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The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Geirr H Haarr

The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Geirr H Haarr


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The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Geirr H Haarr

The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Geirr H Haarr

This is a monumental study of the German invasion of Norway, focusing on the naval aspects of the campaign, although the size of the book also allows Haarr to include a detailed 125 page section on the build-up to war.

This is a relatively rare example of a work written in English by a Norwegian, and with a Norwegian focus. This makes a refreshing change from the majority of books on this topic, which tend to portray the campaign as a duel between the Germans and the Allies, with the Norwegian government only making occasional appearances.

Where possible Haarr writes from the point of view of the participants in the fighting, taking into account what they knew at the time. This is a very effective approach, which brings the reader into the heart of the action.

This is a hugely detailed piece of work, with 400 pages of closely packed text. It focuses on the build-up to war, the initial German landings and the fighting at sea. The two month long land campaign that ended with the Allied evacuation of Narvik is not covered.

This has to be the definitive history of the early stages of the German invasion of Norway and especially of the Naval campaign around Norway, a campaign that almost crippled the German surface fleet and prevented it from playing a major role in Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion of Britain later in 1940. A very impressive piece of work that comes highly recommended.

Chapters
Introduction
Wheels within Wheels
Storm Warning
The Dogs of War
The Oslofjord
Ultimatum
Kristiansand-Arendal
Stavanger-Egersund
Bergen
In Harm's Way
Trondheim
Encounter in the Storm
Narvik
No Room for Mistakes
A Tide in the Affairs of Men

Appendices
The European Iron Ore Trade
The Royal Norwegian Navy, April 1940
British Ships Involved in Norway, April 1940
Ships in Narvik Harbour, 8 April 1940
The German Naval Invasion Forces
Losses

Author: Geirr H Haarr
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 474
Publisher: Seaforth Publishing
Year: 2009



The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Geirr H Haarr - History

Geirr H. Haarr, The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Naval Institute Press, 2009. 474 pp., illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, name index.

Review by Timothy J. Demy
U.S. Naval War College

On April 9, 1940, forces of the German Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, and Wehrmacht commenced Operation Weserübung, the invasion and occupation of neutral Norway in order to protect the Scandinavian ore resources and also deny them to Britain . This combined naval, amphibious, and airborne invasion surprised Norwegian and Allied forces, whose leaders did not believe Hitler would attempt a full-scale invasion and occupation. The German move signaled the last days of the “Phoney War” that had begun in September 1939 with the invasion of Poland . The Norwegian invasion also inaugurated novel activities such as combined land, air, and sea operations and the use of paratroopers. From a naval and air perspective, the first successful dive-bomber attack (a British Blackburn B-24 Skua) to sink an enemy ship (German cruiser Königsberg in Bergen harbor) also occurred during the campaign.

Focusing primarily on the naval operations, The German Invasion of Norway , April 1940, provides readers with an exceptionally detailed and well-documented volume. Drawing from Norwegian, German, and British primary sources and archives as well as numerous secondary sources, readers are given a balanced and thorough account of the naval aspect of the invasion. The book provides a highly readable and a compelling narrative of the German invasion and failure to repulse it.

The first third of the volume is devoted to the German rationale for and planning of the invasion. It was amazing to read that when Hitler told General der Inafanterie Nicoulaus von Falkenhorst that he was responsible for the planning the operation and occupation, von Falkenhorst went across the street to a bookshop and purchased a Baedeker’s travel guide to Norway in order to orient himself to the country and begin his planning. Interesting to readers in this section are the political miscalculations of the Norwegians, Germans, and British with regard to the intentions of all parties involved. Haarr does a good job showing the tensions among the Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, and Wehrmacht, and in noting Grossadmiral Erich Raeder’s concern that the German Navy not be shortchanged in the allocation of resources. It was Raeder who initially pushed the concept of a Scandinavian campaign. In the greater war strategies of the belligerents, no one initially envisaged a full-scale occupation (although Churchill had considered the idea earlier, giving rise to the ethical issue of “supreme emergency” wherein ethical norms of war may, under some circumstances, be abandoned) although both Germany and Britain began planning operations in early 1940. Also significant in this section for students of strategy is the recounting of the breakdown of the civil-military relations between the Norwegian government and military leadership wherein each assumed the other knew of the ill-equipped condition of the Norwegian military forces and the lack of cooperation between the forces as well as a void in contingency planning. Norwegian political miscommunication, hesitation, and an atrophied military hastened the German victory.

The latter two thirds of the work studies the major areas of operation (Oslofjord Kristiansand —Arendal, Stavanger —Egersund, Bergen , Trondheim , and Narvik), interspersed with narrative of the political and military responses during the conflict. The volume does a superb job of recounting the naval operations on all sides and tracking naval vessels and units. The work is naval centric and students of the air and ground aspects of the operation will wish for an equally detailed book even though the author discusses these aspects. Haarr largely ends the story of the invasion with the events of the second day, April 10th, giving only slight attention to ground and air actions that followed. The author rightly concludes that although the campaign was a minor one compared to the rest of the war in Europe, it forever changed the history of the people of Norway .

