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German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945

The WW2 German Invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung)

by Mike Yaklich, Jason Pipes, and Russ Folsom

German Naval Forces Committed to Operations Against Norway (April 1940)

See also, German coastal defence in Norway during WWII

The Initial German Invasion of Norway took part in a series of echelons. The invasion echelons consisted of the Tanker Echelon, Export Echelon, Warship Echelon, and the Transport Echelon. Each echelon is detailed below, giving its exact composition and its respective mission in the invasion.

Tanker-Staffel/Tanker Echelon

The Tanker Echelon consisted of disguised merchant ships carrying fuel for the warships of the invasion fleet which individually would not have enough onboard to make it to their respective destinations along the Norwegian Coast and back to Germany. This presented a need for tanker ships to be strategically placed along the invasion route, positioned prior to the start of the invasion as it was felt any ship movement after the invasion began would be intercepted by the British and sunk. The Tanker Echelon consisted of 8 ships as follows:

Tanker Kattegat, destination Narvik
Tanker Jan Wellem, destination Narvik
Tanker Moonsund, destination Trondheim
Tanker Euroland, destination Oslo
Tanker Senator, destination Oslo
Tanker Belt, destination Bergen
Tanker Dollart, destination Stavanger
Tanker ??, destination Kristiansand

Ausfuhr-Staffel/Export Echelon

The next echelon of the invasion fleet was the Export Echelon which was to travel ahead of the warships carrying vital equipment and supplies for the troops soon to be disembarked in Norway. As with the ships of the Tanker Echelon, those of the Export Echelon were also disguised as merchant ships and attempted to put into port prior to the actual invasion. The Export Echelon consisted of 7 ships as follows:

Transporter Bärenfels, destination Narvik
Transporter Rauenfels, destination Narvik
Transporter Alster, destination Narvik
Transporter Sao Paulo, destination Trondheim
Transporter Levante, destination Trodheim
Transporter Main, destination Trodheim
Transporter Roda, destination Stavanger

Kriegsschiffe-Staffeln/Warship Echelons

The next facet of the invasion fleet consisted of 9 groups of U-boats and 11 groups of warships. The warships carried a portion of the ground forces destined for the Norwegian Coast, and they were also the surface protection for the entire invasion fleet. Of the 11 groups of warships in the Warship Echelon, 5 groups were actually destined for Denmark, but because these groups were technically a part of the Wesserübung fleet, they are detailed here as well. This listing details the compostion of all the groups of the Warship Echelon, giving the name of the ship or sub, its abbreviation if accurate, its Feldpostnummer (field post number, an accurate way of IDing a unit, ship or sub in documents and records, much like a zip code in the US), and its destination.

Gruppe 1 - Destination: Narvik, Norway
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S. Friedrich Bonte

Schlachtschiff Gneisenau - 00105
Schlachtschiff Scharnhorst - 23657
Zerstorer 2 Georg Thiele (Z2) 07730
Zerstorer 9 Wolfgang Zenker (Z9) 08795
Zerstorer 11 Bernd von Arnim (Z11) 25349
Zerstorer 12 Erich Giese (Z12) 02167
Zerstorer 13 Erich Koellner (Z13) 07395
Zerstorer 17 Diether von Roeder (Z17) 05521
Zerstorer 18 Hans Lümann (Z18) 28375
Zerstorer 19 Herman Künne (Z19) 27413
Zerstorer 21 Anton Schmitt (Z21) 01345
Zerstorer 22 Wilhelm Heidkamp (Z22) 12260

Gruppe 2 - Destination: Trondheim, Norway
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S. Hellmuth Heye

Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper 17209
Zerstorer Paul Jacobi (Z5) 17474
Zerstorer Theodor Riedel (Z6) 01923
Zerstorer Bruno Heinemann (Z8) 13029
Zerstorer Friedrich Eckoldt (Z16) 03772

Gruppe 3 - Destination: Bergen, Norway
Comanded by: KA Hubert Schmundt

Leicht Kreuzer Koln -- 06412
Leicht Kreuzer Konigsberg -- 22289
Artillerieschulschiff Bremse -- 33387
Torpedoboot Leopard -- 38355
Torpedoboot Wolf -- 12791
Schnellboot 19 (S19) 00403
Schnellboot 21 (S21) 01435
Schnellboot 22 (S22) 02126
Schnellboot 24 (S23) 02833
Schnellboot 24 (S24) 03416
Schnellbootbegleitschiff Carl Peters -- 12665

Gruppe 4 - Destination: Kristiansand, Norway
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S Friedrich Rieve

Leicht Kreuzer Karlsruhe -- 25523
Torpedoboot Luchs -- 02903
Torpedoboot Grief -- 02845
Torpedoboot Seeadler -- 16200
Schnellboot 7 (S7) 05811
Schnellboot 8 (S8) 06225
Schnellboot 17 (S17) 12860
Schnellboot 30 (S30) 12860
Schnellboot 31 (S31) 13219
Schnellboot 32 (S32) 14166
Schnellboot 33 (S33) 28488
Schnellbootsbegleitschiff Tsingtau -- 00649

Gruppe 5 - Destination: Oslo, Norway
Commanded by: KA Oskar Kummetz

Schwerer Kreuzer Blücher -- 29369
Panzerschiff Lützow -- 35078
Leicht Kreuzer Emden -- 02954
Torpedoboot Mowe -- 25420
Torpedoboot Albatross -- 05689
Torpedoboot Kondor -- 05689 (??)
Rämboot 17 (R17) 07433
Rämboot 18 (R18) 07796
Rämboot 19 (R19) 08165
Rämboot 20 (R20) 08438
Rämboot 21 (R21) 08887
Rämboot 22 (R22) 09089
Rämboot 23 (R23) 09427

Gruppe 6 - Destination: Egersund, Norway
Commanded by: KK Kurt Thomas

Minensuchboot 1 (M1) 20212
Minensuchboot 2 (M2) 26491
Minensuchboot 9 (M9) 29016
Minensuchboot 13 (M13) 31406

Gruppe 7 - Destination: Korsor and Nyborg, Denmark
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S. Gustav Kleikamp

Schleswig-Holstein -- ??
Claus von Bevern -- ??
Nautilus -- ??
Pelikan -- ??
6 KFKs -- --
2 Transport Ships -- --

Gruppe 8 - Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark
Commanded by: KK Wilhelm Schroeder

Hansestadt Danzig -- ??
Stettin -- ??

Gruppe 9 - Destination: Middelfart, Denmark
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S. Helmuth Leissner

Otto Braun -- ??
Arkona -- ??
Minensuchboot 157 (M157) ??
Vorpostenboot 102 (V102) ??
Räumboot 6 (R6) ??
Räumboot 7 (R7) 18643
Unterseebootjäger 107 (UJ107) ??
Monsun -- ??
Passat -- ??
Rugard -- ??

