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Haudegen

A German war weather station in the Arctic. 360° Panoramas

War wea­ther sta­ti­on Hau­de­gen 1: the base

The Hau­de­gen base was the most famous Ger­man mili­ta­ry wea­ther sta­ti­on in the Arc­tic during the Second World War. Wea­ther data were important for the mili­ta­ry, who estab­lis­hed sta­ti­ons in important are­as that were not under enemy con­trol as the civi­li­an meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal net­work was not func­tio­n­al at that time. Even in 1944, when ever­ything was lacking in Ger­ma­ny, several sta­ti­ons were pre­pa­red for arc­tic ser­vice with gre­at care and equip­ment that other units could only dream of. The Hau­de­gen crew was taken to Wor­die­buk­ta in Rijpfjord on Nord­aus­t­land by a sub­ma­ri­ne, assis­ted by a sur­face ves­sel to trans­port all the equip­ment and mate­ri­als. The posi­ti­on was cho­sen as remo­te as pos­si­ble to avoid dis­co­very and attack. The name of the Hau­de­gen-sta­ti­on was deri­ved from the fami­ly name of the lea­der, Wil­helm Dege. Hau­de­gen means some­thing like „war­hor­se“ in Ger­man.

War wea­ther sta­ti­on Hau­de­gen 2: the base

The win­te­ring was peace­ful: the only visi­tors to the sta­ti­on were occa­sio­nal polar bears. After the end of the war, the Hau­de­gen crew remai­ned in con­stant con­ta­ct with the Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties, con­ti­nuing to pro­vi­de wea­ther data all the time. Rumours that they were for­got­ten in their remo­te sta­ti­on are not cor­rect, but Nor­way had other things on the agen­da than picking up some Ger­mans from Nord­aus­t­land in the mon­ths that fol­lo­wed the col­lap­se of Hit­ler Ger­ma­ny in May 1945. It was not befo­re 03 Sep­tem­ber 1945 that a small Nor­we­gi­an ves­sel reached Wor­die­buk­ta. When Wil­helm Dege sur­ren­de­red the fol­lowing day, he did so as the lea­der of the very last Ger­man mili­ta­ry unit from the Second World War that was still in its posi­ti­on. The Ger­mans were more than hap­py to sur­ren­der, they had been loo­king for­ward to an oppor­tu­ni­ty to return to their homes and fami­lies as soon as pos­si­ble. Both sides got tog­e­ther to cele­bra­te the oppor­tu­ni­ty in good arc­tic style, with ple­nty of alco­hol.

The main buil­ding, a „hard paper hut“, has suf­fe­red a lot from wind and wea­ther, but it is still stan­ding. It is pro­tec­ted sin­ce 2010 and it is not allo­wed any­mo­re to go too clo­se or even to enter it, some­thing that the rot­ten floor would not be strong enough for. In 2016, the buil­ding got a new roof, which you can see in the­se pan­ora­mas.

Hau­de­gen 3: loo­kout post

The­re was a loo­kout post on the hill direct­ly behind the sta­ti­on. Well hid­den behind the rocks, it pro­vi­des good views to all direc­tions.

Hau­de­gen 4: loo­kout post

View over Wor­die­buk­ta and the bar­ren inland in inner­most Rijpfjord. Wil­helm Dege was geo­gra­pher and he felt more like a sci­en­tist than like a sol­dier. He made several long excur­si­ons, try­ing to add to the geo­gra­phi­cal know­ledge of the area, but his pos­si­bi­li­ties were limi­ted and he could not make signi­fi­cant sci­en­ti­fic con­tri­bu­ti­ons. Pla­ce­n­a­mes given by him were not ack­now­led­ged by the Nor­we­gi­an map­ping aut­ho­ri­ty, as all pla­ce­n­a­mes given by Ger­mans during the war years.

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last modification: 2019-05-18 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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