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The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940 Hardcover – June 15, 2010
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These two books taken together are a brilliant study of, as Haarr puts it, "for the first time ever, air force, army and navy operated intimately together with interlinked tasks and objectives." The first joint campaign of the modern era unfolded in Denmark and Norway in early April 1940.
It is primarily a naval-air history of the campaign. In that, it will never be surpassed, unless Haarr gets an opportunity to produce an expanded (mammoth?!) study of the campaign at some future date. Many of the small boat and littoral actions are discussed in detail, as well as major Allied naval-air operations. The discussion of German air and naval operations is very informative. So while it disposes of much of the immediate land fighting and occupation of the vital Oslo region immediately after the events of April 8-9 (covered in volume one), in a few quick paragraphs, he does discuss the overall moves, delays and decision making processes of all the parties involved. Thus the reader understands what Quisling, the King, the Norwegian government, the Norwegian armed forces and the foreign governments and their forces were doing and why. Many of the myths carried in English language studies of this campaign are disposed of in Haarr's work.Read more ›
One of the author's many revelations concerns the heartrending failures of trust, particularly between the British and Norwegians, which played directly into German hands. Just after the Germans occupied Oslo, the western press played up the role of Quisling's treasonous pro-Nazi government, stirring British fears of fifth column Norwegian Nazis. In reality, the Norwegians were devotedly pro-Allied, and determined to drive the Germans out. Once in Norway, most Allied officers quickly discerned local loyalties, and coordinated with hard-fighting Norwegian forces. But a few, most crucially Mackesy and Carton de Wiart, clung to biases that betrayed trust and fatally undermined Allied efforts.
Harr shows how the Norwegian army, though ill-equipped, fought with tenacity, aptitude, and understanding of its unique home terrain. Well into the campaign Norway's navy retained partial control of key fiords in southern Norway. Had the western Allies made better use of Norway's own forces, history might have turned out very differently.
Mr. Harr gives photos and descriptions of the little Norwegian "puffers," small ferryboats that shuttled troops and supplies, and were less vulnerable to air attack and grounding in difficult waters than larger, more cumbersome Allied vessels. He gives accounts from AA gunners who found themselves "on alert" twenty-two hours a day in Norway's high latitudes, firing away until ships' decks were crowded with cartridges, ammunition was low, and nerves were shot.Read more ›
Some of these lessons include:
The importance of coordinated leadership and agreed upon goals.
The importance of daytime control of the air, and control of enemy air reconnaissance.
The first opposed amphibious operations of the war - including first use of dedicated landing craft.
The effect of distant efforts to control local events.
The fact that, in wartime, attack can come at any time from any source. (HMS Glorious learned that one the hard way.)
This is an excellent, well-written book that brings out the many lessons of the Norwegian Campaign - and by implication asks us to find out why they had to be relearned again and again later in the war.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
forget everything you read about the (sea) battles for norway in 1940. This is the best I ever read. Must be years and years of research to finish this (actually 2 books ) book.Published on March 11, 2013 by mj swarts
The 1940 German invasion of Norway continues to fascinate historians and students of the military art. Read morePublished on April 17, 2011 by HMS Warspite