Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Cold_Collation, Nov 16, 2012.
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Birger Stromsheim - Telegraph
... agreed ... I have the book " Skis Against The Atom " written by another member of one of the teams involved in carrying out the raid ... I wonder if there are any others still surviving ?
Not sure. If so, they must be getting rare. I know when Ray Mears did the re-enactment of Telemark a few years back, the closing part of the programme had a voiceover, as the veterans and modern commandoes were shown having a dinner. Mears was saying then that some of those in the film had already passed away.
Hard, hard men.
As I said on another thread recently I worked for a Norwegian company for many years and only discovered after his death that my first MD had been an active member of the resistance .. the Ray Mears series was very interesting and gave a good taste of the hardships ... including surviving on moss ... the film " Heroes of Telemark " does not do true justice to the efforts and success of these men in apalling conditions and against overwhelming odds .
Came across this today ...
The Saboteurs of Telemark (BBC 1973) - YouTube
With contributions from many of the key personnel including R V Jones , Joachim Ronneberg , Knut Haukelid , Claus Helberg , Jens Anton Poulsson and more .
Operation Freshman also covered including the murder by the Gestapo of the survivors
The award of 4 DSO’s , 3 MC’s and 5 MM’s made this most highly decorated sabotage group in WW2 .
Sympathetic reconstructions are used to illustrate some measure of hardships and strengths / skills of the teams .... as already said ... hard men .
Thank you. I've seen snatches of that before but not knowing what it was, didn't know what to look for. Really appreciate you posting that.
My pleasure ... found it by chance ... watched it before posting and it is well worth viewing . .
Hard to understand/ put in context and believe if you were born in the last 50 odd years or so why they went through what they did and why. I hope Norwegians don't forget as easily as most of us have.
Bigger men than us.
Wow. A band of overwhelming men who's heroism played an immense part in making sure the Nazi's were not able to win the nuclear race.
If you think of what might have happened if the Nazis had managed to build the bomb, that somehow seems like an understatement.
Rest in Peace Birger Stromsheim. It seem's to me that the world owe's you and your fellow fighters an enormous amount of thanks.
I attended a lecture many years back given by Prof RV Jones. A fascinating man. His comments at the time were quite striking. The Germans could have built an atomic weapon, if the plans had progressed accordingly. The plans were sound, but frustrated by such interventions as Telemark.
But for men such as Stronsheim, London could be dust.
Amazing to think that we actually knew what they could have done if we had not carried out the raid and the Germans didn't pursue the idea with more vigor.
London would have been the first nuclear target ever.
Coupled with the V2, a very efficient delivery system, the world could be a very different place.
A monumental feat of survival, guerrilla warfare and how to stay focused on a mission, despite overwhelming odds, **** all back up and MOD and RAF cock ups.
Stromsheim was in the second team dropped onto the frozen wastes of Hardangervidda, 3 months after the first team, who were chinstrapped from exhaustion and starvation. (The original 2nd team never made it, and suffered tragic losses of highly trained Royal Engineers and Glider Pilots due to all manners of problems including gutless German war criminals.)
The 11 man team successfully destroyed the heavy water containers at the Vemork Power Station, with no loss of life. (Not knowing what it was they were blowing up, nor the importance of it, which makes their unflinching dedication to the task even more remarkable, if that was at all possible.)
Stromsheim and four of his pals then undertook a 400km E&E on foot and ski, with nothing substantial to eat and no fire for warmth during awful Norwegian Winter conditions, hunted by a 2,500 heavily armed and pissed off search party and made it safely to the Swedish border two weeks later.
The Germans (being German) had full production going 4 months later.
Stromsheim was awarded the MM.
His autobiography Most Secret War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939-1945 is an interesting read, also was the main interviewee for the old BBC programme The Secret War - which makes sense as it was based off his book - about the technical aspects of WW2. Someone's put them all up on YouTube, been going through them over the last week or so.
Do have to wonder about that, it could be said that every weapons programme could of been successful if the plans progressed accordingly. Most modern opinions I've seen seem to say that the Germans were on completely the wrong track theoretically, disorganised due to internal squabbles and lacked resources since Hitler didn't favour it. Whilst the Allies were spending what would be billions nowadays on the Manhattan Project at the end of the war the main part of Germany's nuclear programme seems of been conducted at a small cellar site dug into the side of a cliff at Haigerloch. Could just be he was speaking on old inaccurate information. Of course that's not to say that the Allies could assume they had no chance or to detract from the actions of Birger Stromsheim and his teammates. Some truly amazing actions, bravery and determination shown by them.
Most of Prof Jones lecture was about the navigation beams.
He did mention the atomic weapons projects, and said that the theory was correct (albeit in hindsight) but that the Germans could not have built a uranium weapon as they did not have the resources to do so. Not enough uranium from anywhere. The Germans did not have the knowledge or experience to build the plutonium bomb.
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