Det som går ned må komme opp-An Alternate Royal Norwegian Navy TL

Prologue
Welcome to my first try at a timeline! This timeline is planned to cover the interwar Royal Norwegian Navy, possibly spanning the Second World War as well. There will be some slight changes in Norwegian elections, but they will be minor. This won’t be a complete Norway wank, however it will benefit from the events in this TL. Feedback is welcome, and I will try and update about twice a week.
CV(N)-6
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Prologue

Oslo, Norway, September 1921
The depression had hit Norway and the rest of Scandinavia hard. Prime Minister Otto Blehr and the rest of the government were under pressure to do something to help their people. Options were debated endlessly. In the end, it was decided that funding for the military, already proportionally lower than many other nations, would be cut down, and the savings used to help relieve the depression. When informed, the top brass in the Royal Norwegian Navy were dismayed, but with no choice, they began to discuss options to keep as much of the fleet in commission as possible. The eventual plan was:

Place the Coast Defense Ships Harald Haarfagre and Tordenskjold in reserve
Cancel all Trygg class Torpedo Boats except for the lead ship
Scrap the old destroyer Valkirjen
Scrap all Torpedo Boats but the 4 Laks, 3 Storm, 3 Teist, 3 Grib, 2 Orn, and 2 Hauk classes-of 40 torpedo boats in commission, 23 are scrapped.
Scrap Submarine Kobben to partially pay for a B-class unit
Cancel all B-Class Submarines except for the first two units
Scrap the 1880’s vintage gunboats serving as minelayers
Scrap the ancient cruisers Viking and Frithjof

The fleet would consist of:
2 Coast Defense Ships Eidsvold and Norge
2 Tordenskjold class laid up
3 Draug class Destroyers
1 Trygg class Torpedo Boat
17 old Torpedo Boats
2 B-class Submarines
3 A-class Submarines
1 Minelayer Froya
2 Minelayers Glommen class

Ships would also receive refits less often. Top Naval officers were now extremely concerned about Norway’s capability to defend itself.
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For Reference: Norwegian Navy 1920
 
Chapter I
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Chapter I: Johan Nilsen

Johan Nilsen was born on April 9, 1887 in Narvik, part of the county of Nordland, Norway. He grew up fishing for Cod in his family’s business. However, from approximately age 12, Johan began to show high interest in joining politics. After finishing secondary school at age 20, he was accepted into the Royal Frederick University, from which he graduated five years later with a Master’s Degree in Political Science. Nilsen ran for several local offices, with increasing degrees of success. In 1924, he ran for parliament, but was defeated handily by an incumbent. Despite this, Johan immediately began planning to run in 1927. He ran on his previous successes that had allowed him to win local offices. Nilsen was especially popular among the fishing industry, which he had grown up in. One of his selling points was that he was something different than previous career politicians, that the people had his ear. Despite this, polls in the months before the 1927 election showed Johan far behind the same opponent that had beaten him soundly. Johan made many last minute speeches, and the campaign ramped up its advertising. One October 17, 1927, the 1927 Norwegian Parliamentary Elections were conducted. In a stunning turn of events, Johan Nilsen was elected to the Storting at the age of 40, barely edging out his opponent. The rookie MP’s future would be bright if he did well in his new position.

In the weeks after his election, Nilsen had toured Nordland, making speeches and promoting himself, as well as preparing to go to Oslo for the beginning of the new Storting in the coming weeks. He was busy in his office when his secretary knocked on the door.
“Mr. Nilsen, you have a visitor,” she said.
“Let them in,” Johan nodded.
A naval officer, standing a bit below two meters in height strode into the room, wearing the rank of Captain.
“Mr. Nilsen, I would like to congratulate you on your election to the Storting,” the man shook Johan’s hand. “I am Oscar Pedersen, Captain of the Battleship Norge. I’m sure you’ve seen us around the area,” he smiled.
“Of course. Norge is one of our best, largest ships,” Johan answered. “So, Captain, what can I do for you?”
“My ship is returning to Horten Naval Base in two days, and with approval by higher ranks, we decided to offer the county’s elected Storting members that are still here a ride to the capital aboard one of our finest ships.”
“Isn’t this a bit unusual?” Johan asked Captain Pedersen.
“It is little trouble, we would be quite happy to have another guest aboard our ship. I have cleared it with the area commander,” the Captain replied.
“Very well, I will be at the docks in two days. What time?” Johan questioned.
“We will send a boat at seven o’clock in the morning.”
“Thank you,” Nilsen shook Pedersen’s hand.
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Driftless

Donor
I'm on board for this TL. There's several plausible paths that could lead to a better outcome, but a post-WW1 political POD is the key - and that looks like what you have in mind !
 
