Operation Rype

Being there . . . . to participate in the Norwegian sabotage attacks on their country’s Nordland
Railway to prevent German troops being redeployed from all over Norway to take part in the
final battles of World War II. In addition, meet and participate with the brave and courageous
members of NORSO, the ultra-secret Norwegian Special Operations Group, organized by the
American OSS, Office of Strategic Services, to thwart German efforts to reinforce their
inadequate, weakened defenses in 1944-1945 Norway. Remember that the heroic office, OSS,
was our intelligence agency during WWII, formed as a special unit of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to
coordinate all spying activities behind enemy lines. In this amazing, and highly successful,
Operation Rype, the Nordland Railway tracks located in mid-Norway were demolished in two
separate areas simultaneously. Operation Rype was led by an American, Major William E. Colby,
years after, Director of the CIA. In the annals of Europe at war between 1939-1945, few
operations were more dramatically controversial, sadly tragic, yet terminated as favorably as
this one. And, fortunately for us readers, CASEMATE PUBLISHERS caught an incomparable
writer to tell the story, warts and all. Frode Lindgjerdet works for the Norwegian Armed Forces
Museums, and lectures on all aspects of the Second World War in Norway. In addition, he is a
Staff Sergeant with the Norwegian Home Guard.
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“OPERATION RYPE – A World War II OSS Railway Sabotage Mission in Norway”, by Frode
Lindgjerdet. CASEMATE PUBLISHERS: 2023, 242 pages, hardbound, 6 ½” x 9 ¼”; $37.95. Visit,
After delays in late 1944 and early 1945, the troops of NORSO, mostly men of Norwegian
descent, were dropped over the brutally cold Snasa Mountains at the end of March 1945. Given
its operational significance and the number of men involved, compared to the combined
activities of the service’s members, it is understandable hardly any space has been given
“Operation Rype” in OSS history. Yet, true historians, and, I might add, humble buffs, realize its
importance. First, Operation Rype was the only American ground operation on Norwegian soil
during the war. Second, it sheds light on the nuances of the US-British strategic rivalry, even as
little as it was. Yes, the British welcomed the American saboteurs and support because their
own resources were limited. But they also didn’t like the Americans in Norway because of post-
war implications for them, i.e., the impression that they were not the “monolith” they
pretended to be. But, after all was said and done, the operation was the first and only one in
which our boys parachuted into occupied Europe to operate on skis.
On the night of March 25, 1945, out of eight B-24s, only four dropped on target. One
dropped in Sweden, the remaining three returned to Britain. In later attempts, two B-24s
crashed, killing all but one of their crews. Reinforcements and resupply of the unit failed due to
the extreme weather conditions. Nevertheless, relying heavily on help from the Norwegian
Resistance, NORSO managed to sever the railway at two points. On both occasions, they

withdrew with Germans hot on their heels. On May 2, a German patrol blundered into their
camp, resulting in the killing of all the Germans and leaving one Norwegian resistance fighter
wounded. Whether the Germans were killed in the ensuing fight, or executed later, has been
hotly debated ever since.
Frode Lindgjerdet’s new history of the operation is based on recently released or discovered
German, Norwegian, American, and Swedish sources. He examines how the outcome of the
operation was affected by the limitations of equipment in freezing cold weather and the
coordination and cooperation between British and American forces throughout the mission.