Site Records


Site Name: Femore Fort (Femörefortet)

Oxelösund
Sweden

Sub Brit site visit 1st June 2004

[Source: Tony Page]

Femöre Fort is located at Oxelösund, a coastal city on the Baltic coast of Sweden, 110 km south of Stockholm. Since the late 19th century it has been one of the most important harbours in the Baltic, due to its large iron and steel works. Because of the harbour's importance, it was decided that a coastal artillery site should be built on the island of Femöre at the start of the 1960s.

The fort is both a Cold War Coastal Artillery Battery, with a protected underground control and command centre and a Radar Post. It is number 3 in the series of 30. Building began in 1961, with the first battery ready for action in 1962; it was completed in 1963. End of service was said to be 1975, whereas battery number 30 was completed in that same year. It was restored in the late 1980's and used for training until 1994. The last time the guns were used was during training in 1990.

Photo:No.1 gun looking out across the Baltic
Photo by Nick Catford

Armaments comprise three 75mm Bofors Type 57 guns specially manufactured in 1957 and designed for Cold war coastal defence. Conventional old-style conflict naval guns have a maximum elevation of 45-degrees; later Cold War guns, 20-degrees, thereby reducing the risk of damage during a nuclear strike. The guns had a range of up to 13 km in a 360 degree arc of fire. Two types of ammunition were available: one for ship targets, with a delayed explosion after the round has penetrated the ship; and conventional ground shells, that exploded at impact or with a timer delay after it was fired. These could be used as air burst rounds, sending shrapnel over enemy troops below.

The turrets were protected by 70mm thick steel plate. They were NBC protected as was the rest of the fort. It was built to survive a Hiroshima-power bomb 200 meters away. The turrets had two states of readiness: Battle readiness, when the barrel was pointed out to sea and nuclear readiness if a nuclear attack was likely, in which case the barrel was fixed horizontally onto an anchor point ensuring the turret would not move with the shock wave.

The turret was crewed by three men, with a further four down below with the shell elevator enabling a possible maximum firing rate of 25 rounds per minute. However this was never used, as the tactic was to fire 5-10 shots, evaluate the accuracy and fire again. All three turrets shot at the same target, as controlled from the command centre. The shell lift elevator (bringing the shells up 9 metres) was the only thing needing power; therefore there was a stand-by manual winch also present.

Plan of Femore Fort

The fort is a self contained unit, with a full contingent of 70; 10 officers and 60 men. It was self- sufficient for 30 days. There were an additional 30 infantry soldiers above ground whose role was to provide all round defence and protect the external parts of the fort from enemy forces.

Sited on a small island, within the rock (granite) on the edge of the cliff, the function of this underground fort was to protect the inlet and of course, therefore Sweden from a seaborne assault by Warsaw Pact countries. The fort's weapons were designed to combat lightly-armoured landing craft should they get within the guns 13km range; they could also inflict minor damage on destroyers and other larger vessels. The guns could be rotated a full 360° and could fire on land targets if required. Other coastal batteries elsewhere on Sweden's coastline employed larger calibre artillery for use against heavily armoured vessels, with an extended range of 20km.

The fort was one of 30 other 75mm gun installations around the coast. Six were the same as Femöre Fort, and had a central spine tunnel linking all the areas and turrets. The rest had three separated turrets, plus an underground command centre linked only by telephone. Each unit had its own kitchen, generator, sleeping accommodation etc. These six had the designation 'First Series', the other 24 'Series 2' and 'Series 3'.

Photo:Command Centre with the periscope for the battery chief, plotting map on the wall and one of the two radar screens in the centre.
Photo by Nick Catford

Sweden and Norway were the only countries that built Cold war Coastal Defence Nuclear Bunkers. Sweden built them from 1961 to 1980. As Femöre Fort was being built (1961-1963), the UK had abandoned all coastal defence. The forts were NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) proof, and were self-sufficient for up to 30 days.


Two man fox-hole (click to enlarge)

Around, and inside, the perimeter of Femöre Fort are a multitude of two-man fox holes, with an underground shelter attached.

In addition to these, there are two large SK10 shelters; 'S' meaning shelter, 'K' meaning arch for '10' men. The shelters (bunkers) are large enough for 20 men sitting, or 10 sleeping. They offered protection for the infantry soldiers outside the fort, tasked with defence of the bunker area.

There was a wood/coal heater in each and a curtain across either end of the two entrances in the entrance tunnel to prevent the inside lighting being seen from outside. Normally, the soldiers would use tents - the heavy duty Swedish heated tents necessary in the extreme cold experienced in Scandinavian winters - but in the event of a conflict, the SK10 shelters would come into use.

The large underground battery has an entrance tunnel, complete with many heavy blast doors. The tunnel drops down in level instead of a dog-leg for blast damage reduction. There is a glass 'porthole' in one of the blast doors in order to see along the corridor.


Bunks in one of the SK10 shelters
(click to enlarge)


For urther information and pictures of Femöre Fort click here here

[Source: Tony Page]

home.gif Home Page
Last updated 20th June 2004

© 2004 Subterranea Britannica