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Beredskapsmusee: The Swedish Military Readiness Museum

By Dickson Ly

When it comes to discussing World War II history, particularly in the European theater, people often discuss the major European countries involved such as Germany, Britain, France and Italy. Neutral countries such as Switzerland and Sweden were often left out of history books, but they were very much involved in preparing for war in case they were to be attacked or invaded by Germany or Russia.

During my stay in Sweden I was advised by Håkan Spuhr, the founder of Spuhr optic mounts (see my factory visit on SADJ, Vol. 10, No. 2), that I should make a short trip to Djuramåsa, an area north of the coastal town of Hälsingborg, to visit Beredskapsmuseet—The Swedish Military Readiness Museum. During my initial research, Google Maps showed a small building in the middle of large, secluded farm lands. I thought to myself, what could possibly be that interesting in such a small facility? I was in for a big surprise.

The museum operating hours were cut short due to the early winter season in Sweden, but Johan Andrée, the museum chief, was kind enough to accommodate my travel schedule and have the museum opened just for me. While the museum was technically closed, there is a lot of work to be done, and there were a few volunteers present.

The main attraction is the 29-ton, 15.2cm (6-inch) heavy gun called “Maja.” There are a total of four heavy guns in Battery Hälsingborg—Maja, Asta, Sonja and Brita, each named after the most beautiful girls in Djuramåsa. They’re also the girls who lived closest to the guns. Maja has a range of 24km. With a crew of 9, it can be ready to fire in less than 5 minutes and has a rate of fire of 3 rounds a minute. The guns are operated manually, which means they have to be aimed, loaded and fired without any electronic motors. The four guns are manned by 56 men with 18 officers and NCOs.

My jaw must have dropped when I first saw Maja. It’s beautifully preserved behind a giant glass enclosure like...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N8 (October 2018)
and was posted online on August 24, 2018

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