In the Winter of 1943, a small group of Norwegian commandos parachuted on the snow-covered Hardangervidda in Nazi-occupied Norway. Their mission: to blow up the Vemork power plant in Rjukan which was producing heavy water that could be used by the Germans to create an atom bomb which could have dramatically changed the course of the second world war.
My friend Dennis van Dokkum from Survival school O.V.E.R.L.E.V.E.N. organised a trek on the Hardangervidda from 9 to 15 Aug. 2015, retracing the route the saboteurs took during their successful mission. Myself and five others joined him and we visited the Vemork power plant (which is now a museum) and one of the cabins the commandos most likely used for shelter in the winter over 70 years ago. In total we hiked about 50 km on the Hardangervidda plateau and wild camped there.
On our last day we climbed the Gaustatoppen, the highest mountain in the Telemark county (1883 m). Despite some blisters we had a great week.
Our route on Google Maps (including campsites)
More information on the Norwegian commando raid:
- The Saboteurs (2015), a miniseries by Per-Olav Sørensen. See the trailer on YouTube. (Also known as The Heavy Water War).
- The Real Heroes of Telemark (2003), an excellent 3-part documentary by Ray Mears on YouTube. Mears also wrote a book about this.
- The Heroes of Telemark (1965), a movie with Kirk Douglas. This story is heavily romanticised however and highly inaccurate.
- Kampen om Tungtvannet (1948), an old movie on YouTube with partly the original saboteurs starring as themselves (with English subtitles).