The Men Who Deprived Hitler of the Atomic Bomb
There was one thing Churchill was never going to let Hitler have: the atomic bomb. Here's how his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare made sure of it.
In last week’s episode, we heard about how a small band of men were trained to undertake the most audacious sabotage mission of the Second World War. These were the ten men – led by a young adventurer named Joachim Ronneberg - who were tasked with depriving Hitler of an atomic bomb.
How? Well, there was only one way – and that was to destroy the Norsk Hydro heavy water factory in Norway, the only place capable of providing the Nazis with the heavy water necessary for making an atomic bomb.
But this was far from easy. Norsk Hydro was constructed like a medieval fortress, perched atop a 700-foot shaft of vertical rock. Three of its sides were sheer, plunging deep into one of the most spectacular gorges in Norway: ‘So deep,’ wrote one, ‘that the sun never reached the depths of it.’
There was but one point of access: a narrow suspension bridge that was under twenty-four-hour armed guard. It was completely inaccessible to a group of saboteurs.