Gruppe 10 - Destination: Esbjerg, Denmark
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S. Friedrich Ruge

Minensuchboot 4 (M4) ??
Minensuchboot 20 (M20) ??
Minensuchboot 84 (M84) ??
Minensuchboot 102 (M102) ??
Minensuchboot 1201 (M1201) ??
Minensuchboot 1202 (M1202) ??
Minensuchboot 1203 (M1203) ??
Minensuchboot 1204 (M1204) ??
Minensuchboot 1205 (M1205) ??
Minensuchboot 1206 (M1206) ??
Minensuchboot 1207 (M1207) ??
Minensuchboot 1208 (M1208) ??
Räumboot 25 (R25) ??
Räumboot 26 (R26) ??
Räumboot 27 (R27) ??
Räumboot 28 (R28) ??
Räumboot 29 (R29) ??
Räumboot 30 (R30) ??
Räumboot 31 (R31) ??
Räumboot 32 (R32) ??
Könign Luise -- ??

Gruppe 11 - Destination: ??, Denmark
Commanded by: Kpt.z.S. Walter Berger

Minensuchboot 61 (??) (M61) ??
Minensuchboot 89 (M89) ??
Minensuchboot 110 (M110) ??
Minensuchboot 111 (M111) ??
Minensuchboot 134 (M134) ??
Minensuchboot 136 (M136) ??
Räumboot 33 (R33) 13488
Räumboot 34 (R34) 13978
Räumboot 35 (R35) 14409
Räumboot 36 (R36) 14872
Räumboot 37 (R37) 15508
Räumboot 38 (R38) 15825
Räumboot 39 (R39) 15825
Räumboot 40 (R40) 16187
Von der Gröben -- ??

Uboot Gruppe 1:

Unterseeboot 25 (U25) 10950
Unterseeboot 46 (U46) 01828
Unterseeboot 51 (U51) 05671
Unterseeboot 64 (U64) 00412
Unterseeboot 65 (U65) 26817

Uboot Gruppe 2:

Unterseeboot 30 (U30) 05559
Unterseeboot 34 (U34) 15983

Uboot Gruppe 3:

Unterseeboot 9 (U9) 13068
Unterseeboot 14 (U14) 28451
Unterseeboot 56 (U56) 22134
Unterseeboot 60 (U60) 11306
Unterseeboot 62 (U62) 23080

Uboot Gruppe 4:

Unterseeboot 1 (U1) 27893
Unterseeboot 4 (U4) 13167

Uboot Gruppe 5:

Unterseeboot 37 (U37) 21204
Unterseeboot 38 (U38) 20675
Unterseeboot 47 (U47) 18837
Unterseeboot 48 (U48) 27354
Unterseeboot 49 (U49) 06383
Unterseeboot 50 (U50) 00375
Unterseeboot 52 (U52) 13400

Uboot Gruppe 6:

Unterseeboot 13 (U13) 15421
Unterseeboot 57 (U57) 21938
Unterseeboot 58 (U58) 11081
Unterseeboot 59 (U59) 24570

Uboot Gruppe 7:

Not allocated

Uboot Gruppe 8:

Unterseeboot 2 (U2) 27610
Unterseeboot 3 (U3) 01385
Unterseeboot 5 (U5) 27527
Unterseeboot 6 (U6) 00130

Uboot Gruppe 9:

Unterseeboot 7 (U7) 16723
Unterseeboot 10 (U10) 04324
Unterseeboot 19 (U19) 23036

Uboots not attached to any group:

Unterseeboot 17 (U17) 25322
Unterseeboot 23 (U23) 02984
Unterseeboot 24 (U24) 24897
Unterseeboot 61 (U61) 05425

Uboots used as transporters:

Unterseeboot 26 (U26) 07314
Unterseeboot 29 (U29) 10220
Unterseeboot 32 (U32) 00459
Unterseeboot 43 (U43) 24266
Unterseeboot 101 (U101) 15344
Unterseeboot A (UA) 00073

Seetransport-Staffeln/Sea Transport Echelons

The final component of the invasion were the Sea Transport Echelons (Seetransportstaffeln), which consisted of 8 waves of transports carrying the bulk of the invasion troops. The first 3 Sea Transport Echelons were unique, while the remaining 5 consisted of returning ships of the initial 3 waves. The 1st Echelon consisted of 15 ships, while the 2nd consisted of 11 ships and the 3rd 13. The composition of the 1st and 2nd Sea Transport Echelons are known for sure, while the 3rd is currently unknown. The remaining 5 Sea Transport Echelons consisted of ships of the first 3, but as of yet, their exact compositin is also unknown. All ships of the Sea Transport Echelons after the 1st sailed directly to Oslo.


Antares, Destination Oslo
Ionia, Destination Oslo
Muansa, Destination Oslo
Itauri, Destination Oslo
Neidenfels, Destingation Oslo
Wiegand, Destination Kristiansand
Westsee, Destination Kristiansand
Kreta, Destination Kristiansand
August Leonhardt, Destination Kristiansand
Tübingen, Destination Stavanger
Tjuka, Destination Stavanger
Mendoza, Destination Stavanger
Marie Leonhardt, Destination Bergen
Curityba, Destination Bergen
Rio de Janeiro, Destination Bergen


Friedenau, Destination Oslo
Kellerwald, Destination Oslo
Hamm, Destination Oslo
Wigbert, Destination Oslo
Espana, Destination Oslo
Rosario, Destination Oslo
Tucuman, Destination Oslo
Hanau, Destination Oslo
Wolfram, Destination Oslo
Wandsbek, Destination Oslo
Scharhörn, Destination Oslo

After the initial invasion and follow-up waves, all troops, equipment and supplies were sent to Norway via Denmark-Oslo. After the experiances of the first 8 Seetransportstaffeln, a move was made to complete the transport of men and material to Norway using smaller and faster ships to relieve the pressure on the larger transports. Around 270 ships and 100 smaller trawlers took part in this facet of the invasion, transporting up to 3,000 men a day at one point. Between the begining of the invasion and June 15th, 1940, a total of 107,581 men were transported to Norway, along with 16,102 horses, 20,339 vehicles, and 109,400 tons of supplies.

Major British Ships Employed in Operations Off Norway (April-June 1940):

Battleship RODNEY, Battleship WARSPITE, Battleship VALIANT, Battleship RESOLUTION, Battlecruiser RENOWN, Battlecruiser REPULSE, Aircraft Carrier GLORIOUS, Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS, Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, Heavy Cruiser SUFFOLK, Heavy Cruiser BERWICK, Heavy Cruiser DEVONSHIRE, Heavy Cruiser YORK, Cruiser SOUTHAMPTON, Cruiser SHEFFIELD, Cruiser MANCHESTER, Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, Cruiser GLASGOW, Cruiser EFFINGHAM, Light Cruiser AURORA, Light Cruiser PENELOPE, Light Cruiser ARETHUSA, Anti-Aircraft Cruiser COVENTRY, Anti-Aircraft Cruiser CURLEW, and 21 Destroyers

In addition, the French Navy committed the following:

Light Cruiser EMILE BERTIN, Light Cruiser MONTCALM, 6 "Super" Destroyers, 5 "Conventional" Destroyers, and Submarine RUBIS.

