Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Into the Mountains

Premierløitnant Morten Henriksen had managed to escape the surrender of his reserve company along with three other men. Sersjant¹ Magnus Belland, Menig² Lars Torvik, and Menig Martin Sundheim had been elsewhere in town when the Germans had attacked after being ambushed. An ambush which had failed.

Henriksen was observing the village with his field glasses, he was ashamed that he had fled when his men had started surrendering, he felt he should have stayed with them. As he lowered his glasses he muttered, "Damn it ..."

Belland grabbed his lieutenant's sleeve and said, "Then what about us Sir, what about the three of us?" Belland gestured at himself, Torvik, and Sundheim.

Henriksen looked at the ground, he realized that his sergeant had a valid point. The three men he was with could have surrendered but had decided to escape deeper into the hills, to continue to resist the invasion of their homeland. The others had given up far too easily, but they were reservists and their active service days were long past. Whereas he, and the men with him, had done their active service fairly recently.

"Perhaps you are correct, Sersjant. What do you propose? I am open to suggestions."

"Here's what I think, Sir ..."

Jürgen watched as the Norwegian reservists were disarmed, searched, then put into a column to be marched down to the coast, which surprisingly enough wasn't that far away. "What will become of them Herr Oberfeldwebel?"

"Hard to say. If their government surrenders soon, I expect they'll be released back to civilian life. If Oslo fights on, they might be shipped back to Germany as prisoners of war." Hartknoch wasn't really sure, he knew that according to official Reich policies, the Norwegians were a fellow Germanic people. Not that he bought into that, in his mind people were people, the government's racial policies were ridiculous. But one didn't say such things aloud. One of his neighbors had, he had been arrested in the dead of night and taken away, to an unknown fate.

Jürgen nodded, then he noticed that the dead German officers were being loaded onto a farm cart, there were three bodies. He turned to look at Hartknoch, who was looking at the cart as well. "Leutnant Busch?"

"He didn't make it, he'd lost too much blood, maybe if he'd been wounded near a hospital ..." Hartknoch shrugged.

"Why them and not the others? Are our other dead to be left on the hillside, along with the dead Norwegians?" Jürgen sounded angry.

"Ah Bubi³, it doesn't matter who runs the government, the officers will always get better treatment than the men. Remember that when you get your officer straps⁴ some day. Maybe you can change things, but be careful how you go about it. Now see to your squad, we have to move higher into the hills."

"The dead?"

"They'll still be dead when the burial parties come up, probably tomorrow. Just be thankful that it's not summer." Hartknoch then left to get the company moving again.

"Shit, it looks like the Germans are going to come up further." Henriksen had been watching the Germans again, "Bastards, they're just going to leave the dead where they lay!"

Sersjant Belland shook his head, "That's a combat patrol, Sir, they don't have time to bury the dead, note that they're leaving their non-mobile wounded as well. I bet they have orders to head all the way up to the tree line. The maps show a small village there, it's not a real village, merely a hunting camp, but the Germans won't know this. If we move quickly we can get there first, burn it down so that the Germans will have to spend the night in the open."

Henriksen nodded, "Alright Magnus, we'll do it your way. But where shall we spend the night? In the open?"

"No Sir, there's a cave higher up the mountain we can shelter in, at least we'll be dry and out of the wind."

Henriksen sighed, "Perhaps we'll meet a troll up there on the mountain."

Menig Torvik shuddered and whispered, "Be careful what you wish for Løitnant, trolls are no laughing matter."

Before Henriksen could respond, he was definitely startled that one of the men believed in such things, Belland spoke, "For now we worry about the Germans, Lars. Now come on, let's move."

"This isn't a village, it's no more than a camp, probably for hunting." Hartknoch exclaimed to Feldwebel Weber.

As they watched the three buildings burning fiercely, Johannes Weber said, "They're of no use to anyone now. Night is coming on, I'm sure this fire is no act of Nature either."

Hartknoch nodded, "No doubt we didn't capture or kill all of those reservists. Looks like we're sleeping rough tonight boys, let's gather some wood, looks to be plenty of deadfall around." Looking at the burning buildings he said, "We'll camp near the buildings but put our outposts out further. Out of the fire light."

The men looked around, it was getting colder, a light snow was beginning to fall. Jürgen  spoke up and suggested, "Pine boughs, we can make shelters for those not on sentry duty."

"Good idea, let's get to it lads!" Hartknoch and the other sergeants got to work organizing things while the privates did what private soldiers always did. Bitched about it but did the work anyway.

Jürgen knew that it was going to be a long night, very little in the way of rations other than the bread they had found, and no greatcoats. Of course, their blankets were still rolled up and attached to their rucksacks. At that moment one of his gunners, Jörg Neumann, came up.

