Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

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Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by williamjpellas » 02 Jun 2016 06:31

I have seen some information, in a TV documentary series and also on a couple of websites, concerning secret U-boat bases alleged to have been constructed in Spain, Mexico, and elsewhere, including at least one facility in the Arctic. Of these, what little information I have been able to glean to date seems to indicate that the Arctic and Mexican bases were rudimentary and probably not used often; the base or bases in Spain were apparently larger and better-equipped.


By way of the New Zealand-based researcher Simon Gunson, I have also become aware of what was apparently a German air base located on a Japanese-held island in the North Pacific ocean. The ambient heat from the (mostly) dormant volcano was used to keep the runways ice-free year round. I don't recall the name of the island just now but it was attacked at one point by a US submarine. The sub was itself sunk by Japanese artillery batteries located on shore. I am assuming for the moment that this facility probably doubled as a safe harbor for monsungruppe U-boats, but haven't seen anything specific on that point in terms of documentation.

Any reliable information is much appreciated. Thank you.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by James A Pratt III » 02 Jun 2016 20:09

There were no U-boat bases in Mexico or the Artic

There were no German air bases in the North Pacific. The only German aircraft in use in the PTO were a few sent to japan for test purposes, a few used by surface raiders and a few brought out by supply ships for surface raiders. I have read that at least one AR-196 did operate in the NEI area around U-boat bases during the 1944-45 period.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by williamjpellas » 03 Jun 2016 00:25

In Robert Wilcox's book, Japan's Secret War, there is mention of an attempt by Spanish spymaster Angel Alcazar de Velasco to penetrate the Manhattan Project. Some dismiss de Velasco as a braggart poisoned by his own machismo, but I do not. First, because he was highly respected by one of his contemporaries who knew whereof he was speaking, namely, Ladislas Farago (in his book Game of Foxes). Farago, like Wilcox a journalist as opposed to a professional academic-bureaucrat-historian, was taken to task by some in the "scholarly" establishment; his very adroit return fire is captured here:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1972/03/23/complaint/

The second reason I give de Velsaco's claims credit is because the few fragments he is said (primarily in interviews he gave to Wilcox in 1985) to have passed on to Hitler about the Manhattan Project were accurate; for example, his discovery of the existence of the eastern branch of the effort, in Oak Ridge, TN, and his determination that another branch of the a-bomb enterprise was located somewhere in the American desert southwest. While it does not appear that de Velasco realized that what he had seen dimly through the mist was in fact the brain trust of the Project---the Los Alamos superlab---nevertheless he was definitely sniffing around in the right general area. This latter detail, though sketchy, seems likely to be what led to an attempt by the "Span-Nap" spyring (combined "neutral" Spanish and Japanese espionage) to conduct a reconnaissance in the Arizona desert. De Velasco claimed that a U-boat was put at his disposal, and that he and two Japanese operatives boarded it somewhere in Europe. From there it journeyed to the Pacific coast of Mexico, where the Japanese were put ashore. They were said by de Velasco to have hiked overland to Arizona, where they took soil samples to test for radioactivity. Finding none, they returned to Mexico.

I filed this story away for reference for many years, until I saw a blurb---unfortunately with no little or no supporting documentation---on the following website alleging the existence of a rudimentary secret U-boat base in Mexico:

http://the-wanderling.com/u-196.html

Again I must emphasize that there is not much in that piece that can be documented, but because it is consistent with de Velasco's story, I thought to come here to AHF to see if anyone has seen anything reliable that might confirm that it existed. I definitely believe it could have, because Mexico has long resented the loss of its colonial Spanish territories to the US, and because just two decades prior, Mexico and Germany had connived to return those territories to Mexico should Germany win the First World War.