Composition of the Norwegian Navy (April 1940)

Coast Defense Cruiser EIDSWOLD, Coast Defense Cruiser NORGE, Coast Defense Cruiser TORDENSKJOLD (used as trainig ship), Coast Defense Cruiser HARALD HARFAGRE (used as training ship), Destroyer Escort SLEIPNER, Destroyer Escort AEGIR, Destroyer Escort GYLLER, Destroyer Escort ODIN, GARM (WWI-era), DRAUG (WWI-era), TROLL (WWI-era), 10 Minelayers (including modern Minelayer/Gunboat OLAV TRYGVASON), FROYA (WWI-era), GLOMMEN, LAUGEN, TYR (launched in 1886!), 9 Submarines (6 B-class, 3 A-class), 8 Minesweepers (including new, purpose-built OTRA and RAUMA), 17 Torpedo Boats (including TRYGG, STEGG, and SNOGG), 58 patrol craft, and 3 ships under construction but not yet available for combat (2 Destroyers, 1 Destroyer-Escort).

Of the Norwegian Navy's 5,200 men in uniform on the eve of the German invasion (4.09.40), over 2,400 were serving ashore as garrisons of naval fortifications. (There were five major fortified areas under Norwegian naval jurisdiction as follows: Outer Oslo Fjord, Oskarsborg Narrows also in the Oslo Fjord but closer to the city of Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, and Agdenes near the entrance to the Tr ondheim Fjord - for more information, see below).

The Royal Norwegian Navy (Konglisk Norges Marine) also had a small air arm with about 35 operational aircraft in April 1940, mostly floatplanes. The most modern type in service with the Norwegian Navy was the German-built Heinkel He-115, a two-engined floatplane with a top speed of just over 200 mph, a bomb load of up to 2,200 lbs, and a defensive armament of two machineguns. The Norwegian Navy also used 110lb and 220lb bombs bought in Germany before the war for all its plane types. During the invasion, the Norwegian Navy air units actually managed to capture two more German He-115's and one (single-engined) Arado Ar-196 floatplane.

German Aircraft Committed to Operations In Norway, April 1940

290 two-engined bombers
40 single-engined "Stuka" divebombers
100 fighters
70 recconnaisance aircraft (including floatplanes)
500 transports

During the attack on Norway on the 9th of april 1940, these A/C were used:

Unit Type Airfield Time Number of A/C Mission
1./506 He 115 List auf Sylt 0630 6 Reccon,
2./506 He 115 " " 10 same as 1./506
1./106 He 115 " 0700 10 same as above,
1.(F)122 He 111/Do 17 Hamburg 0830 3 same
1.(F) 120 Do 17 Lübeck 1350 1 same
Stab/K.G.4 He 111 Fassberg 1445 1 same
III/KG 26 He 111 Schwerin 0245 25 Bomb missions
7./KG 4 He 111 Delmenhorst 0522 8 same
8/KG 4 He 111/Ju 88 Delmenhorst 0712 11 same
9/KG 4 He 111 Delmenhorst 0430 6 same
K.Gr 100 He 111 Nordholz 0615 15 same
I./KG 26 He 111 Marx-Oldenburg 0935 8 same
II/KG 4 He 111 Fassberg 1043 9 same
III/KG 4 He 111 Delmenhorst 1335 17 Bombing of Oscarsborg
II/KG 4 He 111 Fassberg 1400 4 same
I/KG 4 He 111 Perleberg 1454 19 same
I/St.G.1 Ju 87 Kiel-Holtenau 1100 6 same
1/ZG 76 Me 110 Westerland ukn 8 support for para units
3/ZG 76 Me 110 same ukn 8 same

The North Sea was heavily patroled by mostly bombers from KG 30 and KG 26

German Divisions Employed In Norway (April-June 1940)

69.Infanterie-Division (General Tittel)
163.Infanterie-Division (Gen. Engelbrecht)
181.Infanterie-Division (Gen. Woytasch)
214.Infanterie-Division (Gen. Pellengahr)
3.Gebrigs-Division (Gen. Dietl)

Overall German commander was Colonel-General Falkenhorst

Note: A full-strength German division in 1940 had about 15,000 men, with combat elements of three infantry regiments (three battalions each), one artillery regiment (three or four battalions), engineer, recconnaisance, and anti-tank battalions.

The First Operations


To take the city of Oslo, Gruppe 5 of the invasion fleet commanded by KA Oskar Kummetz was sent north to attempt to land a combat group of 2,000 men from the 163.Infanterie-Division (built around two infantry abteilungen). After daybreak, following air a ttacks to suppress any defenses, it was planned to also drop a Fallschrim-Kompanie to help secure Fornebu airfield just outside city, to be followed later by airlanding an additional 3,000 men of 163.Infanterie-Division. Gruppe 5 consisted of the followin g ships:

Schwerer Kreuzer Blücher -- 29369
Panzerschiff Lützow -- 35078
Leicht Kreuzer Emden -- 02954
Torpedoboot Mowe -- 25420
Torpedoboot Albatross -- 05689
Torpedoboot Kondor -- 05689 (??)
Rämboot 17 (R17) 07433
Rämboot 18 (R18) 07796
Rämboot 19 (R19) 08165
Rämboot 20 (R20) 08438
Rämboot 21 (R21) 08887
Rämboot 22 (R22) 09089
Rämboot 23 (R23) 09427

Two of the five main Norwegian naval fortification were located on the approaches to Oslo, one in Oslo Fjord (outer), and the other in Oskarsborg Narrows closer to Oslo. At the Oslo Fjord (outer) location, on the west side of Rauoey Island, there were 4 x 150mm guns. At Bolaerne on the east side, 3 x 150mm guns were located. On Makeroy Island, north of Rauoey Island, 2 x 305mm howitzers were located. In Oskarsborg Narrows closer up on the approach to Oslo, located on the west bank, there was a searchlight position and 4 x 57mm guns covering a boom barrier blocking the channel west of South Kalholmen Island. On the east bank of the Narrows there were two searchlight positions and 2 x 57mm, 3 x 150mm, and 2 x 40mm AA guns. On South Kalholmen Island (in mid- channel) there was a searchlight position and 3 x 280mm guns. On North Kalholmen Island there were four land-based torpedo tubes. On Haoya Island (slightly northwest of the Kalholmen Islands) were four old 280mm howitzers (installed 1892) and 2 x 120mm gu ns. The latter position was however not manned on April 9, 1940. In addition to these fortifications, the Norwegian Navy also had at its base at Horten in the Oslo Fjord the training ship TORDENSKJOLD, minelayer-gunboat OLAV TRYGVASON, two minesweepers, a nd numerous patrol boats (as well as the three naval vessels under construction).

