture, Britain came to information that it did not intend to share with Russia or the United States. That information made Britain act alone, and we were at the head of that operation. Without specific details, we were told what is expected of us, and what Britain expects us to find in Antarctica. Britain even more than reasonably suspected that the Germans had built a secret base in which they sheltered many missing Nazis from European chaos. But new information is still being revealed to us.
Last summer, we were told, the first scientists and commandos discovered an ‘ancient tunnel’. By order, the unit entered the tunnel, but only two returned before the onset of the Antarctic winter. During the winter months, the two survivors made ‘absurd’ claims on the radio about the ‘Polar People’ of ancient tunnels and the Nazis. Radio contact was finally cut off in July 1945 and, ominously for our mission that went into the unknown, the last call gave us additional uneasiness as we listened to the fear in a voice shouting, ‘Polar people have found us’, before lost contact. After a recording of the radio broadcast was released to us, the officer who would lead the expedition with the aim of investigating what had happened gave us a speech of encouragement. ‘We will go to the Maudheim base, we will find the tunnel, we will explore the enigma of the Polam people and the Nazis and we will do everything we can to make sure that the Nazi threat is destroyed.’
As we asked the questions we all had so many, the answers were, thank God, honest and direct. It was explained to us that preventive action was being taken because Britain was well aware of the intention of the United States and the Soviet Union to send their expeditions, and Britain did not want to risk the United States or the Soviet Union discovering the base and coming up with new Nazi technology. Both countries had a technological advantage over Blitania because of the scientists, equipment and research they conquered. In spite of everything, Britain wanted to be a nation that would destroy the threat because it believed that Antarctica was under the jurisdiction of the British Empire, and if the Nazis were there, it was their duty and desire to eradicate them first and thus deny propaganda to the United States and the Soviet Union. the value of fighting the last battle of World War II. We were flown to a pre-determined launch point that was 20 miles from Maudheim base. The snow caterpillars were already deployed and waiting for our arrival. After parachuting into the icy wilderness, full of fear and apprehension, we reached the caterpillars, and from that moment on we were in a state of war. We had to operate in complete radio silence. We were alone, without support and retreat if our worst fears were confirmed. We approached the base, guarding against what might await us, but when we got there the base seemed completely lifeless, like a ghost town. At the same time, we became suspicious, but, as in previous campaigns in which I fought during the war, we had a task that needed to be done and our personal fears should not cloud our reasoning.
After we split up to search the base, someone got stuck in a crucified wire and a siren sounded, breaking the silence and scaring the whole unit. We soon heard a shout demanding that we identify ourselves, but we could not determine where the voice was coming from. We lifted the pipes and the officer introduced us to that voice, and then, thank God, the voice got the body as well. The voice belonged to the only beleaguered, and what he told us increased our anxiety and we regretted that there were no more people in our ranks. The only survivor claimed that in Bunker 1 there were other survivors from the expedition to the ‘tunnel’, along with one of the enigmatic Polam people we heard about from the recorded report. Despite the opposition and dissatisfaction of the survivor, Bunker 1 was ordered to open. We had to restrain the survivor, and his fear and horror instantly panicked us. And none of us wanted to be the one to get into the bunker. Fortunately, I was not chosen for the descent, that part belonged to the youngest member of our unit. He headed inside, pausing for a moment as he struggled from the back door. After he entered, silence fell on the base, which was followed by two shots after a few moments. The door opened and the Polar Man ran free. None of us expected what we saw, and the polar man fled into the surrounding terrain so quickly that we only managed to fire a couple of random bullets.
Frightened and stunned by what we saw, we all decided to enter the bunker. Doing so, we found two corpses in the bunker. The soldier who pulled out the shortest straw was found with a torn throat, and, what is even more disgusting, the survivor was gnawed to the bone. What we saw demanded answers; and outraged that we witnessed the death of a member of our unit just hours after our landing on the continent, we vented our anger on the only survivor who had warned us not to open Bunker 1. The whole unit listened resolutely to the officer’s questions, but the answers were what which intrigued us the most. The first question to be answered was what happened to the other survivor, and how he ended up locked up in a bunker with the Pole Man. However,
the only survivor wanted to start the story from the beginning, from the moment they discovered the ‘tunnel’.
