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New museum on daring WWII raid in Norway

Operation Archery was a raid by a Norwegian and British force on the Nazi-controlled port of Måløy in late 1941.

A new museum has opened telling the story of a daring raid by Norwegian and British commandos on the small Nazi-controlled port of Måløy in December 1941.

A local enthusiast, Terje Sølvberg, who runs a local travel agency, has collected extensive photographic, film and audio footage about the raid, which is now displayed at the Måløy Raid Centre.

Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon officially opened the centre last week, cutting the ribbon with a bayonet.

The commando force of 570 troops had several objectives for the raid, codenamed Operation Archery, including to secure the town of Måløy and to eliminate an enemy strongpoint at Holvik to the west.

But most importantly they wanted to destroy the production and stores of fish oil that the Germans used to make high explosives.

Another aim was to provoke the Germans into increasing their forces in Norway, diverting them away from the Eastern Front.

Some objectives achieved
A naval bombardment was effective and the objectives were achieved, also sinking eight enemy ships. But German opposition on the ground was far tougher than expected, as an elite unit of German mountain rangers happened by chance to be there on leave.

Fierce house-to-house fighting ensued. Some local citizens assisted the commandos, but much of the town was left in flames.

Captain Martin Linge, commander of the Norwegian Armed Forces in Exile, led 33 Norwegians on the raid together with the British force of around 540 men. Casualties included 21 British and Norwegian troops killed, including Linge, and 57 injured, while around 120 German troops were killed.

“It is important that history is kept alive in this way when those who experienced it can no longer be witness to it,” Prince Haakon said.

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