The Heroes of Telemark

The raiders known as the Heroes of Telemark were given up for dead as they hid away in a hut on the Hardanger Plateau over the appalling winter of 1942-3. They had almost nothing to eat and eventually survived by eating moss. Their target was the heavy water plant at Vermork, a vital source in Hitler's race for a nuclear bomb. In February, joined by four newly arrived raiders,  they crept down from their hideout and made their way to the plant. But instead of fighting their way across the only bridge, they scaled the side of a valley that was thought to be un-climable and made their way into the factory undiscovered. They managed to place their charges and escape before the explosion destroyed the plant and its supplies of heavy water. It took the raiders a month to ski to safety in Sweden. James Henderson of A Life of Adventure followed in the footsteps of the raiders for the Financial Times's magazine How to Spend it. You can read his article, Telemark, below. In 1965 a film, The Heroes of Telemark, was released of the story, starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris. In 2009 Ray Mears released a documentary and published a book about the raid, The Real Heroes of Telemark.