The theory is saying that underneath the ice are warm water lakes that have molten the ice and created huge caverns.
Yes, but that still glosses over a lot of huge logistical issues. There's no soil
under the ice (or, I think, anywhere in Antarctica?), so growing food is a pretty serious issue. The ice sheets you're referring to here are the ones situated over dry land obviously - whilst they might be accessible during the summer down there, once the sea ice spreads you'll be pretty lucky if you have any kind of sea access at all.
For this reason also for Germany Antarctica was interesting and it claimed Neu Schwabenland, built a base and had a vast whaling force of over 50 ships around the year.
1. Again, so what? Lots of countries had whaling fleets, and for that matter lots of countries have competing and overlapping claims to Antarctica.
2. Guess how successful the German whaling fleet was at getting anything
to Germany once war broke out...
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> ww2? vs. the Axis? Before America's entry into war? As Germany held the continent with vast naval bases and access to all parts of the oceans?
Lol no. Germany had access to the North Sea, the Atlantic (via the coast of France) and the Mediterranean (well, their Italian allies did). But the Med was bottled up tight at both ends by the British (Gibraltar + Suez Canal), and the Royal Navy was really rather good at dealing with what surface ships the Germans had. Hell, we sank the French navy too just to be on the safe side 😛 .
> Britain was holding on for dear life.
Again, no. The biggest threat to the UK from German u-boats was in 1917
. In WW2 we basically dusted off the old WW1 plans, put them into action again, and did pretty well. The threat to the UK from Nazi Germany by air and sea has been pretty heavily exaggerated TBH (Churchill actually is at fault here, because even if the Luftwaffe had shredded the RAF for example, an invasion would still have been impossible because the Luftwaffe lacked the ability to deal with the Royal Navy - and lacked landing craft capable of crossing the Channel safely. However, tales of derring-do by a handful of brave pilots saving the whole country sounds far better in propaganda reels, and so there we go).
Just look at the stats for the Battle of the Atlantic (https://infogalactic.com/info/Battle_of_the_Atlantic
1. 30,000 German sailors lost vs ~75k Allied sailors et al lost. Guess who had more to spare.
2. 3,500 merchant vessels vs almost 800 subs. Guess who had more to spare.
3. About 15 million tonnes of shipping lost vs 38 million tonnes of Liberty ships. No, not cargo in Liberty ships. Just the Liberty ships.
4. Canada went from 38 merchant vessels to >400 and had something like the 3rd largest navy in the world.
The German surface fleet was never a serious threat, and the u-boat fleet couldn't do enough damage, especially with US involvement. Now if Roosevelt had been an isolationist then sure, things would've been a lot more serious, but what-ifs are irrelevant because, well, they didn't happen.
> Britain specifically had very little control of the south Atlantic.
The South Atlantic campaign was basically dominated by the defeat of the Admiral Graf Spee
. Once that was over (Dec 1939), everything else was pretty minor mopping up operations. As for British control over the South Atlantic, you forget all the naval bases we strung out in every corner of the planet.
> So as the "Royal Navy" was being hunted and hunting U-Boats the Axis had a solid hold on their harbors.
> Constant trade vessels specifically the crucial whalers would bring the whale fat to Europe and would load supply to sail back south again.
What, in the middle of the war? Against the Royal "neutral rights don't exist" Navy? Get some proof first instead of just making claims. Remember that the first claim on Neueschwabenland was in early 1939. Bit hard for the whaling ships to go back & forth when everyone and their grandmother is preparing for war and watching old Mean Mr Moustache like a hawk.
> Why sail empty?
Because fuel is not unlimited and free, because being low in the water has its own problems (also, hi spies et al), and because whaling kit isn't really ideal for unloading heavy industrial machinery? I mean, those are the ones I came up with off the top of my head just now.
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> Ever wondered why Germany would take that beating so long?
Because the Germans are seriously good soldiers, a naturally well-disciplined nation, and pretty much once Stalingrad turned sour were fighting against the rightly hated Soviet regime for their survival.
> Hitler and the Nazis were insane and evil.
