Could sinking of SS Rio de Janeiro have derailed the invasion of Norway an in effect Hitler's wars?

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wm
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Could sinking of SS Rio de Janeiro have derailed the invasion of Norway an in effect Hitler's wars?

Post by wm » 27 Mar 2023 20:44

On 8 April 1940, a day before the invasion began, Polish submarine ORP Orzeł sank the German troopship Rio de Janeiro, full of German soldiers, horses, vehicles, and guns.
It happened near the Norwegian village of Lillesand, so it was rather obvious the soldiers were part of an invasion, not a vacation cruise.

And then:
News that several hundred German soldiers were rescued by the Norwegian Navy and some had admitted their intention to occupy Norway reached the Norwegian parliament that evening, but the news was dismissed, and no steps were taken to alert their Navy or Coast Guard of the impending invasion.

And importantly:
The abandonment of Plan R.4 greatly surprised Sir Charles Forbes, in whose mind the reports of the day before had left no doubt that the operation which Plan R.4 had been designed to counter was actually under way.
He already had sufficient cruisers at his disposal, and the troops embarked in Vice-Admiral Cunningham's ships might have been very useful.
Had they been sailed, for example, as soon as the report of the Rio de Janeiro incident reached the Admiralty, they could have got to Stavanger—which with its airfield was to prove the key to the whole campaign on the west coast of Norway—ahead of the Germans. (The Rodney and Valiant could have been far enough south to provide big ship cover.)
Naval Operations of the Campaign in Norway, April-June 1940 by David Brown
Was that realistic? The occupation of Stavanger and, in effect, derailing of the entire invasion?

John T
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Re: Could sinking of SS Rio de Janeiro have derailed the invasion of Norway an in effect Hitler's wars?

Post by John T » 30 Mar 2023 21:44

The negative side was if UK moves first, the Norwegian government might try to de-escalate the situation and not call for mobilization.

Otherways If RN could block German entry into Trondheim, Bergen, and Stavanger
- Norwegian forces would have had time for a more orderly mobilization.
- Allied supply and force build-up through proper harbors, quicker, safer, and dispersed and still connected to the railways.
- with RAF at Sola airfield even if heavily contested by LW from Kristiansand, Aalborg, and Oslo
The Norwegian sea is much safer for RN and it might even open up for raids west of Kristiansand.

RN Subs did stop the German transports in Kattegat and the personnel was sent through Denmark and on smaller vessels between Northern Denmark and Norway while the ships continued with the equipment a few days later.

If German shipping from Denmark to Norway was truly threatened by RN destroyers and air attacks there's a chance that Weserübung would have failed.
Or at least stalled German advance in the Norwegian valleys somewhere around Lillehammer. (very rough datum)

Cheers
/John

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Could sinking of SS Rio de Janeiro have derailed the invasion of Norway an in effect Hitler's wars?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Apr 2023 17:40

Otherways If RN could block German entry into Trondheim, Bergen, and Stavanger
A surface interception of a portion of the invasion force at sea was in theory possible, but the RN commanders at sea were focused on intercepting a expected sortie by surface raiders into the Atlantic. They had their search/reconissance effort in the wrong direction.

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