Although previous works have discussed the German campaign in Norway and Denmark , what has been missing is an exceptional work from the Norwegian perspective. This volume fills that void. The author not only shows how the operation was viewed by the Norwegians, Germans, and British, but also the Dane, Swedes, and French. Detailed appendices and numerous black and white photographs significantly enhance the volume, as do charts of operational areas. A fuller index would have beneficial, as would an overall map of Norway at the front of the book to orient readers to the area and to the smaller regional maps within the book. The work is especially beneficial for readers limited to English. The book fills a needed void in naval studies of the Second World War and naval historians and enthusiasts will not be disappointed.


The German Invasion of Norway, APRIL 1940 Hardcover – 30 October 2009

This is the first of a two volume set covering the April through June, 1940 - the Invasion of and Battles for Norway. The second volume is The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940 It also discusses the invasion of Denmark - but only in the context of how it affected the invasion of Norway.

In particular, this book offers lessons for people involved in leadership roles, because it shows how the lack of proper planning, training, and the lack of specific directions during events basically handed Norway to the Germans on a silver platter. Everyone tended towards inaction, when action was required. It is clear that specific directions from senior leadership would have blunted, if not thwarted the German invasion. Further, it demonstrates what happened when senior leaders (in the British Admiralty) issued orders outside of the chain-of-command to junior leaders - resulting in avoidable disasters and inaction from higher ranking officers.

Astonishingly well researched. The story of the German invasion is very clearly told in a way no other English language book on the subject has ever done. The first part of the book focuses on the prelude to the invasion while the second half describes how the invasion unfolded in each major geographical area of Norway. I appreciate the separation of chapters by location, Olso, Bergen, Narvik, etc.

On an unrelated note to the content of the book--the actual physical book itself completely fell apart before I was finished reading it. The binding was very weak causing pages to fall out. This is unacceptable for a book that can be used as a reference. However, I noted that this is the only paperback book of Geirr Haarr's with Naval Institute Press.


The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940

I enjoyed this detailed and thoughtful exposition on a part of WWII that has not been subject of much popular focus. That Hitler and the German High command would literally throw together such an ambitious effort with such small forces and succeed is amazing. As the author clearly points out, it only succeeded as a result of the utter lack of preparedness of the Norwegian government and armed forces. But even with that, it was a Well written and detailed history of the initial Invasion of Norway

I enjoyed this detailed and thoughtful exposition on a part of WWII that has not been subject of much popular focus. That Hitler and the German High command would literally throw together such an ambitious effort with such small forces and succeed is amazing. As the author clearly points out, it only succeeded as a result of the utter lack of preparedness of the Norwegian government and armed forces. But even with that, it was a very close run affair. . more


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Battle for Norway April-June 1940

This is the second book in a series of two, covering the events at sea during the German invasion of Norway in 1940, the first modern campaign in which sea, air and ground forces interacted decisively. Part one covers the events at sea off southern and western Norway where Norwegian and British forces attempted to halt the German advance out of the invasion ports as well as the stream of supplies and reinforcements across the Skagerrak. The second part focuses on the British landings in Central Norway where the Royal Navy for the first time had its mastery challenged by air superiority from land-based aircraft. Part three covers the events in and around Narvik where Norwegian, British, French and Polish naval, air and land forces were engaged in the first combined amphibious landings of WW II. Part four sums up the events during the evacuation in June, in which the first carrier task force operations of the war, including the loss of the carrier Glorious, figure prominently. As in the first volume, the narration shifts continuously between the strategic and operational issues, and the experiences of the officers and ratings living through the events. Extensive research and use of primary sources reveals the many sides of this war, some of which remain controversial to this day.

Geirr H. Haarr, is a Norwegian industrial executive and the author of The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940.


The German Invasion of Norway: April 1940 Digital – 30 March 2011

This is the first of a two volume set covering the April through June, 1940 - the Invasion of and Battles for Norway. The second volume is The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940 It also discusses the invasion of Denmark - but only in the context of how it affected the invasion of Norway.

In particular, this book offers lessons for people involved in leadership roles, because it shows how the lack of proper planning, training, and the lack of specific directions during events basically handed Norway to the Germans on a silver platter. Everyone tended towards inaction, when action was required. It is clear that specific directions from senior leadership would have blunted, if not thwarted the German invasion. Further, it demonstrates what happened when senior leaders (in the British Admiralty) issued orders outside of the chain-of-command to junior leaders - resulting in avoidable disasters and inaction from higher ranking officers.

