The construction of Battery Dietl began in 1942 on Engeløya Island in Norway. The battery was strategically located on the island's northwestern corner, with views across the West Fjords. This battery would defend the western entrance to the main port of Narvik. A similar battery was placed on the Trondenes Peninsula in order cover the northern entrance to the port. The building was organized by the Organization Todt and the labor force was made up of 2000 Russian prisoners of war. The gun battery consisted of three 406 mm Adolf guns. These guns were able to launch a 1,300 pound projectile 34 miles. The standard shell weighed 2200 pounds, with a range of 26 miles. The gun barrels were 70 feet long, and each one would last between 250-300 shots before needing replacement.

The guns were operational in August 1943, but construction work at the battery continued throughtout the war. It is estimated that about 500 Russian prisoners of war perished during the hard work.

After the war the guns were dismantled and sold as scrap. The whole area was allowed to decay, but today there is a museum in one of the old pillboxes.

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Tom Houlihan

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