By Bjørn Jervås
Valuable informations provided
by Øistein Th. Berge
This article is a humble attempt to give the most complete listing of the
so-called “Festung Norwegen”, or “Fortress Norway”ever given. It is of
course, almost impossible to get all units and locations 100% correct:
one must consider the facts that German armed forces in Norway counted
about 350 000 men, not including “Organisation Todt” or NSKK.
|Because of the Norwegian
terrain, the Coastal defence had the highest priority. Serving on the Coastal
Defence units was regarded as very hard duty, and the men were sent on
recreation homes or home leave at least twice a Year.
Many German units were frequently moved and changed
names or designations. Therefor I hope that everyone with corrections or
amendments get in touch with the author
as soon as possible.
Prior to the Norwegian campaign 9thApril, 1940, the
German Navy Coastal Artillery units assigned to the Campaigns forces were
organised in 6 “Marineartillerie-Abteilungen”:
|- “MAA Horten”
- “MAA Kristiansand”
- “MAA Stavanger”
- “MAA Bergen”
- “MAA Drontheim”
- “MAA Narvik”
These units were to operate captured Norwegian Coastal
Fortresses and installations. In June 1940 the MAA’s got numbered designations,
the first ones temporarily for just 1-month, before they got permanent
The German MAA’s were divided into companies; each
company manned a battery. A standard MAA usually consisted of 6 companies,
but this could range from 2 – 12.
The commander of a MAA was usually “Korvettenkapitän”,
but could also be “Fregattenkapitän” or “Kapitänleutnant.”
Army artillery units designed for coastal defence appeared
in Norway in 1941. They established several “Heeresküstenartillerie-regimenter”
(HKAR), “Heeresküstenartillerie-Abteilungen” (HKAA) and 160 “Heeresküsten-Batterien”
At the end of the war, there were 221 batteries divided
into 29 units & 10 regiments. The Germans had serious problems in commanding
and controlling this effectively. The mix-up between army and naval artillery
also caused serious problems when it came to effective command.
The “Heeresküstenartillerie” had standard army
OOB, but had guns of varying calibre’s and quality. Some units were also
sometimes equipped with tanks, mostly French captured ones, like the “Somua”.
Especially in South West Norway.
|The coastal defence had a big need of men. In 1930,
the entire German “Kriegsmarine” counted 15 000 men. In Norway, the total
number of Army / Naval Coast defence personnel only was about 65 000 (1945).
Artillery Schools and firing ranges were established several places, amongst
them Rauöy in the Oslo-fjord, and Stavern. (Which still is a firing
To the right: Gun crew at Batterie Vara (38 cm guns!)
You can find more pictures here.
These AA units used two different 88 mm cannons, 10,5
cm’s and 7,5 cm’s, together with different smaller calibre guns. Most fortresses
were equipped with 20 mm AA guns in different versions, and the Germans
also widely used the MG 34 on an AA mount as a secondary / light weapon
for close defence against low-level targets.
All fortresses had 60-200 cm floodlights, operated
by a three man squad, or more – these were used against sea & air targets.
The subject of “Marine FLAK” will be covered in a
forthcoming separate article.
The Germans made widely use of radars in Norway. These
were among the most common:*
|FuMO (Seetakt.), numbered 1-100
FuMO (Seeart.), numbered 101-200
FuMO (Flak), numbered 201-300 Used by Luftwaffe
FuMO (Flum.), numbered 301-400 Used by Luftwaffe
FuMO 214, produced by
Telefunken for Luftwaffe. Also known as "Würtzburg-Riese", it was
used to control heavy FLAK, and for ground controlled intercepts. It had
a weight of 15 tons; max range 80 km, but 55 km when used to control fire.
Gema produced FuMO 2,
also known as “Calais”. It was mobile, and designed for use on ships.
FuMO 3, also known as
“Pillar”, was an improved version of FuMO 2 and intended for use on E-Boats.
Like FuMO 2 it had an effect of 20 W.
FuMO 5, also known as
"Boulogne", was the most powerful radar the Navy was equipped with. It
had an effect of 400 W, and was twice as effective as FuMO 2 and 3.
