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  • United States. Second War Era Published, War Below Zero - The Battle for Greenland
  • United States. Second War Era Published, War Below Zero - The Battle for Greenland
  • United States. Second War Era Published, War Below Zero - The Battle for Greenland

Item: W7175

United States. Second War Era Published, War Below Zero - The Battle for Greenland



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United States. Second War Era Published, War Below Zero - The Battle for Greenland

Hardcover, cornflower blue cloth cover, the text on the front cover and the spine in a navy blue ink, with dust jacket, entitled "War Below Zero - The Battle for Greenland", by Colonel Bernt Balchen, Major Corey Ford and Major Oliver La Farge, copyrighted in 1944 by the Army and Air Forces Aid Society, published by Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, Massachusetts, printed by The Riverside Press of Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1944. Lying inappropriately named, across the top of the world, half within the Arctic Circle, Greenland offered splendid bases from which the Germans could refuel submarines to prey on North Atlantic shipping, launch planes within bombing distance of North Atlantic shores and gauge the future weather of Europe. It also offered the shortest possible ferry route to England, equally valuable forecasts of European weather, and a testing ground for Arctic equipment for use on other northern fronts. The three parts of this short book give a poignant and breath-taking account of how the Army Air Force, aided by knowledge and experience gained with Byrd in the Antarctic, dealt with these problems and dangers. As stated on the dust jacket: "War Below Zero" is a secret war, waged in semi-darkness north of the Arctic Circle of a battlefield perpetually locked under ten thousand feet of solid ice. It is fought on the Arctic's terms. From Greenland flow winds and currents that set up the storm fronts for the North Atlantic and the Continent. The success of our bombing raids depends on long-range forecasts from the Arctic. In the summer of 1941, an expedition led by Colonel Bernt Balchen, veteran flier and explorer, sailed under secret orders for Greenland. Their mission was to establish the northernmost American air base in the world. They discovered that the Germans already had a weather station there in daily communication with Berlin. This station Colonel Balchen's men destroyed, May 25, 1943. On November 9, 1942, a Flying Fortress being ferried to England crashed on the Greenland Ice Cap. Nine men were stranded in the snow desert without preparation or equipment. The last of them were finally saved five months later. Colonel Balchen was among their rescuers. "War Below Zero" is a record of sacrifice, suffering, endurance, and intense good-fellowship, an Arctic adventure that ranks with the best." The inside front and back covers of the book have a colorized global map with a ribbon banner inscribed "Flight of a B-17", illustrating a B-17 flying on a route from North America to Greenland to Europe in the North Atlantic Ocean. It includes sixteen black and white photographs, inserted before page 1. The book begins with a Foreword by Commanding General H.H. Arnold, Army Air Forces, followed by an Acknowledgement and a Table of Contents. It is divided into three sections:

Part One - Greenland Adventure; Part Two - The Long Wait; Postscript - Flight East / Life on the Greenland Ice Cap. In the first section, "Greenland Adventure", Colonel Balchen, Norwegian-American Arctic flyer, and Major Ford, writer, both of the Army Air Force, give an overall description of the Battle for Greenland: the establishment by Balchen, with the permission of the Free Danes, of the first American base in Greenland, in the summer of 1941; the hazardous rescues undertaken in 1942 and 1943; and the destruction of German bases discovered there in 1943. In the second section, "The Long Wait", Major Lafarge, Historical Officer of the Air Transport Command, reconstructs from four verbal accounts the heroic and terrible story of the rescue of the crew, or most of it, from a Fortress which crashed on the icecap on November 9, 1942. It was April before the assignment, under Captain Turner and others, was completed. The third and last section, "Postscript - Flight East / Life on the Greenland Ice Cap", incorporates two first-hand accounts: one by a ferry pilot and the other by a member of the Army Air Force Security Expedition which spent nearly nine isolated months at an army weather and rescue station on the icecap. Failing for the most part in impossible rescue attempts, it nevertheless forwarded invaluable data on weather and Arctic equipment. The ferry flight was led to disaster by false radio information which in turn betrayed the presence of Germans on the island. The unremitting efforts made to rescue the men of the wrecked Fortress are shot through with the attitude expressed by Major Lafarge in the following words: "Wherever our men have been stranded or cast away, there have been the same determined, combined operations to save them. They belong to the armies of that half of the world which believes that all men are valuable and even a single human being is important … It would be regarded more appropriate, one imagines, for the men [of the Axis nations] to have patriotically frozen themselves to death having first arranged their bodies in the form of a chrysanthemum or other appropriate emblem." The book contains 136 pages, printed in black ink, the text on a thick newsprint paper stock, the sixteen pages of black and white photographs on a semi-gloss white paper stock, measuring 135 mm (w) x 195 mm (h) x 19 mm (d). It exhibits a small indentation on the front cover, discolouration on the top of the pages, along with overall wear and tearing present along the edges of the dust jacket, the pages of the book remaining unaffected. Better than very fine.


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