"Herr Gefreiter, would these help?"

Jürgen looked in amazement as Neumann held out a Norwegian mountaineering rucksack, it had blankets in it. "What made you think to grab this?" he asked in amazement.

"Begging your pardon Sir, but I can tell time, I'm from the Obersalzburg and I know mountains. Even though it's spring, it stays cold up here until June or even later. With our gear down below, I thought these might be useful." Neumann explained.

When Hartknoch saw the blankets, he immediately gave them to the men going out on sentry duty. "You're going out in pairs, stay together for warmth, drape the blanket over your shoulders. Stay on your feet, when I make the rounds I don't want to catch anyone asleep, that's a firing squad. Clear?"

The men heading out answered, "Klar, Herr Oberfeldwebel, zu befehl!"

"You're damned right I'm in command, now let's go. Stay alert, try to stay warm, I don't think the Norwegians will try anything but we don't know for sure. Now go, go! Are you waiting for a personal order from the Führer?"

As night settled in, along with the cold, the Germans had no idea they were being watched from the mountain.

The Norwegians would bide their time. Henriksen almost wished there were trolls about, surely they would like the Germans even less than the Norwegians they troubled in the old stories. At least the trolls were Norsk⁵!

¹ Sergeant (Norwegian)
² Private (Norwegian)
³ Laddie (German)
⁴ Braided officer epaulettes.
⁵ Norwegian.


  1. I fell for a beautiful Huldre once. But I forgot that as beautiful as a Huldre is, she is still a troll, who would still try and destroy a good Norwegian Badger. You have to be careful around trolls.

  2. So starts an uncomfortable occupation for the Huns. Norsks can be feisty especially when the King and Crown Prince left the country for England.

    1. It also tied down a lot of German troops for most of the war.

  3. Sarge, just re-read HMS Ulysses again. The Norwegian occupation always seemed odd to me, like something off the beaten track - although in re-reading, it certainly had an impact on the resupply of the Soviet Union.

    Those that deal with the dead on a regular basis have a far different view of things than the rest of us do.

    1. It was mostly about Swedish iron ore, the Brits wanted to halt that flow (moving mostly through the territorial waters of neutral Norway) and the Germans desperately needed that ore. It was important to both sides, the Norwegians got caught in the middle.

    2. Ah, that makes much more sense. Thank you.

    3. Crusty Old TV Tech here. Once the Germans were ensconced in Norway, they discovered another reason for holding the country. A by-product of ammonia production via electrolysis of water to make hydrogen. I shudder to think what might have happened had Berlin been able to make full use of the heavy water they found there.

      You made my day with that troll reference. I heard troll stories as a lad, retold from stoies told my father as a lad. It definitely Norsk-izes the fellows in the story.

    4. I've been binge-watching Norwegian TV series on Netflix. A lot.

    5. Try Trollhunter, a 2011 movie, English sub-titles.

    6. (Don McCollor)...The heavy water from Norsk Hydro has an interesting tale. French military intelligence bought basically the entire amount on hand before the invasion of Norway, shipped it to Scotland and then to France. When France was invaded, Charles Howard Earl of Suffolk (who would have made a good pirate) arranged the shipment of the heavy water (along with 35 scientists, 10 million dollars of gem quality diamonds, and 600 tons of machine tools they found in rail cars) on a ship to Britian. The heavy water was then taken to Windsor Castle where it was stored in the vaults along with the Crown Jewels of England...

    7. A smart move, keeping that out of the hands of the Nazis.

  4. You know, with each installment I feel as though I have actually met these people, and grown attached to most (although a few I instantly come to loathe). And, I leave with a bit of a feeling for their culture, and shared humanity.
    And, I care about what happens to them, leaving a yearning for yet more.

    You Muse is amazing when she is amusing.
    John Blackshoe

  5. I remember a hill behind my step-grandparents house in Sandnes, Norway that had concrete "blast doors"(supposedly built by the Germans) in it and my brother and I played "war" in the trenches on that hill. I also remember a drive from Stavanger to Kristiansand where we stopped at a rocky beach that still had the anti invasion "concrete dragons-teeth" and a classic round Naval mine washed up and rusting apart on the beach. History seems to be everywhere if you look for it.

  6. Hey Old AFSarge;

    And the Resistance starts...........In Norway.

  7. Do you use some sort of software to help you keep track of the different plot lines and the mini characters? What about the names and getting them linguistically correct? You do quite well at all of it.

    1. I might use a spreadsheet in the future (I did on the last book) just to keep track of all of the characters, the major ones live in my head, so they're somewhat easier to keep an eye on. So to speak.

    2. Hhmm, mini-characters, I like it. (I knew what you meant. 😁)


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