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Thread: Norwegian SOE agent Joachim Roenneberg passes

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Norwegian SOE agent Joachim Roenneberg passes

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway on Monday mourned World War II saboteur Joachim Roenneberg, who headed a five-man team that daringly blew up a plant producing heavy water, depriving Nazi Germany of a key ingredient it could have used to make nuclear weapons.
    Roenneberg, then 23, was tapped by the Special Operations Executive, or SOE — Britain’s war-time intelligence gathering and sabotage unit — to destroy key parts of the heavily guarded plant in Telemark, in southern Norway, in a raid in February 1943.

    In a 2014 Norwegian documentary in connection with his 95th birthday, Roenneberg said the daring operation went “like a dream” — a reference to the fact that not a single shot was fired.

    Parachuting onto snow-covered mountains, the group was joined by a handful of other commando soldiers before skiing to their destination. They then penetrated the fortress-like heavy-water plant to blow up its production line.

    Roenneberg said he made a last-minute decision to cut the length of his fuse from several minutes to seconds, ensuring that the explosion would take place but making it more difficult to escape. The group skied hundreds of kilometers (miles) across the mountains to escape and Roenneberg, wearing a British uniform, ended up in neighboring neutral Sweden.

    From 2013 -

    When did Mr Ronneberg realize the importance of the mission? "That was in August 1945 when they dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then we knew what we had done was of great importance. Not until then," he says. For Mr Ronneberg - the last member of the team to survive - the 70th anniversary is a chance to remember those he served with.

    "We were a gang of friends doing a job together," he says.

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