In August and September 1941, Canadian Brigadier Arthur Potts led a successful but little known combined operation by a small task force of Canadian, British, and Norwegian troops in the Spitzbergen (Svalbard) archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. After extensive planning and political conversations between Allied civil and military authorities, the operation was re-scaled so that a small, mixed task force would destroy mining and communications infrastructure on this remote cluster of islands, repatriate Russian miners and their families to Russia, and evacuate Norwegian residents to Britain. While a modest non-combat mission, Operation Gauntlet represented Canada’s first expeditionary operation in the Arctic, yielding general lessons about the value of specialized training and representation from appropriate functional trades, unity of command, operational secrecy, and deception, ultimately providing a boost to Canadian morale. Interactions also demonstrated the complexities of coalition warfare as well as the challenges associated with civil-military interaction in the theatre of operations.
Dean, Ryan and Lackenbauer, P. Whitney
"Conceiving and Executing Operation Gauntlet: The Canadian-Led Raid on Spitzbergen, 1941,"
Canadian Military History: Vol. 26
, Article 16.
Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol26/iss2/16