Greenland Patrol

This article provides a brief history of the Greenland Patrol of the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Although largely uninhabitable, Greenland's major significance lay in its cryolite mines and potential to accommodate air bases and weather stations. Several Coast Guard cutters were deployed to the coast of Greenland and, in October 1941, they became the Greenland Patrol. The two purposes of naval operations in Greenland were to support the Army in establishing airdrome facilities for use in ferrying aircraft to the British Isles and defending Greenland by preventing German operations in Northeast Greenland. The Greenland Patrol's most important task was escorting convoys. Among its other tasks were establishing and maintaining aids to navigation, reporting weather, charting the Greenland coast, engaging enemy vessels and destroying German radio stations on land. On one occasion, the Coast Guardsmen rescued a significant number of the crew of a ship that had been torpedoed and sunk in the frigid waters. Although the International Ice Patrol was suspended during the war years, the Greenland Patrol continued to collect and report information on ice conditions during this time.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01000476
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 21 2005 5:38PM