Sunday, 2 August 2015

I have been to … Rustkammeret, (The Army and Resistance Museum), Trondheim, Norway

During our recent cruise, Sue and I visited the Rustkammeret (The Army and Resistance Museum) in Trondheim, Norway. The museum is housed in part of the old Archbishop's Palace in the Midtbyen district in Trondheim.

The museum is divided up into three floors, with a mezzanine or half-floor between the ground and first floors.

The ground floor covers the military history of Norway between the time of the Vikings (900 AD) until the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It includes exhibits about the union with Denmark (1397 – 1814) and the eight wars between Sweden and Norway that took place from 1563 until 1814.
  • The Memorial Hall is located on the mezzanine floor. It is a memorial to the 1300 people from Mid Norway who lost their lives during the Second World War, and their names are recorded on plaques that line on of the room's walls. It also houses the regimental flags of the units that were raised in Mid Norway from the seventeenth century onwards.
  • The first floor contains exhibits about the Norwegian-Swedish union (1814 – 1905), the Resolution of Independence in 1905, the development of military technology during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the state of Norway's defences during the 1930s.
  • The second floor is devoted to telling the story of Norway during the Second World War, and does not shy away from the fact that not all Norwegians resisted the German invasion and occupation of the country.

Ground Floor

The first display cabinet contained exhibits about the Vikings …

… whilst the next two display cabinets covered the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

These were followed by displays relating to the Kalmar War and warfare in the seventeenth century …

… and the Glydenlove Feud of 1675 that led to fighting between Denmark and Norway on one side and Sweden on the other.

Part of this display included a very nice model of the fort on Munkholmen (Monk's Island).

The Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) was covered by its own display …

… which included a model of the gun battery that overlooked the Elgeseter Bru (Elgeseter Bridge) on the River Nidelva.

There was a display about the early ski-troops that formed part of the Norwegian Army …

… and another about the 1808 – 1809 War with Sweden.

The final display cabinet on the ground floor examined the fighting that took place around Trondheim between 9th April and 10th May 1940.

The ground floor also had a large display of swords …

… as well as a light smooth-bore field gun, …

… and an interesting galloper gun.

The Memorial Hall

The ceiling of the hall was festooned with the standards of former regiments that were recruited in the Mid Norway region.

One wall was lined with plaques that listed the name of every person from Mid Norway who was killed during the German occupation.

There was also a memorial to the soldiers of 1/12 Infantry Regiment who died fighting against the German invaders.

There was also a small statue of a soldier in uniform of a Norwegian officer.

First Floor

The first display cabinet on this floor was dedicated to the beginning of the union with Sweden (1814 – 1905).

Several cabinets contained example of the uniforms worn and weapons used by Norwegian units that served in the Norwegain-Swedish Army …

… and during the period after the break-up of the Union.

Most of the rest of the displays covered the Norwegian Army during the First World War and the inter-war period ...

… and the German invasion of 1940.

There was also a cabinet that contained a display about the Norwegian Army's involvement in NATO.

Also on display on the first floor were examples of machine guns used during the Second World War, …

… a late nineteenth century mountain gun, …

… an early twentieth century 75mm field gun, …

… and a 105mm field howitzer.

Second Floor

The first two cabinets on this floor contained a display about the German occupying forces ...

… whilst the next ones looked at the role of the Norwegian Nazi Party and those Norwegians who either collaborated with or served alongside the Germans.

The theme then changed to look at the role of radio and propaganda during the occupation …

… and the growth of the resistance movement's own illegal newspapers.

There were some excellent models that depicted the ways in which Norwegian SOE (Special Operations Executive) agents and saboteurs were landed in Norway by small boat and aircraft …

… and the part played by Norwegians in the Chariot attack on Tirpitz.

One cabinet contained example of the sort of kit used by Norwegian SOE agents and members of the resistance …

… and a model of one of the railways that was attacked.

The next cabinet dealt with other aspects of the sabotage carried out by members of the Norwegian resistance movement …

… and this was followed by a detailed model of one of the gun turrets removed from Gneisenau and emplaced by the Germans to be part of Norway's coastal defences.

There was a significant Wehrmacht presence in Trondheim, and this was covered in the next display cabinet.

The Gestapo did all that it could to eradicate any resistance to the German occupation, and the next cabinet examined this in some detail.

In particular it dealt with the role played by Henry Rinnan, who tortured and killed a large number of people, and who was tried and executed for war crimes in 1947.

A model of the concentration camp used to house Norwegian prisoners was also on display.

The next two display cabinets looked at life during the German occupation, especially the rationing and the need for 'substitute' (ersatz) goods.

The following six displays looked in greater detail at the work done by the Norwegian resistance movement ...

… and these were followed by a large display that described how members of the resistance, the Norwegian Army-in-Exile, and the Swedish-raised Norwegian 'police' took over when the Germans finally surrendered in 1945, and the part Norway's forces played in the subsequent occupation of Germany.

The final display was dedicated to the members of the Norwegian Merchant Marine who served the Allied cause during the Second World War.

This is an excellent small military museum, and I would thoroughly recommend anyone who is visiting Trondheim to visit it. Entrance is free, and it is well worth spending an hour or two of one's time there.