Hegra Fortress is a small mountain fortress built between 1908–1910 as a border fort as a defence against the perceived threat of a Swedish invasion. After the 1905 dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden, the Norwegian military harboured continued fears of a Swedish invasion to retake Norway.
The fort's guns came from the dismantled Ørje Fortress in Marker. The artillery was made up of flat angle guns with a range of 6 to 9 kilometres. The fortifications themselves consisted of 300 metres of halls and tunnels dynamited into the mountain at Ingstadkleiva, as well as trench systems and gun positions excavated from the rock with explosives. There are two main underground parallel tunnels of around 80 metres length, with a 35-metre tunnel connecting them at a straight angle. One of the main tunnels served as crew quarters while the other was in direct connection with the above ground artillery pits. The fortress' artillery consisted of two 7.5-centimetre and four 10.5-centimetre positional artillery pieces in half-turrets placed in pits dynamited from the rock and lined with concrete, as well as four Krupp M/1887 field guns.
During the period 1910 to 1926 the fort was used as a major military base for the Trøndelag border areas with Sweden. In 1926, Ingstadkleiva Fort was put in reserve as part of the post-World War I defence budget cuts. From 1934–1939, the deactivated fort was used by the Norwegian Red Cross's youth branch as a summer holiday camp for children. In late 1939, Finnish soldiers of the independent Lapland Group who had crossed the Norwegian border into Finnmark escaping the fighting in the Petsamo district in northern Finland were interned at Ingstadkleiva Fort. All the Finns were repatriated during the early days of 1940. During the Finnish internees' stay a sauna was constructed at the fort's camp.
In 1940, from 15 April to 5 May, Hegra was attacked by the German invaders. During the first week the attacks consisted of two infantry assaults; however in the last two weeks attacks mostly featured heavy artillery fire and Luftwaffe bombing, as well as aggressive patrolling. During the siege large portions of the fort were covered in snow, and as all plans of the fort were stored in German-occupied Trondheim several sections of the fortifications were not discovered by the defenders before the 5 May surrender.
After the end of the Second World War, Hegra Fortress was returned to Norwegian control and is today used as a museum with exhibitions detailing the fort's history with an emphasis on the 1940 siege. There is also a café and a souvenir shop. The museum is often used for conferences and for seminars on issues of war and peace. Hegra Fortress is still owned by the Norwegian Defence Force and financed through the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.