German coastal defense in Norway during WW2
"Vara" in Kristiansand

During the invasion of Norway, 6 different German marineartillerie units was to man the different forts that already existed in Norway. (Narvik, Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Horten)
The Germans was always worried about an allied invasion would take place in Norway, and prepared for this by building many more forts along the Norwegian coastline. By 1945 it was a total of 221 forts divided into 29 units and 10 regiments.  These where manned by about 65 000 men!
Both the army (HKAR) and navy (MAA) was manning the forts, and this hampered the efficiency, likely due to lack of cooperation/communication between the branches.
The artillery varied in size and qty. the most usual dimensions was 10 cm to 15 cm guns, with a range between 10 000m to 17 000m.
Some forts (Kvarven) had big haubitsers with dimensions up to 21 cm with range 16 000m.  Very few forts had bigger guns,  but one of them was the MKB 6/502 "Vara" in Kristiansand. They had 3 x 38 cm(!)  SKC guns with an impressive range of 42 000m. These guns was guarded by  4 x 8,8 cm Flak 37 guns and an unknown number of AA mounted MG-34. It was usual that the forts had 150 cm floodlights, and I believe that "Vara" had several of these.
Below you will find unique pictures of the battery "Vara":

The building of the battery "Vara" starts.
The crane on the picture was used to carry the heavy parts of the cannons.
A close-up of the big crane. On the right is the base on one of the gun towers. Most of the coastal defenses structures in Norway where actually built by Russian POW's, I believe that was the case with "Vara" too.
A silhouette of the big gun. The little "pin" just below the tip of the barrel is actually a soldier!
A close-up of one of the guns. Three soldiers just walks around, and they probably did that during the rest of the war, because the allies never invaded Norway.
Members of the gun crew. No awards is visible, these guys probably just got out from one of the newly established German artillery school in Norway.
Note the guy to the left, with headset and a mic., probably belonging to a calculation platoon.
 Look at the size of this little pea-shooter!
Firing a 38 cm projectile at a range of 42 000 meters, this gun would probably make the allies think twice before they attack!
One of the guns is restored and fully operational for the first time since the Norwegian army closed the fort in 1952.
Batterie Vara is now a war-memorial museum open to the public.
For opening hours, contact Destination Sørlandet.
tlf: +47 38121314 fax: +47 38025255
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