Birger Eriksen

Birger Eriksen

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Birger Eriksen

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Birger Kristian Eriksen (17 November 1875 – 16 July 1958) was a Norwegian officer (with the rank of Oberst) who was instrumental in stopping the first wave of Gruppe 5 of the German invasion force outside Oslo.

Eriksen was the commander of Oscarsborg Fortress when Nazi Germany attacked Norway in the early hours of 9 April 1940. He gained lasting recognition for ordering the fortress under his command to open fire on the vanguard forces of Operation Weserübung and sinking the 14,000 ton heavy cruiser Blücher.

Early and personal life

Born in 1875 to a merchant family in Moskenes in Lofoten, Birger Eriksen left home early, at age 12, to go to Kristiania (as Oslo was known as at the time) to study. Nonetheless, he would return home to Moskenes every summer to visit his mother until she died in 1936, having been a widow for fifty years.

Military career

After Eriksen graduated from high school in 1893, he attended a technical college in Berlin, Germany before returning home. In 1896 he started his military career by graduating from the Norwegian Military Academy. At age 25 he had reached the rank of Kaptein (Captain) in the Norwegian Army.

In 1931 he reached the rank of Oberst (Colonel) and two years later he obtained the position of commander of Oscarsborg Fortress,...
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