18 killed in WWII Sabotage, the sinking of the railroad ferry "SF Hydro" - Sail Mermaid - S4 E20

May 11, 2021 17:18 · 6094 words · 29 minute read

hey how do you doodly do my name is roger and since i’m not able to go sailing in the mediterranean right now like i’m supposed to do i would like to show you some of my home country norway in previous episodes i’ve been north in lofoten and westerol now i have returned to the southern norway in telmark today i will show you some war history from world war ii that is not only important in norway but to the world as we know it in the next episode i will take you to ryukan a valley so narrow with mountains so steep that they actually placed a mirror on a mountaintop to reflect the sunshine down into the valley this was where the fertilizer was made and thereby the heavy water later used to make the nuclear bump was discovered but in this episode we will cover the sinking of the railway ferry going out from this valley transporting the heavy water on its way to nazi germany so come along yes i’m on my way to yukon and this ferry named ammonia is the sister ship of the ferry that was sunk by the allied when it was transporting heavy water for germany that was gonna be used for making nuclear weapons so this is a piece of history not this boat were sunk but won’t exactly like it now i’m gonna go see if they have any guides available so maybe i can come on board and have a closer look this is this is ammonia and it’s the sister ship fairy of the hydro indeed the sister of hydro who was sunk during the war ammonia is the world’s biggest steam train ferry in fact oh really of this type and there are only four left in the world so this was this was not transporting cars at all it’s just trains only trains we have in fact transported cars on the other boat uh storygood uh at one point but she’s a diesel fairy so it’s you know yeah okay yeah whatever so when you’re coming aboard now you can see it’s a pretty big boat yes considering it can in fact carry 16 train carriages yeah and uh right now we don’t have the rails on because we are restoring to boat okay because we do hope to be able to drive trips with tourists yeah on this boat oh cool it is kind of cool yeah and of course she’s just a part in a longer story of transport history which spans from 1907 until today yeah because that’s when the rail railway was built and ammonia is the third boat that we got because the first one we got in 1901 nine and her name was rue confus same kind of boat but half the size just about but she wasn’t enough so already in 1914 we got the second one and that’s the slightly more familiar df hydro which person which was sunk indeed yeah and um uh once we got ammonia in 1929 quite a bit later it was ammonia and hydro who took the trip back and forth from this end to the other end of the lake what’s in the other end of the lake well it’s the other end of the railway yeah and that’s a town called newton there is also a town called norton although you need to take the train from tinoset all the way out to northumberland yeah okay yeah so it’s uh it’s about 30 kilometers on the lake and then 30 kilometers on railway then you’ll reach north yeah uh and uh of course the ferris also ran back and forth during the war normal transport the biggest difference was that they didn’t have any coal so they used normal firewood for for heating the steam engines um but of course what kind of goods were they transporting back then they were transporting uh transporting fertiliser yeah for the most part because that is what was being made at yeah it was synthetic fertilizer the first synthetic fertilizer in the world which was quite nice to have because everyone was dying of hunger at the time yeah and then suddenly they discovered something named heavy water they did indeed because they switched the way they made the synthetic fertilizer and when they did that they needed they needed the hydro hydrogen gas so they made a hydrogen gas factory that word so difficult to say correctly um and what they did was electrolysis of water which means you just send a lot of electricity into water so you split h2o into h and o separately but heavy water is more tightly bound which means you technically need more electricity to split it so with the normal amount of electricity being used heavy water remained because it is in fact in all water just in very very small amounts oh really yes and so it was discovered well there is water that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to that’s strange let’s use it to make coffee how did they discover this do you know that no it just remained a bit from the electrolysis because technically everything was supposed to turn into gas but some strange water remained and that was the heavy water they took a couple of years of trying and testing out but an american scientist by the name of harold yuri is the one who discovered called it deuterium oxide or heavy water obviously because it’s about 10 percent heavier than normal water and this was used for a variety of things sciencey things and then someone got the idea to make an atomic bomb with it which was an ideal because this was the only place it was being made so nazi germany took over the entire place and they started yes because this was in the 1940s yeah in the in the 1940s and so they took over the entire place and started producing a lot of heavy water and some of the allies heard what was going on and so there were several sabotage operations going on and the third one the american bombing scared the nazi germans a lot so then they decided they wanted to move their entire production to germany but to do that they needed to bring the heavy water and some of the equipment this transport route which meant it needed to be moved by the bets and so the savages that have been in the area got a new task you need to stop that transport and the most efficient way to do that would be to sink the boat because they knew that the lake is more than 400 meters deep and so the evening before