As he talked about what was happening, the scientist who followed us wrote down everything we learned. The area near the tunnel turned out to be one of the unique Antarctic dry valleys, and that’s why they found the tunnel so easily. All thirty people from the Maudheim base were ordered to investigate the tunnel and, if possible, find out exactly where it leads. They followed the tunnel for miles, and eventually came to a huge underground cave where it was abnormally warm; some of the scientists believed that it was heated by geothermal means. There were underground lakes in the huge cave; however, the mystery was deepened by the fact that the cave had artificial lighting. It turned out that the cave was so big that they had to separate, and then they made real discoveries. The Nazis built a huge base in the cave, and even built docks for subterfuges, and one was reportedly identified. However, the deeper they went, the more strange the scenes. The survivor reported that evidence had been gathered of ‘hangars for unusual planes and numerous excavations’. However, their presence did not go unnoticed: two survivors from the Maudheim base saw their comrades being captured and killed one by one. After witnessing six executions, they fled into the tunnel so as not to be caught, intending to block it – but it was too late; polar people were arriving, the survivors claimed.
With enemy forces on their heels, they had no choice but to try to return to base so they could inform and warn their superiors of what they had discovered. They managed to reach the base, but, with the approaching winter and poor chances of rescue, they considered it their duty to inform the Nazi base at all costs. So they separated, and each took one radio station and waited in a separate bunker.
One of the survivors lured one of Polam’s men into the bunker, hoping they would think he was the last survivor. The plan worked, but at the cost of his life and radio stations. Unfortunately, the brave soul from Bunker 1 had the only fully operational wireless radio, which was destroyed in the commotion. The last survivor had no choice but to sit, wait and try to keep his sanity. The riddle of what or what the Polar People were explained, though not satisfactorily, as a product of Nazi science, and the enigma of where the Nazis got their energy from was also explained, though not in a scientific way. The Nazis used the energy of volcanic activity, which gave them heat for steam and helped them get electricity. But the Nazis also took possession of some unknown source of energy, as the survivor claimed: ‘… based on what I saw, the amount of energy needed is greater than what, in my opinion, could be obtained with steam’.
The scientist from the group rejected most of what we heard, he rebuked the survivor due to lack of scientific education and made it known that the information he revealed to us could not be true. Although the scientist rejected the survivor’s claims, the officer did not.
He wanted to know more about the enemy we faced, but, above all, what the Polami man could do next. The survivor’s response did not comfort us at all, and prompted the scientist to state that the survivor was disturbed. It goes without saying that we felt upset when the survivor answered the officer’s question about the intentions of the runaway Polamo man: ‘He will wait, watch, and wonder how different we taste.’ Hearing that, the officer issued an order and a guard was set up, while the officer and the scientist continued to talk, in private, about what our next step should be, although it was obvious to the rest of us. The next morning we were ordered to explore the tunnel, and for the next 48 hours we slowly made our way towards the dry valley and the alleged ‘ancient tunnel’. When we arrived in the dry valley, we were all amazed, because we were told that Antarctica was completely chained by ice, and yet we found ourselves in a valley that seemed to me as if I had returned to North Sahara. We were forbidden to even approach the tunnel before erecting a temporary base. And while people were building the base, a scientist and an officer were exploring the tunnel. After a few hours, they returned to the finished camp to write down what they saw and what our plan of action would be. The tunnel was no ancient passage, the scientist claimed, although the officer added that the walls were made of smooth granite and looked as if they were endless. We were told that we would be able to draw our own conclusions after resting overnight. Sleeping in Antarctica during the summer months was problematic due to the continuous daylight that covered the continent, but that night it was even harder for us to fall asleep with all the thoughts running through our heads about what we would find and when, or where, we would meet again. A broken man.
Before we were assigned a guard schedule, we were informed that we would follow the tunnel until the end – ‘… and to the Führer, if need be’. That night, our fears came true, because the Polar Man really came back. However, this time there were no new cranes on our side, but the Polar Man was killed after we lured him to the camp. The scientist concluded that the Polar Man was a ‘human being’, but which seemed to be much hairier and could withstand the cold much better. The body, after a short autopsy, was stored in a body bag, and in cold conditions it could be preserved until the first opportunity for a detailed dissection. The next morning, it was decided that the two would stay at the entrance to the tunnel with the corpse, caterpillars, equipment. and most importantly, with the radio. The officer, who led the expedition, needed a Norwegian because of his professional knowledge, as well as a scientist, and the survivor was also crucial for the success of the mission. The rest of us wanted to join them. I was chosen with four other lucky people to undertake one of the most exciting, and perhaps the most important expeditions in human history.