First contact with the approaching German force towards Oslo was made by the patrol boat POL III, a converted whaler armed with a single 75mm gun and two mgs, commanded by Lt. Welding-Olsen of the naval reserve. At about 11:15pm on the night of April 8, 1940 the POL III encountered three of the smaller German vessels which were leading the formation, with Torpedoboot ALBATROS in the van, and signalled them to stop and identify themselves. ALBATROS immediately closed and instructed the Norwegian vessel not to use its radio (but Welding-Olsen disregarded this and sent a warning to his base at Horten). In the confusion of the next few minutes it appears that the POL III opened fire with its lone gun, scoring a hit, and also that POL III and ALBATROS collided (the Germans reported that the Norwegian craft rammed them). ALBATROS and its two companions then opened up on POL III, raking the vessel with anti-aircraft fire and in the process hit and killed Welding-Olsen, who became the first Norwegian to die in the campaign. According to some accounts, he rolled himself overboard after a salvo blew off both his legs.

It was still about half an hour before midnight at this time, and within the next hour (by about 12:30am on the 9th) the entire German force ran past the Norwegian batteries in the outer Fjord, helped by a sea fog which moved in, clinging to the water's surface and making it difficult for the Norwegian searchlights to pinpoint targets, although silhouettes of the advancing vessels were intermittantly seen. The batteries at Rauoey opened fire on the Germans, but only for a short time and with no apparent effect. Bolaerne didn't fire at all. After clearing the outer batteries the German force splits up with Torpedoboot ALBATROS and Torpedoboot KONDOR, plus two Raumboot, peeling off to attack the naval base at Horten, and two more pairs of Raumboot sent against Rauoey and Bolaerne respectively (most of these Raumboot had landing parties aboard), while the big ships with the rest of the force proceed direct to Oslo.

At about 3:30am the main German force reached the Oskarsborg Narrows and the forts there, with scwhere Kreuzer BLUCHER in the lead. The Norwegian 280mm battery on South Kalholmen Island opened fire first, with two armor-piercing rounds both scoring hits, one on the BLUCHER's fire-control tower, and the other just behind the bridge. In fact, the range was so close that literally every shot the Norwegians fired at the BLUCHER was a hit. The Norwegian 150mm battery then began to plaster the ships bridge with shells, while the 280mm guns switched their fire to the waterline. BLUCHER was down to five knots and burning fiercely within a matter of minutes, without being able to make an effective reply. As the crippled ship came abreast of the Kalholmen islands, the land-based torpedo tubes on North Kalholmen administer the coup de grace, in the form of two torpedoes, one of which struck the engine room, stopping the engines, and the other hitting the BLUCHER's own torpedo magazine resulting in a huge explosion. As a result, the German ship rapidly rolled over on its side and sunk, taking nearly 1,000 German troops with it, including some Gestapo officials and other administrative personnel intended for the military government of Norway (the HQ of 163.Infanterie-Division was also aboard, and was also mostly lost).

In the continuing action, the Norwegian batteries scored seven more hits on the LUTZOW and the BRUMMER (which were next in line), and seriously damaged the latter (later sunk). The Germans were forced to put their main ground force ashore south of Oskarsborg, some 20 miles from Oslo city, and make their approach by land (they arrived in the capital late that night).

During the day (on April 9) the Oskarsborg positions were hit with hundreds of shells (sources indicate nearly 500 plus 100 more from the LUTZOW) without a single gun being disabled. The island forts only surrendered the next day, after Oslo fell. The land installations on the east side of the Fjord were taken on the evening of the 9th, after an air attack. The batteries at Rauoey in the outer fjord were taken by means of a landing in their rear on April 10th, while those at Bolaerne only capitulated on the evening of the 10th, after they had run out of ammunition and the Germans, following a bombing attack, had made a landing nearby.

Meanwhile, the forces directed against Horten were engaged by the minelayer-gunboat OLAV TRYGVASON (Capt. Briseid), which was moored at the time, and minesweeper RAUMA (the skipper of the TORDENSKJOLD, having mostly cadets on board, sent them ashore to join the land defenses of the base). The guns of the OLAV TRYGVASON sank Torepdoboot ALBATROS and Raumboot R17 (which had been trying to land troops), and also damaged leicht Kreuzer EMDEN, which arrived to support the German effort. In return, RAUMA was badly damaged and captured. OLAV TRYGVASON sustained much lighter damage (it was later put into service by the Germans, renamed ALBATROS II in commemoration of its victim). The Horten naval base finally surrendered in response to German threats to bomb the area, which also contained a fairly densely-packed civilian population in the immediate vicinity.

The final aspect of German operations against Oslo was the airborne assault on Fornebu airfield, located on a small peninsula just west of the city. The airfield was the base of Norway's only active fighter squadron, and was further defended by a platoon of soldiers with seven mgs on AA mounts (three well dug in near the south end of field, two on a hill overlooking the field, two mounted in the open for training exercizes at north end of field).

The German attack was supposed to start around 8am with the dropping of a company of paratroopers to secure the field. However, the drop was aborted due to poor visibility, the paratroops then being landed at a field already in German hands in Denmark. Seven Norwegian Gladiator fighters had already taken off from Fornebu at around 7am, and these encountered a large German formation south of Oslo, attacking it at once and claiming three He-111's and two Me-110's for the loss of one Gladiator. If true, they probably benefitted considerably from the element of surprise! However, some of the Norwegian fighters returned to Fornebu for more ammunition, and were caught on the ground by a force of six Me-110 two-engined fighters which arrived to support the airborne assault. At least two (and by some accounts four) of the Norwegian Gladiators were destroyed on the ground by strafing attacks, and repeated passes by the Me-110's forced the crews to abandon the machinegun positions in the open and on the hill. However, the Norwegians dug in by the south end of the field stayed by their guns. When the first air-landed contingent (under Capt. Wagner) showed up, (they assumed the airfield had already been taken by the planned parachute drop) they opened up on the first Ju-52 transport as it began its landing approach, killing Wagner and causing the pilot to hastily pull off. But the leader of the Me-110's, Lt. Hansen, with his planes nearly out of fuel after spending more than a half an hour over Fornebu, decided to put his own plane down, figuring the rear mgs of his fighter might still be of some use in assisting the ground attack, and also because he no longer had enough fuel to reach friendly territory. Hansen managed to land safely, and, finding that the north end of the airfield was effectively out of range of the machinegunners at the south end, was soon joined by the rest of his fighters. They were followed by the transports with the infantrymen aboard coming in with their machineguns stuck out of windows to help shoot their way down if necessary!

It was now a little after 9:15am and the remnants of the Norwegian platoon kept up a spirited although ineffective fire from the far end of the field until they ran out of ammo, and then withdrew. During the course of the morning and afternoon two full battalions of infantry, two parachute companies, and an engineer company were landed at Fornebu.

