Concept

Operation Freshman

Summary
Operation Freshman was the codename given to a British airborne operation conducted in November 1942 during World War II. It was the first British airborne operation conducted using Airspeed Horsa gliders, and its target was the Vemork Norsk Hydro hydrogen electrolysis plant in Telemark, Norway which produced heavy water as a byproduct. By 1942, the German nuclear weapons programme had come close to being able to develop a nuclear reactor, but in order for the reactor to function it would require a great deal of heavy water. The source of the heavy water was the Norsk Hydro plant, which had been occupied since 1940. When the British government learned of the German nuclear developments, it was decided that a raid would be launched to destroy the plant and deny the Germans the heavy water required to develop a nuclear weapon. Several different strategies were discussed and discarded as impractical; it was decided that a small airborne force composed of sappers from the Royal Engineer
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