Operation Redstart

'Redstart' was a British special forces operation by the Special Operations Executive to bring the organisation in the Voss area of German-occupied Norway into a state of readiness through instruction in resistance tactics, and to prepare counter-scorch activities in case of a German withdrawal (30 April 1944/May 1945).

The three-man party, comprising W. Johannesen, F. Kvist and I. Birkeland, landed from the sea on 30 April with the 'Firecrest' team, joined the 'Merlin' party’s radio operator and began its training programme in the area. The three men made preparations to sabotage the Bergen railway to support an invasion, and protect Dale power station from German destruction. In August they moved to the Hardanger area to continue training but in September during a German raid lost their radio equipment.

In October F. Olsvik was delivered by sea as the new radio operator. The 'Merlin' operator moved to Bergen to serve the 'Redwing' team. At the beginning of December the 'Redstart' team was instructed to prepare railway sabotage, but as the Germans did not withdraw from the area this was not carried out. In January Birkeland returned to the UK, but returned to Norway by sea on 21 February, and priority was now allocated to the protection of certain important sites in the area.

The party continued with instruction until February 1945, when the priority became protection of key sites in the area, especially Bomoen aerodrome. Despite airdrops, the resistance groups in this area lacked weapons and equipment, and there were a series of raids that forced the party under cover. The party eventually joined the Bjørn East base, which took over responsibility for the Hardanger area.