In Oslo itself, the Norwegian troops under arms consisted of only three companies from one battalion of the Guard Regiment (a total of 426 men) plus the staff of four training establishments (the war school and specialist facilities for cavalry, artillery, and engineers) amounting to another 430-odd personnel. The weakest company of the Guard (only 68 men) was dispatched to guard prisoners washed ashore after the sinking of the BLUCHER. Another company was supposed to make a counter-attack against Fornebu, supported by one AA gun and another company from a unit stationed outside Oslo which was heading into the city in trucks. But the Guard company destined for Fornebu spendt so much time first in finding transportation (they eventually rounded up some busses for the task), then in making a round-about approach to the airfield so as to avoid German observation, that in the end the attack was cancelled.

At 8am, the Norwegian Army HQ, located in the capital, had already decided to evacuate the city, relocating to a farm near Eidsvold. Oslo was then declared an "open city" to spare it from bombing. At 2:30pm on the 9th, the ranking Army commander in the city surrendered the capital (and with it those troops still within it, mainly the aforementioned Guard companies) to the Germans, and airlanded forces from Fornebu boldly march in to take possession. The area's second military airfield, Kjeller, also fell to the Germans. The effective defense at Oskarsborg had however bought enough time to enable a special train carrying King Haakon, the government, and the country's gold reserves to escape from the capital to Hamar, on the east shore of Lake Mjosa about 100 miles north. The German military attache in Oslo, a certain Herr Spiller, on learning this, commandeered a company of paratroopers and ordered them to make a recconnaisance north of the city. He made it his personal mission to find and capture the King. Spiller and his men created much havoc, alarm, and confusion in their dash after the King, but Spiller was later killed in a clash at Midtskog (a small town located between Hamar and Elverum, about 20 miles to the east).


Against Kristiansand a German naval force consisting of Gruppe 4 of the invasion fleet commanded by Kpt.z.S Friedrich Rieve sailed to land 1,100 men of Infanterie-Regiment 310/214.Infanterie-Division. Gruppe 4 consisted of the following ships:

Leicht Kreuzer Karlsruhe -- 25523
Torpedoboot Luchs -- 02903
Torpedoboot Grief -- 02845
Torpedoboot Seeadler -- 16200
Schnellboot 7 (S7) 05811
Schnellboot 8 (S8) 06225
Schnellboot 17 (S17) 12860
Schnellboot 30 (S30) 12860
Schnellboot 31 (S31) 13219
Schnellboot 32 (S32) 14166
Schnellboot 33 (S33) 28488
Schnellbootsbegleitschiff Tsingtau -- 00649

Kristiansand was the location of another of the five main Norwegian naval fortifications. Located on Odderoy Island, dominating Kristiansand harbor, there was located a 210mm battery, a 150mm battery, and a howitzer battery. In addition to these fortifica tions, the Norwegian navy also had the destroyer escorts GYLLER and ODIN and submarines B2 and B5 based at Kristiansand.

Initially, the Norwegian batteries on Odderoy Island, aided by the destroyer escorts in the harbor, repulsed the first two German attempts to land troops to take the city, and in so doing, damaged the KARLSRUHE (which nearly ran aground) and set ablaze a German cargo ship that had attempted to join the operation. A third attempt, aided by a ruse involving Norwegian codes captured at Horten/Oslo earlier in the day, proved successful and captured the town. The GYLLER and ODIN were captured, and the B2 and B5 were scuttled (the B5 was later raised by the Germans and used for a time as training vessel).


Against Egersund Gruppe 6 of the invasion fleet, commanded by KK Kurt Thomas, sailed to land a small party of men from the 69.Infanterie-Division to take possession of the cable station for the telecommunications cable to Europe. Gruppe 6 consisted of the following ships:

Minensuchboot 1 (M1) 20212
Minensuchboot 2 (M2) 26491
Minensuchboot 9 (M9) 29016
Minensuchboot 13 (M13) 31406

Against no appreciable or significant opposition, the landing was successful and completed as planned. However, even when there was no Norwegian garrison, the pickings were not always easy for the Germans, if one can credit a story by Karl Hambro, long-serving President of the Norwegian Parliament. According to Hambro, a brand-new German armed trawler which put in at Honingsvaag, where there were also no Norwegian troops, was none-the-less captured when the local dentist supposedly led 30 fishermen out by night in two small motorboats to surprise and overwhelm the crew!


Against Stavanger, an airborne operation consisting of a Luftwaffe parachute company was to be dropped on Sola airfield. Once the field was secured, 250 transport planes would land 5,000 German troops of 69-Infanterie-Division. Further supplies and heavy equipment were scheduled to arrive via unescorted merchant vessels metioned above. Norwegian naval forces in the vicinity included the destroyer escort AEGIR at Stavanger and the destroyer escort DRAUG at Haugesund just to the north.

The paratroopers, after dropping against the target, quickly captured Sola airfield and the air landing operation proceeded as planned. Two concrete mg posts which constituted the airfield's only defenses were first strafed by six Me-110 fighters, and then 120 men were dropped. Stavanger was then secured in short order. Most of the nine Caproni Ca310 scout planes the Norwegians had stationed at Sola managed to get airborne and escaped before the main attack. In the approaches to Stavanger, the AEGIR intercepted and sank the German supply ship ROTA, which was carrying much of the heavy equipment for the men brought in by air. AEGIR was later hit by a bomb in the engine room, beached and then abandoned, the crew having lost 10 men to German air attacks.


Against Bergen sailed Gruppe 3 of the invasion fleet comanded by KA Hubert Schmundt with 900 men of the 69.Infanterie-Division. There were also five German subs screening the area between Bergen and Huagesund to the south. The German ships in Gruppe 3 consisted of the following:

Leicht Kreuzer Koln -- 06412
Leicht Kreuzer Konigsberg -- 22289
Artillerieschulschiff Bremse -- 33387
Torpedoboot Leopard -- 38355
Torpedoboot Wolf -- 12791
Schnellboot 19 (S19) 00403
Schnellboot 21 (S21) 01435
Schnellboot 22 (S22) 02126
Schnellboot 24 (S23) 02833
Schnellboot 24 (S24) 03416
Schnellbootbegleitschiff Carl Peters -- 12665

Located west of Bergen protecting the approaches to the city (and one of the five main Norwegian naval fortifications) were 3 x 210mm guns, 3 x 240mm howitzers, and a land-based torpedo battery. Located northeast of the city were also 3 x 210mm guns. In a ddition to these fortifications in and around Bergen, Norwegian naval units here included the destroyer escort GARM, minelayer TYR, torpedo boat STORM, and several patrol boats.

Once the attack was under way, despite strong resistance from the shore batteries, the Germans (aided by repeated air attacks) managed to force their way ashore. KONIGSBERG was hit by two 210mm shells and left dead in the water and BREMSE also suffered a fair amount of damage. Landing parties eventually compelled the surrender of the Norwegian forts at the cost of 57 casualties and three planes shot down, for a loss of nine Norwegian sailors killed or wounded. Bergen, too, fell to the Germans on April 9th. Virtually all the larger Norwegian Navy vessels in the area escaped though, and when the Germans were first sighted (about 1am on April 9th) the TYR, according to pre-arranged defense plans, laid 23 mines in two narrow channels outside Bergen. The Torpedoboat STORM also made contact with the approaching German force and fired one torpedo, which missed.


