- 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: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,059,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940 Hardcover – June 15, 2010
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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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Top customer reviews
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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. He shows how the highly-regarded French Chasseurs Alpins, though first-rate soldiers, had trouble adapting to snow and terrain conditions that differed greatly from the French Alps.
The author must have spent many years of thoughtful work crafting this title. There are enough maps to help you follow the action despite Norway's vast, complex geography. The photographs are ample - about one every other page - enhanced by captions that bring out details you could never get from text alone. I have never before encountered images of German mountain troops advancing in the obscure but important Helgeland campaign, or bemused Narvik civilians watching French troops marching for home, back to their transports after winning the town at great cost. Many photos come from Norwegian sources; this is probably their first appearance in English-language literature.
The text is highly readable, with a nice blend of objectiveness and sensitivity to human situations. This title is the newly-established classic, a "must-read" for those with an interest in the tragedy and drama of Norway 1940.
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.
Geirr Haarr's "The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940" is the second volume of a superb study of the campaign, weaving together extensive research with an adept recognition of the multi-national nature of the conflict. Haarr briefly recaps the invasion in his opening chapters before describing the German build-up and advance north from Oslo and the stubborn resistance of the underequipped Norwegian army. Next in the narrative is the clumsy and improvised British intervention in central Norway, which rapidly becomes untenable due to strikes by the Luftwaffe. Finally, Haarr describes the Anglo-French-Norwegian attack in northern Norway to recapture Narvik. The Allies achieve a costly success, only to be withdrawn to cope with the results of the German invasion of France.
"The Battle for Norway" devotes particular attention to the war at sea off the Norwegian Coast, as the British Royal Navy improvises, at great cost, a series of amphibious operations under the bombs of a shockingly capable German Air Force. The book contains an excellent selection of maps and photographs. Haarr is not a military professional; his summation is accurate but brief. However, the narrative is rich with material for further pondering by students of the military art. "The Battle for Norway, April-June 1940" is very highly recommended to that audience.