Friday, April 9, 2010

Phoney War gets real

70 years ago today (April 9) the Phoney War period of World War II started to come to an end.

In the early morning there was the first capital ship battle of the war, as the British battlescruiser Renown skirmished with the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Genisenau off the coast of Norway during very stormy weather that rendered the escorting eight British destroyers almost impotent. Both sides scored some hits but the weather did nearly as much damage and the two forces disengaged before any crippling damage was done.

A short time later the Norwegian coast defense ships Norge and Eidsvold (shown above) were sunk resiting the German invasion at Narvik by a regiment of mountain troops being landed from 8 destroyers. More than 300 Norwegian sailors were kiled while the Germans lost no one. The German troops were able to occupy the port unoposed becasue the local Norwegian troops were led by a Quisling officer. The term Quisling, for traitor, was coined around this time because of the disloyal actions of the Norwegian politician Vidkun Quisling, who aided the Nazis.

The fighting was the big news for about a month until overshadowed by the much larger campaign in France in May. While the Allies were making progress in their campaign to recapture Narvik, the disaster in France caused them to evacuate their troops from Norway in late May.

The Norwegian campaign proved to be a costly ine for the German, especially at Narvik where the Germans lost all 8 destroyers present, which represented a substantial portion of their entire navy.

1 comment:

  1. In Norway the sinking of Blücher is seen as very vital, as it delayed the Germans getting into Oslo and allowed the King and Government time to flee the city.
    The invasion of Norway was also the first time the army, Navy and Air Force branches combined their efforts in an attack.

    And these days there is also an ongoing filmshoot for a WW2 movie about 20 minutes from where I live. It's a British film to be called "Age of Heroes".