This is a review by Randy L Harvey of Heroes of Telemark – Sabotaging Hitler’s atomic bomb, Norway 1942-44
by author David Greentree and illustrators Peter Dennis and Mark Stacey.
David Greentree graduated in History at York before taking an MA in War Studies from King's College London and qualifying as a lecturer in Further Education. In 1995 he accepted a commission in the Royal Air Force and has served in a variety of locations, including Afghanistan and Oman. He has written several books for Osprey, focusing on British military history and World War II. He lives in Southsea, UK.
Peter Dennis was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn he studied Illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects, including many Osprey titles. A keen wargamer and modelmaker, he is based in Nottinghamshire, UK.
Mark Stacey was born in Manchester in 1964 and has been a freelance illustrator since 1987. He has a lifelong interest in all periods of history, particularly military history, and has specialized in this area throughout his career. He now lives and works in Cornwall.
BODY OF THE TEXT
** In May 1941 a dossier was handed to the head of Norwegian Section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in London warning of the dangers of heavy water – as essential part of making plutonium for nuclear weapons. The Norsk Hydro Plant in the Telemark region of Norway manufactured fertiliser and heavy water was a by-product. When the Germans overran Norway the entire stock had been smuggled out of the country, but the plant was intact and soon producing heavy water again, destined for the German nuclear programme. This had to be stopped.
Despite the difficulties of getting to and operating in such a remote, hostile area, SOE decided it had to destroy the plant. Nine ski-borne SOE raiders had the task of slipping past 300 heavily armed guards and passing through a ravine the Germans thought impassable. Fully illustrated with stunning new commissioned artwork, this is the thrilling story of the crucial Norwegian-led SOE raid that helped prevent Hitler from building an atomic bomb. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
THE BOOKOsprey Publications
has released Heroes of Telemark – Sabotaging Hitler’s atomic bomb, Norway 1942-44
as Number 50 in their Raid series
. It is a soft cover book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, detailed captions, quotes and first-hand accounts and more. It has a 2018 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-2767-8
. The book covers the planning, training, pre-attack actions, the attacks themselves and the after actions all detailing the allied sabotage attack on the Norsk Hydro Plant hard water manufacturing facility in Norway and the actions to stop the produced hard water from being delivered.
~ The race for the atomic bomb.
- Initial Strategy
- The Plan
- The Raid
~ Air raids
~ The Hydro
- Select Bibliography
Author David Greentree covers the planning, training, pre-attack actions, the attacks themselves and the after actions all detailing the allied sabotage attack on the Norsk Hydro Plant hard water manufacturing facility in Norway and the actions to stop the produced hard water from being delivered. David Greentree provides insight from both sides of the actions before during and after the attack. Along with his own words David Greentree has also provided quotes and first-hand accounts from key individuals providing specific details and pertinent information.
What I learned from reading the book was that this was not what I would consider a typical commando type of action. When I think of commando attacks, I picture a quick in and out type mission that is over in just a few hours or a day or two. This attack took several months from the beginning with the commandos being inserted long before the attack and to the end with the commandos being on their own to escape capture and return to friendly areas. All of that captured my attention and gave me a deep respect for the individuals involved with the attack. The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the attack on the Norsk Hydro Plant to destroy the hard water producing equipment in an attempt to halt Hitler’s atomic bomb program to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.
A total of 51 black and white photographs included in this volume. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs as well as profile photographs of several of the key individuals associated with the Vemork attack. I appreciated the profile photographs of the key players as it helped put a face with individuals name and help picture him during the actions that are detailed of each of the individuals shown. I personally found the photographs of the Norsk Hydro Plant facility itself interesting and helpful as they help place the reader at the scene and helps the reader place the key individuals in the locations where the various actions took place. I would say that the photographs that were chosen for this book were for the most part lesser known photographs of the specific individuals and the Norsk Hydro Plant itself.
The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable. Author David Greentree stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in the plans and actions taken to sabotage Hitler’s atomic bomb program as well as anyone interested in commando actions taken during World War II due to the details they contain.
There are 4 color illustrations by illustrators Peter Dennis and Mark Stacey. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
Plate A – Front cover art (see attached scan of the front cover)
Norwegian SOE saboteur Claus Helberg shooting at a German soldier who spotted him in the Jansbu cabin refuge after the attack on the Norsk Hydro Plant facility and pursued him on skis where the two individuals engaged each other with their pistols.
- Two-page illustration showing a Horsa Mk I glider that crashed during the night in a remote area called Fylgjesdalen that was carrying soldiers and equipment that were part of the attack plan for the Norsk Hydro Plant.
Destroying the electrolysis cells
- A two-page illustration depicting raiders Ronneberg and Kayser planting charges in the electrolysis room in the basement of the Norsk Hydro Plant.
Sinking the heavy water (see attached scan)
- A single page illustration depicting the explosion taking place from the charges set on the ferry Hydro that was transporting containers of hard water on Lake Tinnsjo by saboteurs Haukelid and Sorlie.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
The captions are well written and for the most part explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown. The captions go into very specific detail as to the specific individuals shown, types of clothing worn, equipment carried and used, dates and locations and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by David Greentree’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.
There are 3 color maps included in this volume and they are of:
- A map of Norway pinpointing ten specific locations of events that took place from 18 October 1942 through 20 February 1944 with a key and a detailed account of the actions taken at each specific point on the map. (see attached scan)
- A close-up map of area around the Norsk Hydro Plant pinpointing ten specific locations of events that took place from 18 October 1942 through 20 February 1944 and the routes taken by Grouse
with a key and a detailed account of the actions taken at each specific point on the map.
- Vemork Raid – 28 February – 1 March, 1943. Showing the routes and locations of the events of the raid and the escape route as well as the bombing that took place on 16 November 1943.
There are 3 notes included in this volume and they are:
- Cover Art
- Artist’s Note
As with the other Osprey Publishing
titles I was impressed with this book. This is a very nice reference book that contains a well written informative text, many subject specific photographs and illustrations, well detailed captions and more, all detailing the allied sabotage attack on the Norsk Hydro Plant hard water manufacturing facility in Norway. As with the other Osprey Publishing
titles, I would have no hesitation to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library.
also offers Heroes of Telemark – Sabotaging Hitler’s atomic bomb, Norway 1942-44
Heroes of Telemark – Sabotaging Hitler’s atomic bomb, Norway 1942-44
is also available as a Kindle version through Amazon.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
UK £12.99 / US $20.00 / CAN $27.00