Evil, yes. Insane, no. Well okay, deciding to invade Russia like they did is a pretty good definition of insanity (psst, if you want to invade Russia successfully, ask the British how to do it), but sans
that spectacular military cock-up they were basically just evil. I mean, what else would you call Generalplan Ost
if not evil? The ordinary Germans might've been dumb for going along with it, but if people were to be labelled evil for just being dumb sheep then the word would soon lose all meaning 😛 .
> Nobody speaks German. It all sounds so harsh.
Stop putting words in my mouth. I like the sound of German personally, and though I'd hardly any good at it, especially now after years of never using it, studied it at school. I've been to the country too - very nice people. Lots of splendid history (I've always been partial to the Prussian military stuff myself), they just went a bit nuts in the first 1/2 of the 20th century and needed to be taught a lesson or three. We did it to the Spanish, to the French, to some other French, to even more French, another time to the French because at this point why not, and then to the Germans.
> A big plus of having hundreds of U-Boats is you can dive underneath the ice of Antarctica if you wanted to.
1. Oh, they had hundreds of u-boats all right. 3/4 of them ended up on the bottom of the Atlantic (https://uboat.net/fates/losses/chart.htm
2. Know how long a u-boat can stay underwater for on batteries? Compare that to the number of miles of sea ice at a given time of year and you'll soon see the problem (no, you can't break through the ice, it's multiple metres thick and you're in a piddly little WW2-era sub, even modern ones can only do about a yard of ice). Now like I said, in summer it won't really be an issue, especially as the area of Neueschwabenland appears
to have little sea ice in the summer, so that's something at least.
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> So imagine a base already built, for the whalers and the German war ships to control that economicaly crucial part of the earth.
"Economically crucial." Lol.
> Germany had problems with natural resources, specifically oil. Whale fat may not power tanks but it can be used for heating and other products.
I think soap and the like, mostly.
> Anyway Antarctic base + a friendly nation of Argentina just around the corner.
Let's just ignore the RN base on the Falkland Islands, right?
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> Ever wondered what that silly Falkland war was all about?
The Argies wanted a nice, short, victorious war for domestic reasons & miscalculated is all (IIRC there've been rumours of oil down that way too, which would be a nice bonus). Had it been someone with less of a spine than Maggie Thatcher they would probably have gotten away with it. You win some, you lose some, no biggie.
> The German claim of New Swabia is disputed by the Empire
The claim is disputed by the people who claimed it first. Germany claimed the area, everyone else went "dude WTF?" because even if it didn't overlap their claims, they didn't want to allow the precedent. Who claimed what though is frankly a red herring though, because claims don't mean a damn when the issue is the presence of military forces and the like there - or not.
> nobody is allowed to go to Antarctica. Planes are not allowed to fly over.
For about $50k you can take a holiday to the South Pole. Yeah it's expensive, but honestly I'd put a few quid towards it if Big Bear was doing one.
> Just watch this one 7 minute video by one of your countrymen, good channel too, on one of the last recorded voyages.
If there was anything suspect going on, I think it's something pretty mundane. You know - people trying to escape, gold/cash, that kind of thing. Plenty of Nazi links to the country, so that makes sense. How much cargo U-977 had... beyond "16 crew had to be taken off", nothing's given, but like I showed above, it's not going to be great. Wouldn't surprise me if the "food supplies" were bullion or similar. The time between getting to Argentina & surfacing might be due to having to make a secret rendezvous etc at particular times & places - once that was done and the "food supplies" unloaded and safely hidden away on land, mission accomplished.
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> Of the U-Boat list specifically interesting is the type 21 of which 118 were built as per your links in 1943.
118 were built, starting
in 1943. Note also the commission dates of 1944-1945, which indicates they weren't in use until 1944 (I guess construction began in late 1943). This indicates as much: https://uboat.net/types/xxi.htm
By this time in the war however, the Allies had basically won the Battle of the Atlantic. Getting out there would have been a pretty unpleasant thing. Granted they had the range, but there's still the cargo issue to deal with.
> Looks like she was built in 2020 right?
Just good restoration work. She has nice lines though. Still, looking around inside you can see the cargo problem illustrated very clearly. Those subs are really quite cramped.