Franz Josef Land, Arctic Circle,
Marine Sergeant Albert “Al” Zabloski, after surviving a harrowing escape from a Japanese camp on Platok Island, continued to serve for a few more weeks cleaning up the island of the last of the Japanese soldiers.
In October 1942, newly promoted Staff Sergeant Zabloski was ordered stateside where he spent the better part of two months with family and friends. In early December 1942, he received orders to meet with military officials in the Pentagon. There, he received further orders to fly to a British airbase near Aberdeen, Scotland.
At the British airbase, Staff Sgt. Zabloski joined a group of military soldiers as well as civilians on a top secret mission to a remote Nazi-occupied archipelago called Franz Josef Land, just twenty nautical miles from the permanent Ice Margin, far north of the Arctic Circle.
The group’s mission is to find out why the Fuhrer is clinging to that barren strip of frozen wasteland and what exactly are the Nazis doing there.
Disguised as engineers under the leadership of Dr. Mikel Gondegaard, the group dressed in Nazi cold weather outfits and boarded a captured Junkers JU-252. After refueling in Norway, where their cover was almost blown, the group continued on their 1900 mile journey to Franz Josef Land.
The flight continued on without incident, that is until they approached the Nazi base on Alexandra Island. One of the plane’s engine exploded. A large piece of the engine struck the fuselage which ripped open, sucking out three members of the group and killing them instantly.
While others managed to bail out, Sgt. Zabloski heroically tried to help Flight Lt. Craig Shandler save the doomed plane.
However, the plane crashed on Weiss Island.
Flight Lt. Craig Shandler was killed in the crash. Sgt. Zabloski survived but suffered massive injuries. Soon after the crash, he was found by Army Private Bill “Bullseye” Stevens. Pvt. Stevens tried to treat his injuries but could not do much to help.
Separated from the others in the group, the injured Sgt. Zabloski along with Pvt. Stevens must now battle against the elements and regroup with the others in order to complete their mission.
Group Captain Fitch McSwain, Lt. Kelly Orr, Cpl “Doggy” McClure (Killed), Professor Sylvester Shenk, Dr. Mikel Gondegaard, Flight Lt. Craig Shandler (Killed)
Sgt. Zabloski’s squad: Army Private Bill “Bullseye” Stevens, Marine Private Lee Morgan, Army Private Felix “Fetch” Lemon (Killed), Army Medic Corporal Jim Wilson (Killed)