The Alcan Pioneer Road And Discovery Of Permafrost


During The 1930s, Several American And Canadian Commissions Examined The Feasibility Of Constructing A Continuous Highway From The Population Centers Of Western And Central Canada As Far As Dawson For The Canadians And To Fairbanks As The Desired Terminus Of The Americans. The Scheme Lacked Political Will And Sponsorship Until Germany Attacked The Soviet Union In June 1941 And Quickly Advanced To The Outskirts Of Moscow. Soviet Emissaries Began Lobbying Their New North American Allies To Construct A Series Of Airfields Across Northwestern Canada And The Alaskan Territory To Shuttle American Aircraft On Lend-Lease To The Soviets. Canadian Planners Located 12 Airfield Sites In Their Western Provinces. The Americans Were Obliged To Observe Their Declared Neutrality Prior To The Japanese Attack On Pearl Harbor And Germany's Declaration Of War In December 1941. The Pacific Was The Largest Theater Of Military Conflict In History Stretching > 4500 Miles (> 7200 Km) Between San Francisco And Yokohama. American Military Planners Realized How Vulnerable Alaska Was To Airborne Attack And Seaborne Invasion. With America's Entry Into The War Against Japan And Germany In December 1941, 28 Air Bases Were Constructed During A 20-Month Period Beginning In The Spring Of 1942, Which Connected Great Falls, Montana With Krasnoyarsk In Siberia, Russia. Known As The ASLIB (Alaska-Siberian Air Ferry Route), The Great Circle Distance Between Montana And Central Siberia Was 5145 Miles (8285 Km). The Actual Flight Path Was More Than 6000 Miles (9600 Km), Making It The Longest Air Bridge Of The Second World War. The Alcan Highway Was The Umbilical Cord Of Canadian And American Presence, Authority, And Defense Of The Near-Pristine Frontier, Which Accommodated The Transfer Of ~ 8000 Lend-Lease Combat Aircraft, 56% Of Those That Reached The Soviets During The War.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Airfields and military infrastructure; Alaska-Siberian Air Ferry Route (ASLIB); Alcan highway; Lend-lease program; World war II

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2366-2565; 2366-2557

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2024