Allied operational success
* Destruction of the Glomfjord power plant
COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
Graeme D. Black Nikolaus von Falkenhorst
UNITED KINGDOM: 10 commandos NORWAY: 2 commandos
CASUALTIES AND LOSSES
1 killed 7 captured (later executed) 2 killed 2 wounded
* v * t * e
Norwegian Campaigns (1941–45)
* Claymore * Anklet * Archery * Musketoon * Oslo raid * Checkmate * Cartoon
* Attacks on Tirpitz
* Source * Tungsten * Mascot * Goodwood * Paravane * Obviate * Catechism
* Leader * Finnmark * Provident * 28 January 1945 * Black Friday * 9 February 1945 * Judgement * Doomsday
* v * t * e
Raids and Commando Actions in
* Claymore * Kirkenes and Petsamo * Gauntlet * Anklet * Archery * Fritham * Musketoon
* Heavy water sabotage
* Freshman * SF Hydro
* Checkmate * Zitronella * Source
OPERATION MUSKETOON was the codeword for an Anglo-Norwegian raid in
Second World War . The operation was mounted against the
Glomfjord power plant in
The raiding party consisted of two officers and eight men from No. 2
Commando , and two men of the
Norwegian Armed Forces in exile
To evade German search parties, the commandos split into two groups.
One group of four men safely reached Sweden and were eventually
repatriated back to the
* 1 Background
* 2 Mission
* 2.1 Sea crossing * 2.2 Raid * 2.3 Capture
* 3 Aftermath * 4 References * 5 External links
After the British Expeditionary Force had been evacuated from Dunkirk
in 1940, Prime Minister
No. 2 Commando
The Glomfjord power plant was built in 1918, at the end of Glomfjord . It is located on a plateau that drops straight down to the sea. The plant comprised three buildings: the longest was the machinery hall; the middle building housed the control room and offices; and the last building was three-storeyed and known as the apparatus house. It was a hydroelectric power plant supplied by two water pipes coming down the mountain from inland lakes. Apart from the aluminum factory, the power plant also supplied power to local villages.
Close up of the front of Glomfjord power plant
The men selected for
To transport the raiders across the
North Sea , a Minerve class
submarine , Q186 Junon , under the command of
The submarine had settled on the bottom of the fjord until darkness
and surfaced at 21:15 to put the commandos ashore by dinghy. Safely
reaching the shore they hid their dinghy under some stones and moss.
They then set out across the mountains to Glomfjord. Reaching the
Resting in their hide for the next day, the commandos went over their plan of attack and withdrawal from the area. They left their hideout at 20:00 on 17 September to start their attack on the power plant. On their approach they detected a small craft on the fjord; fearing they would lose the element of surprise if seen, they retreated back up the hill. By dawn they had not been able to reach their previous hideout; while they were in an exposed location they decided to stay where they were until that night. The commandos had by now started to run short of supplies, and Captain Black ordered the attack to proceed that night, 19/20 September, no matter what.
The commandos were divided into two groups for the attack. One group consisting of Lance Sergeant O'Brien, Lance Bombardier Chudley and Private Curtis targeted two high-pressure water pipes 7 feet (2.1 m) in diameter, leading from the top of the mountain into the plant. Reaching their objective, they planted their plastic explosives in a pattern to blow a 3 foot (0.91 m) gap in the pipes. Attaching a 30-minute delayed fuse, they waited to hear the explosives going off in the plant, which was the signal to activate their fuse.
The other nine commandos had set out for the rear of the power plant. Seven of them entered the machinery hall, leaving two commandos to guard the exit. The commandos who entered the power plant discovered that the Germans had left the control room. Only a Norwegian engineer was on duty. Sergeant Smith and Private Fairclough were detailed to plant their explosives amongst the machinery in the power house, while the other commandos located the place where the Norwegian work force worked and slept. The workers were gathered together and ordered to leave the power plant via an access tunnel over 1 mile (1.6 km) in length, which was also the only land route between the power plant and the villages in the fjord. On their approach to the tunnel a German guard was killed by Granlund and another ran off down the tunnel to raise the alarm. To delay any German reinforcements, the commandos left smoke bombs in the tunnel. By this time the commandos in the power plant had set their plastic explosives with 10-minute delay fuses on the plant's turbines and generators.