the ship was set to sail the sabotages snuck aboard and it wasn’t very difficult because it was quite normal for people to sleep over on the deck if they were going with the morning ferry so they just pulled their hats a bit low and said good good night good evening and once everything was silent they snuck down into the front of the boat there they planted an explosive and the mechanism that was set to make it go off was in fact the alarm clock of the grandmother of one of the savages one of these old ones with the bells yeah so that was set to ring about an hour after the boat had set out so it was not a suicide action no no it was uh cleverly planned yeah even if they were not entirely happy about it because there were going to be passengers on the boat and they were told by london you need to sink this boat so they did so they stayed they remained on the boat once they had planted everything and was sure it was going to work they fled and the next day the ferry went off as planned and had a reasonable trip until they reached rutsgren which is about an hour by the by the boat at that point they heard a humongous booming noise and the captain and his crew they were looking around what was that did we did we hit some ice because it was february so it could have been ice but they couldn’t see anything and of course they couldn’t see anything because the hole was under the water line but one thing that also had happened with that hole was that it had destroyed one of the steam um pipes so hot hot steam streamed into the passenger place under the deck um the people under there didn’t drown to say like that they burnt to death yeah how many people died all together 14 civilians and four german soldiers nobody made it alive they did yeah because what happened was that the boat it started rocking dangerously it took in water very quickly and they realized something’s terribly terribly wrong you all need to jump into the lake in february in february and if you jump into that cold water you can get shock and just stop yeah but um what also happened was that there were farmers living along the sides of the lake and they heard and saw something going on so they tossed themselves out into their row boats to pick up as many people as possible from the freezing water and by doing that they saved 28 people 28 yeah so more people did in fact survive then they’d die 2028 died 14 survived all the way around the other way around two thirds survived yes yes matt was not my uh i don’t like maths much either like there’s a reason i do history yeah good but uh but yeah the the ferry itself just slipped under the waterline and disappeared and it sunk uh in 10 minutes which is very quickly for that bigger boat but it’s uh it’s reasonable uh because it was placed so that it would take in as much water as possible as quickly as possible because they didn’t want to risk it lying in the waterline and being able to be towed to land because then it would have been for nothing i read on wikipedia that they actually went down and got up a barrel of heavy water a few years ago is that right they did yeah because in 1993 someone got the idea to look for the boat because we had no idea where it was other than somewhere over there so they used an rov remote operated vehicle and found the boat at 430 meters deep uh and using more of these remote operated things they picked up two barrels to test if this was really heavy water because after the war someone had said no no no there wasn’t heavy water on the boat that entire thing wasn’t necessary but we tested it and it was heavy water yeah good yeah otherwise it would have been kind of not good yeah yeah the savages were given a cold shoulder up in town the rest of their lives by the people that knew they had been involved in this okay and that was naturally because people from this area died they did yeah and you know it’s it’s one thing to know that intellectually you have to you have to do this mathematics of how many human lives might might die if i do or if i don’t and something else to know it’s your fault i’ve lost someone yeah that’s not so easy to accept it’s i can imagine that must be hard but they also say that this sabotage action was maybe one of the most important during all of world war ii it was one of them and the operation the operation that happened earlier the the february in 1943 was also quite important in slowing everything down yeah and that operation being named gunnerside which was with the savages climbing down the mountainside to get to them and that one is also very well known because uh it was extremely successful with no loss of life and not even a single shot fired that’s amazing it is pretty amazing yes so they they knew what they were doing and the craziest thing is they were so young these people were in their young 20s yes they i do believe the youngest one was 23.

the youngest was 23. yeah yeah okay and they did all this yeah and that says a lot they had courage they very much did yeah okay is it possible to come up in the wheelhouse on this boat yes we can yeah good we also have some we also have some somewhat special salads on this boat oh because she is meant to impress so we will get inside here so this is the salon for first place or first class as it might also be called and it’s quite exclusive because when we first got to vote a ticket a pair cost about a year’s wages for a normal worker what yeah oh yes bridges to sit in the fancy silence one trip one way one trip that tells a lot about the class differences of the time yeah because we did have a lot of a class system up here for a very very long time which was uh kind of special yeah but everything here is also handmade so you can’t take apart from one side of this boat and put it somewhere else because it won’t fit but there’s also the the leaders salon which is even better because in here there’s even more decoration and there’s the pictures so in here you could only come if you were invited and that lasted until they closed the passenger trips in 1970.

