Travels

Bring out the big guns. Møvik Fortress, Kristiansand.

Sunday 7 October. After seeing the remains of the German occupation of Norway at Lindesnes Fyr, I thought I’d read up about Norway in the war. This Wikipedia article was a good linear account. While Britain was negotiating with different countries about whether to put defensive forces into Norway, a neutral country, they lost the initiative due to diplomatic indecision. This from the above article;

“It was agreed that mines would be laid in Norwegian waters and that the mining should be followed by the landing of troops at four Norwegian ports. Because of Anglo-French arguments, the date of the mining was postponed from 5 April to 8 April. The postponement was catastrophic. On 1 April, Adolf Hitler had ordered the German invasion of Norway to begin on 9 April; so, when on the day before, 8 April, the Norwegian government was preoccupied with earnest protest about the British mine-laying, the German expeditions were already well on their way of their mission.”

The aggressor, with no interest in diplomacy, will always have the advantage. After a short resistance, Norway was occupied for the rest of the war.

This morning, when I was planning today’s journey, I saw something en route that I might normally have ignored, but with thoughts of the occupation fresh in my mind it looked interesting. It was a bloody big gun!

According to the website it’s the second biggest land based gun in the world and the Møvik Fortress has the only complete one still in existence. (The biggest gun?) Four guns were to be based on this site, matching four across Skagerrak in Denmark.

Between the two batteries they covered that wide stretch of water, able to toss shells up to 55km!

The vacant gun sites, armouries and infrastructure were still there,

as was a casement for the fourth cannon,

but it was never installed. The view from the roof gave a sense of the area the guns covered.

It was very interesting to walk around the site and see the scale of just one part of the Germans’ defences. Amazing what you can do with slave labour and the plundered resources of other countries.

I’m now at Langesund,

a couple of hours from Oslo, so should be there by lunchtime.

I got an email from the Norwegian government today telling me that I’ve paid so many tolls in such a short period they’re going to name a road after me, which is nice. I wonder how you pronounce Ålån Øåtey?

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