21. - 484.) Sledge Patrol by David Howarth – When Germany took possession of Denmark in WW II to “protect” the country from the Allies there was no declaration of war. Greenland’s governor, Eske Brun, believing it was in Greenland’s best interests not to submit to Germany effectively made Greenland independent. The north east coast of Greenland is one of the most isolated areas of the world. With weather reports are useful for shipping Brun wanted to know if Germany was establishing a weather station. Using a handful of hunters (more trappers) based in Eskimoness he sent out sledge (dogsled) patrols up and down the coast. To provide military status in case of capture he formed the Greenland Army which had 9 members. In the late summer of 1942 Germany did send a ship to set up a weather station on the coast. Unintentionally they set up their station on an island just over 60 miles from Eskimoness. When they were discovered in early 1943 the Germans successfully attacked Eskimoness and its 3 defenders. In an epic journey the Greenland commander, Ib Poulsen, walked 230 miles in winter weather in 11 days wearing improvised shoes made from sacking. (He was able to move from hunting hut to hunting hut as he made his way south.) As the Germans and Danes sledge up and down the coast a Dane is killed. What is remarkable is the regret each side felt in war coming to the Arctic. Howarth portrays Greenland as a starkly beautiful land and the hunting life in the Arctic to be a wonderful way to live. The climate forces harmony on its inhabitants. War is a strange and foolish concept and an unwanted intrusion. The Eskimos are terrified as they have no experience of war. They cannot understand it. The German commander, Ritter, is a reluctant warrior as he has lived the hunting life in Spitzbergen. In one of the most isolated areas on earth WW II had its most intimate conflict between the Greenland Army and 19 Germans. It is an epic story of survival in a weather hostile land. (June 3/09) (Most interesting of 2009)
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.