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By that time, however, others had come to recognize how Iceland's strategic position along the North Atlantic sealanes, perfect for air and naval bases, could bring new importance to the island. In the words of one German naval officer, "Whoever has Iceland controls the entrances into and exits from the Atlantic."

German interest in Iceland in the 1930's grew from nothing at all to proportions found by the British government to be alarming. The Reich's favors began with friendly competition between German and Icelandic soccer teams and free instruction in glidering by German experts who arrived in the summer of 1938 with gliders and an airplane-- perfect, in the British view, for compiling maps and discovering suitable landing grounds. A "suspicious" number of German anthropology teams arrived to survey the island and Lufthansa airlines attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish an air service. U-boats visited Reykjavik and the cruiser Emden called. Commercial trade between the countries also increased dramatically.

The United Kingdom, despite occasional unsettling reports, was unable or unwilling to take its own steps to increase influence and friendships in Iceland.

When war began, Denmark and Iceland declared neutrality and ended visits to the island by military vessels and aircraft of the belligerents. London imposed strict export controls on Icelandic goods, preventing profitable shipments to Germany, as part of its naval blockade.

In April 1940 Denmark was invaded and quickly overrun by Germany. From that time, despite the shared monarchy and nominal control over foreign affairs from Copenhagen, Iceland was for all practical purposes completely independent. At the same time, with Germany gaining control of the lengthy Norwegian coast, the original Allied naval blockade line was no longer tenable and Iceland suddenly assumed new importance in British planning.

London offered assistance to Iceland, seeking cooperation "as a belligerent and an ally", but Reykjavik declined and reaffirmed its neutrality.

The British Strike

Britain was now concerned about a coup by Germans already in Iceland (a small diplomatic staff, a few resident nationals, and a few individuals stranded by the war, plus 62 shipwrecked German sailors not yet repatriated) as well as an invasion by sea or air.

On 28 April 1940, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty at that time, initiated planning to forestall German occupation and establish a British presence on Iceland. The Foreign Office deemed there was no chance of Reykjavik granting any request for such an intrusion but nevertheless opposed occupying Iceland without prior negotiation. The Admiralty preferred to land first and negotiate later. The War Cabinet sided with the Admiralty.

"Force Sturges" sailed from Greenock on 8 May. The force, commanded by Colonel Robert Sturges, was built around the 2nd Royal Marine Battalion of the 101st Royal Marine Brigade (including three batteries of artillery) amounting to 815 officers and men plus a small intelligence detachment. Aboard two cruisers (Berwick and Glasgow) and two destroyers, the expedition entered Reykjavik Bay on the morning of 10 May. Upon landing they were guided by local Britons and quickly secured important localities without incident. German citizens were taken into custody and the consulate seized. On the same day, the German offensive against France, Belgium, and the Netherlands was unleashed.

Although the Icelandic government issued a formal protest and stood by its neutral status, the British occupation was tacitly accepted. The Prime Minister of Iceland spoke of the UK as "a friendly nation" and asked his people "to consider the British soldiers as guests and consequently to show them as all other guests all courtesy." Likewise, the United States accepted the British move. All parties considered it a necessary and prudent step to forestall a German invasion.

German Invasion

Hitler had previously expressed vague interest in Iceland due to its strategic position in the North Atlantic, but there were in fact no plans to seize the island and no invasion for the British to forestall.

Hitler's anger at the British occupation soon energized plans for regaining the initiative. While the Kriegsmarine grudgingly confirmed it might be possible to capture Iceland from its new defenders, the planners could see no solution to holding and supplying German forces on the island in the middle of British-controlled waters.

Nevertheless, staff studies duly went forward. Shipping needs were calculated; sailing speeds for three separate, converging convoys determined to arrange a rendezvous; lack of escorting warships (due largely to destroyer losses at Narvik) noted; total lack of air cover lamented; inability to resupply the island underlined. The planning was done under the name "Fall Ikarus". Despite invoking the name of the winged son of Daedalus, airborne landings were deemed impractical.

