What if the invasion of Norway during World War 2 fails?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by dzaroh2, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. dzaroh2 wew lad

    Apr 24, 2016
    What if the invasion of Norway during World War 2 fails? This means that the Norwegian government manages to survive.
  2. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    The Norwegian government did survive. They moved to Britain, and a large portion of Norways currency reserves and gold were preserved from German control. Most of the Army was lost, but the Navy was able to move its operating ships to Britain, along with the large merchant fleet.

    There are a lot of other changes were the German invasion to fail, but Norways government & Navy survived.
  3. Derwit Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2013

    I thought the Royal family escaped and formed a government in exile?

    Norway fell because France fell. If France doesn't fall in the summer of 1940 Norway becomes a battle zone. You should check our the Blunted Sicle Timeline which goes in to this in detail.

    As to a failed invasion but France falls as OTL. The Luftwaffe will still have air superiority over Southern Norway thanks to having bases in Northern Germany and Denmark. The short distance means that a second invasion would be very likely due to concerns of bombers being based in Norway by the British/Allies. In 1940/41 the British would only be able to send token support. Therefore I suspect Norway would fall sooner rather than later
  4. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    They did.

    Or consider this, read a actual history of the subject ;) The Allies in the north were in good shape and at least one German enclave in serious trouble.

    Perhaps eventually. But, Hitler OTL made the calculation that if he hustled Britain into peace terms with a massive air attack everything else would fall into place. He was half right there. So a 1940 rematch in Norway is unlikely as everything will be focused on the air war against Britain that summer & autumn. However the importance of Swedish Iron ore, Scandinavias strategic position, and Churchills ideas about guarantee war will return to Scandinavia in a big way after 1940.
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  5. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

    Aug 20, 2010
    Reno, Nevada USA
    But what about the British ability, with tremendous RN superiority, to decimate German seaborne projection? This is obviously in combination with RAF and FAA assets being able to check Luftwaffe capabilities, as well as assuming that Norway, having been attacked by Germany, goes all in to the Entente. Despite the Fall of France, I believe German seapower would suffer grievous losses if their initial invasion attempt as OTL stagnates; Norwegian forces reinforced by even token British aid would be able to repel the initial invasion only because British sea and air power inflicts heavy attrition on the German invasion fleet. So the Germans start from an inferior position in terms of hulls capable of hauling men and material to Norway; the RN has fewer German naval resources to parry and so can concentrate more on the waters between Denmark and Norway. If RAF aircraft can be brought in to Norway in sufficient numbers, British fighters, including an increasing number deeded over or loaned to the Norwegians with Norwegian pilots, can parry Luftwaffe raids and attack German shipping from the air, based in Norway, while other units are also interdicting the waters as well as they can based in Britain. Under this cover, while the Luftwaffe might make it hot for British transport shipping taking the shortest routes to the southern Norwegian ports, others making a longer arc north and west and coming east pretty far north, at Trondheim or even Narvik, can at modestly increased cost including the cost of shipping stuff overland back south where it is most needed bring material aid to Norway pretty effectively.

    Naturally U-boats can get past the RN/RAF gauntlet, and indeed OTL medium sized German surface fleet elements can slip through too. But not without risk and paying a toll in being detected and decimated--it is mainly the U-boats that stand a good chance of getting through and as naval vessels those things are pretty weak.

