German Second World War sub possibly found at bottom of Churchill River in Labrador
Further investigation will be required before it’s determined a German Second World War submarine has been found at the bottom of the Churchill River in Labrador. The Churchill is a large river system and navigable for miles upstream from the North Atlantic. The discovery was reported in the media in the last week of July this summer.
A German weather station was found in Labrador that had been established during the Second World War and Nazi activity along Canada’s coast was a constant source of concern during the war, with ship sinkings taking place far up the St. Lawrence River.
Spies were also transported to North America aboard submarines by Nazi forces with documented landings taking place in Florida and New Brunswick.
During the Second World War, the German navy and secret service planned and performed several missions and offensive operations along the Canadian coast. While the Canadian military worked bravely to defend against these missions, in some cases they didn’t have to do much to keep Canada safe.
One of these missions began in May 1942 when the German submarine U-213 slipped undetected into the Bay of Fundy with a “Lieutenant Alfred Langbein” aboard for a mission called “Operation Grete”. He was a spy who was equipped with a false Canadian identity, a portable transmitter-receiver, civilian clothes, and a substantial amount of money.
He landed on the shore at Melvin’s Beach, east of St. Martins, and made his way to some cover at the edge of the beach, as the crew paddled back to the submarine in their inflatable raft. With U-213 disappearing into the salty water of Fundy in a froth of bubbles, Langbein, as instructed, dug a hole in the sand and buried his naval uniform and his radio. Then he started his nefarious work. Well, sort of.
Langbein walked the two and a half hours to St. Martins and eventually made his way to Saint John, Moncton, and Montreal, finally reaching Ottawa. He remained undetected for more than two years — perhaps not all that surprising considering that he didn’t actually perform any espionage. Apparently he considered himself not so much a spy as, say, a tourist.
Finally, in December 1944, having run out of the money given to him by Germany to finance his espionage activities, he turned himself in to the Canadian authorities. He was tried but acquitted — the jury stated he had not committed any hostile act against Canada.
Meanwhile U-213 took part in Wolfpack missions against convoys in the north Atlantic and along the coast of North America, being depth charged and damaged twice – once in the Gulf of Maine, she was caught on the surface by a destroyer and attacked but managed to escape.
She was finally sunk in July, 1942, off the coast of the Azores after being attacked by three Royal Navy sloops of war. All of her crew were lost with her.

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