what yeah people were mad about that but it was it was so exclusive that is so not norwegian so not scandinavian at all yeah i know but but uh hydro was very uh was very um inspired by by international practices in a lot of ways and it was an international company it was yeah so so a lot of the things they did seem very strange now yeah i can imagine that they also had a lot of business connections coming here they did yeah um and we’ve we’ve even had royals come visit here and sit in these salons yeah so in here anyone we know um uh well i mean we did have the we did have king hawk on uh back in the start of the century um and also we had a shake uh of i can’t remember they changed the country name at some point yeah um but also his wife princess faradiba so they were people that came visiting at one point cool so it’s kind of uh surprising because it’s such a small tiny place in the middle of nowhere it really is so of course in here you can also be served dinner and then afterwards you’d sit in there and with a cigar and a glass of cognac and just relax and talk about the important part in life namely money so it’s a very very special sort of place cool but we can also head we can also head for the um for the um steering house or whatever it’s actually called wheelhouse yeah also there was even a little office if someone wanted to do me to work yeah good and you can also see that there’s like hand hand work in a lot of things and also like even in just the floor everything’s all crooked because they wanted the water to fall off obviously yeah naturally oh yeah so the wheelhouse didn’t have it wasn’t up front like like here so yeah no you had you had a steering wheel in there with all of the uh gyroscopes and uh whatnot and then you had the machine contact out in front here so if you wanted to change the speed of the engine you’d have to be out here and go i want to go half speed front and then they saw that message down in the machine room fixed everything and went yep we’re going off speed from now so that means there had to be two navigators on the bridge at any time uh there were always two usually three people working out there and uh we even had a very nice simple way if you wanted to contact the machine room this this pipe goes all the way down oh yeah is talking to it these are nice it’s a very simple but effective way of of communicating and getting things done really yeah and hydro of course was very similarly built uh up in the top here so you can imagine them hearing this boom and looking out like what on earth was that of course and here is the uh this is the gas pressure or is it the uh um i don’t think it’s the um yeah it’s the rpms yeah and the fun part with this entire boat is that the entire thing runs on steam uh from the electricity to the engines to absolutely everything which means that you need to heat it properly so if you want to get anywhere with this boat you need to fire the the cauldrons the boilers for 20 hours 20 hours yup so if we uh eventually get her up and running it will probably be for like one week straight that ah now there are trips with ammonia because otherwise it’s just ridiculous to use two days to make a one day trip that must mean that when it was running scheduled running it was never cold very true yeah people usually had 12 hour shifts working on the boats and the train so it was always kept going on and on and on so it’s uh quite quite interesting but uh it’s definitely much easier to start study good the diesel fairy because it only takes one hour to get her ready to go yeah and uh study good is actually she was extremely modern when we got her in 1956 so she even has propellers in the front she was one of the first boats big boats in norway to get to that which is kind of cool so it can go both ways uh well she can’t quite go both ways but it allows her to move sideways essentially yeah which makes it much easier to come into land because we have uh when uh when we’re wanting to get the boats in you can see there are two points in front and we have two locks on the the uh connection to land so which means you need to hit those so they can lock on uh and with this boat if you missed you’d have to back out and then try again whereas with storygood you can just adjust her sideways so it’s a bit easier it also means that if we do get her running we are going to need to get uh specialized people to drive the boat because it’s not something just anyone can do okay but you also told me before that uh this is a sister ship of the boat hydro that was sunk but it’s much bigger right it’s much bigger uh hydra could take 10 to 12 uh carriages train carriages whereas ammonia can take 16 to 17.

