- A Discovery in Labrador is Revealed to have World War 2 origins
In 1977 a team of scientists were exploring northern Labrador for a geomorphological study. Labrador is a lightly populated region of Canada in the northeast.
The team came across a cluster of canisters that, judging by their rusty appearances, had been there for decades. The canisters were upright, were about four feet tall, and were filled with mechanical components. The team felt that these were put there by the Canadian military but were not sure what they were.
A more specific map where these canisters were found:
A photo of the site:
Four years later it was revealed that the canisters were placed there by the crew of a Nazi submarine in October of 1943. The U-boat was U-537.
The canisters were automatic weather station monitors and transmitters. During World War 2, monitoring the weather for the Atlantic Ocean was important for strategic reasons and the Germans were at a major disadvantage. Weather systems predominantly move from west to east so the Allies were able to predict the weather much more accurately than the Germans.
The Germans tried weather ships, but they were easily spotted and captured. They also tried aircraft, but those were unreliable. And so the company called Siemens designed small and clandestine automatic weather stations to be placed in various areas in the North Atlantic including Spitsbergen and Greenland.
So for the only time in World War 2, a German military operation took place on mainland North America. The area was picked because the Germans felt it was isolated enough to avoid discovery and the equipment was marked Canadian Meteor Service (non-existent) to conceal its German identity.
The automatic station (retroactively named Weather Station Kurt) was meant to operate for six months on its nickel-cadmium batteries but actually stopped working after only one month.
The weather station was forgotten about for over three decades until a scientific team accidentally found it in 1977. A retired Siemens worker found out about the discovery in 1981 and revealed its true origins. Today the canisters from Weather Station Kurt are on display in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.
Edit: Because of the interest this answer has generated, I am adding links to articles about other clandestine German weather stations from World War 2:
Very much a Scouty adventure: don’t cause trouble, just observe and report. And avoid getting detected, killed, or captured.
But the race-based Solomani Confederation doesn’t have a scout service: just dedicated Confederation Navy sensor & observation platforms.
“Violent supremacist organizations, eager to grind the universe under their jackboots, are such bullet-headed bores.”
“Without the wealth and technology of the Solomani Rim, they don’t dare cross the border: just shout endlessly about how much better they are. Endless streams of propaganda, yes, but no incoming fire.”
“I guess that’s the benefit the common Imperial subject gets. Not a bad reward, even compared to the yummy new markets the Imperial corporations won in the war.”
“The big men get their fat treasure chests, and the little men get their single solid gold sovereign? Better than usual!”