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|Invasion of Berkner Island
|Part of Antarctic War|
|Fourth Reich|| United States
|Commanders and leaders|
The Invasion of Berkner Island was a battle during the Antarctic War between forces of the Fourth Reich and the United States protectorate of Berkner Island. An amphibious assault was launched on the island on 7 May 1961, and over the course of the next twenty four hours the Antarctic German invaders engaged in fierce combat across the island, particularly around the major settlement of Fort McElroy. Although the American garrison put up a valiant defense around the city and its military base, by 8 May the island had been largely captured by Antarctic German forces, and at noon on that day the American garrison surrendered.
With Norway now officially at war with the Fourth Reich, calling upon the members of NATO to support them in their defense, it was only a matter of time before the United States and its allies launched an attack against the Antarctic Germans. Berkner Island, located just outside Antarctic German territory and its major coastal cities, proved a crucial strategic point, and the Antarctic Germans sought to capture the island before the United States could begin targeting the Fourth Reich by air, or possibly use the island as a staging ground for a future invasion. At the time of the war's outbreak, Berkner Island was home to a large American military base and airfield, created in 1959 following the conclusion of the Antafrican Civil War. The island was an important piece in the American Antarctic Command, serving as a regional base near the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea.
After the successful battle at Halvøyaby, military assets were transferred from the city to the Antarctic German city of Küstefestung, located on the Weddell Sea, and within striking distance of Berkner Island. On 7 May the Antarctic Germans launched their attack, surrounding the major settlement of Fort McElroy with naval forces, and unleashing a heavy barrage. At the same time a detachment of the Antarctic German fleet traveled south and wrapped around the island, landing a large amount of soldiers in the south. The main Antarctic German force landed outside Fort McElroy and began slowly pushing into the settlement. Bombers managed to destroy several major defensive installations, but were also heavily targeted by the defending air force, causing numerous casualties.
Ground forces in the south moved across the island, covering areas that were largely rural, capturing several small towns. The Antarctic Germans encountered numerous bands of soldiers and militia, and were often targeted by smaller planes still airborne, slowing down the advance into 8 May. By the next morning the Antarctic Germans had seized the high points of the island, and had also surrounded Fort McElroy, prompting a surrender of the American garrison at noon on 8 May. The island was quickly fortified and a large Antarctic German garrison was positioned on the island. The warships gathered outside the settlement were tasked with hunting down any remaining American forces around the island, supported by the air force.