The way Norwegian leftist politics turned from absolutely hawkish and pro-military to strict pacifism in a decade is an interesting story. You'd need an early POD to make them restore the attitude that prevailed in 1905 in OTL.
 
The way Norwegian leftist politics turned from absolutely hawkish and pro-military to strict pacifism in a decade is an interesting story. You'd need an early POD to make them restore the attitude that prevailed in 1905 in OTL.
I'm not trying to do something like outbuild Sweden, I'm more trying to give Norway a fighting chance in World War Two. Norway will be less pacifistic, but this TL will be limited to making the navy a modern, potent fighting force compared to OTL.
 
yeah the perception of the military as a primarily right oriented organization among the labour and communists voter majority that will use force to suppress workers rights is the key here. Stuff like menstadslaget will have to be avoided.
 

Driftless

Donor
Considering all the lives and merchant shipping lost in WW1, despite Norway's neutrality, I'm a bit surprised there wasn't more vocal and ongoing debate about Norway's form of neutrality in the interwar period. The Danes were too close to everyone's backyard and lacked space and resources to be more assertive. The Swede's had long opted for a more "toothy" neutrality, but they had the Baltic and Finland as buffers too. Would the Norwegians have been better served following the Swedish model, at least to the extent their limited finances would allow?
 
Considering all the lives and merchant shipping lost in WW1, despite Norway's neutrality, I'm a bit surprised there wasn't more vocal and ongoing debate about Norway's form of neutrality in the interwar period. The Danes were too close to everyone's backyard and lacked space and resources to be more assertive. The Swede's had long opted for a more "toothy" neutrality, but they had the Baltic and Finland as buffers too. Would the Norwegians have been better served following the Swedish model, at least to the extent their limited finances would allow?
Problem is the massive political shift in norway during this period. Model is not really the issue.
 
Does the form of the political shift need to change? How might that happen and who else needs to be drivers of those changes?
Biggest part of the problem is the fact that the military was undeniably an organization that was preparing to act against a rapidly growing part of the population in the early 20s. Political recruit screening and the creation of special units to strike down communist elements (fortunately never used) during the early 20s was something the left never forgave the military for even after they became the dominant political force in norway. Stuff like quisling being minister of defense did not help.

Despite this the military was still the largest post in the state budget by a large margin. It just wasn't at the extraordinary 1905 level.
 
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Driftless

Donor
Biggest part of the problem is the fact that the military was undeniably an organization that was preparing to act against a rapidly growing part of the population in the early 20s. Political recruit screening and the creation of special units to strike down communist elements (fortunately never used) during the early 20s was something the left never forgave the military for even after they became the dominant political force in norway. Stuff like quisling being minister of defense did not help.
Would funneling more of the military budget and focus towards the Navy vs the Army have partially offset that feeling? Theoretically, it may have been more difficult for the Navy to be viewed as the reactionary internal police force. Or, would that not have worked in the existing environment either?
 
Would funneling more of the military budget and focus towards the Navy vs the Army have partially offset that feeling? Theoretically, it may have been more difficult for the Navy to be viewed as the reactionary internal police force. Or, would that not have worked in the existing environment either?
I'm of the opinion that proper mobilization of the army and coastal artillery as it was is sufficient to give norway a fighting chance in wwii, not the navy being strengthened considering how close a call the norwegian campaign actually was.
 

Driftless

Donor
^^^ My limited understanding of the dominant persons of the Norwegian Interwar years is that several(Halvdan Koht, Frederic Momsen, and Johan Nygaardsvold) were ardent pacifists, perhaps stronger in feeling for that philosophy than they were for other parts of national policy. For the OP, our author may need to sidetrack them somewhat?
 
