Blast From the Past: Live Torpedo From Historic WWII Battle Found in Norway

CC BY 2.0 / Arkiv i Nordland / Battle of Narvik with several ships on fire at the harborBattle of Narvik with several ships on fire at the harbor
Battle of Narvik with several ships on fire at the harbor - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
The gruelling months-long Battle of Narvik was fought between the Allies and Nazi Germany in 1940 over a key harbour from where Swedish iron ore was shipped year-round. While it ultimately ended in a German victory, Norwegian and allied forces offered valiant resistance.
A live torpedo from WWII has been found off the coast of Narvik. The incident occurred during the annual Norwegian Navy drill Flotex 21.
The over 80-year-old torpedo was accidentally found by the minesweeper KNM Hinnøy, which was checking the coast as part of the aforementioned drill. In one of the planned scenarios, the vessel was to search the route to Narvik harbour for mines to ensure that it was safe for other vessels to enter. Several training objects had been laid out for the purpose.

"We were in the middle of the exercise when we discovered something we quickly realised was not an exercise object", KNM Hinnøy commander Captain Alf Johnsen told national broadcaster NRK. "We sent out a remotely operated vehicle to photograph and take a closer look at the object, and then there was no doubt. We had found a torpedo from World War II".

The torpedo, made in 1940, is a relic from the Battle of Narvik, in which 35,000 people participated and 8,500 lost their lives.
Even if the torpedo has spent over 80 years on the seabed, it is far from harmless, Johnsen explained. While there are many coincidences that must be met for it to explode, still, it is best not to take any chances, he argued.

"Considering that we found it in an anchoring area, in the worst case, one of the many ships sailing into Narvik could put its anchor right on the torpedo. It would have major consequences", Johnsen explained.

The arduous Battle of Narvik was fought from 9 April to 10 June 1940 between Norway and allied soldiers from France, Poland, and Britain against Nazi Germany. The Battle of Narvik took place under extreme weather conditions, in a remote, inhospitable area poor in roads and supplies, on steep mountain slopes that plunged down towards the fjord.
The Bismarck, Germany’s largest battleship. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.11.2021
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While forces in southern Norway capitulated after a short time, northern Norwegian units were the only ones to conduct major offensive operations against the invading army. Narvik proved a tough nut to crack, and the Germans lost ten destroyers, several supply ships, and one submarine.
Narvik possessed strategic and economic significance for both Nazi Germany and the Western powers, as huge loads of iron ore from Swedish mining fields in the north were shipped from there, especially in winter when the Gulf of Bothnia was frozen. Narvik was also the only Norwegian city north of the Arctic Circle that was connected to the railway network.
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