Norway // Bergen and the western fjords //

The Battle of the oranges

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The Germans invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, and during the next couple of weeks, before the Norwegians threw in the towel, there were several naval skirmishes in the Hardangerfjord. In one of them, the so-called Battle of Ulvik, the German navy shelled the centre of the village to smithereens after being shot at from the shore. During the battle, the Norwegian navy, seeing the way things were going, scuttled the Afrika, a German merchant ship they had previously captured; the wreck remains in Ulvik harbour today. They also scuttled a neutral ship, the San Miguel, which had taken refuge here, thereby – in a true Whisky Galore moment – releasing the ship’s cargo, thousands of oranges, which bobbed around the harbour, much to the amazed delight of the locals, for whom fresh fruit was a real treat.

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