They were not ardent pacifists (as evidenced by their efforts during exile in wwii) but rather antimilitarists in the sense that they did not trust the military in the 30s due to its outright antidemocratic/antileftist stance against labour and the norwegian communist party during their rise to power.

Problem is that this is very very hard to avoid given the developments from 1905 to 1939.
 
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Driftless

Donor
I'm of the opinion that proper mobilization of the army and coastal artillery as it was is sufficient to give norway a fighting chance in wwii, not the navy being strengthened considering how close a call the norwegian campaign actually was.
I think you can a make a case for a complete update.
  • Recycle some of the guns and ammunition from the scrapped ships (torpedos too?, but that would take some conversion for land launching - but the Oscarborgs torpedos sure did a number on the Blucher....). The recycling of existing weapons should reduce upfront expense. You'd still need manpower though and training as well.
  • The mobilization as it occurred was positively 19th Century in concept and execution. How did other countries handle that function in the 20's and 30's?
  • Both the coastal artillery and better mobilization come into play when an enemy is on your doorstep. How do you keep the enemy from getting that close? That's where a modern naval (and air)force comes in. Also, sell the naval upgrade as a jobs program during hard times - and follow the model of spreading the work around to get local folks lined up to support that build
  • Similarly, some modern fighters and maritime patrol planes would show potential enemies that a surprise assault will be difficult.
  • As it turned out, both the Germans and the British/French had sufficient naval and/or air power to force the issue with impunity, but they may have both been more reluctant to ignore Norway's sovereignty, if they felt the Norwegians were more capable and likely to respond?
 
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Can you get a minimalist Soc dem government that can politically purge the armed forces?
That wasn't how norway worked at the time (or has ever worked for that matter) Armed forces had a a small organization of professionals that you couldn't really purge without effectively wiping it out, not to mention that there was a chance for civil war by doing this.

Army quietly dismantled its secret anti left organizations and mobilization plans after labour victory in 1935 but still left weapons in armories in an unusable state in case of revolutionaries trying to cease them when war broke out.

Again, Vidkun Quisling had been minister of defense untill 6 years before the breakout
 
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Driftless

Donor
This is maybe getting ahead of our author with this question, but here goes.... ;)

Compared to Vidkun Quisling, where did some of the other key officers of 1940 fit on the political spectrum? Laake, Ruge, Fleischer, Ericsson, Diessen, Willoch, etc?
 
I think you can a case for a complete update.
  • Recycle some of the guns and ammunition from the scrapped ships (torpedos too?, but that would take some conversion for land launching - but the Oscarborgs torpedos sure did a number on the Blucher....). The recycling of existing weapons should reduce upfront expense. You'd still need manpower though and training as well.
  • The mobilization as it occurred was positively 19th Century in concept and execution. How did other countries handle that function in the 20's and 30's?
  • Both the coastal artillery and better mobilization come into play when an enemy is on your doorstep. How do you keep the enemy from getting that close? That's where a modern naval (and air)force comes in.
  • Similarly, some modern fighters and maritime patrol planes would show potential enemies that a surprise assault will be difficult.
  • As it turned out, both the Germans and the British/French had sufficient naval and/or air power to force the issue with impunity, but they may have both been more reluctant to ignore Norway's sovereignty, if they felt the Norwegians were more capable and likely to respond?
1: manpower and training was there, problem was time for preparations and lack of solid orders given.
2: see 1
3: there was not really anything the navy or air forces could realistically have done to prepare for and stop the surprise attack in 1940 even with increased resources. If the germans wanted to march up they would be able to. And it would have to be up to the coastal artillery and army being properly mobilized and given actual orders beforehand to foil any of the major german forces. If any of the attacks against the major cities from trondheim and southwards are foiled then things will look very grim for the germans
4: all the attack forces were spotted well before they reached the coast. The surprise was the fact that they attacked norway at all.
5: Again, both saw norway as critical to the war and knew that norway, no matter how it prepared would be helpless alone. It always came down to who struck first. As luck would have it for norway the germans went in first and norway ended up on the winning side.
 
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