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Operation RYPE (Hardback)

A WWII OSS Railway Sabotage Mission in Norway

Military > By Century > 20th Century WWII

Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 20–30 photographs
ISBN: 9781636241340
Published: 20th June 2023

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To prevent German occupying forces in Norway from reinforcing their defences during the final months of World War II, the Office of Strategic Services launched Operation Rype, with the mission of sabotaging the Nordland Railway in Mid-Norway. Rype was led by Major William E. Colby, later director of the CIA.

 

After several delays, the Norwegian Special Operations Group (NORSO) dropped over the Snåsa mountains on the night of March 24. Out of eight B-24s, only three dropped on target. One dropped in Sweden, the remaining four returned to Britain. Two of the B-24s crashed, killing all but one of their crews. Reinforcement and resupply of the unit failed due to extreme Arctic conditions.

 

Relying heavily on help from the Norwegian resistance, NORSO managed to sever the railway at two points. On both occasions, they withdrew with Germans hot on their tail. On May 2, a German patrol blundered into their camp, resulting in the killing of all of the Germans and one wounded Norwegian resistance fighter. Whether the Germans were killed in the ensuing firefight, or were executed later, has been hotly debated ever since.

 

After the war ended, NORSO was allowed down from the mountains, but were sent on bogus missions by the British commanders in Trondheim. They eventually managed to get recognition for their contribution to victory.

 

This new history of the operation is based on German, Norwegian, American and Swedish sources. It examines how the outcome of the operation was affected by the limitations of equipment in sub-Arctic conditions, and British-American rivalry and cooperation throughout the operation.

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