By the end of September 1940, with the arrival of uncertain weather and the delay of Hitler's other amphibious project, Operation Sea Lion, even the remote possibility of a German expedition against Iceland had evaporated.

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In my view Iceland should become independent after Denmark surrenders and offer no opposition to any invading force.

If you attack Iceland before while Denmark is neutral such an action should have negative consequences for your relations with the other Nordic countries.

As for its production base, it should be minimal.

My best guess is that the allies will maintain a force ready to invade Iceland once the Axis attack Denmark. Then they will station an airfleet on the Isle to aid in spotting and sinking any subs that pass nearby.

[ January 09, 2006, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Some considerations:

1) If it's taken over by the Axis, how do they supply the place? My guess would be milkcow U-boats, but that would severely limit the size of their garrison. Also, it would make maintaining an air or naval base impossible. The Allies made it both an air and navy base, but they had unlimited supply capability and no danger of surface interdiction.

2) As in the case of Gibraltar, there is no SC unit small enough to represent the garrison that occupied Iceland during WWII.

3) If the Axis does occupy it, and does keep it supplied, what use do they get out of it?

-- a. Keeping it from becoming an Allied base for use against their U-boats would be significant in itself.

4) An axis force lands and takes Iceland. Is it realistic to suppose they'd hold onto it even if the United States isn't in the war? I don't think so.

5) I think a more plausible variant would be Vichy France allowing Germany to resupply and repair U-boats in it's colonial ports, especially after the British seizing of Syria and the sinking of the French fleet at Mirs el Kabir.

6) Despite my first four points, I think it's a good possibility to have in the game. It can always be used in homebrewed scenarios.

-- Greenland was another possibility and also the Spanish Canary Islands -- same variant idea as Vichy allowing port access to U-boats and surface raiders.

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PS -- both Iceland and Greenland would have had value to the Axis as weather stations. If they'd had information from the west side of the Atlantic, for example, they'd have known that the skies would clear over the English Channel on June the 6th 1944.

For one thing, Rommel and numerous other German senior officers wouldn't have been home visiting families, they'd have been at the front when the landing craft began loading up. I'm sure Rommel would have made that fateful phonecall to a sleeping Hitler (the one von Rundstedt was too proud to make) and equally sure he'd have gotten authorization to release the Panzers for a timely counter attack while the Allies were still struggling to secure the beaches.

Earlier in the war Germany had hidden weather stations in remote Canadian regions, then used either U-boats or freighters for the purpose, but by 1944 (intercepting all of them through Ultra) that source of information was closed to them.

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Good ppints all around, and most interesting tid-bit about those weather stations.

Quite frankly it would have been impossible for Germany to supply any forces on Iceland in the face of Allied naval superiority. I jsut don't see any way to reflect that in Sc2.

Perhaps if one could have the capital city function at Level 5 if Axis occupied and Level 10 if Allied occupied.


I like your idea for Vichy France allowing Axis ships to resupply at its ports. I wonder if the USA provided a similar service to UK ships - allowsing them to be resupplied at meutral US ports.

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The Canadians didn't set up German weather stations, I was only joking about that part. Actually, they were the ones closing them down. :D

During the early days of the war, probably into 1940, the Germans sneaked small craft into some of the wide open spaces around Hudson's Bay and other northerly locals to take meteorological readings for the U-boats and this was, of course, forwarded to Berlin.

As the Allied control of the Atlantic became ever tighter Germany had few opportunities to do things like that and eventually it was down to a few U-boats along the coast of Canada and Greenland.

The last weather station captured was in early 1944 and the crew hadn't succeeded in destroying it's Ultra device, code books or charts. The Allies held off on using the information till they had opportunities to make it look as though they'd found the U-boats through normal recon. The Germans never realized the new ciphers had been captured; they thought the U-boats had sunk, taking their secrets with them. All of which made that last year even worse for the submariners than it would have been anyway.

