Norway 1940



  • Norway cost Germany dearly, 3 cruisers and 10 destroyers lost. Two Battle-Cruisers put out of action for many months. This left Germany with no Navy with the perfect chance to invade England.

    Was it worth it?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    If you mean “was it worth it?” in a general sense (i.e. was Norway significantly useful to Germany as a base from which to conduct aerial, submarine and surface-raider operations against Britain itself and against the Murmask convoys), I don’t have an answer off the top of my head.  If you mean, “Would Germany have been better off using its naval assets to invade Britain rather than Norway?” my answer would be that the ships which Germany lost in Norway would not have made a difference to Operation Sealion.  Any invasion of Britain depended first on securing control of the air over Britain and the English Channel, something which Germany never achieved and to which the Kriegsmarine could make no contribution.



  • @CWO:

    If you mean “was it worth it?” in a general sense (i.e. was Norway significantly useful to Germany as a base from which to conduct aerial, submarine and surface-raider operations against Britain itself and against the Murmask convoys), I don’t have an answer off the top of my head.  If you mean, “Would Germany have been better off using its naval assets to invade Britain rather than Norway?” my answer would be that the ships which Germany lost in Norway would not have made a difference to Operation Sealion.  Any invasion of Britain depended first on securing control of the air over Britain and the English Channel, something which Germany never achieved and to which the Kriegsmarine could make no contribution.

    I agree that Germany could not have launched Operation Sealion either with or without the ships it lost taking Norway.

    It’s also worth noting that the British had planned to land a force in Norway and invade the northern part of neutral Sweden to cut off Germany’s iron ore. German occupation of Norway prevented this.



  • No

    • Germany did not need the Swedish iron ore after they conquered the French mines in Lorraine.

    • Germany did not need Norway as a naval base to stop the Murmansk convoys, since less than 10 % of the Lend/Lease come this way. To cut off Murmansk was useless as long as Vladivostok and the Persian corridor was wide open.

    • French ports were more suited to launch attacks against the Atlantic convoys.

    • The impassable terrain with mountains and marshes in Northern Norway made the German attack against Murmansk very difficult and costly, and it turned out to be the most unsuccsessful campaign in the war. The 500 000 German soldiers in Norway could have been better used on the Eastern Front.



  • To me even if they didn’t lose their navy they still couldn’t of took over Britain. Who’s to say the British navy which I think was about twice as strong as the Norwegian navy. Besides you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think anyone from mainland Europe has ever succeeded in an invasion England since the French did I think in the hundred year war’. Amphibious assaults are hard, unless your the Navy SEALs.



  • The French never SUCCESSFULLY invade England in the hundreds year war!
    The only time England has been SUCCESSFULLY invaded were in the :
    1066 invasion by the Normans
    The Danish invasions in the 800s
    Anglo Saxon invasions in the 600s
    And the roman invasion in the 200s



  • Let not forget that Hilter sent a decent percetage of the U-Boat force to defend Norway, those U-Boats could have been better used in the Atlantic convoy routes.



  • Norway was a fine prize, doing the following for the Nazis (in what I consider the order of importance):

    1)Protecting the Swedish imports of steel, etc.
    2) Enabling air bombings on the Northern part of the British Isles (at the very minimum forcing the English to keep back critical planes from the air battle over the channel).
    3) Provided industrial material to the Germans, including heavy water.  While it is not known what  the purpose of this was meant for, heavy water is useful for building nuclear weapons, and it is known that this was shipped to Germany during the war…
    4) Norway provided a way for the Germans to squeeze the convoys to Russia.  Just not enough to affect the outcome on the Eastern front.

    Besides all this, what is the opportunity cost?  These naval forces were never going to be sufficient to take on the British, and would have been very quickly sunk if they tried to break out and commence attacks on the merchant marine.  Most likely they would have simply rusted away at port instead.



  • Good point….  Baker street. 🙂



  • @crusaderiv:

    Good point….  Baker street. 🙂

    Hitler’s obession with Norway cost Germany dearly.

    1. The Luftwaffe present in Norway took away precious aircraft from other fronts: example North Africa. The Axis did not have enough aircraft to protect North African bound convoys, bomb Malta and support Rommel.

    2. The German’s abilities in the Battle of the Atlantic were greatly damaged by Hilter’s fears of a British landing in Norway. In 1941 a large number of U-boats were sent into the Arctic which could have been better used else where. 38 U-boats were lost in the Arctic.

