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Thread: German WWII coastal battery, Austrått fort, Norway.

  1. #1
    Senior Member PeterG's Avatar
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    Default German WWII coastal battery, Austrått fort, Norway.

    A couple of hours drive from Trondheim where i live. The turret with 3 28CM guns, is actually the C turret from 'Gneisenau' - the german WWII battlecruiser, sistership of the 'Scharnhorst'. The ship was damaged in an air raid in 1942, and it was decided to remove the main guns and employ them in the coastal battery role. This battery was operational by 1943. I think this is the only surviving turret.







    I assume this is a rangefinder. It is next to the turret.











    I am not sure what this is, next to the turret.









    The Gneisenau in Narvik



    And now some pics from the interior of the fort. Some 300 men were garrisoned here.


    The entrance to the installation. Some 5 stories down in the mountain, on the backside of the turret.


    A totem pole, made by a german soldier who was a woodcarver, who served at the battery.



    Some detail from the totem. The short guy among the soldiers near the top, is their commander, who was really short. He was 30 years old, Leutnant Holger Christiansen. Other details on the totem, is the girfriends and wiwes, children etc. back home in Germany. Things they missed, and scenes from their duties at the battery. The biggest detail near the bottom, is of a soldier on guard duty in a heavy wintercoat, freezing his ass off.


    Turret commander. 30 year old Leutnant Holger Christiansen. Picture of the portrait is slightly out of focus, unfortunately.



    Searchlight. Parked near the entrance.






    Not sure about the calibre of this one - 10.5CM perhaps?





    One can see the rails, where shells were transported





    Rangefinder










    The 4 diesel generators providing electrical power to the installation, is still in perfect condition, and are run several times a year.



    Living quarters. Deep inside the mountain.

    18-24 men in each room.

    Bathroom

    Showers. They had hot water.

    Entrance to the toilets - waterclosets.



    I believe the yellow shells are HE, and the blue AP. They weigh about 310KGs each. Range was around 40KMs. They could achieve an impressive rate of fire: 17 seconds between each round, more than 3 rounds a minute ( per barrel )!



































    Commanders position inside the turret. He fired the guns.


    Entrance to the turret.






    Hope you enjoyed the pictures!
    Last edited by PeterG; 08-05-2006 at 01:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member goat89's Avatar
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    Thats just wicked man. Good pics!

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    Banned user Kitsune's Avatar
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    A totem pole, made by a german soldier who was a woodcarver, who served at the battery.



    And some say the Germans would have no humor...

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    Junior Member BYE-DIE's Avatar
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    nice pics. thank you peterg

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    Banned user Tiger75's Avatar
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    Awesome work............thank you

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    Top picspics of the facility. Bet the Brits would have paid you a mint for them in 1944!

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    Senior Member OldRecon's Avatar
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    Damned you beat me to it . Good pics.
    The gun turret as said came from the battle cruiser Gneisnau while docked in Kiel for repair, after mine dammage suffered during the channel dash of february 1942. A paradox of this being that the Brits had tried to bomb this ship for the good part of a year while it was docked much closer to Brittain in the French port of Brest.
    The hull of the Gneisnau was later used as a blockship, before being sunk near Gdynia in Poland towards the end of the war.
    The B and C turrets of the ship were removed from the ship and taken to Norway. The B-turret being deployed in a coastal fortification at a place called Fjeld to the west of Bergen, while the C-turret shown in photos above were deployed in the Fortification at Austråt on the Fosen *****ula to the W/NW of the city of Trondheim.
    The A turret of the ship was damaged to such an extent that the guns of that turret were later employed only in separate individual emplacements in fortifications at Hock van Holland, protecting the entrance from the sea to Rotterdam.
    The C turret was transferred to Austråt during the summer of 1942 on 2 Danish rail ferries and put in place by a workforce 350 Serbian POWs superwised by German engineers and weapons experts. 65 of the POWs dying as a result of maltreatment and general hardship in the process.
    The range finder in the pic was originaly mounted at a place called Lørberen some way of. One source I've found on the net mention that the gun battery at Austråt/Lundhaugane was served by two more such rangefinders placed elsewhere, but do not state the locations of these. Nor have I found in other sources on the net any mention of these 2 other rangefinders in addition to the depicted one.
    The 28 cm battery at Austråt/Lundhaugane was only one of many interconnected fortifications on the Fosen peninsula protecting the inlet of the Trondheims fjord.
    Post WW-2 the battery was taken over by the Norwegian coastal artillery branch, and live fire exercises were undertaken from the late 1940's through to 1953, when guns were fired with live ammo for the last time. The battery was however maintained and kept in readiness up until 1977, when the facility was struck of charge as an active part of our nations defence.
    Unfortunately, being more pre-occupied with economics, the people in power (both top brass and politicians), did not at first appreciate what a unique piece of fortification they had in the gun battery at Astråt, and the facility was left to decay between 1977-1990, when the National defence museum in cooperation with local volunteers started a process of restoring the facility that was completed in 1992. Sadly the period of decay ensured that the turnable of the gun turret, through corrosion/rust is no longer operational. Lifting the whole turret of its mount and fixing the problem proving too costly and undertaking in financial terms.
    During the period of decay however the place apparently was a favourite haunt for having *** in, among some locals. I've at least found one occasion on the net of some Norwegian lady bragging about having had *** "in the gun" .
    The gun turret at Austråt is the only german WW-2 vintage battleship main gun turret left that have not been either dismantled or who are resting on the bottom of the ocean.
    Though as regards German WW-1 battle ship technology, I think the Turkish battle cruiser TCG Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex SMS Goeben) still exists as a floating museum in Istambul.
    Last edited by OldRecon; 08-05-2006 at 08:24 PM.

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    Senior Member PeterG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldRecon
    Damned you beat me to it . Good pics.
    The gun turret as said came from the battle cruiser Gneisnau while docked in Kiel for repair, after mine dammage suffered during the channel dash of february 1942. A paradox of this being that the Brits had tried to bomb this ship for the good part of a year while it was docked much closer to Brittain in the French port of Brest... etc
    Thx for the info - you know more than the guide did! On the *** in the turret, i'm reminded of Sellers playing the President in 'Dr. Strangelove' when the russian ambassador and the american general starts fighting in the war room: 'Gentlemen! You can't fight in here - this is the war room!'

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    Member kinghk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG
    . I think this is the only surviving turret.
    It is. The turret at Fjell were sold for scrap in the late 60's. Excellent pics.

  10. #10
    Senior Member PeterG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinghk
    It is. The turret at Fjell were sold for scrap in the late 60's. Excellent pics.
    Thx. The pics are of course resized, if anyone wants higher resolution pics, just send me a PM, and i will mail them.

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    Senior Member LEGEND's Avatar
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    Great photos. I wonder if the guns can still be fired.

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    Senior Member OldRecon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEGEND View Post
    Great photos. I wonder if the guns can still be fired.
    No unfortunately they cant, I think. But if I'm wrong in that assumption and the gun craddle hydraulics and the elevation mechanics of the gun do work, it can only fire straight ahead in it's present position, as regards azimuth, since the turret turnable have rusted solid due to a period with lack of maintainance of the facility.
    And on another note: The ex German turkish battlecruiser I mention above was apparently scrapped in 1973, so the gun turret at Austråt is the only more or less intact piece of German battleship technology left bar some shell and casings.

  13. #13
    **** you 20122. how goes does gaz type drunk? dricl. man Hellfish's Avatar
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    Great pics and info. Thanks very much.

  14. #14

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    very very nice pics
    thanx

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    Wondering,who had built all this?
    Most likely POW's,who were killed after.

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