-- There may be some espionage stories mixed into this that I'm not aware of. Germany slipped some agents into the United States along the east coast; many of them at my old haunts on Long Island and some near my home now in New Jersey (one or two still drop by, lost as usual ;) ). I don't know if they also dropped them off on the Canadian coast, though spying and espionage in Britain and North America were not among Germany's more successful activities (almost always fiascos).

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LOL That explains the lack of info. But I'm still keeping my eye on those "Frenchy" people up there!!

But hey JJ ,good job on "planting" mis info or intel. Man if you had worked for germany during war, I know I for one would have attacked Canada. :D Maybe this kind of stuff could be added to SC2 to spice up game. News flashing come across screen. You dont know which ones are true or not. The "truth" would be determined by how much research was done on INTEL from either side.

But I still wish/hope that we can Declare war on any nation just to see possiblities.Does any one or not?

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Appreciated BL ;)

Reminds me of that Michael Moore movie with John Candy and Allan Alda, Canadian Bacon, where the United States, desperate to provide an imminent danger for the Defense Department to keep it's funding after the Soviet collapse, starts uncovering Canadian plots and infiltrations. :D

I agree about the DoW option. Many of us wanted Hubert to pull that cork out of the socket in the SC-1 editor but he always gave us the same reply, one of these things ...

" ;) "

The official Hubert Smiley. smile.gif

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A little off topic i will be right now...but ICELAND brings to mind an idea that was brought up on a 'Secret Weapons' show i watched.

The 'Allies' were seriously considering building an Aircraft-Carrier out of WATER & SAWDUST.

Once this recipe is mixed it is then sprayed onto a frame of sorts, freezes and is now hard & strong enough to support itself as well as the aircraft and crew that would inhabit it!. Much better than just ICE!.

They went on and on illustrating how the crew would be able to be comfortable on a ship like this and how it could infact launch and recieve aircraft...as the runway was specifically treated somehow so that it would not be slippery,etc.

Im sorry that i do not have more specifics on this as the show caught me off-guard and i wasn't prepared to write down details as i should have,...i don't even remember the name of the show!.

Of course, this ship would only be able to operate at the Polar-Region,...why they would need an AirCraft-Carrier in that climate, i don't know?...it seems too-bizare an idea!.

Anyway...this is just something different to think about!. One in a thousand chance!...did someone else see this program?.

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Actually, it would have made a lot of sense in 1942-43 after Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eurgen made their channel run and were back in the German home ports.

Potentially, the Germans had the BB Tirpitz, BC Scharnhorst (sistership Gheisenau was never repaired after hitting two mines), two pocket battleships and several heavy cruisers for use in the North Sea. They made several forays near the Arctic Circle, one of which led to the scattering and subsequent decimation of convoy PQ17.

The region was beyond practical flight range from Scotland and England and the weather was usually too severe to justify diverting an aircraft carrier from a warmer station.

So, if one or more large ice constructed aircraft carriers could be permanently stationed in the area they'd be able to help the Royal Navy protect the Murmansk convoys.

-- The Luftwaffe also operated out of Norway and sank as many freighters on that run as the U-boats. I'd imagine fighter interceptors from one or more of those monstrosities might have helped in this capacity as well.

I've read bits and pieces on this interesting topic in many different books on the war, but have no idea whether it would have been a practical idea and, if so, why it wasn't implemented.

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I really appreciate your reply Jersey John even though all i was expecting was ridicule!.

I did infact see this subject mentioned in a show on Secret Weapons...but, was still in disbelief after watching it. I have never heard of anything like it before!.

I was very reluctant to even mention it...but, the Witching-Hour got the best of me...and i thought...'O'...what the Hell!!!.

Anyway...to sumarize,...the way you explain it Jersey John, there may have in-fact been a reason for the Secret-Projects people to conjure up something so seemingly preposterous like this!.

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Very impressive investigative work beginner's luck ...i didn't believe anyone would find anything on this subject!!!.

I enjoyed reading the links you posted!!!...thank's again!!!.

