A huge gun turret is the dominant feature of Austrått Fort. This originally came from the German battleship the Gneisenau, which had been fitted out with three gun turrets of this type. When the ship sustained damage in the port of Kiel in 1942, the decision was made to place one of Gneisenaus’ gun turrets in Austrått Fort. The other two went to Sotra outside Bergen and to the Netherlands respectively. However, only the guns at Austrått still exist, making it unique in Europe.
The turret consists of three guns, with each barrel weighing more than 50 tonnes. The steel plating in the above-ground casing is 25 centimetres thick. The gun turret, which moves when the gun tubes move sideways, penetrates 15 metres and 5 storeys down into the rock, with a total weight of more than 800 tonnes. Using Yugoslavian prisoners of war and German engineers, a huge hole was blasted into the mountain. In addition to the gun and associated machinery, there is a billeting section, a mess hall, ammunitions store, sanitary installations and facilities plus engine rooms. In practice, all the installations that had been below deck on board the battleship, were fitted inside the mountain at Lundahaugen.
All three barrels of the gun turret could be fired simultaneously, with as much as three grenades per barrel per minute. They used 28.3 cm calibre rounds, and the last volley was fired in 1953.
Austrått Fort was shut down as a defence installation in 1968, but maintenance continued until 1977. Following its restoration in 1990, the responsibility for the gun turret was transferred to the municipality of Ørland, in order for the area to be opened as a public attraction. The facilities as they can be seen today were opened in 1991. Together with Fosen War-Historical Collections, the municipality and the National Fortification Heritage work to ensure that Austrått Fort can be visited as a reminder of World War II, with all its minor as well as major hardships and cruelties at home and abroad which it is important that we never forget.
Guided tours of Austrått
Come to see the triple-barrelled gun at Austrått. The gun penetrates five floors down into the rock and weighs almost 1000 tonnes. The triple gun is the only one left of its kind. The gun turret was originally installed on the battleship Gneisenau and has three cannons of 28.3 cm. It had a range of 38,000 metres. Today the installation is a museum with highly skilled guides.
A guided tour of about one hour will bring you five floors down into the mountain, through the entire gun turret, the electric utility and the soldiers’ quarters which could billet up to 200 men.
Guided tours can be booked all year, with certain reservations concerning weather conditions. In the summer season there are guided tours every day on the hour.
You can also experience the Fosen War-Historical Collections; and exhibition on the Occupation in Fosen.
To book a guided tour:
The Tourist Bureau in Ørland:
Phone: +47 72 51 40 36