“The best weekend of skiing I ever had.”
That’s how a Norwegian WWII hero who passed away recently at the age of 99 described the raid he led against a Nazi nuclear facility in 1943 to the BBC.
Joachim Ronneberg, one of the “Heroes of Telemark,” skied 200 miles across southern Norway with 3,000 German soldiers in pursuit to attack a plant enriching the “heavy” water that could have been key to Hitler finishing the buildout of their nuclear bomb.
As Ronneberg described the raid to the BBC on the mission’s 70th anniversary:
“The men parachuted on to a plateau, skied across country, descended into a ravine and crossed an icy river before using the railway line to get into the plant and set their explosives.”
Ronneberg’s obituary in the New York Times describes him as “one of the most decorated war heroes of a nation renowned for valorous resistance to the 1940-45 German Occupation.”
Like all of the greatest ski outings, Ronneberg told the BBC “we were a gang of friends doing a job together.” But unlike most great ski outings, the commando group thought their trip was likely one-way and as such carried cyanide pills if they were to be captured.
*Here’s a final HUGE Unofficial salute to one very official HERO.
Find the entire BBC article here: Joachim Ronneberg – Norwegian who thwarted Nazi nuclear plan dies