You are incorrect regarding German air bases in the North Pacific. There was at least one. This was on Matsuwa Island, a heavily garrisoned Japanese-held island that certainly appears to have been a joint base effort together with Germany. Here is a link to Simon Gunson's information about Matsuwa as posted on the website, abovetopsecret.com:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread837282/pg1

Note that in addition to multiple air attacks by the US 11th Air Force, flying out of bases in or near Alaska, there were at least two American submarine missions to the island. One was by USS Narwhal, in the summer of 1943, and the other by USS Herring in June 1944. Narwhal was successful and subsequently escaped from counterattacking Japanese naval forces, but Herring was shelled and sunk by counterfire from Japanese shore batteries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Narwhal_(SS-167)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Herring

Gunson's information about possible German bases in the Arctic, in my opinion, is not as well established as the Matsuwa Island story, but it is still worthy of mention. Note that he cites Russian sources. I just tried the link to one of them and either it's now broken, or the translation program I am using on a public library computer isn't able to handle it, or something. In any case there are a lot of specifics here and I see nothing particularly far fetched.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread999599/pg1

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Ironmachine » 03 Jun 2016 07:52

There were no U-boat bases in Spain either. There was some refuelling done at Spanish harbors from German ships, but no secret U-boat bases constructed here.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by williamjpellas » 04 Jun 2016 02:55

The controversial History Channel documentary series "Hunting Hitler" stated that there were two submarine bases or pens in Spain itself that were utilized by German U-boats during and immediately after the war. I did not get the impression from the program that they were mis-speaking while referring to what you mention here, ie, "...some refuelling done at Spanish harbors from German ships". No doubt that also occurred---and in my opinion, Spain was neutral in name only and was really an Axis co-belligerent in the shadows---but the program claimed it went further than this. There was also mention, along with video footage, of a radio direction-finding installation in Spain itself that was used by German bombers for navigation, presumably on air raids over England and probably elsewhere, as well.


Whatever one may think of the central premise of that series---the possibility that Hitler may have successfully faked suicide and survived to escape to South America---there was plenty of interesting and, as far as I know, accurate information about the state of affairs in Europe at the end of WWII, and particularly, about the "rat lines" and clandestine aid lent to numerous escaping Nazis by fellow-travelers and allies in the shadows. This certainly included some powerful people and institutions in Spain.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Jun 2016 03:45

williamjpellas wrote:The controversial History Channel documentary series "Hunting Hitler" stated that there were two submarine bases or pens in Spain itself that were utilized by German U-boats during and immediately after the war. I did not get the impression from the program that they were mis-speaking while referring to what you mention here, ie, "...some refuelling done at Spanish harbors from German ships".
I saw another program which talked about the secret submarine base at Geheimhaven located on a deserted island north of Crete.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by paulrward » 04 Jun 2016 04:18

Hello All ;

Mr. Iron Machine's efforts to distance the Franco regime from Nazi Germany during WW2 are once again incorrect. As Mr Fernando Almeida posted on this Board on the thread ' U-boat Refuelling ' on 03 May 2007, 23:41,
by FAlmeida »

Boats refuelling in Spain ports during II WW on interned German ships with a connivance of the Spanish Government

Vigo BESSEL
18.06.40 / U 43 / 101 t diesel; 2,1 t oil; water; food
26.06.40 / U 29 / 35 t diesel; 1 t oil; water; food
01.07.40 / U 52 / 56 t diesel; water; food
07./08.11.41 / U 77 / 102 t diesel; 3,3 t oil; food; water
27./28.11.41 / U 96 / 100 t diesel; 3,3 t oil; food; maps
11./12.12.41 / U 574 / 105 t diesel; 1,4 t oil; water; food; maps
12./13.12.41 / U 575 / 8,7 t diesel; supplement broken off, because boat was damaged and returned to Brest
14./15.12.41 / U 434 / 97 t diesel; 3 t oil; food; medicals

El Ferrol MAX ALBRECHT
27.06.40 / U 30 / 60 t diesel; 2 t oil; water; food
16./17.05.42 / U 68 / 14,2 t diesel; water
23.09.42 / U 66 / 10 t diesel; food