so she is uh i’m not quite sure just how many meters which is at least 5 to 10 meters bigger all together oh yeah that’s the train stoppers yep and there is turgut it doesn’t look that much bigger for its name sturgeon means big boy huh yeah he does uh she was given the name from uh from a poem actually uh about a guy who got called uh storygood because he was so big and strong it’s a poem by a a man named osman or loves only so when they got storygoods hydro actually said all right let’s make let’s make a bit of fun out of it people please give us names and the one who wins will get a price and so two people actually had the same idea and they got to share the price of 50 kilometers 50 yeah that was a lot of money back then it was quite a lot of money back then yeah today it’s about a cup of coffee yeah our cups of coffee goes 25 yeah he’s like oh that’s that’s a lot for a cup of coffee oh that’s that’s not very much it’s not very much if you go if you go to like a gas station it’s going to be like at least 30 but yeah but you know good is uh northern europe’s uh biggest inland ferry really yeah then let’s go have a look at it okay as we were boarding stuart good she came with some new information and she has to repeat that for us well what i said was that this lake being regulated uh actually has a difference in its lowest height and tallest height of four meters which of course means that uh you can’t actually have a a land gang thing that is just stuck so we have this big green thing here which is called the gallows and with that we can lift and lower this entire thing so that it always meets the ferry and there are that was early yeah and there are only two of it in the world the other one is on the other side of the lake oh really but now the lake must be about the highest point then no no it’s about halfway right now so we can come up two meters more yeah uh but at the most uh when you look at look at the uh when you look at the edge with the with the rocks and the moss it can actually be above the mass really yes and then we all get very concerned then things keep flooding everywhere but you can regulate it we can but of course most pokemon is regulated above us and if we just let go of our water we’re gonna flood shame which is bad could be we did we did have a flood a couple of years back and then we had to just keep flooding ourselves because cheyenne was already flooded uh and like they had they had restaurants down by the seaside and stuff and they kept being just full of water so it was a complete mess but the boats don’t care they float yeah that’s the good thing about boats we love boats don’t we study good is actually meant to carry so much weight that if you don’t have any weight any carriages on board she is just floating on top of the water basically uh with her propellers not properly down in the water yeah so if you don’t have any weight on her you’re just gonna drift off which is why there’s a couple of train carriages on her right now because she was on a trip last week now this of course is a bit more modern a ferry but still with the rails because they were all only meant for trains transport cars were getting more popular as time came but we only had the road on the other side for a very long time uh we didn’t get the road on this side which is the only good road in the entire place uh until 1992.

that’s not long ago it’s not no and we got it as a response to this uh entire uh railway and boats being uh being shut down yeah there’s no trains running here now uh only the tourist trains that we run yeah so we have uh small small historical train trips on tuesdays and fridays this summer it changes a bit every summer but we try to keep up uh having these train trips and then we also have the guided tools on the beds yeah so how long does these train trips take uh about 35 minutes so it’s from rue construction up in town and then down here and usually one of us guides will be along with it and talk about some of the history but you don’t take the trains on the ferry no we sometimes have what we call shifting days at the end of august and then we make a whole arrangement out of putting things on and off the uh of the ferry because it’s a bit of a production yeah we’re not really used to it because you have to use uh you have to use wires from the boat to hook on and pull and use uh specific uh shifting locomotives on the other end to push so it’s a lot of uh a lot of work complicated yeah especially when you’re not used to it yeah although of course at the most effective the people working here could come in with the boat get everything off get everything on and be out again in 20 minutes and when we’re using the boat we use 15 minutes just getting into land they did it daily they did yeah there is something to said for practice yeah yeah okay cool let’s go inside and have a look at this one yes would you like to go downstairs or upstairs that’s up to you you lead the way oh i remember passenger salons like just like this from when i was a kid they were exactly like this yes yes they very much were yeah it’s uh that is sort of a fun thing because both ferries are very representative of the decade they were built in and this is literally how all fairies looked in the 50s and 60s yes so we have a lot of guests coming and they come down here and they’re like oh but it’s like this ferry and that fairy and i used to go on that ferry when i was a child which is a lot of fun so everybody says the same thing i did yeah they do that’s so disappointing well it’s kind of it’s quite nice yeah uh although the not so nice part is that um as you can sort of hear there’s a lot of acoustic noise here there’s a lot of echo and all of our fairies are ice breakers because there used to be a lot of ice on the lake um but that you break the ice doesn’t mean it goes away which means that of course it’s scraped along the sides of the boat which meant that sitting down here in the winter got noisy and also you had a diesel engine i can imagine that was also noisy it’s not surprisingly not that noisy no no uh it’s got three 750 horsepower diesel engines she’s a strong boat good well she had to be a strong boat if she’s gonna break ice yeah the ice the ice can uh can be one and a half meter thick uh at the thickest and it will still break through oh yeah these boats just like straight red oh really did not care that’s amazing yeah uh and we also have two smaller salons they’re not restored yet but there is the there’s the ladies cell if you were a lady and you traveled alone and you wanted to be left alone and then there’s also the not smoking salon but it was not like ladies had to sit there if they didn’t have to do it yeah and uh but i i find it very amusing this concept of a not smoking salmon yes but of course