German WWII Base on Arctic Island
A team of Russian researchers has rediscovered the site of the secret German World War II base “Schatzgrabber” (“Treasure Hunter”) on the Arctic island of Alexandra Land, in the Barents Sea, more than 1,100 kilometers (650 miles) north of the Russian coast.
The base was built by the German military in 1943 as one of a network of secret weather-watching stations on remote Arctic islands far to the north of mainland Europe.
The finds include the remains of military equipment and weapons left behind by the occupants of the weather station when the base closed in 1944.
The wartime German base was a scientific weather-watching station, but it was surrounded by fortifications and minefields in case it was discovered and attacked.
The average annual South Pacific sea temperature near Antarctica is about 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius)
In 1944, a medical emergency broke out at the base after the staff ate contaminated meat from a polar bear they had shot for food.
German aircraft flew two missions from Norway to Alexandra Land to evacuate the sick base staff. One of the aircraft landed at an emergency landing strip on the island that was discovered by the Russian research team.
Alexandra Land was a disputed territory for a number of years but is now part of the Russian Federation.
Russia is thought to be looking to build its own permanent military base there today.