Operation Gyroscope was a project started by the United States military after World War II that was active from 1947 to 1956. The plan was to ship soldiers out of the U.S. state of California, instead of New York.
The rebuilding process of Germany post–World War II was extreme, and much reconstruction support was needed. Because of this, the need to ship soldiers and supplies from the United States into occupied Germany was great. Troops were trained in bases in many states, even in states as far as California. After being trained, the troops were flown or sent on trains to New York. Before Gyroscope, most, if not all, troops left on ships for Germany from New York. Operation Gyroscope proved worthy as an option for shipping troops out of California and involved steering the ships out and around North America, through the Panama Canal, and then across the Atlantic Ocean.
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Though the Gyroscope trip was often longer than the average trip via train or plane to New York, it proved more cost effective. Another reason for Gyroscope that was kept from the public and the soldiers, was the growing tension with the Soviet Union. Having the ability to send troops out of California would greatly benefit the United States in a time of war. Sending troops out of the previous main port, New York, might have proved impractical and useless in a war with the Soviets. California also is directly on the other side of the Pacific Ocean as China, a country that at that time had recently undergone a Communist revolution.
Planners of the operation envisioned improving three areas with their program. The new system was expected to raise the morale of troops and their families, increase the combat effectiveness of the army, and lower the cost of maintaining the military establishment.
- The short film Big Picture: Operation Gyroscope is available for free download at the Internet Archive
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