    Another thing to factor in is how Sweden reacts to an abortive German invasion of Norway and the assumed successful incorporation of Denmark effectively into the Reich. OTL they were very conciliatory toward Hitler of course, in part because of sympathy for the Finnish cause of resistance to the Soviet Winter War, in some part due to elements of Swedish society having some Naziish leanings, and in some part due to the fact that the Swedes did a lot of trade with Germany. But another part was that with the quick imposition of nearly total control (barring Norwegian resistance activity and the occasional British commando raid) over Norway, the Germans had the drop on Sweden. If there is even a temporary respite from that threat, in the context of Hitler making his dictatorial intentions plain and violence against Denmark as well as the mauling of Norway, what then might the odds be that Sweden also goes all in in alliance with Britain? The Luftwaffe can close off Swedish trade via the Danish straits, yes. But not overland trade across Norwegian borders; if Oslo is not a suitable port, perhaps Bergen is, and Trondheim and Narvik certainly would be. Swedish merchant marine is bottled up and limited to running across the Gulf of Bothia to northern Finland, and naval resources are tied up in a ruinous duel with Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. But unlike Norway Sweden has a fairly good aviation industry of its own; given resources, which the British can assure them some access to, they can make up lost airframes, not to mention the British are likely to pour aircraft and crews of their own into southern Sweden immediately. So, Hitler can threaten to bomb, as he tried to bomb Britain into submission--but only by diverting bombers that OTL were all concentrated against just Britain. His bomb raids will suffer attrition, whereas British and Swedish made fighters can operate with much less infrastructure build up than RAF bombers would require,

    If Sweden were to declare war on the allied side, she would suffer some serious battering no doubt. But the Swedes, with a close call next door in Norway before them, would have to set that against the costs of probable Nazi occupation. Severing relations with Germany would hurt economically--if that is the British did not step in offering to buy everything the Swedes had been selling to Hilter. But Britain can do that. Whereas Germany has very few alternatives to the stuff they imported from Sweden OTL--lack of Swedish iron ore for instance is probably going to put a heavy crimp in the arms buildup toward Barbarossa.

    I admit, Hitler has to try again if he fails the first time. But the question is, can he do it a second time if the first invasion fails? It seems rather more up in the air than we might suppose. It depends on whether Britain can extend sufficient sea and air cover to prevent a second attempt from succeeding, on how devastated the hulls used in the first attempt are, and on whether Sweden will accept the punishment Hitler will send their way on the theory that staying neutral just buys them time but does nothing to stave off inevitable conquest or puppetization should Norway ultimately fall. Note that with Sweden in the war on the allied side, even if a second invasion attempt gains a foothold in the south of Norway, and even also in the south of Sweden, but cannot overrun the whole territory and leave significant resources in northern Norwegian and Swedish hands, then a vicious front exists, but one subject to interdiction from northerly based allied planes, whereas the British can keep communications through Narvik and perhaps even if the front is held far enough south, Trondheim, benefiting even Sweden despite the lack of direct sea contact. If Hitler can in fact overcome joint Norwegian-Swedish resistance, the Swedes are a lot worse off than OTL and the Norwegians somewhat worse off--but Hitler's forces would have taken some devastation in the process that leaves the Reich weaker, perhaps delaying Barbarossa another year, or preventing Hitler from intervening in southeast Europe. Time is on Britain's side, and the collapse of all Allied resistance in Scandinavia does not leave Britain strategically worse off than OTL--they will also have suffered some losses, but with Commonwealth resources can take these better than Hitler can I judge.

    Whereas if the invading Wehrmacht, its logistics impaired by airborne attacks from the northern reaches of Norway and Sweden, is driven back and must ultimately withdraw a second time, the damage they do to the south of the peninsula is terrible, but if the Allies can prevail that far, presumably by then air power based in Scandinavia is strong enough to absorb whatever the Luftwaffe has left to throw. Presumably Hitler's seaborne projection is even worse off, and North German harbors are perhaps in range of Allied bombing raids. If Hitler can somehow convince himself and the General Staff that invading Russia is still feasible, the Soviet Union can be supplied via White Sea ports with a lot less decimation since the OTL Luftwaffe bases in northern Norway are prevented. Swedes and Norwegians might have more objection to Churchill turning around and welcoming the USSR as an ally, but perhaps if Stalin will accept a favorable enough set of terms regarding Finland to the Finns to mollify the Scandinavian interest, he can end fighting on the Finnish front, and perhaps even get Finnish aid against the Nazis in the Baltic region.

