Joachim Rønneberg, saboteur who wrecked Nazi nuke program, dies at 99

But until the Americans were brought completely into the fold, the British effort was hampered by one key aspect, supplies of enriched uranium. Unlike the UK, the US had a sizable supply of uranium, which could be transported without fear of Axis disruption. Plus the resources to spend on a vast enrichment processing plant like Oak Ridge.


Nice, but please get his name right: Joachim Rønneberg. He deserves that, you know?


I’ve always wondered what the choices would have been if the bomb had not been ready until, say, the end of 1946, and the Red Army had pushed through to take all or most of western Europe. Do the Allies drop a couple of nukes in and around Paris to wipe out a few armies and show Stalin we mean business? Do they try and get a bomber all the way to Moscow? Would the population of the US have had the stomach for another war to free Europe from the clutches of an ally?


I had issues getting it to play nice with Windows, but maybe it will work on WINE?


Depends entirely on whether Churchill is in charge.

A good Robert Harris/Newt Gingrich-style airport novel might well be Britain despensing with Churchill to stop him nuking Russian cities, with more heightened tensions over Clement Atlee’s communist sympathies, but then PM Atlee hits the Soviets anyway because of course he would if it came to Paris.


Slight disagreement on that–the UK in 1945-46 was a spent bullet, they weren’t going to be deciding anything on their own, especially with US nukes. Churchill recognized in '44 that the UK was a junior partner in every respect at that point and the gulf was only going to get wider, and they could suggest but no longer demand anything of the US.

the last time I played was from th CD and was many Windowses ago ('98?) Word to the wise, even if you eliminate all hardware issues, that game does not play nice (you know, difficulty-wise…Commandoes 2 will let you get away with anything)


The summer camp I went to (OH GOD I’M OLD) in 1970 & '72 showed that! I hardly remember a thing about it, but it held the attention of a pavilion full of 6 - 13 year old kids. (We also got “The Battle of the Bulge” and “The Guns of Navaronne.”)

The Futility Closet episode that dmargster refers to is highly recommended.


This is not quite, but still pretty much along those lines:

Originally published as “London Wall”, IIRC.

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Just leaving this here.

The town ordered flags to fly at half mast on Monday and flowers were laid at the foot of a sculpture of Rønneberg, showing him in a uniform, walking up a rocky path. Inaugurated in 2014 by Rønneberg, the granite monument carries the names of all the men who took part in the second world war raid.


I simply don’t think that anybody else was likely to get beyond the “eggheads and experiments” stage. The resources required were stupendous and with a war on… Well the needs of “right now” have a way of focusing one’s attention and efforts. It took the Soviets ~4 years working on a crash project, without a war to distract them, with the aid of some spies to cut down on dead ends and knowing with absolute certainty that it was possible. I’m mostly curious as to what the US would have done with all the men and money that it spend on Oak Ridge and Hanford if they hadn’t been working on the bomb. Probably more ships, aircraft, tanks, and trucks. And how would that have affected the outcome of the war? It could conceivably have ended earlier.

Edited to add some numbers from Wikipedia
The project expenditure through 1 October 1945 was $1.845 billion, equivalent to less than nine days of wartime spending, and was $2.191 billion when the AEC assumed control on 1 January 1947. Total allocation was $2.4 billion. Over 90% of the cost was for building plants and producing the fissionable materials, and less than 10% for development and production of the weapons.[320][321]

A total of four weapons (the Trinity gadget, Little Boy, Fat Man, and an unused bomb) were produced by the end of 1945, making the average cost per bomb around $500 million in 1945 dollars. By comparison, the project’s total cost by the end of 1945 was about 90% of the total spent on the production of US small arms (not including ammunition) and 34% of the total spent on US tanks during the same period.[319] Overall, it was the second most expensive weapons project undertaken by the United States in World War II, behind only the design and production of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.[322]


My first taste of the game was a demo that let you play the first level. I don’t remember how long it took me to beat the first time, but I spent three months trying to get a perfect score.


The raid happened at the end of February and the heavy water plant was back up and running by the end of April. Not to take anything away from these courageous men and women who executed the raid with great pains and sacrifice.

There’s a good book on the raid called Skis Against the Atom which also describes a secondary raid on the ferry transporting the supply of heavy water when the original installation was closed down after Allied bombing raids a year later. That, perhaps, was even more important in keeping the Nazis from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

My notes on the book are at


Having more equipment doesn’t mean having more people or a better developed logistic system to get all of that stuff across two oceans in one piece. For example, during the Battle of Britain, the UK were able to surpass German production of fighters but were running out of people to pilot them.

The Battle of the Atlantic was won by first and foremost intelligence efforts. Being able to route convoys away from where ULTRA was telling us where the subs were was what ultimately turned back the “wolfpacks”.

In the Pacific the US was able to isolate and overwhelm its targets but still had to slog from island to island despite numerical and logistical supremacy from 1943 onward.

The fact that the US was able to wage both its wars simultaneously was an economic miracle in of itself. The fact we still had enough resources left over to work on the Manhattan Project was just astounding for its time.


I dunno. I am not sure if I’ve ever forgiven either Richard Harris or Jimmy Webb for ‘MacArthur Park’.


Well, Donna Summer kind of redeemed Richard Harris’ horrid version…


With a wry smile, Ronneberg described it as “the best skiing weekend I ever had”.

Nailing NAZIs and slopes. The ultimate multi-tasking!


I haven’t lost until the fuckers execute me. Until then I’m fighting all the way.


That’s the obvious reality; the counterfactual at hand is the UK having the world’s only nuclear weapons because the US didn’t enter the war, forcing the UK to sit tight and throw everything into Tube Alloys.

It’s not a particularly interesting counterfactual beyond demonstrating that there was always a cold, hard wall for the Nazis after the invasion was called off: Britain would eventually have atomic weapons and Churchull would have used them with abandon.


Fuckin’ A; know that you will not be fighting alone.