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:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.