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The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940 Hardcover – October 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“….Very well researched and written work.” ― Air Power History --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Geirr H. Haarr is a Norwegian industrial executive working in environmental project development with a passion for naval history.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591143101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591143109
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,928,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joel R. VINE VOICE on September 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"The German Invasion of Norway", by Geirr Haarr, is a detailed look at the very first combined naval, amphibious, and airborne invasion in history. In April 1940, the Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, and Wehrmacht violated Norwegian neutrality in an operation to achieve two objectives: 1.) to isolate the shortest path for the allies to reinforce and supply the Finns fighting against the Russians; and 2.) to prevent Swedish iron ore from being shipped to the Allies. Haarr provides an expertly researched book that looks at how the Germans planned and executed this operation; Haarr counterbalances this with the Norwegian defenses in defending their homeland.

Haarr dedicates approximately the first third of the book to examining the rationale for the invasion and the planning the Germans put into the invasion. The balance of the book dedicates individual chapters to look at major geographic operational areas: Oslofjord; Kristiansand--Arendal; Stavanager -- Egersund; Bergen; Trondheim; and Narvik. Each of these chapters follows the model of studying the naval operations and the initial contact between Norwegian and German forces. These are very detailed naval campaign studies, and Haarr did a good job explaining where the ground forces made their initial landings.

From a naval perspective, I thought the charts did a decent job illustrating where the naval combatants engaged. As a specific example, I thought the chart diagramming the British attacks on the Kriegsmarine in Narvik harbor was especially well done. The book does an excellent job of tracking each of the combatant ships through its role in the invasion, but Haarr could have better identified where the major ground units participated.
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Format: Hardcover
The German Invasion of Norway is an outstanding book on the topic its name implies. While not a groundbreaking study, it is nevertheless the best effort so far to present an overall picture on the operation.

This book focuses almost exclusively on the naval aspect on the war, the air and land elements are only mentioned briefly when they are relevant to the combat at sea. As such, the topic is somewhat narrow, but this does allow for a deeper, more detailed coverage than other works spanning the entire width of the conflict.

I will especially praise the fact that this work is published in English. While this might deter a few Norwegian readers, it will make the story accessible to a much greater audience. Kudos!

The book goes into great detail on the lead-up to the invasion, and although I have read much of the previously published books on the subject, I am nevertheless struck again by the almost incomprehensible ignorance shown by Norwegian leaders in this period. How they could ignore so many signs and warnings that something was afoot is truly astonishing. Equally, as often mentioned, is how big a gamble the German effort really was, it succeeded only by sheer audacity, willpower and improvisation.

As the combat at sea is the main focus, naturally the Norwegian naval units` efforts are given much space, and it is very interesting to read about the actions of smaller vessels and coastal forts. While ultimately being unable to prevent the invasion, there were many skirmishes and smaller battles that are seldom mentioned, usually being overshadowed by more known events such as those around Narvik.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is excellent history that adds to the World War II literature and should be of interest to everyone interested in the European Theater of World War II. The German campaign to seize Denmark and Norway has been treated well before (but not from Norway's viewpoint), most especially in the Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-271, "The German Northern Theater of Operations 1940-1945" by Earl F. Ziemke: Washington; US Government Printing Office, 1959. The treatment of the planning phase for Operation Weseruebing (Weser Exercise (the Weser is a river in Germany)) from the time of Quisling's visit in December, 1939, in 20-271, Part I, Chapters 1-6, is similar to that in this book, although I noted that this pamphlet was not mentioned in the author's list of references. The DA pamphlet, however, credits Raeder with attempting to focus Hitler's attention on Norway well before Quisling's visit.

The outstanding part of this work is that the author looks at the operation from the Norwegian, German, British, Danish, Swedish and French sides in descending order of treatment and importance -- something simply not done anywhere before. The political policies, actions and blunders on all sides is extremely well presented, and there is much new material here to digest. For example, it was Churchill who first violated Norwegian neutrality, and had the Germans not mounted Weseruebing, the British would have put a friendly occupying force ashore in Norway. This was one of the things the Norwegian politicians feared, as it would almost force them into a hostile stance against the side they favored. Had the book stopped at the moment the Bluecher entered the Oslofjord, it still would have received five stars.
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