In February, a group of Swedish research divers started the process of recovering a large cache of weapons, found at the bottom of a lake near the small Swedish town of Kolsva, and dating back to World War II’s African theatre.

Scuba divers have recovered a large cache of Nazi weapons

In February, a group of Swedish research divers started the process of recovering a large cache of weapons, found at the bottom of a lake near the small Swedish town of Kolsva, and dating back to World War II’s African theatre. The weapons, which include a Beretta 38 machine gun and a Mauser rifle, were all of Italian or German production, and were used by the Nazis in North Africa from 1940 to 1943.

It had been rumored for decades that there were weapons in the lake, but the depth and the relatively low visibility made recovery attempts difficult, and so they rested untouched for more than 60 years.

Because Sweden was neutral during WWII, there was no fighting on its territories. The weapons found their way to a Swedish lake because of a rebuilding program following the war. As one of the few countries in Europe that still had manufacturing capabilities post-war, Sweden’s production capacity was at full steam. Raw materials were scarce, so scrap metal was sent to Sweden to be reprocessed and reused — among them, confiscated Nazi weapons.

An explosion tore through a reprocessing mill one a night in 1948, most likely due to unexploded ordinance that ignited in one of the furnaces. The factory owners ordered that the remaining weapons were to be disposed of. Exactly what happened next is unknown, but the assumption that they were dumped in a nearby lake seems to have been confirmed by this discovery.

For the past two years, a research team led by Swede Mats Karlsson has been looking for these weapons, and recently, by using news records and going lake-to-lake in the area, they struck upon success. Using a large magnet, they were able to confirm that one particular lake contained something of interest. A series of dives in the frigid, ice-covered lake lead to the retrieval a number of weapons, but as yet the dive team is not revealing which lake, as the work of raising them is still ongoing.

 

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