German Invasion of Norway

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Madsen
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Post by Madsen » 14 Jan 2003 16:38

and one more thing. If germany didnt advance into France when they did the german force in Narvik would been driven into Sweeden and then the Norw 6.Div could dig them selves in on the northen bank of Ofoten.
with only little help from English forces they could bee a BIG problem for Germay. they then control Narvik and the Northern pårt of Norway.
I know there were plans for that.

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 14 Jan 2003 22:28

Most "ww2 timeline" pages around the web clearly indicates that a decicion to land a BEF at Narvik was taken 5 February 1940......

I could go on quoting, but I`ll leave the search to those who have the interest.......

Here is a quote from the Norwegian ministry of foregin affairs.....
(Which I would count as a very reliable source)

http://odin.dep.no/odin/engelsk/norway/ ... b-n-a.html
The Allies planned mainly to send an expedition corps to Finland, crossing Scandinavian territory from the North Norwegian port of Narvik to the ore fields of North Sweden. In this connection, Norwegian harbors had to be secured. The plans were scrapped when Finland sought peace with the USSR on 13 March 1940.
Erik E

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Post by Qvist » 15 Jan 2003 08:59

There is no doubt that there was an allied decision to send an expeditionary force to Finland through Norway and Sweden, and that much of the real intention behind this was to gain control of the iron ore traffic. This however presupposed Norwegian and Swedish consent, which was not forthcoming. There is also no doubt that various schemes, including landing without Norwegian/Swedish consent, was seriously considered, and certainly strongly argued by Churchill (who, it must be recalled, was not at this time Prime Minister).

What I have never seen anybody demonstrate is that there was an allied decision - as opposed to discussion - to proceed with (if neccessary) opposed landings in Scandinavia. So Tony, if you could please provide a source for this statement:
Operation Wilfred then got the go ahead and was to be followed by troop landings in Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik and the mining started on April 8th.
, as regards the mentioned troop landings?


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Post by tonyh » 15 Jan 2003 10:55

Finland was ONLY a secondary concern to the BEF. Finland was of no real concern to the British or French cabinet at the time of the Winter War. They had far more pressing events on their table. The Winter War was to be used as the reason for the BEF to be in Scandinavia in the first place. When Norway and Sweden denied the BEF passage through their countries, then consent for allied troops to land at the main Norwegian ports became less important. But Chamberlain was worried about the effect that a forced landing would have on World opinion. Something that Churchill was not in mind about.
What I have never seen anybody demonstrate is that there was an allied decision - as opposed to discussion - to proceed with (if neccessary) opposed landings in Scandinavia.
The Norwegian ports, mainly Narvik, was seen by both sides as prime real estate. The British knew that the Germans looked at these ports as a stepping stone to the North Atlantic, thus eleminating the threatening run past the RN from ports in Northern Germany and denying these ports to German use was only logical, as far as the British were concerned, also the RAF could the control the airspace and the RN would have Baltic ports. As I said, the British hoped that Norway would come in on the allied side and "allow" the BEF to land and therefore the ports would be effectively in British hands. The RN could then perform relays between Norway and Scotland, which would make things extremely difficult for the Kreigsmarine operations. Norwegian refusal to allow the British passage scuppered this oportunity. Norway rightly feared a backlash from the German's.

There have been several writings on the subject, including essays from Basil Liddel Hart. But the "Scandinavian interlude" as a whole is not been written about in great detail and is usually viewed as a sideshow. Theres also a rather good website around too with an interesting timeline, I think this is the URL...

http://hem.fyristorg.com/robertm/norge/

Finding comprehensive books on the subject is rather hard. I'll have a gander at my own books at home later for more information. But think about it. It would have been an extremely stupid move for the British to mine Norwegian waters and NOT land troops in some capacity. The German's would have waltzed in with no real opposition.

Irving wrote about the situation in "Hitler's War", for instance,

"On the chart table, Lossberg had left behind him a small sheaf of recently
captured British military documents which he had brought with him
from Oslo. A British infantry brigade fighting south of Aandalsnes had been
put to flight and important files captured. The immense political importance
of the find sank in overnight: the British brigade commander had
previously been briefed on the plan to capture Stavanger – long before the
German invasion of Norway. The British orders were dated April 2, 6, and
7. Other British landing operations had been planned at Bergen, Trondheim, and Narvik. The German operation had cut right across the British scheme."

