In the period before Christmas 1939, about 1000 soldiers from Nordmøre and the South of Trøndelag were drafted for neutrality duty in Finnmark along the Russian border. Approximately 750 reported for duty, eventually forming I/IR12 (First Battalion/Twelfth Infantry Regiment) in January 1940. They arrived in Vadsø the 15th of January, and served along the Finish/Soviet-Russian border until the 9th of April. They were redirected and transported to the South of Troms where they were put under the command of the 6th Brigade. The Trønder battalion arrived at Sjøvegan the 17th of April, and 643 soldiers marched towards Lavangen and up Fjordbotneidet the 23rd of April. They arrived at "Torvtak" and "hill 400" in the morning the 24th of April, under command of Major Bøchman. Because of extreme whether conditions they were told to assume position at the farms in Moan, Gratangsbotn. German forces, under Major Stautner retreated from Lapphaugen to Gratangsbotn and joined forces with other German troops. At 5 am the 25th of April, 3-400 German soldiers attack, taking the Trønder Battalion by surprise. The result is Norway’s most extensive loss in a battle on Norwegian soil with 34 killed, 61 injured and 174 soldiers either captured or missing. Germans report a loss of seven killed and 14 injured. No civilians were injured or killed during the battles. What remained of the Trønder Battalion retreated over Fjordbotneidet and were reorganized in Lavangen.