WWII–-75th ANNIVERSARY DISCUSSION--#25---AUGUST 1941
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The Shetland Bus was the nickname of a clandestine special operations group that made a permanent link between Shetland, Scotland, and German-occupied Norway from 1941 until the German occupation ended on 8 May 1945. From mid-1942 the official name of the group was “Norwegian Naval Independent Unit” (NNIU). In October 1943 it became an official part of the Royal Norwegian Navy, and was renamed the “Royal Norwegian Naval Special Unit” (RNNSU).
The unit was operated initially by a large number of small fishing boats, and later augmented by three fast and well-armed submarine chasers – Vigra, Hessa and Hitra.
Crossings were mostly made during the winter under the cover of darkness. This meant that the crews and passengers had to endure very heavy North Sea conditions, with no lights, and constant risk of discovery by German aircraft or patrol boats. There was also the possibility of being captured whilst carrying out the mission on the Norwegian coast. However, early on it was decided that camouflage was the best defence and the boats were disguised as working fishing boats, with the crew as fishermen. The fishing boats were armed with light machine guns concealed inside oil drums placed on deck. The operation was under constant threat from German forces, and several missions went awry, of which the Telavåg tragedy is a prime example. Several fishing boats were lost during the initial operations, but after receiving the three submarine chasers there were no more losses.
Leif Andreas Larsen (popularly known as Shetland Larsen) was perhaps the most famous of the Shetland Bus men. In all he made 52 trips to Norway, and became the most highly decorated Allied naval officer of the Second World War.
The Shetland Bus is a little known story of WWII. What do you guys think?