Cadiz THALIA
30./31.01.40 / U 25 / 33 t diesel; 2,2 t oil; water
21./22.07.41 / U 109 / 76 t diesel; 2,8 t oil; water; 3 torpedoes
31.07./01.08. and 01./02.08.41 / U 331 / 42 t diesel; water; 1 torpedo
14./15.10.41 / U 564 / 118 t diesel; 3 t oil; water; food
15./16.10.41 / U 204 / 105 t diesel; 3 t oil; food; 6 torpedoes; food, 2 wounded
26./27.11.41 / U 652 / 88 t diesel, 1,5 t oil; maps

Las Palmas CORRIENTES
03./04.03.41 / U 124 / 34 t diesel, 1 t oil, food
04./05.03.41 / U 105 / 66 t diesel; 2t oil; food
05./06.03.41 / U 106 / 44 t diesel; 0,6 t oil; food
24./25.06.41 / U 123 / 40 t diesel; 2 t oil; food
30.06/01.07.41 / U 69 / 62 t diesel; water
05./06.07.41 / U 103 / 47 t diesel; 2,3 t oil


Cheers, Fernando

As can be seen from the above, there was more than just fuel offloaded onto the U-Boats in Spain, The simple fact that the Thalia was transferring torpedoes to German U Boats is a clear violation of the Neutrality Clause of the Hague Accords.

Respectfully ;

Paul R. Ward

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Ironmachine » 04 Jun 2016 07:03

williamjpellas wrote:The controversial History Channel documentary series "Hunting Hitler" stated that there were two submarine bases or pens in Spain itself that were utilized by German U-boats during and immediately after the war. I did not get the impression from the program that they were mis-speaking while referring to what you mention here, ie, "...some refuelling done at Spanish harbors from German ships". No doubt that also occurred---and in my opinion, Spain was neutral in name only and was really an Axis co-belligerent in the shadows---but the program claimed it went further than this.
Well, Spain was not neutral for most of the war, but non-belligerant, whatever that figure was. There was collaboration with Germany as it was in the interest of Spain, certainly, but no secret bases for U-boats. As for the program's claims, they have as much value as their proofs; regarding the secret bases, none.
Last edited by Ironmachine on 04 Jun 2016 08:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Ironmachine » 04 Jun 2016 08:01

paulrward wrote:Hello All ;

Mr. Iron Machine's [sic] efforts to distance the Franco regime from Nazi Germany during WW2 are once again incorrect. As Mr Fernando Almeida posted on this Board on the thread ' U-boat Refuelling ' on 03 May 2007, 23:41,
I know very well the details of the collaboration between Germany and Spain in World War II and I have never made any attempt to "distance the Franco regimen from Nazi Germany". Yes, I wrote refuelling instead of resupplying because I was on a hurry and it made no difference in regards to the OP's question. It is a well know story, and it would be stupid to try to hide its details: if I actually accept that the U-boats were provided with diesel, what problem can I have to admit that they were also given food, torpedos, etc?
As a proof of how much I try to "distance the Franco regimen from Nazi Germany", here is what I, Mr. Iron Machine [sic], posted on 1 September 2010 on the tread "Villa Winter: A secret U Boot base in Spain" (http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3&start=15):
[...]el Ministro de Marina informó al comandante naval de Canarias que los días 1, 3 y 5 de marzo [de 1941] varios submarinos alemanes serían reabastecidos en el Corrientes, ordenándole que diera las mayores facilidades para su realización y las mantuviera en secreto. Los días 3 y 5 fueron reabastecidos el U-124 y el U-106, mientras que el día 1 no hubo ninguna operación de este tipo sino el 4, protagonizada por el U-105. En junio hubo dos más: el día 24 a cargo del U-123 y el 30 para el U-69. La última tuvo lugar el 5 de julio, cuando entró en el puerto el U-103. Todas fueron documentadas por Charles Burdick, conservándose algunos documentos españoles en los que se demuestra el conocimiento de estas actividades por las autoridades españolas. El ministro de marina avisaba previamente al comandante naval de Canarias, ordenándole el mayor secreto, tal y como se hizo a finales de febrero, el 24 de junio y el 3 de julio. Éste último confirmaba la realización de los abastecimientos, según se puede comprobar en los radiotelegramas emitidos el 7 de marzo, 25 de junio y 6 de julio.
http://acceda.ulpgc.es/bitstream/10553/1552/1/5265.pdf
For those here that don't understand Spanish, the quote exposes the full knowledge of the resupplying operations by the Spanish authorities and explain the procedure followed.
So once again Mr. paulrward efforts to show that I am rabid Franco apologist had failed miserably because, like a bull charges against everything that moves, he charges against any mention of Spain in WWII without understanding what is really being said. It seems that Mr. paulrward can not bear that the republicans lost the SCW, Franco survived WWII, Ike gave him a hug, and he died of old age. But it was not my fault, and I had nothing to do with any of it, so please, Mr. paulrward, let me out of your persecution mania

