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 Veines, Kongsfjord 
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Joined: 14 Jun 2013 18:39
Posts: 4
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
During a wonderful cycle trip across northern Norway in 2011, I visited the ruins of the German fortress on the Veines Peninsular, near Kongsfjord. I was fascinated by all that I saw and took many photographs. (The attached photograph is of the tank that maintains its lonely vigil at the site.)

I would be very grateful if anyone could pass on some more information about the fortress. I would particularly welcome responses to the questions below. Any answers to these questions will help me in the completion of an essay that I am writing about the experience of visiting this site.

When was the fortress constructed, and how long did it take to complete the site?
What was the purpose of the fortress, and when was it evacuated by the Germans?
How many men were based at this location?
How many other fortresses of this sort were built along the Finnmark coastline?
What were the types and numbers of weapons employed at the fortress? And what was the range of the artillery located at this site?
Were Soviet Prisoners of Wars (and other POWs) used in the construction and maintenance of the site?
When the German troops abandoned the site, did they take guns and ammunition away with them, or did they destroy weapons? (It seems that the Veines fortress was not systematically destroyed by the departing Germans.)
Am I correct in thinking that scrap metal (including large amounts of barbed wire) was collected from the fortress after the War?

Many thanks for any help that can be provided.

Martin in Wales


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14 Jun 2013 19:15
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Joined: 03 Mar 2009 23:42
Posts: 965
Location: Tromsø
The battery arrived from Germany in December 1941 and was operational from 1942. The fortress was abandoned in December 1944. Most German coastal defences in Finnmark were destroyed by the retreatring troops, and so was Kongsfjord/Veines. The battery was set up to cover the inlets of Kongsfjorden and Risfjorden from allied invasion and protect German convoys to and from East Finnmark. The heavy artillery consisted of five 15,5 cm guns with a range of 18000meters. I do not know how many troops were stationed here. The numbers may vary between a hundred and two hundred depending on how much construction was going on. Many fortresses were under continuous construction up to the end in 1944-45. Slave labor and Russian POW's were used extensively in all parts of Norway during the war.


25 Jun 2013 23:05
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007 18:51
Posts: 6208
Location: Bergen
I presume this is the Heeres-Küsten-Batterie 4./448 Kongsfjord (of Heeres-Küstenartillerie Abteilung 448, Artilleriegruppe Unterabschnitt Eismeer). Jan Egil Fjørtoft (user "JEF" on this forum) states in his book "Tyske Kystfort i Norge" that the battery was established in Nürnberg in november 1941 an moved to Kongsfjord in december.

There's already a topic covering this battery here: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1614

Martin in Wales wrote:
How many other fortresses of this sort were built along the Finnmark coastline?
I have logged over 460 locations of german coastal batteries (both army and navy, including torpedobatteries), but that number includes locations being abandoned or evacuated during the war. I think the maximum muber of batteries at any given point during the war was about 300 (ca 60 in Finnmark).
The attached zip contains a Google Earth-file showing the german coastal batteries in Norway (not 100% complete, but as far as I can tell, all batteries in Finnmark are included).

Martin in Wales wrote:
What were the types and numbers of weapons employed at the fortress? And what was the range of the artillery located at this site?
According to JEF's book, the battery was armed with five 15,5cm K416(f) guns (range 17000m). There would also have been some close-defence and anti-aircraft weapons, but I have no knowledge of types and numbers.

Martin in Wales wrote:
Were Soviet Prisoners of Wars (and other POWs) used in the construction and maintenance of the site?
Probably - soviet POW's should have been "available" by december 1941.

Martin in Wales wrote:
When the German troops abandoned the site, did they take guns and ammunition away with them, or did they destroy weapons? (It seems that the Veines fortress was not systematically destroyed by the departing Germans.)
The battery relocated (with it's guns) in october 1944, to Mele in Lofoten.

Martin in Wales wrote:
Am I correct in thinking that scrap metal (including large amounts of barbed wire) was collected from the fortress after the War?
Yes, certainly.


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26 Jun 2013 14:33
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Joined: 14 Jun 2013 18:39
Posts: 4
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
Thank you so much for the replies and the detailed information. This is all very helpful, and I really appreciate the effort you have both put into your messages.


27 Jun 2013 0:08
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Joined: 14 Jun 2013 18:39
Posts: 4
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
One more photo. Presumably this is an example of 'close-defence' capability....


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27 Jun 2013 0:17
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