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:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1908-1910
Category: Castles and fortifications in Norway

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ina G (2 months ago)
Great place for a day trip. Very interesting history, small museum and cafe on the premises.
Jose Carlos Rubio (4 months ago)
Nice place. Good for a relax walk thinking about war nonsense
John Wordsworth (12 months ago)
We visited on a dreary September day, late in the afternoon when it was already quite grey and drizzly. The fort was a pleasant surprise - there was a lot more to see than we expected with so many underground tunnels. I'm sure it would be even nicer on a sunny day.
J.H J.H (13 months ago)
Historical, beautiful ?
Lino Remmler (14 months ago)
Nice Fortress from WW2 but nothing much to see besides some Walls and Tunnels.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.