Against Trondheim sailed Gruppe 2 of the German invasion fleet commanded by Kpt.z.S. Hellmuth Heye. Gruppe 2 was to land 1,700 men of the elite Gebirgs-Regiment 138/3.Gebirgs-Division. The ships of Gruppe 2 were as follows:

Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper 17209
Zerstorer Paul Jacobi (Z5) 17474
Zerstorer Theodor Riedel (Z6) 01923
Zerstorer Bruno Heinemann (Z8) 13029
Zerstorer Friedrich Eckoldt (Z16) 03772

Two U-boats were also allocated to the attack Trondheim.

The last of the five main Norwegian naval fortification was located on the approaches to Trondheim at Agdenes on the bank opposite the Agdenes lighthouse. Here was located one battery of 2 x 210mm guns, 3 x 150mm guns, and 2 x 65mm guns. A second battery of 2 x 210mm guns, 2 x 150mm guns, and 3 x 65mm guns was also on this bank. On the other bank, just inland of the lighthouse, was located 2 x 150mm guns. During the German attack, a blocking position was established near the second battery listed above, with 35 men manning nine tripod-mounted Colt-Browning machineguns, which successfully withstood five attacks by a 500-man German landing force. In addition to these fortifications, the Norwegian Navy also had in the Trondheim Fjord a number of small vessels including the minelayer FROYA.

Despite damage received at sea April 8th, HIPPER engaged the Norwegian gunners while the four destroyers boldly ran the batteries, speeding through at 25 knots (equivalent to a land speed of 28 mph) on a course calculated to minimize the time they spent under the guns. A shell from HIPPER severed the electric cable which powered the two Norwegian searchlights, and the slow rate of fire of the old Norwegian guns-- three salvos every two minutes-- also helped the plan succeed. One destroyer was hit in the effort. Although the Norwegian Navy forts at the entrance to the Fjord held out for eleven hours, Trondheim itself was captured with little difficulty. In the fighting the Norwegian fortress garrisons lost only one man killed and two wounded. German troops who attacked the blocking position (35 men and 9 mgs, see above, Section C) established by Capt. Lange outside the fort he commanded suffered 22 casualties. Minelayer FROYA was captured.


Against Narvik sailed Gruppe 1 of the invasion fleet commanded by Kpt.z.S. Friedrich Bonte. Gruppe 1 carried 2,000 men of the Gebirgs-Regiment 139/3.Gebirgsjäger-Division The ships of Gruppe 1 were as follows:

Schlachtschiff Gneisenau - 00105
Schlachtschiff Scharnhorst - 23657
Zerstorer 2 Georg Thiele (Z2) 07730
Zerstorer 9 Wolfgang Zenker (Z9) 08795
Zerstorer 11 Bernd von Arnim (Z11) 25349
Zerstorer 12 Erich Giese (Z12) 02167
Zerstorer 13 Erich Koellner (Z13) 07395
Zerstorer 17 Diether von Roeder (Z17) 05521
Zerstorer 18 Hans Lümann (Z18) 28375
Zerstorer 19 Herman Künne (Z19) 27413
Zerstorer 21 Anton Schmitt (Z21) 01345
Zerstorer 22 Wilhelm Heidkamp (Z22) 12260

SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU escorted the German force to Narvik (1,000 miles from the nearest German port) and then moved further seaward as a screen and diversion. Four U-boats supported the Narvik operation.

Although there were no Norwegian fortification in the Narvik region, Norwegian naval forces in Narvik consisted of the coast defense cruisers EIDSVOLD and NORGE, and submarine B1.

EIDSVOLD and NORGE were both sunk in torpedo attacks by the German destroyers, after a short parlay, in which Capt. Willoch of the EIDSVOLD replied to German demands for surrender with the curt response,"I attack." (However, in this encounter it was the Germans who fired first, with a spread of torpedoes that sank the EIDSVOLD almost instantly-- this in contrast to events in the Oslo Fjord, where the Norwegians shot first in four different instances). The NORGE managed to reply with its 210mm and 150mm guns, inflicting very slight damage on two German destroyers, before it too went down. In this short engagement 276 Norwegian sailors lost their lives (on EIDSVOLD only eight were saved). Since the garrison of Narvik was heavily outnumbered (NOTE: it comprised one rifle company, a machinegun platoon, an engineer company, four 40mm AA guns, and two 65mm mountain guns), and, furthermore, the Norwegian commander in the town, Col. Sundlo, was a member of Quisling's rebellious pro-German faction, the town fell without appreciable resistance. The personnel of the 6th Division training school did fight off two German attacks at a tourist station just outside Narvik, after which the Germans burned down the buildings there in retaliation. Submarine B1 was scuttled after an attempt to escape into open water failed (however, Norwegian naval personnel later refloated it and used it to escape to the British isles!).

The three main stages of the Allied advance on Narvik from the Harstad- Tromso area, under tactical command of the French General Bethouart, were as follows:

Bjerkvik (May 12-13): the two Foreign Legion battalions made the landing, supported by overland advances by the Norwegian 7th Brigade (see previous, pt 7) and the French Chasseurs Alpins. British battleship RESOLUTION and cruisers EFFINGHAM and AURORA, along with five destroyers, provide fire support. This operation was particularly noteworthy as being the first use of specially-designed tank and infantry landing craft in action during the war. Five vehicles from a contingent of ten French tanks were put ashore to support the Legionaires, and two of these vehicles were also used in the final assault on Narvik (see below), where both were however disabled by German mines. Bjerkvik was about 10 miles north of Narvik at the head of the Herjangsfjord, which joins the Rombaksfjord (in which Narvik is located) west of the town. (NOTE: I have not been able to identify whether the French tanks were Renault R-35's or Hotchkiss H-35's-- can't tell from the single photo I've seen of one of the disabled vehicles at Narvik. Both were very similar, being two-man vehicles armed with a short 37mm gun + mg in turret, the Hotchkiss being a little faster and the Renault having slightly thicker armor).

Rombaksfjord (May 21): again the two French Foreign Legion battalions were landed, this time on the northern side of the fjord in which Narvik is located.

Narvik (May 27-28): the two Foreign Legion battalions and one Norwegian battalion (from 7th Brigade) carried out the landings. Bad weather at Bardufos grounded British fighters and caused delays since the supporting warships, including the cruiser SOUTHAMPTON, had to suspend fire support ops for a time to defend themselves from German air attacks. Over 300 Germans were captured in the operation, as well as ten artillery pieces and 150 machineguns, and the town secured. Total Allied casualties, including Norwegian, came to 150 men (General Bethouart's chief-of-staff was among those killed).

Chronology of events after the initial German Invasion:

April 8: British destroyer GLOWWORM, separated from its squadron in search of a man overboard, encounters the German force bound for Trondheim. GLOWWORM, crippled by the guns and torpedoes of the HIPPER, nevertheless rams the German cruiser, opening a 120-foot gash in the side of the latter ship, through which over 500 tons of water enter. GLOWWORM then sinks with heavy loss of life. HIPPER is able to carry out the Trondheim operation in spite of the damage.