"Churchill's War" talks about the British ops too. I think Liddel Hart's "History of the Second World War" has sections devoted to it as well. Even Steven Ambrose wrote that the German's reason for Wesserübung was "...to forestall the Allies".

Tony

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Post by varjag » 15 Jan 2003 13:27

Hey Eric E - I know this one is 'on a limb' but you seem to have the Norwegian campaign at your fingertips. What merchant ships were in Narvik harbour on 9.4.40 and what happened to them? I know that some were sunk and some 'were damaged' and did sink much later. When, for instance - did the Swedish m/v OXELOSUND actually sink?

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Madsen
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Post by Madsen » 15 Jan 2003 18:16

Eric wrote:
Most "ww2 timeline" pages around the web clearly indicates that a decicion to land a BEF at Narvik was taken 5 February 1940......
Was this plans for a total invasion or just around Narik and the most important harbours?
Could we then had big battles in norway between german and english forces?

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Post by Erik E » 15 Jan 2003 20:41

When, for instance - did the Swedish m/v OXELOSUND actually sink?
I have yet too find a complete listing of all ships sunk in Narvik. I have bought a load of books about these battles, but none mentions the civilian ships......

I have names for 13 Merchantmen sunk in Narvik. I still miss some!
However I have never heard of a ship called Oxelosund. The only Swedish ship I know of was "D/S Stråssa".


Was this plans for a total invasion or just around Narvik and the most important harbours?
Could we then had big battles in norway between german and english forces?
As far as I have seen, only Narvik was mentioned by name. Otherwise it says that the important harbours had to be secured. This could indicate other cities??

There were big battles between German and English forces, but if this plan was carried out, there would probably have been more of them!

EE

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Madsen
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Post by Madsen » 15 Jan 2003 20:46

There were big battles between German and English forces, but if this plan was carried out, there would probably have been more of them!

EE
I was thinking mor of battles like in france after D-Day.
Would be interresting to see how the germans would defend then selves in Norway

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Post by Qvist » 15 Jan 2003 22:45

Well, tony -

I have no problem with anything you write really, it's just that with the exception of Irving's analysis (I'm afarid I'll need a bit more than that...), there is still nothing in it that contradicts what I wrote. Plans, yes. Ideas, yes. Churchill strongly in favour, yes. Finland a secondary concern, yes. But of a decision to invade regardless of Scandinavian resistance, I have still seen nothing. You point to vital factor yourself - Chamberlain's resistance. Both the British cabinet ad the allied command were strongly divided on the matter, thus the multiplicity of schemes and the lack of decisions. The Germans most certainly thought the allies would invade, and with considerable reason, even though they may not ultimately have been right in that assumption. I disagree that mining made no sense without invasion - mining would in itself hinder the shipment of iron ore from Narvik. Liddell-Hart is rather scathing in his comments about the British policy, but as I recall do not claim that an allied invasion was imminent. Nor does John Keegan in his Second World War. Or Francois Kersaudy or Niklas Zetterling, both of whom have written good books about this campaign.

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Post by Ike_FI » 16 Jan 2003 01:05

This thread has been a pleasure to follow. The link tonyh mentioned provides this as closest indication of an unilateral decision to enter Norwegian soil:
12 Mars 1940
The British decides to immediately send an expeditionary force to Narvik. The commanders were ordered to avoid using force as long as possible. They have no permission to enter Norway or Sweden, and as it would be very difficult to get into Sweden by force (mountains and a single rail track - no roads) they must have hoped that, when the British troops already were on Norwegian soil, the Swedish and Norwegian governments would accept the situation and let the troops pass.

13 Mars 1940

The embarkation of the British expeditionary force to Narvik begins.

End of the Winter war is officially declared.

Jodl writes in his diary that Hitler looked for a new motivation for Weserübung.

14 Mars 1940

Due to the end of the Winter war the expeditionary force is recalled, and the organization built up for it is promptly disbanded.
No reference to actual source, but I've feeling that I've seen something to similar effect previously.