Upon hearing the explosions at the power plant, Lance Sergeant O'Brien's group activated its own explosives. Both groups then withdrew back into the hills, just as German reinforcements were arriving at the plant. The Germans were unwilling to enter the tunnel, fearing it might be booby trapped, so they used boats belonging to the villagers to bypass the tunnel and reach the power plant. Granlund had pressed on ahead of the main group trying to locate a foot bridge to aid their escape. He did locate a mountain hut occupied by three Norwegians whom he asked for directions, the best they could do was draw him a map. Granlund left to try to locate the bridge but returned to the hut soon after being unable to find it in the dark. He arrived back at the same time as Captain Houghton and the other Norwegian, Djupdraet, and all three entered the hut. Unknowingly while Granlund had been away two Germans had arrived at the hut and were busy questioning the occupants. In the ensuing fight, one of the Germans was killed and the other wounded. Djupdraet was also wounded, stabbed in the stomach with a bayonet .
The remaining commandos arrived at the scene and administered first aid to Djupdraet. His wound was so severe, they decided to leave him behind to get treatment. The remaining commandos now split into two groups to evade the German search parties and made their way further up the mountain. One group, consisting of Lance Sergeant O'Brien, Corporal Granlund, and Privates Fairclough and Trigg, went north around the mountains. The second group of Captains Black and Houghton, CSM Smith, Lance Bombardier Chudley, and Privates Curtis, Abram and Makeham, took the southern route. The second group were discovered by the Germans who opened fire, wounding Captain Houghton in the right arm. Trapped and surrounded they were forced to surrender. The O'Brien group split up into two smaller groups, Granlund setting off by himself. They all eventually reached Sweden without further incident and all four were repatriated by plane to RAF Leuchars . Of the other eight, Djupdraet died of his wounds in hospital, three days after the raid. The other seven prisoners of war were sent to Germany.
The seven were first sent to
Colditz Castle and put into the solitary
confinement cells where Captain Black managed to make contact with
Flight Lieutenant Dominic Bruce OBE MC AFM KSG RAF (known as 'The
'Medium Sized Man'), giving him and others their names which were
passed on to
MI5 in London. Bruce was the last British person to
speak to Black. On 13 October 1942 they were removed from Colditz and
taken to the
SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RHSA) headquarters in
Berlin, where they were interrogated one by one by Obergruppenführer
Heinrich Müller . They remained in Berlin until 22 October, when
they were taken to the
Sachsenhausen concentration camp . On the next
day, 23 October, they were all shot in the back of the neck and their
bodies cremated. These commandos were the first to fall victim to
The raid was considered a great success, as it seemed likely that the
power plant would remain out of action until after the end of the war.
After returning to the
After the war, on 15 November 1945, Captain Graeme Black was awarded
Distinguished Service Order and Captain Joseph Houghton the
The German commander in Norway, Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst , was captured after the war and tried by a British military court for his part in carrying out the Commando Order. Found guilty on all eight charges of urging the forces under his command to kill men captured in commando raids or handing prisoners of war over to the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) for execution, he was sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1953 and died in 1968.
* ^ Schofield, p.70.
* ^ A B C Haskew, pp.47–48
* ^ Shott & McBride, p.4
* ^ A B Moreman, p.91
* ^ Moreman, p.15
* ^ "History of No. 2 Commando". Commando Veterans Association.
Retrieved 7 July 2010.
* ^ Messenger, p. 165
* ^ "
Glomfjord kraftstasjon". The University Library of Tromsø.
Retrieved 7 July 2010.
* ^ Schofield, p.20
* ^ A B C D E F G H I "
* Chappell, Mike (1996). Army Commandos 1940–1945. Elite Series #
64. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-579-9 .
* Haskew, Michael E (2007). Encyclopaedia of Elite Forces in the
Second World War. Barnsley, Yorks: Pen and Sword. ISBN
* Messenger, Charles (1991). The Last Prussian: A Biography of Field
Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, 1875–1953. xxxxxxxx: Brassey's. ISBN
* Moreman, Tim (2006).