Free Polish submarine ORZEL sinks the German transport RIO DE JANEIRO, bound for Norway. Norwegian fishing boats rescue more than 100 German soldiers, who when brought in to Kristiansand tell their hosts that they are on their way to save Norway from the Allies. This information is passed on by phone to Oslo, but still full mobilization is not ordered.

April 9: British naval units attempting to find and engage the German forces invading Norway come under heavy air attack. Destroyer GURKHA is sunk, battleship RODNEY is hit by a bomb but suffers only minor damage due to its thick armor. Cruisers GLASGOW and SOUTHAMPTON receive slight damage due to near misses.

British battlecruiser RENOWN (escorted by nine destroyers which are however unable to keep up in the heavy seas) finds and engages German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU. Firing at a range of about 10 miles, RENOWN scores the first hit, disabling GNEISENAU's fire control and essentially taking it out of the fight. The German battlecruisers then begin to run, but in continued exchanges of fire RENOWN scores two more hits on the GNEISENAU, while receiving two hits from the SCHARNHORST, wwhich however do not cause severe damage. The German ships use their superior speed to escape.

British submarine TRUANT sinks the German cruiser KARLSRUHE, homeward bound for Germany after Kristiansand operation.

April 10: The "First Battle of Narvik." Five British destroyers under Capt. Warburton-Lee enter Narvik harbor and engage the five German destroyers they find there. The first British attack (by three ships) is a great success-- their torpedoes sink two German destroyers, killing the German naval commander, Commodore Bonte, in the process. Then their gunfire silences the other three, seriously damaging two of them. The British then proceed to deal with German merchant ships in the harbor, sinking six of them. At this point the other two British destroyers, which had been providing cover, enter the harbor as well, and one of them sinks two more German cargo vessels with torpedoes. Then, however, the other five German destroyers in the Narvik force appear, three from the Herjangsfjord to the north, the other two from Ballangerfjord to the south. The Germans are content to keep the range around four miles, and their heavier guns soon begin to tell. Two British destroyers are sunk, including the flagship HARDY (every officer on its bridge except for one lieutenant being killed or wounded, Warburton-Lee dying of his wounds), and two others badly damaged, while the Germans suffer damage of a less serious nature to one of their destroyers. The British, though badly battered, manage to extricate their surviving three ships from the trap, on their way out to sea encountering and engaging the German ammunition ship RAUNFELS, which blows up almost as soon as it is hit. The German destroyers were supposed to have already left Narvik, but were delayed because the tanker which was supposed to have refueled them had been intercepted by a Norwegian patrol boat and scuttled to prevent its capture. Capt. Warburton-Lee was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his valor in deciding to attack despite the unfavorable odds.

British divebombers sink German cruiser KONIGSBERG, still at Bergen due to damage inflicted by Norwegian batteries April 9.

British submarines enjoy another success against units of the German fleet homeward bound from Norway, when one torpedoes and seriously damages the LUTZOW. British subs also claim nine German cargo ships during the first week of the Norwegian campaign, although at a price, as three British submarines are sunk on the main shipping routes from Germany to Norway during April 1940. In contrast, the German submarine forces, despite a strong screen of U-boats well placed to intercept British ships attempting to intervene in Norway, contribute little except recconnaisance, due to multiple troubles with their torpedoes (defective magnetic AND contact exploders, problems with the gyro depth settings). For example, at Narvik during the campaign German subs made 12 separate attacks on British transports, and one on the WARSPITE, many under extremely favorable conditions (overlapping targets in at least one case), yet managed to sink only one cargo ship. Meanwhile, within 48 hours one U-boat was sunk at Narvik and another (by the same British task force) at nearby Harstad.

April 13: "Second Battle of Narvik." Nine British destroyers, supported by the WARSPITE and aircraft from the carrier FURIOUS, enter Narvik and wipe out the eight German destroyers still afloat. WARSPITE's catapult-launched Swordfish spotter biplane also sinks a U-boat. Although the destroyer ESKIMO has its bow blown off by a German torpedo, no British ship is sunk in this encounter.

April 14: British destroyers escorting the WARSPITE sink German sub U-49 in the approaches to Harstad.

April 14: First small British detachments land at Namsos (80 miles north of Trondheim) and Harstad.

April 15: Most of the British 24th Guards Brigade (the Scots and Irish Guards, under General Mackesy) land at Harstad.

By April 15: German 196th Division has landed at Oslo, joining the push north; German 181st Division joins the German forces at Trondheim (mainly by air).

April 16: British 146th Brigade (under General Carton de Wiart) lands at Namsos. By the following day they have pushed forward to Steinkjer, on the Trondheim Fjord 50 miles north of Trondheim. (NOTE: in 1940 British brigades normally had three battalions)

April 17: British cruiser SUFFOLK shells Sola airfield at Stavanger with its 8-inch guns. The ship is however heavily damaged by repeated German air attacks, and barely manages to return to its base without sinking.

April 18: British 148th Brigade (under General Morgan) lands at Andalsnes, 150 miles southwest of Trondheim. By April 22 they are in contact with the Germans in the Gudbrundsdal north of Lillehammer, and their first serious engagement takes place the next day. Meanwhile, on the night of April 18 two battalions of the French 1st Chasseurs Alpins Division (mountain troops) go ashore at Namsos.

April 19: French cruiser EMILE BERTIN, participating in the landing of the Chasseurs Alpins at Namsos, is hit by a German bomb while returning. EMILE BERTIN is withdrawn from operations for repairs, replaced by the MONTCALM.

April 23: This night the British 15th Brigade (General Paget) is put ashore at Andalsnes and nearby Molde.

(NOTE: on the night of April 30, ).

April 24: WARSPITE, one heavy cruiser, and three light cruisers shell Narvik for three hours. The bombardment does not have a decisive effect on the German forces there, and therefore no Allied landings are attempted at this time.

April 28: Three battalions of the French 1st Chasseurs Alpins Division are landed at Harstad.

April 30: Evacuation of Allied troops from Andalsnes began and was completed by May 1. Evacuation of Namsos was carried out on the night of May 2/3. A total of 4,400 Allied troops were taken off from Andalsnes and 5,400 men from Namsos. German air attacks were the chief factor in forcing the evacuation - Namsos was badly bombed April 20th, destroying the harbor facilities, and by the time of the evacuation was almost completely levelled, except for the ruined walls of the town church. Andalsnes, a narrow anchorage between two steep mountains, was considered a death trap during air raids. The Germans also heavily bombed Steinkjer. The air superiority of the Luftwaffe had a tactical effect on the battlefield as well - according to Churchill one British unit spent a whole day hiding from German aircraft in a railroad tunnel near Donbas. A further reason for the withdrawal and evacuation was the apparent superiority of the German divisions now pushing northward, 163rd Division in the Gudbrundsdal and 196th Division in the Osterdal). At first the British only had infantry weapons to face German units using a full complement of field artillery - including 150mm howitzers, which fired a very destructive 95-lb shell-- because the ship containing the 148th Brigade's vehicles, artillery, and heavy ("3-inch") mortars had been sunk. In their first engagement with the Germans April 23rd they had to face not only 150mm howitzers, but also three tanks. This was not the only equipment problem dogging the Allies - for example, the French mountain troops landed at Namsos reportedly lacked bindings for their skis and also had no transport mules, and so were very limited in the operational capabilities. The British 148th Brigade in the Gudbrundsdal lost 700 men before being reinforced by 15th Brigade.