The two who had to stay were disappointed, but their roles were just as important to the success of the mission as the roles of the nine going into the unknown.
While the nine of us were preparing to enter the tunnel, we made sure to bring enough ammunition and explosives to wage a small war, and to destroy the base as a whole, because that was our task: not to collect, but to destroy. We entered the darkness, and, fortunately, after a four-hour walk, we began to see some light in the distance. However, the light was another four hours’ walk away; and as each of us struggled with questions of our own mind about what we were about to discover, we slowly progressed. Eventually we reached a huge cave that was lit in an artificial way. After that, we were taken to the place where the survivors watched the executions. The survivor stated that the place is as secret as one can only wish for. As we watched the entire network of caves, we were amazed at the number of staff running around like ants, but the most impressive was the huge structure they were building. From what we saw, it seemed that the Nazis had been in Antarctica for a long time. The scientist sketched everything that arrived, drew diagrams, took samples of stones and took unusual photographs. The officer, on the other hand, was more interested in how we could destroy the base without being captured by the Nazis present. After two days of vigilant reconnaissance, the scientist and the officer determined the places for planting mines. We were to place mines around the cave vault, along with other targets on the list such as a generator and gasoline depot and, if possible and available, ammunition depots.
Throughout the day, we planted mines and took additional photos and, with a good chance of not being discovered, we captured one hostage and came up with evidence of a Nazi base, of ‘Pole Men’, and photos of new, and fairly advanced, Nazi technology. When the mission to lay the mines that were supposed to destroy the base was completed and a considerable amount of evidence of the base was collected, we headed towards the tunnel but, alas, we were discovered and new Polar people and Nazi soldiers set off in pursuit of natna. When we reached the tunnel, we had to set up an obstacle in the way to slow down the enemy enough for the mines to detonate. We placed some mines at the entrance to the tunnel, and when the explosions were heard, we hoped that we had completely destroyed not only the base, but also the enemy forces that were chasing us. We were wrong. The mines did close the tunnel, but those Nazis and the Polami people behind us continued the chase. Retreating with the fight, only three of us managed to escape from the tunnel: the Norwegian, the scientist and me.
The others fell heroically, enabling at least a part of the company to survive. When we reached the safety of the dry valley, we laid enough mines to permanently close the tunnel. After the mines were detonated, there was no evidence that any tunnel ever existed. It is doubtful that very little of the evidence gathered remains. Whether they were lost intentionally or accidentally, it did not matter because the scientist had already reached his conclusions, and thus the conclusions of the mission. We dismantled the camp and returned to the Maudheim base, from where we were evacuated and transferred by plane to the security of the Falkland Islands. When we arrived in South Georgia, we were given a directive that we must not reveal anything of what we saw, heard, or encountered. It was explained that the tunnel was nothing more than a game of nature; the specific term used by the scientist was ‘glacial erosion’. The ‘half men’ were nothing more than ‘bushy mad soldiers’, and the fact that they were Germans was never included in the report, and any thought of revealing the mission to the public was resolutely rejected. The mission was never to become official, although some elements of the mission were to leak to the Russians and Americans. So I spent my last Christmas in World War II on the Antarctic continent, fighting the same Nazis I had fought every Christmas since 1940. Worse than that was the fact that the expedition was never given recognition, and the survivors were never enrolled in merit. Instead, the surviving Britons were discharged from military service, while the scientist and his report soon disappeared, and no one should have ever found out about the mission, except perhaps a few chosen ones.
The mission never went down in history textbooks, but a repeat mission in February 1950, carried out by a joint British-Swedish-Norwegian expedition that lasted until January 1952, did. The main goal of the expedition was to check and investigate some of the discoveries of the Nazi expedition to Neuschwabenland from 1938-39. Five years after our mission, Maudheim and Neuschwabenland were revisited, and that expedition had something to do with the Neschwabenland campaign, and, more importantly, with what we destroyed. In the years between the two missions, the Royal Air Force (RAF) operated flights over the Neuschwabenl andes. The official reason for the frequent RAFs was to look for suitable places to build bases. However, one has to wonder if this is the case.