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Joachim Ronneberg, Leader of Raid That Thwarted a Nazi Atomic Bomb, Dies at 99 | New York Times
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Joachim Ronneberg, Leader of Raid That Thwarted a Nazi Atomic Bomb, Dies at 99 | New York Times

The Norwegian saboteurs skied across the Telemark pine forest in winter whites, phantom apparitions gliding over moonlit snow. They halted at a steep river gorge and gazed down at a humming hydroelectric power plant where Nazi scientists had developed a mysterious, top-secret project.

Lt. Joachim Ronneberg, the 23-year-old resistance fighter in command, and his eight comrades — all carrying cyanide capsules to swallow if captured — had been told by British intelligence only that the plant was distilling something called heavy water, and that it was vital to Hitler’s war effort.

Hours later, in one of the most celebrated commando raids of World War II, Lieutenant Ronneberg and his demolition team sneaked past guards and a barracks full of German troops, stole into the plant, set explosive charges and blew up Hitler’s hopes for a critical ingredient to create the first atomic bomb.

Source: Joachim Ronneberg, Leader of Raid That Thwarted a Nazi Atomic Bomb, Dies at 99 | New York Times