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5.0 out of 5 starsDeath from Above
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2011
The best book on the subject...in my opinion. This book provides the best look into the complexity of the mission, and the hardships the teams endured to complete their mission. In my opinion, it would have been impossible for any other special ops force to have completed this mission, but Norwegians. In most modern military forces, there are teams trained to survive the type of climate these teams endured...but in 1942-1943, I honestly feel only Norwegians could have pulled this off. It really is an amazing story, and I give Ray Mears full credit, not only for writing this book, but also producing the BBC documentary that helped to show many of the hardships the teams endured during the mission. For more coverage on the politics behind the mission, Kurzmans book, Blood and Water is also good. Thomas Gallaghers book Assault in Norway is an exciting read, but is lacking in details of how difficult this mission really was. For anyone interested in the subject, I highly recommend reading this book as well as watching the documentary ( which can be found on Youtube )
Many today don't realize that the Nazis were very far along in their quest for an atomic bomb at the beginning of WWII. Due to the bravery of SOE trained Norwegian saboteurs, Hitler never realized his dream of obliterating London. The Nazis were well along in the production of "Heavy Water," a key component in the production of an atomic device. The SOE decided to destroy the supply stored and produced in a hydroelectric plant in Vermork. How to accomplish this task was the conundrum. The options are presented and it is decided that the most effective way to destroy the stores is to infiltrate the plant, and blow up the supply. This proves to be far more challenging than anyone could believe. Parachute drops into a forbidding Norwegian wilderness, surviving sub zero temperatures, and maintaining secrecy are but a few of the hazards the brave saboteurs experience. Their attempts at first, appear to succeed, but the mission continues with far more intrigue and danger. Not only is this true account full of heroism, it also has political intrigue as well. The mission also reveals the thin lines drawn in alliances between countries during war. The idea of what could have been if this mission failed is difficult to imagine..
4.0 out of 5 starsAn extraordinary story well told
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2019
Ray Mears is the master of bushcraft and outdoor survival. But he starts this book by filling us on the scientific and historic setting, clearly neither of his forte. Yet neither was it the strong point of the subjects of the book, a bunch of Norwegians with immense pride in their country and people.
Once Ray Mears gets past the thin and rushed opening chapters, he gets into his comfort zone. Training in the north of Scotland where Ray Mears is on familiar turf. Like Rocky or the A-Team, sometimes the training can be as thrilling as the main event.
The story in Norway, Ray Mears is able to present his knowledge on survival as to how these men stayed going in the wilderness for months in end. Though actually the answer is maybe not as outrageous as you would think. They essentially laid low in a hut and ate reindeer and moss for months, though the endurance they showed was remarkable in such wintry conditions.
The story of the attack and escape are truly extraordinary. Helbergs dash to safety and subsequent sequence of events are more akin to what one would see In Voltaire’s Candide. The follow up bombings and ship mission are thrilling and tragic.
Ray Mears throughout is akin to a good referee in a football game. He doesn’t interfere the flow. His writing is neither scintillating or dull. He lets the story speak for itself.
this is a breathtaking true story, backed up by Ray Mears own extensive research , not only into military archives recording the formation and training of Norwegian SOE , Norwegian resistance, letters, notes, telegrams etc. but also Mears own experience of survival in the inhospitable hardangervidda in the middle of a cruel Norwegian winter. Mears writes in depth, of the perils of just trying to survive day by day in the Hardangervidda, for the Norwegian SOE group Their mission was to destroy the Nazi supply of 'heavy water', whatever the cost. No one in the group knew why 'heavy water' had to be destroyed. No one was told that it was a vital component in the Nazi race to build the first atomic bomb. An amazing mission. An awesome story.
Crackin yarn from his Rayness , We owe these guys a great deal pity they have been forgotten by the british as usual just like the polish pilots that taught our lads how to paratroop , not one of them invited to VE day incase we upset stalin DISGRACEFUL from the "Greatest ever briton" churchill.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe most successful Raid of WWII
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2014
Excellent and captured correctly unlike many other books CDs and a film which went slightly off the mark. I enjoyed Rays explanations throughout. Having met the Commander who led that raid twice, now in his late 90s Joachim Ronneberg Rays explanation and descriptions are accurate. This was the most successful raid of WWII and all can be thankful to Joachim and his team for destroying that Heavy Water Plant, had they not have done so Europe would not have existed as we know it today. An excellent account of a daring and successful raid in Norway. Long may those brave men, and British Glider soldiers who took part be remembered. Thank you Ray for your contribution.
4.0 out of 5 starsExcellent book of this epic WW2 story - the one ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2016
Excellent book of this epic WW2 story - the one failing is that there's only one map. Not only is this map small it covers a huge area abd has few places marked, so it's virtually impossible to relate it to the text. If a few more maps had been used then it would be great.