May 3: French "super-destroyer" BISON and British destroyer AFRIDI (the flagship, carrying the rear-guard) are sunk by German air attacks while en route home from evacuating the Allied forces at Namsos.

May 5: The French 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade (two battalions) and the Polish Carpathian Brigade (four battalions, organized and equipped by the French in similar fashion to their own mountain brigades) are put ashore at Harstad.

May 10 the British began moving their 24th Guards Brigade by sea to Bodo, about 200 miles south of Narvik, where the continuous Norwegian road system from Oslo north ends. Although this subtracted from the Allied forces in the Narvik/ Harstad area, it also established a blocking position which prevented the Germans from bringing up further reinforcements to that area from the south by land.

May 14: A British transport carrying men of the 24th Guards Brigade to Bodo, along with supplies and equipment, is sunk by German bombers. Most of the heavy equipment is lost, including the only three tanks the British sent to Norway during the campaign.

May 15: A German Luftwaffe parachute battalion drops in to reinforce Narvik. Several days later the 137th Regiment of the German 3rd Mountain Division is also dropped in, after a hasty training course in parachute jumping. These jumps result in wide dispersion and a number of injuries, but most of the men eventually join the main German force at Narvik. The only airfield in the Narvik area, at Bardufos, is in Allied hands, now the base for one squadron of British Hurricane fighters and one squadron of (RAF) Gladiators. German planes do operate from frozen lakes in the Narvik area (earlier the British had sent a squadron of their Gladiator fighters to do the same thing in the Trondheim area, flying the aircraft off the carrier GLORIOUS-- if I remember correctly one or two of these biplanes eventually wound up flying to Finland when the Allies evacuated the area). The Norwegian air units near Tromso (that is, in the vicinity of Harstad)-- mainly the Navy's 3rd Flying Squadron, under Lt. Jorgenesen, flying He-115's-- caught and destroyed or disabled several three-engined Ju-52 transports on the surface of one of these lakes just before Narvik was recaptured. General Dietl, the German commander at Narvik, also had his under command 2,600 men rescued from German destroyers and cargo ships sunk at Narvik and equipped with captured Norwegian arms.

May 17: British cruiser EFFINGHAM, also transporting men and equipment to Bodo, runs aground and is lost. These two incidents delay the British build-up at Bodo. Earlier, the Allies had also attempted to halt the Germans at several places south of Bodo, most notably at Mo and Mosjoen, by deploying troops amphibiously along the coast. These attempts generally involved small detachments (for example, in one case 100 French mountain troops and two light AA guns sent in by destroyer) and were largely just delaying actions. Col. Gubbins, a Scotsman who later became famous as one of the founders of British commando units, was involved in several of these forays. None of these efforts proved successful.

May 26: British antiaircraft cruiser CURLEW is sunk by German air attack off Harstad.

June 8: British carrier GLORIOUS, at sea covering the Allied evacuations from Harstad, Tromso, and Bodo, is caught and sunk (along with its two escorting destroyers) by the German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU. One of the British destroyers manages to torpedo SCHARNHORST, killing 48 men and causing fairly serious damage, but the British lose 1,515 men in this disaster. Earlier the same German force had encountered and sunk three empty British merchant ships.

The Allied evacuations from Harstad and Tromso were carried out June 4-7, 1940. The negative outcome of the battle in France (begun by the Germans on May 10th) made the Narvik campaign a luxury neither the British nor the French could afford, and without them the Norwegians were overmatched. Thus the operations in that area were suspended despite their successful recapture of Narvik itself, and the fact that Dietl's remaining forces were on the verge of being completely cut off and trapped. King Haakon (who had been with the Allies in the Andalsnes area until those units were evacuated, departing nearby Molde in the cruiser GLASGOW April 29th, arriving at Tromso to set up a new capital May 1st) left the country for England on British cruiser DEVONSHIRE June 7th. A total of 24,500 Allied troops were taken off. Fighter planes from the carriers GLORIOUS and ARK ROYAL covered the evacuation (the surviving Hurricanes from Bardufos being taken off on the GLORIOUS). Hostilities between the Germans and Norwegian forces still on Norwegian soil officially ended as of 12:01 am June 9th, 1940.

NOTE: On April 29th the German 181st Division at Trondheim made contact with the 196th Division pushing up the Osterdal, near the town of Dragset. The Allied forces in the Gudbrundsdal were still holding on south of Dombas when ordered to evacuate on April 27th, but the possession of the railway greatly facilitated their withdrawal. The Allies at Steinkjer withdrew back towards Namsos after German amphibious landings in their vicinity on April 19th.

Casualties (April-June 1940)

Norwegian forces lost a total of 1,335 men killed in action (Army and Navy combined). Norwegian civilian casualties, in spite of many German bombings, were less than 300 killed.

German forces reported that 5,636 soldiers, sailors, and airmen never returned from the Norwegian campaign.

Allied forces (including Norwegian) lost a total of 6,100 men killed or missing and presumed dead. British losses in the land fighting amounted to 1,869 men. French and Polish ground forces lost 530 men killed.

Norwegian enlisted military personnel who surrendered to the Germans were allowed to go home, as were reserve officers. Regular professional officers were also released providing they swore an oath not to take up arms against the Germans (General Ruge was imprisoned for the duration of the war because he refused the oath). The Germans, from Hitler on down, showed some concern, at least initially, for trying to win the "hearts and minds" of the Norwegian population. Many Norwegians, however, in addition to the general indignation at the way their neutrality had been violated and their country invaded, were also incensed at the German willingness to bomb towns that harbored Allied resistance. In addition to the aforementioned Andalsnes, Namsos, and Steinkjer, in the course of events Elverum, Donbas, Bodo, and many other towns were virtually levelled (the British for their part had repeatedly shelled Narvik with heavy naval ordinance). The reports of German ground forces burning down farms suspected of housing or otherwise aiding Norwegian troops in the early stages of the fighting also aroused the ire of many Norwegians. Col. Vidkun Quisling, former Defense Minister and head of the Norwegian Nazi Party, was installed as head of the pro-German government established by the invaders in Oslo on April 10th, but he resigned on April 15th. His influence in Norway was generally much less than he had advertised to the Germans before the invasion, and, except for the actions of Col. Sundlo at Narvik, his relatively small group of supporters contributed little to the German military effort. However, Quisling was twice reinstated as the nominal head of the government. After the war he was tried for treason, found guilty, and executed in November 1945.