Sunday, December 26, 2004

Norway 1940

Norway 1940 - Describes the German invasion, with Orders of Battle, battle descriptions, historical background, and politics, concentrating on the Norwegian side of the conflict.

From the site:

After the swift German capture of Poland the war more or less died down, as neither side, for several reasons, wanted to get involved in a major combat along the Germany-France border. In this situation the interest in operations in secondary fronts raised. Both the Allied and the German high commands came to look at Norway as an interesting area for operations. To the Allied because control of Norway would be a way to gain control of the iron ore fields in northern Sweden. To the Germans as a base for the German fleet. During the winter 39-40 advanced planning aimed at getting control of Norway was done in both German and Allied high commands.

The increased interest in the Scandinavian theatre led to an increasing number of incidents along the Norwegian coast. The aggressive stance of especially Britain toward Norway, and the apparent weakness of the Norwegian defense and unwillingness of Norway to take fight to defend its neutrality convinced Hitler that there was a real threat toward the Iron ore supply from Sweden, which was very important to Germany at this stage of the war. Thus Hitler decided that Germany would invade Norway - operation Weserübung.

The allied planning toward Norway was hampered by political considerations and an unclear goal of the operation. Finally an operation was launched. It had an unclear goal and relied on a number of questionable premises. As it turned out the Allied and German operations were launched virtually simultaneously. On the 8th of April British destroyers mined the sea approach to Narvik, while the landing troops were waiting in port, loaded on their transports. At that time the German invasion fleet were on their way already.

In Norway there was an increasing uneasiness over the situation, and the days before the 9th of April a number of disturbing news and rumors came, that in retrospect pointed clearly at the upcoming invasion. The government failed to see that clearly though, and though the coastal defense, naval and many army units were put on highest alert at the evening of the 8th, no further mobilization was ordered until long after midnight, when the invasion force targeted at Oslo already had passed the outer defenses of Oslofjord.

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