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by williamjpellas » 04 Jun 2016 20:28

Richard Anderson wrote:
williamjpellas wrote:The controversial History Channel documentary series "Hunting Hitler" stated that there were two submarine bases or pens in Spain itself that were utilized by German U-boats during and immediately after the war. I did not get the impression from the program that they were mis-speaking while referring to what you mention here, ie, "...some refuelling done at Spanish harbors from German ships".
I saw another program which talked about the secret submarine base at Geheimhaven located on a deserted island north of Crete.

I wasn't familiar with that, Richard, thank you.


The more I think about it, the more likely it seems to me that in order to effectively prosecute a truly global war for as long as they did while utilizing the technology available to them at the time, the Germans (like every major combatant nation) must have put together a better logistics and resupply network than they are generally thought to have fielded. This would be particularly true of their naval forces, most of which were of course submarines. There is also the issue of the transfer of VIPs and highly valuable cargoes between German and Japan (with Italy also involved for some time), and Japan was herself a powerful maritime nation with a long history of expertise when it came to seafaring. Gunson's information about Matsuwa Island, along with bits and pieces I have gleaned from other writers and researchers, indicates that air traffic was part of this effort, as well. So in some ways it seems to me that the Axis nations complemented each others' war efforts rather well, even if their overall war effort certainly did not approach what the Allies were doing in terms of logistics, resupply, and production and output of materiel.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Jun 2016 00:02

williamjpellas wrote:I wasn't familiar with that, Richard, thank you.


The more I think about it, the more likely it seems to me that in order to effectively prosecute a truly global war for as long as they did while utilizing the technology available to them at the time, the Germans (like every major combatant nation) must have put together a better logistics and resupply network than they are generally thought to have fielded. This would be particularly true of their naval forces, most of which were of course submarines. There is also the issue of the transfer of VIPs and highly valuable cargoes between German and Japan (with Italy also involved for some time), and Japan was herself a powerful maritime nation with a long history of expertise when it came to seafaring. Gunson's information about Matsuwa Island, along with bits and pieces I have gleaned from other writers and researchers, indicates that air traffic was part of this effort, as well. So in some ways it seems to me that the Axis nations complemented each others' war efforts rather well, even if their overall war effort certainly did not approach what the Allies were doing in terms of logistics, resupply, and production and output of materiel.
I found a photo of it in this article.

http://indianajones.wikia.com/wiki/Geheimhaven
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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Michael Kenny » 05 Jun 2016 00:41

Hook, line, sinker and the entire fishing rod!

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by williamjpellas » 05 Jun 2016 01:21

Heh. I see. It's unfortunate that you guys apparently think it's fun to blow up a thread intended for serious research with a reference to a 30 year old action movie (if admittedly a really good one) that I haven't seen, much less watched closely for specific details---such as the name of what turns out to have been a fictional Nazi submarine base in Raiders of the Lost Ark---in close to a decade. But, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your little passive aggressive jackass jollies and that you will move on to higher levels of maturity in the future. Thanks.

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Jun 2016 02:41

williamjpellas wrote:Heh. I see. It's unfortunate that you guys apparently think it's fun to blow up a thread intended for serious research with a reference to a 30 year old action movie (if admittedly a really good one) that I haven't seen, much less watched closely for specific details---such as the name of what turns out to have been a fictional Nazi submarine base in Raiders of the Lost Ark---in close to a decade. But, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your little passive aggressive jackass jollies and that you will move on to higher levels of maturity in the future. Thanks.
I'm sorry, but after reading your referenced "TV documentary series and also on a couple of websites" I just don't see why their imaginings are better than those of Mr. Spielberg? His are at least better written.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Secret U-Boat Bases in Mexico, Spain and Elsewhere?