Jersey John ...Now to answer your Question ... regarding how ... -- If they'd built that iceberg aircraft carrier, I wonder what the displacement would have been?

The ships would be cheap to make so that a vast number could be made. The ships could be up to 4000 feet long, 600 feet wide and 130 feet in depth. They could be used to carry aircraft to protect shipping in the mid-Atlantic

This substance was named “Pykecrete”, after Pyke. Plans were drawn up for a vessel with the dimensions of 2000 feet long with a displacement of 1,800,000 dead weight tons. For the best possible results, the ship would need to be built in Canada or Russia, where the ship could be naturally frozen.

[ January 14, 2006, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Retributar ]

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begginer's luck ...i'm Canadian as well...so is 'Hubert Cater'...we are but a few of the few!.

Anyway...since i was so Impressed by your Sherlock Holme's Skills, i would like to ask if you can continue to use your Skill's to Research...the Canadian SKINK OR SKINK'S TANK?.

The German's who were unfortunate to encounter it...basically ****-their-pant's and readilly surrendered after encountering it!.

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The only Skink tank I know of is an 20 mm AA tank but it saw little action. It did get used some against infantry,though its main reason for being built was the Luftwaffe. .Is there another tank than I dont know of? BTW I assume you know that its name came from a lizard in Cananda.

Also Retributar , you have to look at an earlier thread between JJ and myself to get the John Candy reference. ;)

But now I see the conspiracy goes all the way to the TOP with Hubert himself being involved! :D;)

SKINK tank

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beginner's luck...yes!!!...that is/was the Tank!. Seem's there's no hiding anything from you!...what???...do you have eye's behind your head?.

I don't think that they built many of them other than a few for experimental purposes...and as you mentioned it was Primarily for Anti-Aircraft purposes...but some Canadians used it against some German's in a Fortification or Fortified-Position...and the SKINK smoked/flushed them out of it in a hurry...inflicting many casualties!.

So, yes...it was an AA-Tank first and foremost...but, Me-Think's...had more been built to deal with Fortified Positions...im sure that it would have greatly helped out and have been a relief to those who now would not need to storm the Fortification personally!.

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I think the real reason they didnt build alot is that by the time they were coming off poduction the Allies fighters had taken care of the German AF. So no need for more AA tanks. Funny how even though only 1(yes only one) was ever used in battle-its reputation grew! Talk about a one hit wonder!! :D

Btw did you know Canadains were the only ones to reach all their targets on D-day.

Thats why I dont under estimate their "sneakiness". ;)tongue.gif:D

J/k their actually fought well above anyones real expectations.They started so small but quicky proved that "size doesn't matter". smile.gif

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Regarding that ice aircraft carrier's size, you're saying roughly 23xYamato! :D Whoa, I hate to ask my next question, but it's, how many planes were they planning to put on there, and of course with a 4000 foot runway I guess heavy bombers wouldn't have been any problem.

George Orwell mentions a permanent North Sea Carrier in 1984; he must have picked up on ideas from this concept discussed during th war.

Beginner's Luck

We may actually have been the only two people in the forum who have seen, Canadian Bacon. Or, more likely, the only two who actually enjoyed it. :D

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  • 13 years later...

Malta was supplied for a time exclusively by submarines, an Icelandic U-boat base could do the same. Several hundred Diesel JU 86 were available, and the Icelandic fishing fleet operated on diesel, 1000 coastal vessels & 22 ocean going. Iceland had 40.000 horses in 1940, & the one RAF base at Faeroes had a dirt strip & had little success against the Luftwaffe.

The Luftwaffe in Spain was up and running in 1 day, He 115 planes were assembled & operated without hangars in 1 day. German plank wood runways also can be set up in a very short time. German cargo ships could have 6 or 8 inch guns set up aft to give an instant welcome to the Royal Navy when it arrived.



The British airbase at the Faeroes

Two Spitfires were stationed here in 1943 but again with the Luftwaffe flying in low level, radar would not pick them up so success from this station was non-existant.

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