Astonishingly well researched. The story of the German invasion is very clearly told in a way no other English language book on the subject has ever done. The first part of the book focuses on the prelude to the invasion while the second half describes how the invasion unfolded in each major geographical area of Norway. I appreciate the separation of chapters by location, Olso, Bergen, Narvik, etc.

On an unrelated note to the content of the book--the actual physical book itself completely fell apart before I was finished reading it. The binding was very weak causing pages to fall out. This is unacceptable for a book that can be used as a reference. However, I noted that this is the only paperback book of Geirr Haarr's with Naval Institute Press.


The Battle for Norway: April–June 1940

The Nazi invasion of Norway in 1940 was the first modern campaign in which sea, air and ground forces interacted decisively. In this detailed history, Gierr H. Haarr presents a comprehensive study of the naval aspects of the operation. He begins with the events off the coast of southern and western Norway where Norwegian and British forces attempted to halt the German advance out of the invasion ports as well as the stream of supplies and reinforcements across the Skagerrak Strait.

Haarr then focuses on the British landings in Central Norway, where the Royal Navy first had its mastery challenged by air superiority from land-based aircraft. Next, he examines the events in and around Narvik where Allied naval, air and land forces were engaged in the first combined amphibious landings of World War II.

Finally, Haarr sums up the the evacuation in June, in which the first carrier task force operations of the war, including the loss of the HMS Glorious, figure prominently. As Haarr’s previous volume, The Gathering Storm, the narration shifts between strategic and operational issues, and the experiences of the officers and soldiers on the frontlines. Extensive research and use of primary sources reveal the many sides of this battle, some of which remain controversial to this day.


The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, Geirr H Haarr - History

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This is the second book in a series of two, covering the events at sea during the German invasion of Norway in 1940, the first modern campaign in which sea, air and ground forces interacted decisively.

Part one covers the events at sea off southern and western Norway where Norwegian and British forces attempted to halt the German advance out of the invasion ports as well as the stream of supplies and reinforcements across the Skagerrak. The second part focuses on the British landings in Central Norway where the Royal Navy for the first time had its mastery challenged by air superiority from land-based aircraft. Part three covers the events in and around Narvik where Norwegian, British, French and Polish naval, air and land forces were engaged in the first combined amphibious landings of WW II. Part four sums up the events during the evacuation in June, in which the first carrier task force operations of the war, including the loss of the carrier Glorious, figure prominently.

As in the first volume, the narration shifts continuously between the strategic and operational issues, and the experiences of the officers and ratings living through the events. Extensive research and use of primary sources reveals the many sides of this war, some of which remain controversial to this day.

The research is outstanding.

Navy News, July 2010

For the first time printed in a single volume, this book despatches from the military and naval commanders. Focusing on the aircraft attacks on Kirkenes and Petsamo, the latter in Finland by aircraft from HMS Furious and HMS Victorious in August 1941, and the combined operations raid on the Lofoten Islands in March and Vaagso in December the same year.

The Bulletin of The Military Historical Society

There are great many interesting, fresh and well-captioned photographs. I must recommend both Geirr Haarr books as the definitive work on the invasion of Norway. He must be congratualated in setting out this very complex struggle in a logical, detailed and even-handed manner.

Warships International Fleet Review

Those who have read Geirr Haarr's previous volume, which covered the German assault on Norway in April 1940, will need little introduction to this mastery sequel which describes subsequent events at sea and on land. This is a book about the projection of power from the sea, it's possibilities, strengths, weaknesses and the potential need for protracted operations after the initial, successful, amphibious assault.
The author writes with unique insight and gives due weight to Norwegian perspectives, absent in previous accounts, that show how Allied fears that 'fifth-columnists' or 'Quslings' were present in large numbers complicated the relationships between some British senior officers and their Norwegian counterparts.
This is an outstanding work of scholarship with significant contemporary relevance and a very readable account of how predecessors coped in the opening stages of an unexpected war that will be interest and value to a wide readership. I whole-heartedly recommend it.

David Hobbs

Geirr H. Haarr's new two-volume work is a tremendous accomplishment. The Norwegian researcher strives for comprehensive coverage, his concise yet thorough treatment of the aerial dimension is especially noteworthy. This second volume paints on a broader canvas than the first, detailing the Allied expeditionary response and the naval, air and ground battles throughout the country. The volumes are very well illustrated with photographs, many published for the first time. Numerous appendices contain orders of battle, lists of ships and key personnel.

World War II

This is a definitive account of Germany's first and last seaborne invasion, codenamed Operation Weserubung. In this work, the author takes the reader through the events which followed, from the physical response of the allies to the completed occupation by Germany's armed forces, and the withdrawal of allies.

Nautical Magazine

As with the first volume this is a meticulously researched book, with good use of Norwegian, British, French and German sources. The first hand accounts from naval vessels under heavy air attack are particularly impressive, sticking long in the mind.

History of War Website


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