“Rype” was the codename of the American airborne unit dropped in the Snåsa mountains on March 24 1945. The task was to carry out sabotage operations behind enemy lines.
From the base at Gjefsjøen mountain farm, the group conducted successful railroad sabotages. The mission purpose was to prevent German forces from withdrawing from northern Norway and reinforce the European theatre. Rype was the only U.S. operation on Norwegian soil during WWII. The unit was part of Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a US intelligence agency during World War II and the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The soldiers were mainly recruited from the 99th Battalion, a unique elite unit in the US Army consisting of Norwegians and Americans with direct Norwegian descent, Norwegian-speaking Americans, and in the group there where also some Norwegians that from different reasons had ended up in the US during the war. The operation was led by Major William Colby, later director of the CIA. Operasjon Rype was US Army's first and only combined ski and parachute operation.
It was a demanding job to deploy, reinforce and supply these groups from the air. The planes had to operate on the edge of their range and navigate under challenging winter conditions. Reinforced by Norwegian resistance fighters and personnel from Operation Woodlark, they blew up the Tangen bridge south of Snåsa, 15. April. On April 23., they blew up 2.5 km of railway in the valley Lurudalen, north of Snåsa. Whether the actions were important for the end of the war, historians disagree, but the operations still stand as a human and military feat in the service of freedom.
During one of the flight missions, a plane crashed on the mountain Plukkutjønnfjellet, which is northwest of Gjefsjøen. All 12 on board perished. A memorial monument was erected in 1949 at the site of the plane crash. 30'th of March another Libarator crashed in Waliwall close to Kirkwall at the Orkneys, returning from an unsuccessful mission to Snåsa. 13 out of 14 aboardwas killed. A few days before the liberation, a German patrol arrived at Gjefsjøen. Clashes broke out between the Germans and the saboteurs. All five German soldiers were killed and one Norwegian was wounded.
Today Task Force RYPE of the Norwegian Homeguard in Trøndelag has taken the name from the mission.
In 2005, the Home Guard's task forces were established and these were named after various operations from World War II. Trøndelag Homeguard District 12's Task Force RYPE was named "Rype" after the operation during World War II.
The building that was used as the headquarters for Operation Grouse is now being restored by OSS Gjefsjøen.
The story of Operation Grouse told in the book "Kampen om Nordlandsbanen" by Frode Lindgjerdet.
restoration of the Rype headquarter
An extensive project is now underway to restore the building that was the headquarters of Operasjon Rype during the war. Planned completion and opening during fall of 2021.