In 1947 Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal sent a naval task force to Antarctic including Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Krusen and Admiral Byrd, called “Operation Highjump”. It was touted to be an expedition to find “coal deposits” and other valuable resources, but in actuality they were trying to find the underground Nazi base in Neuschwabenlandt. The Nazis had done a very detailed study of Antarctic and were alleged to have built an underground base there.
The task force consisted of over 40 ships, and included an armed contingent of 1400 sailors, and three dog sled teams. The expedition was filmed by the Navy and brought to Hollywood to be made into a commercial film called “The Secret Land”. It was narrated by Hollywood actor Robert Montgomery (Naval reserve Officer).
Admiral Byrd’s team of six R4-Ds were fitted with the super-secret “Trimetricon” spy cameras, and each plane was trailing a magnetometer. They flew over as much of the continent as they could in the short three month summer period, mapping and recording magnetic data. Magnetometers show anomalies in the Earth’s magnetism, i.e. if there is a hollow area or cavity under the surface ice or ground, it will show up on the meter.
On the last of many mapping flights where all six planes went out, each on certain pre-ordained paths to film and measure with magnetometers, Admiral Byrd’s plane returned three hours late. It was stated that he had “lost an engine” and had had to throw everything overboard except the films themselves and the results of magnetometer readings in order to maintain altitude long enough to return to base.
The task force came steaming back with their data which was then classified “Top Secret”.
Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal retired and started to talk about his experiences on the expedition. He was put in Bethesda Naval Hospital psychiatric ward where he was prevented from seeing or talking to anyone, including his wife! He was later thrown out the window while allegedly trying to hang himself with a bed sheet. It was ruled a suicide, case closed…