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.

Giles Milton
1-minute read
Episode #42


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.

Hear more in the full episode of Unknown History in the top right hand player of this page or on iTunesStitcher, and Spotify. Plus, connect with Giles on Twitter and Facebook.


This post was roughly excerpted from Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton. You can pick up a copy today on AmazonIndieBoundBarnes & Noble, and Booksamillion

About the Author

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is a writer and historian who graduated from the University of Bristol. He is an internationally bestselling author of nine works of narrative non-fiction and three novels. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages and serialized by the BBC.