In February 1943, the heavy water plant in Vermork/Rjukan, that Hitler needed for the making of the atomic bomb, was made useless by a combined British/Norwegian sabotage operation. This operation became a legend in history. What is less well known is the fact that there was an earlier attempt at sabotaging the plant in late 1942. This failed attempt is known in history as Operation Freshman. This book is about the successful operation, but it is also a book describing the failed one: both what happened before the operation, and during the operation as well as the aftermath. It describes the planning, the German response and the horrible way the German forces treated the British Commandos involved in Operation Freshman. Some were tortured by the Gestapo and later killed by Stabsarzt Werner Fritz Seeling who injected air into their blood streams, some interrogated and executed within a few hours of their capture at the German barracks at Bekkebø. They were taken into nearby woods and shot one by one, each being forced to listen to the man before him being executed. All of the executions were conducted in accordance with the Commando Order issued by the Wehrmacht High Command in October 1942, which stated that all Allied commando troops were to be killed immediately upon capture. The local Norwegian population were unable to prevent the prisoners being executed, but tended the graves of the dead until the end of the war.
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