REVIEW: Heroes of Telemark – Sabotaging Hitler’s atomic bomb, Norway 1942-44

Osprey Publishing, Raid Series of Books, Raid 50. Author – David Greentree.

David’s book provides a very detailed accounting of events leading up, during, and after the raid that crippled the Nazi Regime’s heavy water producing plant in Vemork Norway.  British Intelligence was able to recruit and employee numerous Norwegian Operatives that were instrumental in effective Guerrilla warfare focused on this mission. This particular raid was crucial to reducing the capability to produce heavy water which was needed for developing Nuclear weapons.

Overall the author does a great job of detailing the Allied raids that destroyed the heavy water producing plants in Norway. These raids and their impact were important to the overall plan to prevent the Nazi regime from developing nuclear weapons during WWII. SOE’s was in involved in the planning and oversight of multiple teams that were inserted for this objective. After sending in a few small teams that failed they decided to send a larger force and finish the job thoroughly. Intel was provided by a plant insider that was crucial to the timing of the raid. The master moves were the escape and exfil. Photo recon provided them insight into a route that would provide the least amount of exposure. The SOE chose the team from locals that were not loyal to the German invaders. The locals knew the terrain and were familiar with the unpredictable weather patterns in the area of operation. This was key to the overall success of the mission and follow on operations. When the Germans prepped the surviving heavy water for shipment the raiders were privy to the details and selected a spot to blow  the transport ship in the middle of the lake so that it ended up at the bottom. Many historian attribute this sequence of successful raids  for preventing the German’s ability to produce heavy water and subsequently prevented them from developing a nuclear bomb.

About the author. 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. 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, 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.

This book is available on (US),  Amazon UK and at Pen and Sword Publishing.