Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows, Oslofijord

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hammy
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Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows, Oslofijord

Post by hammy » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:22 pm

While playing "Hunt the harbour" all around Europe , using Google Earth , for Terje the other day , I passed by this place , (where the " Blucher " got short shrift in 1940 ), and looked at a lot of the linked photos posted there .

There are still three big coast defence guns on big traversing Battery carriages there (named "Moses" , "Aron" and "Jonah") facing south down the fijord with a WW2 era control tower next to them , and I wondered if anyone can tell us the calibre .
I know the Norwegian navy used 8.2 inch Elswick (Vickers) weapons afloat in WW1 and that looks about the size of these , except these have a side sliding breechblock like Krupps weapons , and the gunshield is an odd shape for a British weapon , looks more like what the Bofors company used to make , or maybe the French Schnieder company ?

There are also three older big Armstrong type guns facing east across the narrows . Were these fired against Blucher ?

There is also a photo of a torpedo on a trolley , outside a sort of "nissen hut shaped cave" in the rock on which the fortress stands , this cave is screened from the view of a ship heading north towards Oslo by a bit of concrete shielding , I thought the Norwegian defenders fired the torpedos out of a land mounted tubes setup in a shielded casemate arrangement , or did they just trundle one out and run it down the hill on the trolley -- surely not ?
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by José M. Rico » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:17 pm

This is a subject for Antonio Bonomi. In the meanwhile take a look at this thread:

viewtopic.php?t=429

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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by RF » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:53 pm

hammy wrote: There are still three big coast defence guns on big traversing Battery carriages there (named "Moses" , "Aron" and "Jonah") facing south down the fijord with a WW2 era control tower next to them , and I wondered if anyone can tell us the calibre .
Presumably these three were the 28cm guns?
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by Gary » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:01 pm

Hi all

RF is correct.

They are the 28cm cannons.
Although one of the guns was named "Joshua" and not "Jonah"
"Moses" was so named because upon her installation the late 1800's the engineers managed to drop her in the water :D
Aron was not manned the day of the action.

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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by hammy » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:16 am

Ah , thanks everyone , and thanks for the links and all the information , that's satisfied my curiousity .

( I ought to know by now to search the forum by subject before I post questions again on an topic already dealt with . Sorry . )

My God though . Point Blank range and 660 pound solid shot coming at you . And that hidden torpedo battery is about the most admirably cunning and sneaky thing I've ever seen . The German naval Intelligence MUST have been way too careless over this operation , or maybe they thought Mr Quisling's boys were dealing with it . I mean the place is a death-trap . You could sit in that fort with a rifle and shoot the bridge windows out on anything trying to get past you .

Those 28cm guns are presumably one stage older than the 40 cal 1901 models fitted in Schliesen and Schleswig-Holstien , which is a bit ironic . I wonder what Mr Krupps thought . Kept very quiet I expect .

Isn't it always the way though , when you actually need to use this massive Fortified thing which has cost all that money all down the years there are always only the deputy C.O. , four men and the Gardener actually on site to man the ramparts , and about seven rounds in stock to actually shoot with , or someone has lost the key .

"Moses" because they dropped the gun in the fijord getting it ashore !
I wish I'd been there to see that one . Proper uproar , people running about and shouting on that day I think .
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by RF » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:31 pm

Blucher sunk by Joshua and Moses...... now theres one for Dr Geobbels and Lord Haw Haw to try to explain away.... not a great day for the anti-semitites is it?
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by Gary » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:14 pm

The biggest irony is that Joshua, Moses and Aron were made in GERMANY!!!
I dont know about the torpedo battery though?

As for the torpedo tubes positioning, it couldnt have been better.
It wasnt necessasry to even properly aim them it was just a question of if the old equipment would work.............and it did!
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by RF » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:19 am

Yes indeed.

Compare the incursion of Blucher/Lutzow up Oslo Fjord with the Second Battle of Narvik; here had the Germans position some land based torpedo tubes they could have sunk the Warspite.....
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by marcelo_malara » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:22 pm

Sending Blucher on front was a blunder. The Emden or one of the TB should have gone first.

