Operation Pullover

This was a British plan to attack the railway line in German-occupied northern Norway linking the mineral ore fields in northern Sweden (Kiruna and Gällivare) with the ice-free Norwegian port of Narvik for onward shipment to Germany during the winter months when the Baltic Sea route from the Swedish port of Luleå was impassable because of ice (1942/43).

Resulting from an idea of General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, during 1939, the plan was based on the para-dropping of a party of ski-capable British troops to cut the railway line at the Nordals viaduct, a notably vulnerable point. The unit selected for the task was No. 2 Troop (28 officers and men) of No. 14 (Arctic) Commando under the command of Lieutenant Colonel E. A. M. Wedderburn, who was against the idea as he believed that the entire troop would be lost, but Wedderburn’s objection was overruled at a level higher up the command chain.

The party was to have been be parachuted into northern Norway by adapted Handley Page Halifax heavy bombers, but the undertaking had eventually to be cancelled for lack of the right weather conditions during a suitable period of the moon.