Roadtrip to Rjukan

Photos by Hans Tore Tangerud

Well, it's time to tell a story.
Hope you will understand my english.

I have been looking for a special historic location in Rjukan for many years,
never quite sure if it existed. Actually I have been trying to find it for about 20 years. I have
been in Rjukan two times before trying to find it. I have asked the locals, but never got any clues.
Tried again this time. At the bakery I spoke to five elderly men trying to get answers. Finally some luck, they gave me a
name and an address to visit. There we met Tor, smiling and wondering where I got the info on this place from. I told him that
I heard it on the radio some 20 years ago, and I have been trying to find it ever since. Lately searching the net for info, but nothing there.

So what am I looking for?
During world war II the germans took control of Vemork hydroelectric
powerplant, the hydrogen factory and it's heavy water. A series of sabotage
actions were undertaken by norwegian and allied saboteurs, to prevent the German nuclear
energy project from acquiring the heavy water that were to be used to produce nuclear weapons. On one
of these operations 173 American B-17 bomber planes dropped more than 700 - 500 kilogram bombs on Rjukan.

After the war Rjukan was rebuilt and the traces of the war slowly "disappeared".
I am looking for a site where nothing is removed, bomb craters and bomb fragments still intact.
Tor saw my enthusiasm and gave us the directions and the correct story on this location. One reason
few know about this place is that the bombs were dropped in a mountainside with nothing but rocks. Reason
was that some of the planes didn't get the chance to drop their bombs. As the bombs were all armed they didn't
want to take the risk of bringing them back to England. Some say a hard landing with armed bombs is no good. I want to see
this place, I want to touch the bomb fragments. Knowing that their aim was to prevent Hitler success on his nuclear bomb program.

We also visited the location of the last sabotage operation.
After all this the germans gave up Vemork and planned to move what was left
of the heavy water to Germany. The "only way" to get it out of Rjukan was by the
railway ferry on lake Tinnsjo. At the south end of the lake they would use the railway.

The ferry SF Hydro was succesfully blown up at the lakes deepest point, 430 meters.
Today the sister ship SF Ammonia is to be found at the pier. In 1965 "Hollywood" made a
movie about all these events. The movie title is - The Heroes of Telemark - Starring Kirk Douglas.

At Tor's place in Rjukan.

Yeah! Getting out to explore. :-)

Wow, found one! A 70-years-old bomb crater.

Another one.

And another.

Plenty of these at the mountainside.

World War II bomb fragments.


I just can't believe this. Bombs of such historic significance.
If these events hadn't been a success the world would most likely have looked different today.