Post by williamjpellas » 06 Jun 2016 04:54

Summarizing the information found on "The Wanderling"'s website, he claims that there were two secret Axis submarine bases located in the Americas during WWII. One was at Magdalena Bay on the west side of the Baja Peninsula. In the book, Collective Heart: Texans in WWII by Joyce Roach, cited by The Wanderling, there is the story of a Texas ranger - big game guide named Rufus Van Zandt. Roach's book states:

"Van Zandt spent a lot of time hunting bears and big cats in Mexico and became friends with the fierce Yaqui Indians, a tribe the Mexican government had tried its best to exterminate.

"When the war began, the U.S. government asked Van Zandt to keep his eyes and ears open for Japanese or German activity south of the border. He did and found a considerable Japanese presence on the west coast of Mexico.

"Eventually, according to Van Zandt, he participated in a raid by Yaqui Indians on a clandestine Japanese submarine refueling point on the Pacific side of Baja, Calif. He said a submarine and two trawlers were sunk and a fair number of Japanese were killed."


http://the-wanderling.com/submarines.html

http://www.joycegibsonroach.com/publica ... orld-war-2

The Wanderling checked into Van Zandt's story and believes at least one and possibly two attacks by Van Zandt and his irregulars did occur, but that it is difficult to say for sure if any Japanese vessels were actually sunk, whether "trawlers" (which he says may have been submarine tenders) or submarines. It is known that both Japanese military and civilian entities had been interested in Magdalena Bay and the surrounding area for some years prior to WWII. The Wanderling summarizes:

"Japan had a long history along the Baja peninsula, albeit sans submarines, starting as early as 1908. It was then that several Japanese based companies began to make substantial land investments in Baja California. Aurelio Sandoval, a Los Angeles based resident, was the head of the International Fisheries Company which held the exclusive Mexican government concession for fisheries on the Baja penisula. Sandoval was intent on developing fisheries all along the richest fishing locations throughout Baja but lacked the necessary capital. He approached a professor from the Imperial Fisheries Institute of Tokyo on world tour of fisheries for the Japanese government visiting Los Angeles about the possibility of large scale Japanese financing. Japanese financing was not initially forthcoming, however Sandoval did open a small lobster cannery in Baja California on Santa Margarita Island in Magdalena Bay he had supervised by a Japanese fishery expert who had been trained at the Imperial Fisheries Institute.

According to Eugene Keith Chamberlin, in "The Japanese Scare at Magdalena Bay," Pacific Historical Review, XXIV (1955), 345-359, in 1912, the expert, one Takasaki Tatsunosuke, while attempting to establish a financially viable enterprise, ensnared himself in an international incident involving a purported attempt by the Japanese government to purchase Magdalena Bay as a naval base and agricultural colony."


The historian Barbara Tuchman, in her book The Zimmerman Telegram, states that Imperial Germany also had interest in this location, for essentially the same purpose.

The second base is said to have been located at La Palma, in Chiapas state in the far south of Mexico, just 60 miles north of the border with Guatemala. Like Magdalena Bay, La Palma is on the west coast - Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. It was situated in a river estuary and appears to have been more substantial and more permanent than the more northern base. Both were built and maintained by the Japanese and may have been intended for use, along with never-realized staging areas in the Galapagos Islands, for attacks against the Panama Canal. (The US moved quickly to garrison the Galapagos Islands early in 1942, beating the Japanese to the punch.)

It is said that a Hollywood actress, Rochelle Hudson, was involved in espionage that identified the submarine bases, and that she worked with both Van Zandt, the Texas Ranger, and her husband, a US Naval Officer named Harold Thompson. German U-boats occasionally took on fuel and supplies at the Japanese facilities, especially after the "monsungruppe" submarines began sustained operations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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