Operation Woodpecker

This was a British operation by the Special Operations Executive to reconnoitre the Dovre railway in the area to the to the south of Trondheim and other forms of communication in that area of German-occupied Norway with a view to the planning and execution of sabotage operations (28 April 1944/8 May 1945).

O. Sættem was parachuted into Norway with the ‘Buzzard’ party on the night of 28/29 April near Larvik as the leader of the party, and remained in the area until October. The main group (K. Hellan, R. J. Johannesssen and Ø. Nilsen), which was originally called ‘Linnet’, was parachuted into the area on 4 October and joined Sættem. Early in March 1945, four additional men arrived overland from neutral Sweden to reinforce the party.

On 9 December of the previous year the party had received orders to disrupt train traffic, and attacked the Stølan tunnel between Opdal and Bjerkinn, halting all traffic for three days. The party had radio difficulties for a while, and was short of supplies until further drops were made.