FuMO 214/15 was equal
to FuMO 214, but was electronically improved and more sophisticated. There
was only one of these in Norway, placed at Närbö.
All units were trained to prepare for their own perimeter close defence,
and they were often generously equipped with several light & heavy
machine guns. Many of these were so-called ”Beutewaffen” from the Norwegian
Army, such as “Madsen” light (L)MG and “Colt” (H) heavy MG. Germans also
used a big amount and variety of mortars, together with personnel &
AT-mines and other AT-weapons. Some coastal fortresses had remotely controlled
and fixed flame-throwers, but these only had enogh fuel for 40 seconds
use before running out, “Abwehr 1942”.
French built tanks were also in use in some fortress
areas, mostly the popular “Somua”or “Hotchkiss”. These were sometimes co-ordinated
with other tank units in the area, if any.
In Stavanger, southern Norway, was the ”Beutepanzerkompanie
Stavanger”. More than likely it was an interim measure to fill the gap
between the departure of 25.Panzer-Division and the later formation of
“Panzer-Division Norwegen”. The main tanks were the French “Hotchkiss”
and “Somua” tanks which the 25.PD left behind.
The “25. Panzer-Division” was ready in Norway in early
1942 as an operational reserve to defend against allied invasion or alternately
to be used in an invasion of Sweden. The division was slow in forming and
initially was equipped with the French tanks as well as Panzer II. Starting
in Spring 1943, it began receiving Panzer III and IV and by June 43 it
grew into a significant force which had 7 PzKw II, 41 PzKw III, 16 PzKw
IV, 40 “Hotchkiss”, 15 “Somua”, and 15 StuG. In July 43 it was reported
at 14 PzKw II, 62 PzKw III, and 26 PzKw IV. 25.PD was moved out of Norway
in 1943, except for the “1st Abteilung, Panzer-Regiment 9”.
This left the Norwegian command without a significant
armoured mobile reserve, and ”BeutePzKp Stavanger” was an interim measure
in summer 43 to cover the gap until later in November 1943 when they started
forming "Panzer-Brigade Norwegen" around I./PR 9. This was renamed to “Panzer-Division
Norwegen”, but it was a division in name only. This division was reported
to also have “Beute-Panzer´s” along with PzKw III and PzKw IV.
As an example of typical armament for a Coastal Fortress,
the Battery at Trondenes was equipped with: 5 machine guns (Norwegian),
1 Field Gun (7,62 cm Russian), 1 AT gun (7,5 cm German), 1 mortar 81 m.m,
4 mobile flame-throwers, 6 x 20 m.m. FLAKs, 3 x 37 m.m. PAKs, 3 x 8,8 cm
FLAKs, and 4 floodlight units, (3 x 60 cm, and 1 x 150 cm).
Details are given in this article when available.
The German-built Fortresses and other defence preparations
were for the most part very intelligently placed, as they made brilliant
tactical use of the Norwegian terrain and landscape.
||Barbed wire combined with mine fields was usually
used around the perimeter. Some fortresses had very solid concrete bunkers
for the guns, most others often not. The allied landing in Normandy gave
the Germans valuable informations for different evaluation of their remaining
coastal defence installations; the results could be noticed in the Norwegian
Coastal Defence area too.
The building of the fortresses had high priority, and
the British / Norwegian commando raids in
Svolvär and Maalöy gave the work extra speed. Hitler is said
to have thought the allies would land in Norway. Organisation Todt and
Norwegian workers did some of the work, but slave labourers were also used
in large scale. Most came from Serbia and Russia.
Documents from that time show a tremendous use of concrete,
iron and steel material.
Only a very few coastal defence installations saw any
serious action, except for the Arctic units. All fortresses were taken
over by the Norwegian Defence Forces in ’45. Quite a few were used by the
Norwegian Coastal Artillery, but many were immediately destroyed. Only
a few are still operational w/ original guns. “Batterie
Dietl” and "Batterie
Vara"has been restored, and is a tourist attraction. A few other sites
are also used as museums, like Tellevik Fort and Kvarven
Fort outside Bergen
In November ’44 the Germans established so-called “K-Flotillen”. (Kleinkampf-flotillen).
