Gunnerside, North Yorkshire If grouse-shooting were an Olympic sport this would be the venue for 2012. Darkness was fast enveloping the Hardanger as Helberg headed back down to the floor of the valley. It is signed off with the initials ‘W.S.C.’ No one had followed the drama of the heavy water mission more closely than the Prime Minister, and no one was more eager to recognise the courage and skill of the young men who brought about such a happy ending to the saga. The Raby grouse moors on the Upper Teesdale estate extend to about 30,000 acres. The return route over the moors may be confusing. SOE knew their rations were virtually exhausted and that winter, with its ferocious blizzards and blood-stopping temperatures, was on its way. They also had two small toboggans weighing roughly forty kilograms. Shortly afterward, the tug and glider experienced heavy turbulence and the tow rope broke. Since excess power was available, heavy water could be purified from the existing electrolyte. It was delicious.’. A frantic search ensued; the spectacles were found, and the fuses lit. Heavy water and graphite were the prime candidates for moderating neutron energy.[4]. [2] That year, Ida Noddack first mentioned the concept of nuclear fission. The survival of the SWALLOW party added to the sense of urgency. If they had become aware of the shipment, they might have tried to intercept it. About 11,324 acres. Norsk Hydro general director Axel Aubert agreed to lend the heavy water to France for the duration of the war, noting that if Germany won the war he would probably be shot. A nearly full moon shone brightly in a star-studded sky. In the summer, the Hardanger is a magnet for hillwalkers and nature lovers. The only person they encountered in the plant was a Norwegian caretaker named Johansen, who was very willing to cooperate with them. At the first sign of danger, reindeer flee, and Poulsson knew he lacked the strength to chase them for any great distance over the plateau. Enrico Fermi and his colleagues studied the results of bombarding uranium with neutrons in 1934. The German slumped to the ground. Skinnarland sent the following telegram to London: ‘The Ferry was sunk on Sunday. The village lies between the River Swale and its tributary, Gunnerside Beck, in the Swaledale part of the Yorkshire Dales National Par The concentration of heavy water in a number of the barrels was too small to be of value to a weapons program, however, which might explain the lack of tight security around the shipment and why the ferry was not searched for bombs. Were the Germans to find it, there was a strong risk of reprisals against the locals, dozens of whom had already been arrested and taken in for interrogation. The Germans, convinced that air raids would result in further serious damage, decided to abandon the plant and move its remaining stocks and critical components to Germany in 1944.[22]. They darted below deck where they were confronted by a crew member. In the valley below, the Germans were struggling to understand how the ‘impregnable fortress’ of Vemork had been breached and its precious contents destroyed without so much as a shot being fired. It was a strange feeling because here I was back in Britain, but I felt like I was at home. The plant was still capable of producing heavy water, however,[1] and the Allies were concerned that the Germans would use the facility to produce more heavy water. After about two hours Helberg reached the lip of a steep hill and, fearing his pursuer would catch him on the descent, he decided to stop and settle the matter in a shootout. ‘The first was to stay alive, the others were to maintain radio contact with England and to establish contact with people who could give us information about what was happening at Vemork and what the Germans were up to.’. He lay down and lined up one of the closest animals in his sights. [12], The force decided to descend into the ravine, ford the icy river and climb the steep hill on the far side. With little to do but conserve energy and stay warm, they spent most of the time in their sleeping bags. An SS guard sat at the front of the bus by the only door and three more SS men were on motorbikes with sidecars in the escort. Under the bright glare of giant floodlights, one by one the thirty-nine drums were carefully stored and secured. All four suffered from fevers and nausea. ‘I wanted strong, physically fit men with a good sense of humour who would smile their way through the most demanding situations,’ he said. Crucial to the success of the mission was the role played by Charles Howard, 20th Earl of Suffolk, the British liaison to the French scientific establishment. About grouse shooting . Their only respite was provided by the warmth and shelter of the huts they found. The Germans immediately set about strengthening the defences at the plant and sweeping the area for enemy agents. Roughly 150 miles from the coast, accessible only by one winding road, it sat on a steep, rocky slope of a narrow valley at the foot of the Hardanger Vidda, a beautiful but forbidding wilderness – the highest plateau in western Europe – where only the most experienced outdoorsman could survive for any significant length of time. shooting instructor consistently shows his clients how it should be done, be it tall pheasants or driven grouse. But such was the urgency of the situation that there were even discussions about blowing the Møsvatn Dam at the head of the valley – a course of action that would have led to the deaths of hundreds, possibly thousands of civilians, with no cast-iron guarantee that the heavy water stocks would be put beyond use. The following morning’s newspapers carried the news: the ferry had sunk at the deepest point of the lake, just as Haukelid had hoped. The Halifax bomber towing the glider crashed into a mountainside after becoming separated, killing the six-man crew. [14], Supplies required by the commandos were dropped with them in special CLE containers. When Nazi Germany investigated the production of an atomic bomb, a range of options was identified. When the fuses were about to be lit, the caretaker was worried about his spectacles (which were somewhere in the room; during the war, new eyeglasses were nearly impossible to obtain). They were travelling light, which was just as well, given the intense physical exertions ahead of them. On the night of 16 February 1943, in Operation Gunnerside (named after the village of Gunnerside, where SOE head Charles Jocelyn Hambro and his family used to shoot grouse), an additional six Norwegian commandos were dropped by parachute by a 138 Squadron Halifax bomber from RAF Tempsford. Their ignorance of the stakes makes the risks they were prepared to take all the more remarkable. The Germans planned to transport the heavy water to Hamburg, by train, ferry and then ship; the Allies planned to intercept and destroy it en route. The glider crash-landed near the crash site of the other glider, killing and injuring several more people. The only plausible option was a saturation bombing raid. The Norsk Hydro management's collaboration with the Germans was examined during investigations of collaborationism begun by Norwegian authorities after the war, but Aubert's cooperation with the French aided the company's case. 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