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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by RF » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:31 pm

Marcelo, the blunder was that the engine room crew of Blucher had been given no proper training in fire fighting, or in dealtng with dud shells. That was the real cause of the loss.
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by marcelo_malara » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:28 pm

Blucher received a heavy punishment. From memory, it was fired not only from Oscarborg, but from a battery on the continent, and then the torpedo battery. May be that a trained crew could have save her, neverthless heavy damage would have been done. Why risk a heavier, better and more modern ship to probe the pass when you have the almost useless Emden or the TBs at hand? Remember too that the ship was loaded with troops, and risking impacts do the same to the troops that were needed for Oslo. From memory again, I think that some ship had already landed her troops on Horten, so she would be empty.

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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by RF » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:37 am

My understanding is that initially Blucher was hit by two 28 cm shells from Oscarburg, which had no explosive charge in them (in a previous thread you may recall that I referred to them as blank shells and I was told that terminology was incorrect). One hit took away the foretop, the other shell case wedged itself into the oil feed pipes to Bluchers' engine rooms. The heat from the shellcase ignited congealed oil on the outside of the pipes. Damage control parties and engine room crew should have had no difficulty in dealing with such a small fire while it was small, once it had been ascertained that there was no danger of the shell exploding. However nothing apparently was done because the crew had not been instructed in fire fighting. The fire spread and Blucher was immobilised. I have no information about damage from other shore based artillery; as I understand it the immobilised Blucher was left as a sitting duck for the torpedo battery that sank her.
To me the loss of Blucher comes over as an avoidable loss and the loss seems to be resulting from an incredible act of negligence; even merchant ship sailors are supposed to be given full training in fire fighting before they go to sea.....
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows , Oslofijord

Post by marcelo_malara » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:01 pm

According to "The German Invasion of Norway " (Geirr Haarr) the 28 cm shells were HE. one hit the foretop, the second "just aft of the funnel", I presume on deck, "destroying the 10.5 cm mounting and killing a large number of soldiers on the deck below". The boilers were not on fire, but "the fans draw smoke from the fires above". On the continent there were two further batteries, Kopas (15 cm) and Husvik (57 mm). "Between 22 and 24 15 cm shells were fired, virtually all hitting the cruiser. The guns at Kopas, positioned above the fiord and firing down onto Blucher´s deck and superestructure, had a devastating effect...turning 70 to 75 m of the port centre section into a mass of burning debris".

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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows, Oslofijord

Post by Gary » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:51 pm

One of the 28cm hits disabled the master switch on Bluchers bridge that activated/deactivated her 8 inch turrets, meaning she could not shoot back.
Also as she was acting as a taxi for shore forces its highly probable she had stuff onboard that normally wouldnt have been there that may have contributed to the ferocity of the flames.
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Re: Oscarburg fortress in Drobak Narrows, Oslofijord

Post by hammy » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:08 pm

Sorry boys but I dont believe any warship doesn't drill it's crews in Fire-fighting - Thats about lesson No 2 ( after "cleaning your boots" ) in any fighting service , what to do in a fire .
Especially Engine room crews ,where you are dealing with inflammable things in closed spaces . Its a routine , regularly practiced thing , over and over and over again in any ship .
Also , most of her engine-room crew were posted in from previous ships or units , so even if they hadnt actually been drilled in this one they would have previous training to fall back on .

I fully believe that it lodged in a spot where they couldn't get at it , or the space was filled with fire -that would be just "Sods ( Naval ) Law" in action once again .

The conversion of speed energy into heat energy in a solid shot weighing 660 pounds coming to a full stop would be considerable - perhaps one of our mathematical buffs could give us some figures or estimates ( What is a Joule anyway ? ) .

Also I dont believe this tale of a "Master switch" on the bridge that commands power to the turrets . Think about it . Cant be , can it ?
But I believe the army left all its stuff laying around the upper deck areas and messdecks , including ammunition , which promptly caught fire . Messy people , squaddies .
I take it those 15cm guns were Army Artillery pieces firing H.E. ? that would start a real blaze in the superstructure .
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