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Secret Mission to a Soviet Ice Station
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781557505149
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Era: Cold War
  • Number of Pages: 240
  • Subject: U.S. Navy
  • Date Available: October 1996
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Full Description:

In May 1962 the Office of Naval Research and the CIA launched one of the most exotic spy missions of the Cold War: the parachuting of two intelligence officers onto a hastily abandoned Soviet drift station on a deteriorating Arctic ice pack to collect data and then retrieve the pair using an experimental recovery technique, later used by James Bond in the movie Thunderball. This book offers a first-time description of the top secret mission by one of the parachutists and a leading CIA historian. Together they combine page-turning adventure with a detailed inside look at the U.S.-Soviet race to conquer the Arctic at the height of the Cold War.

Combating bureaucratic resistance, dwindling funds, untested equipment, and savage physical conditions, the small American team of researchers and intelligence specialists raced against time to take advantage of a rare opportunity to assess the Soviets' progress in meteorology, oceanography, and especially submarine detection--before the station was smashed to bits by the grinding, drifting ice. Key to success was a fledgling recovery technology known as the Fulton Skyhook, designed to snatch the men from the ice on a 500-foot, balloon-lifted line snagged by a specially outfitted B-17 bomber traveling at 125 knots and then reel them up into the plane in howling sub-zero winds.

Based on station logs, after-action reports, and interviews with many of the participants, this one-of-a-kind account provides fascinating background on the personnel, special equipment, mysterious CIA aircraft, and Soviet and U.S. drift stations. The authors also place the mission in the perspective of the Cold War race to develop under-ice submarine operations and acoustic submarine detection capabilities.

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