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The book focuses on the naval battles that occurred at Narvik, Norway, on April 10th and 13th, 1940, between German and British forces. Narvik is the ice-free far northern port from which Swedish iron ore was exported -- I believe year-round -- but principally when the Baltic was ice-bound during the winter months. That high-grade ore was vitally important to the German war economy and a tempting target for British interdiction. Germany had invaded Denmark and Norway on April 9th, 1940. This caught the British, the world's leading naval power at that time, unprepared though they had intelligence about heightened German activity and were misled by numerous faulty assumptions about German intentions and capabilities. The invasion of the Low Countries and France did not start until May 10th and for a brief few months Britain and France contested German control of central and northern Norway.
The author is a retired officer of the Royal Navy and the grandson of Charles Dickens. He was an active combatant in the war and a captain of several ships including destroyers. Captain Dickens is a skillful writer and researcher and applies his talents in a masterful manner -- this book illustrates how it can and should be done!! The archival research and interviews with British and German participants enhance the meticulous reconstruction of events.
Not a weakness but rather indicative of the very narrow scope of the book -- the land and air battles that occurred in northern Norway in the following two months are not covered. For that there are many other satisfactory books. One that I have read and especially recommend is Francois Kersaudy's "Norway 1940". New books on the German invasion and battle for Norway by Geirr H. Haarr recently became available though I have not yet read them -- they look to be splendid histories.
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