Norwegian campaign

Article

October 28, 2021

The Norwegian campaign - military operations of the Norwegian, French, British and Polish troops against the German invasion conducted on April 9–10 June 1940 during World War II. In German code name, Operation Weserübung encompassed both the attack on Denmark and the campaign in Norway. The invasion began on April 9, 1940, and marked the actual end of the strange war in the West.

Politico-military background

In the spring of 1939, the British admiralty began to view Scandinavia as a potential theater of war in a future conflict with Germany. The British government was reluctant to engage in any other conflict on the continent, believing that this would mean a repetition of World War I. German industry was very dependent on iron ore mined in Sweden. Most of this ore was shipped to Germany via the Norwegian port of Narvik. The Allies began to consider a strategy to block Norwegian waters in an attempt to weaken the Germans. In October 1939, the head of the German Kriegsmarine, Grossadmiral Erich Raeder, discussed with Hitler the danger that could be caused by the occupation of Norway by Great Britain, and thus the naval bases there. Raeder argued that the seizure of Norway would allow control of nearby seas and organize future actions against Great Britain. However, this plan did not interest Hitler. He issued a directive stating that the main effort would be directed to the Netherlands. Until the end of November, Winston Churchill, as a new member of the British War Cabinet, proposed to mine Norwegian waters. This would force the ore transporters to travel across the open waters of the North Sea where the Royal Navy could interfere with them. However, this proposal was rejected by Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax due to fear of negative reactions from neutral countries, including Of the United States. At the beginning of the Winter War between the USSR and Finland in November 1939, the diplomatic position was changed - Churchill again proposed a blockade plan, but his project was again rejected. In December, Britain and France began serious preparations to send aid to Finland. Their plan was to land in Narvik, northern Norway, the main port from which iron ore is exported, and then pass through Sweden to Finland. This plan would also allow the allied forces to occupy the Swedish mining area. The plan received the support of both Chamberlain and Halifax. Norway was expected to work together to alleviate some of the legal issues. However, the Allied plan, both in Norway and Sweden, met with very negative reactions. Planning for the operation continued, but the rationale dropped when Finland requested a ceasefire in March 1940.

Reasons for the attack

At the beginning of the war, Adolf Hitler did not intend to violate the neutrality of Norway due to the interests of the Third Reich, because in winter, when the waters around the Baltic ports froze, Germany transported iron ore from Sweden by sea through the port of Narvik. This situation definitely did not suit the Allies, who decided as far as possible to peacefully seize northern Norway and Sweden under the "R4" plan. The plan included landings in the areas of Trondheim, Narvik, Bergen and Stavanger, as well as the setting up of minefields to obstruct the activities of German shipping. Germany, fearing such a turn of events, decided to attack Norway first. Hitler's intention was additionally confirmed by the incident with the release of prisoners of war from the supply ship "Altmark" by the British in the waters of Norway. On February 16, 1940, the British destroyer HMS "Cossack" boarded the German ship "Altmark" on the Norwegian ships

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