Dora I & Dora II
Bomber command had campaigns to attack U-Boat pens on the Atlantic coast . The pens at Trondhiem escaped relatively unscathed .
Suspected Bomb damage on Dora II
Dora I was the only U-Boat pen that was totally completed in Norway and still survives more or less fully intact today . It was used by the Norwegian Armed forces for many years  after the war  but is now, amongst other things, a bowling alley !
Like an Egyptian temple Dora II towers above its surroundings
Dora II was never completed . Raw materials ,such as cement, ran out and the project ground to a halt .Dora II is now used as a dockyard by a number of small companies . Timber shuttering can still be seen in place around access routes into the huge structure .

The fence around is to keep people away because its slowly falling apart .
Dora I , now with a blue building built by the Norwegian navy upon its roof instead of the 3 anti aircraft positions it had during the war.
Dora I was small for a submarine pen hence the commencement of Dora II . The word small though is reletive.
Its HUGE .
 Its 153m long 105m wide and  there is more underground than above ground . Think of an oversized by a half football pitch with concrete poured upto the hight of the tallest of floodlights , thats how huge the building is !
view of the entrance to the pens

Attacks on these two Pens were sporadic and ineffective .  I have found only two reported  major  attacks  .
The first major attack was on the 23rd July 1943 not long after DoraI came into service . Only very light damage was inflicted .
The second  on  either 12th or the  22nd  November 1944 (there are two reports quoting different dates,which both suffered due to lack of visibility) .
One  of these reports quotes bad weather for the aborted attack the other good use of smoke screen due to local experience with having to defend the Tirpitz which was moored near- by  for a while .
Two Lancasters and a Mosquito were lost during these raids with little damage being caused .
It seems that many smaller attacks took place on Trondhiem  , the port facilities and pens but only minor damage was ever inflicted to the pens.

Looking into a pen . the round columns are new and hold up the present day interior to Dora I
A shot of Dora I just after the war 

Kapitans eye view . This is the view any Kapitan leaving the pens would have had from his conning tower 
The building behind is the Dahl brewery ...quite decent beer for Norway
A conning tower from a  Post war Norwegian submarine adorns one of the pens jetties .
Its from HNoMS ULA S300  , a 207  Kobben class submarine that served the Norwegian navy from 1965 to 1990 . In 1987 this boats name was changed from ULA to KINN .
It was one of 15  207 Kobben class submarines commissioned by the Norwegian navy and built in Emden ,Germany .

Blast doors .
The Dora I pen had blast doors 30mm thick to protect it from bombing . In the shot above can be seen a gantry with Blast doors that perhaps covered doors and windows into the bunker .
To the left a shot of a part of one of the blast doors for the pen U-boat entrances  themselves used as a place to mount an info panel .
Leaning against the building can be seen other segments of the huge blast doors .
The roof itself was made from re-enforced concrete 3.8m thick , the walls of the same up to 2.5m thick .
The energy consumption for the Pens was immense ....just imagine how much power would be needed to shut the blast  doors for instance . The ever pragmatic Germans built a power station between Dora I and Dora II which still stands today (see pic below) . No longer a power station it contains a Jujitsu club within its walls ...a different kind of power :-)


On the 1st September 1939 at a few moments after 05.15 this aircraft flown by Captain Mieczyslaw Medwecki became the very first allied aircraft to be shot down during the war . Indeed it was shot down before the 'allies ' had even formed  . Although I suppose it is a mute point as to if the allies formed on the Nazi invasion or the declaration of war by  the British and French .

After bombing attacks on Krakow air base by He111's ,  Ju87's and later by  Do17's a number of these gullwinged fighters took off in an   attempt to repel the attacks .
The Polish aircraft  clashed with a flight of Ju87's  unfortunately Captain Medwecki's aircraft was shot down a few kilometres from the airbase under what is now the new JohnPaulII terminal building for Krakow Airport.

The location is now marked with a plaque just by the entrance to the terminal building .
The actual number of the aircraft involved is not known at this present time .


 Two days after VE Day on the 10th May 1945 .Due to adverse weather conditions  Short Stirling LK147 crashed into a steep sided ravine close to the Southern end of the runway at Gardermeon aerodrome north of Oslo in Norway.
The 20 men on board were all killed in the crash .
They were taking part in Operation Doomsday (the liberation of Norway) . Part of the 30.000 men sent in case the 350000 German troops in Norway put up some resistance to the unconditional  surrender that was being imposed on them .
 It was a black day, for two other aircraft on the operation also crashed with loss of life . In total 58 men died tragically at the wars end in those crashes.

The men who died on LK147 were

 F/O John L. Breed Pilot
W/O Hugh J. Kilday
Flt Sgt Harold A. Bell
Flt Sgt David Welch
W/Op Flt Sgt Lionel J.D.Gilyead
W/O Raymond C. Impett Nav

Lt Frederick G. Saville
Pte Frederick Brown
Pte Thomas D. Brown
Cpl Charles Gavaghan
Pte Thomas Laycock
Pte George A. Little
Pte Robert McKeown
Pte Horace Newby
Pte Joseph Pagan
Pte George T. Phipps
L/Cpl Thomas E. Richardson
L/Sgt Frank R. Seabury
Pte Joseph Smethurst
L/Cpl Alexander B. Todd

The site itself can be visited and aircraft parts can still be seen insitu in the ravine.
This memorial is located very close to the crash site at the Forsvarets Flysamling aircraft museum.


On 16th August 1944, B-24 Liberator KG-933 from 178  Squadron RAF  took off from Foggia in Italy on a mission to supply the Polish Home Army, at a drop zone near Piotrkow (150km west of Krakow) codenamed  Nida 504.
The crew had successfully made the drop and started its  return  to  base .
 Unfortunately, shortly before it reached Krakow, the bomber was attacked by a German night fighter. Thought to have been flown by
Ofw. Helmut Dahms from I/NJG100.
The burning four-engine aircraft was seen flying over Zabłocie District (where the Schindler's Factory is located), caught by the searchlights and under heavy anti-airccraft fire, when it suddenly exploded and fell apart in the air. The tail section fell onto the old city abattoir on the other bank of Vistula. Some parts of the bomber fell into Vistula River, between the rail bridge and Kotlarski Bridge. However, most of the wreckage with the bodies of F/Lt John Liversidge, F/Lt William Wright and F/Sgt. John Clarke dropped directly onto Schindler's Factory and the prison camp therein.
The three survivors who managed to bail out  were Sgt L. Blunt and Sgt. F. Helme (both taken POWs and later sent to Stalag Luft 7) and F/L Allan Hammet who ,hit with shrapnel and wounded  in three places   was found  by the Polish partisans. After recovering from his wounds, he joined AK (Armia Krajowa, Home Army) and later fought in a unit which belonged to the 106th AK Infantry Division. In march 1945 he was repatriated  via Odessa.

 Sgt L. Blunt and Sgt. F. Helme are reported as being  MIA or KIA, but they have ID numbers from SL7 .
BLUNT - Camp L7/Pow No.652
HELME - Camp L7/PoW No.666.
Which seems at odds with the reports of KiA and MiA .

The full crew list is
F/L W. D. Wright, RAF, pilot Killed
Sgt L. J. Blunt, RAF, engineer  Baled and POW
S/L J. P. Liversidge, RAAF, navigator Killed
F/L A. Hammet, RAAF, wireless operator Baled and saved by partisans
Sgt. F. W. Helme, RAF, air gunner Baled and  POW
F/S J. D. Clarke, RAF, air gunner Killed

Many thanks to my contact and friend Robin  from Kracow whose information i have used and para-phrased here .

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