BATTLEFIELD TOURS TO RJUKAN TELEMARK

NORWAY

Summer and Winter

“The Heroes of Telemark”

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Destination Setesdal Ltd has arranged summer Battlefield tours in Norway since the year 2000.  With small groups of approx 10-25 persons, over a period of three, or four days, we cover briefly the invasion of Norway, visit the German main base during the occupation in the Setesdal Valley, (65 kms  North of Kristiansand) and visit wargraves of the first Flying Fortress to be shot down in WW2 at Bygland. The next phase means a move further North to the Telemark region where we cover a series of Operations by the allies between 1942-4 to stop the production of Heavy Water, an ingredient crucial to the process of producing an Atomic Bomb at the Hydrogen plant at Vemork near Rjukan in Telemark. The most famous of these Operations was called Op Gunnerside; a Combined Operation, the Norwegian sabotuers that actually carried out the sabotage raid would later be known as The Heroes of Telemark.  During our 2 night stay in a comfortable Mountain Hotel, we visit the locations of Op Freshman, the first Glider Op during WW2, a complete reenactment in Mountainous terrain the attack route of Operation Gunnerside, a visit to Vemork and the Heavy Water display, cover the escape route and take a trip in Europes oldest cable car Krossobanen.

Our winter battlefield tour reenactment expeditions require above average fitness, an ability to cope with cold conditions, work with others in a team to achieve a common goal, and finally, plenty of motivation by all those taking part. Here, there are 3 options.

1. A full Heroes of Telemark expedition; 11 nights/12 day stay here in Norway divided into 3 phases;

a. A four day training phase at our base in the Setesdal Valley North of Kristiansand. b. An Expedition phase on Northern Europes highest Mountain plateau the Hardanger Vidda of 4/5 days, c. a 2 night stay preparing to reenact the last 6-5 kms of the sabotuers attack route on the Hydrogen plant at Vemork in Rjukan.

This tour suits those in good physical/mental condition and have some on ski experience and cold weather.

2. A shorter trip lasting 8 nights/9 days is carried out in cooperation with Woodlore Ltd.  (Ray Mears)  An ideal trip for those with no winter experience and not able to take 2 weeks off work. This trip is based on the longer trip as above with 3 phases; a slightly shorter training period at our base in the Setesdal Valley followed by a 2 night 3 day expedition, and a 2 night last phase with a reenactment of the attack route at Vemork. Booking of this trip must be done through Woodlore Ltd.

3. This third option is just 3 nights and only covers a reenactment of the attack route of Op Gunnerside. There will be several weekends throughout the winter of 2020 where this short battlefield tour will be available. Incoming/departure Oslo Gardemoen on a Thursday, a full day of winter skills in Telemark on the Friday and a full reenactment of the attack route of Op Gunnerside on the Saturday. This is a 6.5 kms walk on snowshoes in Mountainous terrain. This is followed by a visit to the Vemork Museum, a look at the entry/exit location of the sabotuers at the spectacular Rjukan Gorge and a trip on the oldest cable car in Europe Krossobanen following the escape route of the Norwegian sabotuers. Group bookings only with a minimum of 6 persons.

Groups/Military/companies are welcome to contact us if a privately run Taylor made Battlefield tour is wanted. Usual arrival location Kristiansand Kjevik Southern Norway; departure Oslo Gardemoen.

Contact us for further information by email briandes@frisurf.no or mob 004790140857

MILITARY GROUPS

Destination Setesdal also has a special UK Military Heroes of Telemark Expedition that involves the possibility for Distributed Training. This expedition is taylor made to each units requirements regarding numbers, dates and costs. PXR s (Post Exercise Reports) can be obtained through the usual channels and are good reading for all those who have been designated to organise this type of Adventurous Training (with a special theme) abroad from the UK.

Foreign/NATO Military Units; other non UK military units are welcome to apply to carry out this demanding Battlefield expedition.

Op Gunnerside ESCAPE ROUTE ;

In 2018, Destination Setesdal carried out for the first time, (Successfully) a part reenactment of Op Gunnersides escape route to Sweden after the successful sabotage on the Hydrogen plant at Vemork Rjukan. The arduous, long and demanding journey to Sweden from the Hydrogen plant at Vemork (Approx 450 kms) took 18 days; the sabotuers used a combination of small log cabins and improvised snow shelters to survive this demanding journey. It will be impossible, in the time we have, the sheer length of this journey, and dramatic change in the infrastructure of Eastern Norway (Roads etc) to complete the whole route. However, we intend to carry out the most important part totalling approximately 120 kms following the exact route from the Gorge at Vemork, the steep Climb up Ryes vei (track) under the cable car at Krosso, onto Svensbu hytte, Jansbu Hytte, and Gol. An epic journey that 5 members of Op Gunnerside, led by Joachim Rønneberg carried out on the 28 February 1943. Along the way, we practice winter survival skills by sleeping in improvised shelters, and overnight in basic cabins that have a historical connection to this operation. We visit the main base for Op Grouse at Svensbu, The hut at Skrykken Jansbu where Op Gunnerside were forced to seek shelter for almost a week after parachuting onto the Hardanger vidda, and a War memorial along the route near Geilo to honour the members of Op Gunnerside. There are also plans to visit the Border post 106 on the Swedish/Norwegian border where the sabotuers crossed into Sweden before delivering the group to Oslo Gardemoen airport and home.

If there is any interest to carry out this expedition in a fundraising capacity then Destination Setesdal would be willing to facilitate this trip.

The expedition lasts approx 10 days, (Group ability/experience decides length) and will follow the original Sabotuers escape route the first 120 kms en-route to Sweden. It will be a demanding expedition requiring special winter skills and be open for anyone with x-country ski touring experience. An overnight (tent) in a winter mountain enviroment will be an advantage.

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