Faettenfjord


About fifty kilometres northeast of Trondheim lies Faettenfjord, where the German battleship Tirpitz was anchored in two rounds. The first round was between 16 january and 2 july 1942 and the second round was between october 1942 and march 1943. In between, she was at Bogen just north of Narvik and in March 1943 she sailed to Kafjord in northern Norway.  Faettenfjord is surrounded by mountains on both sides, making air strikes against Tirpitz more difficult. On the mountains around the fjord, air defense was established as extra protection for the ship. The British air force (RAF) carried out four airstrikes against Tirpitz while she was in Faettenfjord but without harming her. In contrast, the RAF lost several aircraft and more than sixty crew members. In October 1942, an attack was also planned with so-called human torpedoes. Small underwater vehicles maneuvered by frogmen would sneak up on her and fire their torpedoes and then return to the mother boat. However, the operation had to be stopped at a late stage due to bad weather.

Current status: Preserved with monument (2017).

Location: 63° 33'46 N, 10° 55'42 E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

What makes Faettenfjord particularly interesting are two preserved caissons located by the water next to a steep mountain slope. It was at these that Tirpitz was anchored when she was in the fjord. Even though more than seventy years have passed since Tirpitz was there and my visit gives them a tantalizing sense of historical closeness. However, it is not easy to get a closer glimpse of them. They are well hidden from the road above and you have to enter private land to access them. In addition to the caissons, there are also parts of a concrete staircase left. The staircase starts at the road above the caissons and probably goes all the way down to the water. A qualified guess is that it was the Germans who built the stairs to easily get to and from Tirpitz. I simply find no other explanation as to why otherwise a staircase would have been built there. There is also a bunker on the gravel road that leads into Faettenfjord and the side of the fjord that Tirpitz was on. A qualified guess is that this was a German sentinel. A little further in and at the end of the fjord, there is a memorial dedicated to the British airmen who died when Tirpitz was attacked.

Follow up in books: Bishop, Patrick: Target Tirpitz: The Epic Quest to Sink Hitler’s Greatest Battleship (2012).