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The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940 Hardcover – June 15, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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About the Author

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

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159114051X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591140511
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By jack greene on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the second volume in Geirr Haarr's excellent study of the fighting in Norway in 1940. It is first and foremost a study of the naval war in Norwegian waters. It concludes where "The German Invasion of Norway" started. This 458-page book is chockfull of excellent photographs, many of them taken by Haarr's native Norwegians. As a photographic study with solid captioning, this alone makes the work of great interest. Haarr's use of Norwegian, English and German source material, including much archival research, is well done and shows.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No English-language title previously written on the 1940 Norway campaign has approached this one's scope, depth, and accuracy. It emphasizes the naval and air war, yet author Geirr Haarr provides anecdotes and insights on the ground war I have not encountered elsewhere.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most English books that cover the Norwegian Campaign of 1940 tend to end their interest around April 15th, 1940 - or within a week of the campaign's actual start. Geirr Haarr put that first week into its own book The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940and reserved the rest of the campaign for this second book. As a result, they miss the chance to learn many valuable lessons that the Norwegian campaign taught.

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.
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