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The war came once ...

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  • The war came once ...

    We've all heard of places where the war came repeatedly, leaving devestation in its' wake and scaring the people and the landscape forever.

    But what about those places where the war may have come only once? What effects did it have? The French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon is such a place.

    Located about 20 miles off the coast of what is now the Canadian province of Newfoundland, it is a part of France (not a colony or protectorate). Today it has a population of about 6000.

    In WWII after the armistace, the local governor and such officials as there were, owed allegience to the Vichy government.

    The Free French wished to claim the islands but both the USA and Canada resisted. They did it anyway with 3 corvettes and the submarine SORCOUF. Not a shot was fired.

    The US secretary of state, Cordell Hull, was enraged. But shrewdly, De Gaulle and the Free French let the matter be settled in the court of public opinion. In the press is was hailed as the first victory of Free French forces over the Axis and the controversy quickly died away.

    After the 'liberation', about 450 men and 50 women joined the Free French forces, and about 20 made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

  • #2
    A few more threads to help.
    Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!


    • #3
      There was a Flower class corvette FFL Mimosa with crew from St. Pierre et Miquelon. She sank with great loss of life.
      Last edited by dmf01; 29 Dec 12, 12:25.
      "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"


      • #4

        Surcouf at St Pierre et Miquelon.


        • #5
          Never heard about this!


          • #6
            Originally posted by calger14 View Post
            Never heard about this!
            Same here! I heard about this chap who, worried about the war, decided to move to somewhere out of the way. Chose Guadalcanal.

            So there's a place that suffered the war once only - for three years.

            They couldn't hit an elephant at this


            • #7
              The Battle of North Cape (no, not the one you are thinking of...)

              " ... I remember the day, said retired fisherman Arnold Gaudet. I would be 10 years old and we were standing in a place called Skinners Pond, about 10 miles from North Cape.
              And every time there was an explosion, people were running up to the woods and hiding. They didnt know what was going on.
              Other witnesses spoke of a big ship coming in, with a detail of smaller ships, which were being pursued by a submarine.
              There were huge splashes of water and the boom, boom, boom of bombs that rattled dishes and shook the nerves of those onshore.
              A local businessmans diary even recorded the event. May 7, 1943: German submarine sunk by corvette off (North Cape) P.E.I..."

              North Cape is the very tip of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, it juts into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
              The problem with the eye witness accouts like the one above is that a search of Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Navy records shows no ships and no fighting in that area on that day. There is no missing U-boat and divers have found no wreck.

              But all witnesses insist there was a single ship under very heavy escort, including corvettes, and a significant number of weapons were fired. Speculation has been that uranium bound for the Manhattan project may have been under threat and the records are classified.

              However, a fluke led an amateur historian to check USN records and it turns out that some of the few corvettes manned by the US (in this case the US Coast Guard) were in the area. The had just been turned over to the USCG in Montreal Canada and were making their way back to the states. A single merchant ship happened to be going in the same direction unescorted and asked to tag along.

              Records seem to indicate that on the day of the battle, the USCG ships conducted weapons training and other readiness drills.

              Sometimes the truth can be so bland


              The battle site today:

              Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.


              • #8
                Interesting thread. Never heard of either incident.
                Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                And battles long ago:
                -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"


                • #9
                  The war came several times to Greenland, but given the size of the forces involved and the distances covered, I believe it can fit into this category.

                  With the mother nation, Denmark, occupied, the Greenlanders looked to the USA for help and were willing to pitch in themselves in their defence. They raised an army variously reported as between 15 and 22 individuals. Their east coast was a target for repeated attempts by the Germans to put ashore weather stations and there were several skirmishes from 1941 through '44.

                  The Greenlander's striking arm consisted of six 2 man, 11 dog teams known as the Northeast Greenland Sledge Patrol. Their largest battle was in March of 1943 when two teams (4 men) ran across 27 Germans in northern Greenland who were manning a weather station. One Greenlander was killed, and two captured, although they would later escape. The remaining Greenlander made an epic trek back to his HQ who warned American forces in the area. The site was bombed and put out of action.

                  These were the only casualties Greenland experienced during the war.

                  Here's a review of a book about that action:
                  Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                    The war came several times to Greenland, but given the size of the forces involved and the distances covered, I believe it can fit into this category. Here's a review of a book about that action:
                    Creepy - I was looking at Greenland as well wrt this thread.
                    Ta for a better written post than I could have done.
                    They couldn't hit an elephant at this


                    • #11
                      Don't think anyone has mentioned the German occupation of the Channel Islands. lcm1
                      'By Horse by Tram'.

                      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"


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