you could smoke wherever you wanted and everybody smoked by them i was told by a guest who was here the other week that she took this ferry when she was a young child in 1959 and walking down here it was like walking through a cloud because it was just smoke everywhere yeah i can remember this from when i was a child yeah i think it sounds absolutely terrible so i’m glad i’m young enough to not have to deal with that yeah okay we can head up to the first class somehow yep good thank you oh the smell yeah it does smell mm-hmm it smells like linoleum or something yes yes well this is the first class this is first class so it’s a bit of a difference from the other birds yes but it’s still quite nice especially with these big windows yeah you got the view here very much and uh and the chairs are just like from a 50s restaurant in america or something yeah they are original chairs yeah we have to restore most of the sun because we discovered it had water damage so the the ceiling and the walls are new but the furniture is original cool yeah you had good view from here there’s also there’s also in fact the leaders salon in this boat too because of course they have yeah and leaders were not officers on the ship no no they were leaders of hydra yes so pretty much hydro owned these boats right yes yes slightly different yeah got the fiber fabric on the chest instead of the uh false leather and curtains again of course curtains that’s important very important so it’s a bit more space in here as well yeah and here they could have dinner or yes yeah uh on the first trip that sluigu took they had a three-course dinner a pair whereas down in second class they got a sandwich that’s fair very difficult yeah when you think what the tickets would have cost them to sit up here yeah but yeah no it was it was supposedly it was supposedly very nice because they had prawns for uh the first uh course and then they had reindeer uh roast for the main course and cloudberries for dessert how no reason hi norwegian yes we love clambers and we’re not talking we’re not talking cloudberries with cream we’re talking cloudberries with with just like milk because if you need cream you don’t have enough cloudberries okay i eat carbohydrates every christmas well we had cloudberries too but we had them with cream cotte oh yeah with cumin cookies that sounds nice kitten cocker and cream i mean the cream can go but i need to try some cookies okay now we can take a trip up to the uh the steering yeah place a real house yes that’s i keep forgetting that you have to be a boat nerd yeah i’m not a boat person yeah i am i am a history nerd yeah studies drama and theater and what’s the kitchen land in a boat uh that would be bison in in english yes in bishops right in norwegian in english it’s gali ah yes i need i need to like read more pirate books this is kind of like i remember boats from my childhood they were old boats back then when i was a child but i remember boats like this wow this is so cool yeah the biggest the biggest thing is kind of start is that we’re missing the original wheel because so this one is very nice to steer with but it’s not the original we used to have one of those big proper ones but when they shut the when they shut the whole thing down in 91 the captain ran off with it so we don’t know where it is on his cabin presumably on the mantle of the fireplace or something yeah but uh everything is except the radars are not working but everything else works yeah so they didn’t have rpms but they had full speed hull speed slow pretty slow uh can’t read this stop yeah very very easy to understand just do that thing yeah and they had three engines so they had three of these yeah yeah uh what’s also kind of special in this bird is that the captain can directly steer the speed and backward force on the two side engines with this which is very nice because he’s the one who tries to get us into land so when you stand here and control this and lean over to these ones which are the front propellers you can just aim yourself in and just nicely and snugly get into land without having to contact the machine department yeah which is very nice because otherwise it’s just back and forth no don’t do that [ __ ] phone come on could you not this would be easier with this i have a feeling you’ve been doing this well no i’m i’m only a history guide alas um but i have i have um guided on the boat when we are taking trips as well and i find it very fun to watch the captain working a pair sometimes yeah and especially when we’re then going into land and just looking at him being super concentrated and just like okay we’re going to land yeah uh our old captain was um not quite as careful as our current one so it was always like you you saw land and you were like oh no okay because he would just go and we were like could you just slow down but our current captain he prefers going very slowly and nicely yeah but then our current captain also has been driving you know really big boats out on sea okay so he has some more experience cool thank you have you ever seen a radar like this to see anything you have to look down into it oh we get to see the engine room as well and their transport is this heavy water no no i’m fellas i need diesel or oil typical stairs down to engine rooms oh look at the diesels and there’s three of them 750 and horsepower each also have the three extra engines with 350 each 350 each and they are for the side propellers and these are for one is for electricity and then two are for if something happens with the other ones okay cool oh here we have the same ones it’s not the rpms this room also has some smell huh yeah it does it smells very good it’s all it’s uh usually if i’m guiding and i have i have both uh some men and their wives with the men will be like oh look at all this and the women will be like well i find it very funny yeah i quite like to smell myself but i’m a farmer person so yeah i’m using i’m used to engine smells and stuff you used to driving a tractor not a boat but stuff yeah and back here we have all this switch panels or instruments these look pretty modern you know if all these are original i’m not entirely sure i think most of them are original okay some have been switched out because of uh yeah well they’ve been used more or less yeah cool thank you very much for a very pleasant guided tour you’re very welcome thank you yes that’s it for this episode next time we will go to yukon and the hydro fertilizer factory in vietnak where the heavy water was discovered so please check back then please help me out by subscribing liking and commenting on this video if you liked it you may also support financially as a channel member right here on youtube or go to patreon.

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