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Kvarven Fort
Bergen, Norway
Kvarven fort june11-2006.jpg
Coordinates Latitude:
Longitude:
Built 1895-1902
In use 1899-1945
Controlled by Norway
Nazi Germany (1940-1945)
Battles/wars Operation Weserübung

Kvarven Fort is a mountain fort strategically located by the coastal entry to Bergen, Norway.

Construction

In the late 1800s, relations between the two countries in the union between Sweden and Norway had gradually worsened; Norwegians were discontent and wanted independence. In the event of a violent dissolution of the union, new coastal defenses were built. In Bergen, several forts were built to defend the harbour and the naval installations at Marineholmen and Wallemsviken from Swedish seaborne attacks. Kvarven fort was one of these, along with Hellen Fort and batteries in Sandviken.

Construction of Kvarven Fort began in 1895. The military bought the nearby farm Bakke in 1898, and turned its stately main building into the commander's quarters. The fort construction was completed in 1899. An additional torpedo battery was in place by 1902. This and the Howitzer L/14 cannons made Kvarven a very modern fort for its time, though it did not have to fulfil its intended use as the union dissolved peacefully in 1905.

World War I

Norway was a neutral country in World War I. Kvarven Fort had a full complement of soldiers in order to maintain neutrality.

World War II

Norway attempted neutrality during World War II as well, but was invaded by the Germans in their Operation Weserübung on April 9, 1940. The Bergen part of the operation was fronted by cruisers Königsberg and Köln, with a total of 1,900 German soldiers. Kvarven fort was manned by 33 officers and 279 corporals and privates with an average age of around forty [1]. The fort failed to open fire at the first German ships of the invasion force, mistaking the armed trawlers Schiff 9 and Schiff 18 for unarmed merchant ships. When the fort finally opened fire at 3:58 in the morning it only managed to get off a few shots through the fog at two torpedo boats and the cruiser Köln. The ships did not retaliate, but sent a morse coded message in English saying “stop shooting!“. Only the third wave of German ships were taken under effective fire by Kvarven, the fort first hit Bremse twice, then the MTB mothership Carl Peters [1] once, forcing both ships to break off their attempt at forcing their way into the harbour. After these ships the cruiser Königsberg tried to break through, being hit by three shells, one beneath the waterline, one on deck and the third hitting the conning tower. Königsberg was barely saved due to its own counter fire and great technical difficulties up at the fort.

Kvarven surrendered at ca. 07.00 am after a short infantry battle between the German landing forces and Krag-Jørgensen rifle armed gun crews from the fort.

German navy personnel manned the fort for the rest of the war, including it into their Festung Bergen defence. During this period, the fort was extended and modernised.

Today

Kvarven Fort opened in the early 1990s as a preserved cultural area open to the public. It is a popular area to explore for tourists and locals alike, and the area is also an entry to Lyderhorn and Ørnafjellet for hikers.

References

  1. http://www.wlb-stuttgart.de/seekrieg/40-04.htm World War Two Naval War website (German)

External links

Coordinates: 60°23′47.80″N 5°14′27.54″E / 60.396611°N 5.2409833°E / 60.396611; 5.2409833

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