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Re: Stone skipping. Was: Re: bending of object thrown into pool

At 8:29 PM -0700 8/16/04, Bernard Cleyet wrote:

I think the most impt. dam was the one that supplied electricity to a
deuterium separation plant in Norway?

I've read everything I could get my hands on about the heavy water
plant at Vermork (Norsk Hydro) And I never read anything about trying
to bomb the dam above the plant. That would have washed away the
Norwegian town that shared that part of the gorge with the plant and
killed a whole lot of people unnecessarily. In fact, they did try to
bomb the plant directly a couple of times, and both raids were pretty
much disasters, missing the plant almost totally (a very difficult
target, set deep inside a narrow gorge, and ended up dropping bombs
on the village and killing several locals. The plant was taken out
temporarily by a daring commando raid that destroyed the storage
tanks, but the Germans had the plant back in operation in about 3
months. The plant never did produce up to its design capacity,
because the Norwegian workmen at the plant kept sabotaging the stills
by dumping sugar into them, and since the only Germans there were the
army security force, and the German's depended on the Norwegians to
run the plant, they never caught on to what was going on.

I highly recommend three books about that episode:

Assault in Norway, by Thomas Gallagher (New York: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 1975
Blood and Water: Sabotaging Hitler's Bomb, by Dan Kurzman (New York:
Henry Holt, 1997)
Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy, by Per F. Dahl
(Bristol, England: Institute of Physics Press, 1999)

The first one is the best read of the bunch, but it is out of print.
I found my copy in a used book store on line. Dahl's work is the most
thorough and scholarly, but not nearly as exciting to read as

There was also a movie made about the raid, called "Heroes of
Telemark," starring Kirk Douglas. It wasn't one of his better efforts.

There was also a film made just after WWII by the French and
Norwegians jointly, called "The Battle for Heavy Water" (La Bataille
de l'Eau Lourde) and it starred several of the actual people who were
involved in keeping the Germans from getting enough heavy water to
get a reactor going, including Frederic Joliot-Curie. Unfortunately,
I have not been able to find if any copies of that film still exist.
It was never released in the US.


Hugh Haskell

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