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Post by tonyh » 16 Jan 2003 10:34

Well, I cannot dismiss Irving just like that, out of hand. I'm afraid that's too easy. And his sections on the matter in both books mentioned match closely to an essay on the subject that Liddel Hart wrote. Both are good sources as far as I'm concerned.
I disagree that mining made no sense without invasion - mining would in itself hinder the shipment of iron ore from Narvik.
The plan for BEF landings in the Norwegian ports was either called Plan R4 or R5 depending on which revision it was at. This was to coincide with Operation Wilfred (the mining of Norwegian waters). The reason for Wilfred was twofold, one to force ore shipping from the ice free port of Narvik into open sea, where they could "...be dealt with" and to force Hitler's hand into an invasion of Southern Norway. This would give the British the pretext for their own landings in the ports already mentioned. Mining without the BEF being ready to go makes no sense at all, as the German's were almost certain to launch their own invasion if the ore shipping was threatened.

As you say Chamberlain was resistant to Wilfred, but ONLY when it was carried out WITHOUT Operation Royal Marine (the mining of German inland waterways). He dropped his resistance when Churchill was in Paris trying to win over the French government. When Churchill got back to London the BEF had already began boarding the ships in Scotland. And on April 8th Wilfred was already being carried out. When Wesserübung was definite, the BEF were hastilly dispatched.
But of a decision to invade regardless of Scandinavian resistance, I have still seen nothing
But I haven't really said that the British were just going to waltz in. They would have rathered the Norwegian's say "yes", but it really wasn't that important in the overall scheme of things. They, IMO, pussyfooted around. Instead of going with R4 when they should have, they dawdled. This was Chambrlain's fault, who dearly wished not to expand his already hasty decision to start a war with Germany in the first place. But Nowegian consent to British intentions is really a moot point. Wilfred was launched regardless of Norway's say on the matter.

Tony

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Post by Qvist » 16 Jan 2003 10:55

But Nowegian consent to British intentions is really a moot point. Wilfred was launched regardless of Norway's say on the matter.
Well, I can assure you that from the Norwegian perspective it was far from a moot point. I also think you will find, for example if you read a detailed narrative of the discussion and decision-making process on the allied side in Francois Kersaudy, that it was not from the allied perspective either - it was after all the difference between an act of open aggression and the gaining of an ally.

I don't dismiss Irving just because he's Irving. But I am not content with no more than his conclusion - the point is is this his opinion, or does he have anything solid? If I believed all of his conclusions and opinions, I'd believe some very strange things indeed.

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Post by tonyh » 16 Jan 2003 11:35

The information I've posted are not just opinions. They are a series of events, whether written by Irving or not. The BEF were boarded on ships in Scapa Flow ready to go. Operation Wilfred went ahead (without Norwegian consent) and the BEF was dispatched. What was the point in boarding the BEF onto ships if they were not going to carry out R4(5)?
it was after all the difference between an act of open aggression and the gaining of an ally.
Do you think that the allies were above open acts of aggression? I wouldn't be that naive. Wilfred alone was an open act of aggression. Norwegian shipping was in as much danger of being sunk as Swedish/German ore shipping from Narvik. Occupying Iceland too, was an open act of aggression. Such actions were not the actions of the Axis Nations alone. As far as I see, Britain and France did not place that much importance in Norwegian neutrality as long as their war with the Germans was concerned, which was of far more importance and quite rightly so too.

So perhaps we'll have to agree to disagree on the matter.

Tony

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Merchant ships in Narvik 9.4.40

Post by varjag » 16 Jan 2003 12:54

Erik E - let me add to your knowledge; there were the British s/s PEVERTON,BLYTHMOOR,ROMANBY and MERSINGTON COURT. Also the Swedish OXELOSUND, TORNE,BODEN and STRÅSSA,further the German MARTHA HEINRICH FISSER, NEUENFELS and JAN WELLEM (a tanker sent there to supply the German destroyers) but several other German,Dutch,Danish and Norwegian ships. Any additions you can make will be appreciated.

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Merchant Ships in Narvik

Post by Jack Nisley » 16 Jan 2003 15:31

Add British s/s North Cornwall, German s/s Buchenheim, Freilinghaus, Hein Hoyer, Aachen, Altona, Lippe.
Very interested in naval aspects of Norweigian Campaign. Will post new topic when I have ducks in a row on what I want to ask. Hope Varjag, Erik E , and some of the other experts will help me. Thanks in advance

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