Topic started on 20-7-2005 @ 02:33 AM by The Vagabond
This is part one of two or three chapters, based loosely on true events. In the winter of 1946-1947 (antarctic summer), while the US Navy was being
downsized at an alarming rate, Secretary of Defense James Forrestal ordered an exploration of Antarctica to test men and equipment under freezing
conditions, establish proceedures for operating airbases in the frigid weather, and to map and extend American sovreignity over the largest practical
area of Antarctica. The expedition included 14 ships and 4,700 men, including the aircraft carrier Phillipine Sea. The landing was made in two prongs
which converged in a pincer move on an area which had been explored by the Germans, called Neuschwabbenland. Some conspiracy theorists believe that
the true purpose of Operation Highjump was to capture an underground Nazi base, where supposedly Germany's missing Type-21 submarines and the ODESSA
program (with the help of the Argentine government) might have evacuated top Nazis and experimental Nazi technology to live to fight another day.
Through the eyes of two soldiers, my story will take you into what might have been the secret underground world of Neuschwabbenland.
"This stuff is hotter than hell sarge!", Private Dobbs grumbled as he tugged at the straps of his pack, trying to loosen the heavy coat around his
"Would you prefer the cold?"
"No. But it would be nice if the sun would set."
"Would you prefer the dark?"
"I'm trying to gripe here sarge."
"I noticed. Now shut up. You'll be glad we did this when it comes time to show the Reds who's boss."
"Oh, we're gonna fight the Reds at the South Pole?" The young soldier's burning sarcasm was almost lost under ths scarf and tinted goggles.
"No you moron. We're going to fight them in Russia. For some reason they won't let us come to their country to practice though, so President Truman
told Admiral Byrd to take us to the next closest place."
"What's the matter sarge, you don't have sarcasm in Texas?"
"Oh, is that what you Sooners call that? We call it being a pain in the butt. Now shut up private."
Sergeant Lane hated new soldiers. He missed his veterans. They'd all earned the right to go home though. He couldn't really blame them for not
staying either. They'd had their fill with the Germans only 2 years ago. Why should they stick around until the dang commies got up the nerve for a
tussel? Why had he stayed for that matter? I reckon I'm just good at this. he told himself. And if I never see another bull it'll still be
They'd only been at it for a couple of hours. It didn't bother the veterans too much. Only the green troops were getting tired. Lane had been
excited by the idea of Operation Highjump. It had taken a good bit of arguing to get himself in. Only a handful of men had ever been to the South Pole
afterall. He'd already tried to explain that to his squad. They didn't seem too encouraged by it.
"Hey Dobbs- if you're lucky, the college boys will get themselves lost and 3rd batallion won't make the rendezvous on time. Maybe you'll get to
take your pack off for a while. It would serve them right for splitting us into two prongs. They're acting like it's a dang assault. I guess maybe
they're expecting the penguins to put up a fight."
"I haven't even seen a stinkin penguin. I thought said we'd have a big adventure and see all kinds of wierd animals."
"I was guessing- its just that everything I say sounds true. Maybe when you earn your second stripe I'll teach you how to do that."
Dobbs smiled. He'd never even bothered to think that he might make rank some day.
"Hey sarge, what's that up ahead?"
"Hell if I know. First thing I've seen all day that isn't covered in ice."
The whole column began to move a little faster, obviously anxious to get a look at the dark spot off in the distance. As it came into focus Dobbs
finally came around to share his sergeant's enthusiasm.
"There's bare ground there sarge."
"Yeah, I see it. Take off your goggles- there's steam coming up off the water."
"You've gotta be kidding me. Hell you think we'll get to stop and look at it?"
The sergeant strained to pick up the distant sound he thought he'd heard. It had to be the tractors. He heard it again... the familiar boom boom
ahead and a faint rumble somewhere off to the West.
"LIEUTENTANT! I hear arty- 88s- I'd know it anywhere, Sir!"
"Nonsense Sergeant The researchers must be blasting through the ice somewhere nearby."
"Dammit, Sir, I've heard enough kraut artillery to know the sound! Get on the radio and check it out."
"The radio hasn't been working. Probably something to do with the electromagnetic testing the PBYs are carrying out."
I've gotta be losing it Lane muttered under his breath.
"Sir, we better step it out and get up to that oasis, just to be sure. Send the tractors ahead to recon. Even if it doesn't make sense- this is the
army afterall, isn't it, Sir?"
"Alright- but you're seeing the doc to have your ears checked the minute we make camp."
The tractors sped ahead, kicking up a ice and snow behind themselves as they rushed the oasis. Only 300 meters into their advance Sergeant Lane was
vindicated. The first tractor swirved violently right and turned about, racing back to the troops. The second stopped dead in its tracks. The steady
report of machine guns and the flashes on the edge of the oasis were all too familiar to the sergeant.
"Sir, we've gotta get in their before they shift their artillery! Put pressure on them, use the tractors as tanks for cover. My squad willl go right
and turn their flank!"
"You ever been in a fight sir!?"
Lane droped his pack and broke into a sprint, glancing over his shoulder to see that his men followed.
"Dammit Dobbs, drop the pack!"
That Lt. had better do his job. Lane suddenly wished he'd made it clear that the Lieutenant needed to send someone back to inform the
batallion. God danged electronics. You'd think just once a radio would work when you really needed it to.
Whoever was firing on them didn't seem to notice Lane's men approaching, but the rest of the platoon was catching hell. They'd closed half the
distance, they were only 300 meters from the perimeter of the oasis now. They'd come to a dead halt and were hiding behind the tractors, only a few
men returningn fire.
Lane didn't dare press his luck any further. He fell to his chest and continued his advance in a frantic crawl. He still had another 150 meters to
close. He'd like to get within grenade range before he revealed himself.
These sonofabiches must be half snowblind. He thought. He couldn't believe he'd managed to close even this much ground unopposed. There was a
whistle overhead and one of the tractors burst into flame, taking several young grunts with it.
"We're out of time boys, give em hell! Dobbs, I want that BAR right here!"
The sergeant leveled his rifle on one of the enemy. He recognized the helmet. Germans. He'd heard the 88s already but he couldn't believe it. He
squeezed the trigger and in a split second that tell-tale helmet was all that remained atop the victim's shoulders. Dobb's Browning Automatic Rifle
sprang to life, spewing shell casings in front of the sergeant and pelting the German line with hot lead. At this range there was no hiding. One by
one the Germans fell. The machine gun fire stopped and platoon advanced. The artillery continued to hammer blindly on their former position.
"Looks like we got 'em! Dobbs, you're with me. The rest of you stay put and try not to kill us if you have to fire."
The lieutentant arrived at the German position just behind Sergeant Lane. Lane shook his head and shot the Lieutenant a questioning glance.
"You better tell me that nobody told you about this, sir."
"No, they didn't. Doesn't look like anybody told the Jerry's either. There's only four uniforms here. Looks like the rest are civilians."
"Well you better send somebody back to the company and get this word up the chain of command. Somewhere up there there's more krauts. And they know
we're here now."
"I did. Why don't you check out that German's radio there- see if you can raise our frequencies on it."
The sergeant scanned sky for the source of the buzz overhead. Corsairs- hopefully headed to find that artillery.
"Well, that explains why they really sent the Phillipine Sea here. Get that radio working sergeant. Somebody owes us some answers, fast."
[edit on 20-7-2005 by The Vagabond]