    3. German heavy warships were better suited breaking out into the Atlantic taking prizes and sinking Allied shipping rather than taking on heavy escorted Arctic convoys. The Battleship Tirpitz in the Atlantic would have been a great threat instead hiding in Norway. Norway cost German one battleship, one battle-cruiser, one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, 13 destroyers, plus the U-boats already discussed.

    4. Germany had huge amounts of man power in Norway, including elite mountain units, which were needed at every front.


  • '12

    The Tirpitz wasn’t completed until 1941.  By that time the age of the battleship was over, the Bismark was a potential threat, but other than sinking the WW I design battlecruiser Hood it didn’t do much other than tie up some resources for awhile.  Regardless of where it was based, a battleship without a supporting fleet and air cover is a liability.  The problems in Africa were not due to no resources to spare because of Norway, it was because of the planned and actual invasion of Russia that diverted resources.



  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    The Tirpitz wasn’t completed until 1941.  By that time the age of the battleship was over, the Bismark was a potential threat, but other than sinking the WW I design battlecruiser Hood it didn’t do much other than tie up some resources for awhile.  Regardless of where it was based, a battleship without a supporting fleet and air cover is a liability.  The problems in Africa were not due to no resources to spare because of Norway, it was because of the planned and actual invasion of Russia that diverted resources.

    The Luftwaffe was fighting a 5 front war in 1941 and 1942, Western Europe, Home Defense, Norway, the Eastern front and North Africa. Norway seems the least important.  The X. Fliegerkorps under Generalleutnant Hans Geisler, was sent from the Northern Norway and the situation in North Africa improved for the Germans.



  • The Luftwaffe present in Norway took away precious aircraft from other fronts: example North Africa. The Axis did not have enough aircraft to protect North African bound convoys, bomb Malta and support Rommel.
    Norway give a good position during the battle of britain and later attack royal navy and convoy. More, the german presence in norway autotically closed the baltic sea to Royal Navy.

    The German’s abilities in the Battle of the Atlantic were greatly damaged by Hilter’s fears of a British landing in Norway. In 1941 a large number of U-boats were sent into the Arctic which could have been better used else where. 38 U-boats were lost in the Arctic.
    Yes and they lost much more in the atlantic!

    German heavy warships were better suited breaking out into the Atlantic taking prizes and sinking Allied shipping rather than taking on heavy escorted Arctic convoys. The Battleship Tirpitz in the Atlantic would have been a great threat instead hiding in Norway. Norway cost German one battleship, one battle-cruiser, one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, 13 destroyers, plus the U-boats already discussed.
    Ah…and what about the Bismarck? without air support, Tirpitz and the other kriegsmarines warship would have been sunk.

    Germany had huge amounts of man power in Norway, including elite mountain units, which were needed at every front.
    Yes, because Hitler was afraid of seeing the british loading in Norway and attacking Germany by the north.

    The Luftwaffe was fighting a 5 front war in 1941 and 1942, Western Europe, Home Defense, Norway, the Eastern front and North Africa. Norway seems the least important.  The X. Fliegerkorps under Generalleutnant Hans Geisler, was sent from the Northern Norway and the situation in North Africa improved for the Germans.
    I agree. But axis lost the norh africa battle because Hitler refuse to send more troops to Rommel. Africa was a secondary front for him. USSR was more important.



  • Its worth noting that when Germany conquered Norway, it was thought the war would be shorter and less consuming than it was.  Certainly, the massive Russian front was not even considered possible at the time due to the treaty between Germany and Russia.

    The forces used in holding Norway were insignificant compared to the other fronts (the Russian front especially), and keeping Norway did provide benefits.  I don’t think that simply leaving Norway (say in Spring 1942), even to reallocate the relatively meager resources,  would have been particularly appealing to the Nazi leadership…


  • '12

    Razor, you mentioned 10% of lend lease went through Murmansk, was curious about that.  75% of Lend lease went to England and a little less than 25% went to Russia.    I just read that 70% of Russian equipment did go through Persia, I didn’t know that!  The rest was split between the Pacific and Atlantic though they provided no break down in the article I read.  So it looks if an even split between the two its 50% of 30% of 25% roughly 4-5% went via Murmansk is about right?  I had though it a much much larger proportion!


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