Operation Gunnerside

Quite early in the war Germany was known to be working towards the creation of an atomic bomb. 

A critical component of atomic research at this time was deuterium oxide (also known as heavy water) which was used as a moderator to control nuclear reactions. 

The Norsk Hydro plant at Vemork in Norway had been producing heavy water for some time using surplus power from its hydroelectric generating process and was Europe’s biggest supplier of this rare isotope. 

After Germany’s invasion and occupation of Norway it was feared that access to this source of heavy water would speed up the Nazi nuclear weapons programme and overtake the Allies in the development of an atomic bomb. Therefore, it was crucial that the NorskHydro plant was destroyed.

Read more… Caithness At War – Operation Freshman