These used a new kind of vessels (these are only the ones used in Norway,
the Germans had other weapons too, like ”Neger” – a manned torpedo)
The Germans operated quite huge anti-shipping mine
fields. These were organised by the “Sperrwaffenkommandos”. Most coastal
fortresses were also protected by mines, in this article the numbers of
mines are given for the Sognefjorden area.
These fields were in use, among others:
Totally the Germans put out a sum of 8 800 naval
mines by 1942.
No. of fields
Number of mines German/
38 cm RGT
Late in the war, the Germans
developed a 38 cm rocketlauncher (“Raketentauchgeschoss”) for use against
enemy submarines. The ammo was a depth charge, which was rocket-fired from
the shore, and into the water where it sank to the predetermined depth,
The weapon was deployed to Alta,
Agdenes and Trondheim amongst other places – mostly to cover the big battle
ships like Tirpitz or U-boat bunkers.
The weapon had a range of 2
000 m some sources state 3000 m.
|Most guns were gathered from
all occupied countries. The Germans identified the origin with a letter:
Austria (ö) Poland (p), Yugoslavia (j), Soviet (r), England (e), Holland
(h), Belgium (b), France (f), Norway (n) and Czech guns (t). It seems as
If the Germans preferred the French quality and their favourites were K331
However, the Germans had several
accidents with cannons during practice live shooting, and lost many men
in these, more than 100.
To the right, a German soldier
with a water cooled sMG(n)
Personnel organisation Marine-Küsten-Batterie
1 officer, armed with pistol
1 soldier with rifle
1 officer with pistol
1 NCO with pistol
2 NCOs with pistols
1 NCO with rifle (platoon commander), also chemical warfare officer.
4 soldiers with rifles operated the 3-m range finder
1 soldier with rifle & motor cycle
1 NCO w/ rifle
6 soldiers w/ rifles
1 NCO w/ pistol
2 NCOs w/ pistols
1 NCO w/ pistol & motor cycle
16 soldiers, 15 w/ rifles, and 1 w/ pistol
2 crews w/ LMG & pistols
8 soldiers w/ rifles
1 soldier w/ pistol
2 soldiers w/ rifles
1 soldier w/ rifle
2 soldiers w/ rifles and 2 x 1,5 ton trucks
3 soldiers w/ pistols
This listing is the actual status
in 1945. Army units have a ( ) attached, showing which naval unit who was
administrative in charge. The listing is following the Norwegian coast
from south to north. German terms have been used, even in the spelling
|How to navigate the group section:
The artillery units has been divided into 9 groups, each describing the
units within it's section along the coastline. Each unit has several subunits.
The first group starts in south-east Norway, and the last ends up in northern
Norway and Finland. You can choose to either click the group numbers to
check other units in the area, or just click on the specific unit so check
subunits. To search for a unit, click the search link below.
Search for your Coastal artillery unit here!
A tip on how to use search:
If you know the three number of the unit you are searcing
for, just use the number in your search, do not include slashes,
detachment numbers, etc.
A.A = Anti-aircraft
A.R = Artillerie-Regiment
Art.Gr. = Artillerie-Gruppe
Art.U.Gr. = Artillerie-Untergruppe
Art.Ob.Gr. = Artillerie-Obergruppe
FLAK = Anti-aircraft gun
HKB = Heeres-Küsten-Batterie
HKAR = Heeres-Küstenartillerie-Regiment
HKAA = Heeres-Küstenartillerie-Abteilung
I.D = Infanterie-Division
LMG = Light machine gun
MAA = Marine-Artillerie-Abteilung
MFA = Marine-Flak-Abteilung
MKB = Marine-Küsten-Batterie
MAR = Marine-Artillerie-Regiment
P.D = Panzer-Division
SMG = Heavy machine gun
PAK = Anti-tank gun
Fjörtoft: “Tyske kystfort
i Norge” (ISBN 82-990878-1-3)
T. Gamst: “Finnmark under Hakekorset”
Local history section, Bodö
Interwiew with ex-Funkmaat Stras
German LW OOB 1944
“Portretter av en fiende”
Copies of German documents