    So yes, I do think that invading Norway was not a slam dunk for Hitler, it was one of those bold risks that paid off well for him early in the war, but it would not be unthinkable his luck turns and blunts the invasion, and that Britain with or without France falling, but with enough Scandinavian help, can enable the northern nations to stay out of the Nazi noose, and this is realistically probably going to prevent even Hitler from judging he can actually attack the USSR. So, huge game changer.
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  6. naraic Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2014
    Full failure or the country divided between German occupied Norway and a northern free Norway?
  7. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    Either is possible. Much of the initial German success was from suprise. Had the Norwegians 72 or 48 hours to mobilize their army the entire invasion minght have been Bluchered. The casualties the Germans took the first day were largely from caretaker staff, a few reservists that lived near the battle sites, and traniees. The Brit fleet arriving even twelve hours sooner would have made things much more even.

    The enclave in the north was still fairly solid. It was uncertainity what the Germans would do next that caused the Brits to abandon it. We're Narvik & the Swedish connection held the stratigic condition across Scandinavia would be very different.
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  8. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    The German cost of the Balkans and Lybian intervention in 1941 is hidden by the success there. If in the spring there is a parralle effort in Scandinavia the cost an knock on effects vs USSR becomes more apparent. Best case for the Allies is any attack in the east is delayed until 1942. Next would be a misguided effort to attack in three different regions.
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  9. pjmidd Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2015
    Amphibious invasion against a mobilized opponent without surprise or naval superiority is basically impossible. I also think you are getting mixed up on distances, Denmark to Oslo or Stavanager is roughly 200 miles so they are effectively out of single engine fighter range. About the only port that they would have single engine air cover over is Kristiansand and that's still over 100. If the Luftwaffe is pinning the British back enough so they could only provide token support then it is only providing token support over Norway.
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  10. formion Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    I think the Germans had just one chance to grab Norway. If the initial invasion fails then the only way to resume the attack is by driving through Sweden. However Sweden is just too valuable for the german war economy to gamble on capturing quickly its infrastructure intact so as to resume the iron extraction unopposed. On the other hand its Hitler we are talking about ... In general I think the end result will be just retaliatory bombing.

    A few things to consider:

    a) It is interesting to see if the Twins survive. If yes, then I doubt the decimated Kriegsmarine will send any capital ships in the Atlantic. So, by 1941 the Germans may have 4 capital ships in Kiel as a fleet-in-being.

    b) What would be the Kriegsmarine losses in such a senario? At worse as mentioned above, they loose their capital ships. Regardless of the fate of the Twins, the most probable senario involved the loss of a significant number of destroyers and cruisers. Such losses may alter the invasion panic in Britain. So the development of both ships and weapons may not stall as in OTL. It's possible to see Rommel facing 6 pounders in April 1941.

    c) What would the effect be on the Free French movement and the French Fleet in summer 1940? A less anxious Britain may result in the French Fleet in the Caribbean and more men and ships under the Lorraine cross.
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  11. VictorLaszlo Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    That's assuming that France still falls, which, unlike Poland, is far from certain. After a failed invasion of Norway the Germans could become too cautious in their attack on the Benelux countries and France or might even postpone Fall Gelb, giving the Allies more time to prepare.
  12. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    As far as the timing of Plan Yellow the date was nearly set in stone. Little chance it would be delayed. As far as the Army was concerned the attack plan was as well. Halder understood the need to take maximum risk to have any chance of a decisive victory. However Hitler was his usual erratic self. Even the day the attack was launched he was questioning the wisdom of the Sicklecut plan, and tried several times to order a 'Panzer Halt'. Halder was able to calm him down each time, but after the Arras counter attack Rundsteadt advised a halt & Halder was unable to keep Kleists four armored corps rolling.

    So, yes its possible for Hitler to overrule Halder and have less aggressive attack plan executed. There are several ways this could play out, but the most likely is Kliests armored group halts in its bridgeheads across the Meause River and waits three days for the infantry armies to catch up and deploy. This would also give the French three days to redeploy and reinforce the threatened 2d & 9th Armies. Probably a fatal delay for Guderian and Kleists other corps commanders.
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  13. b0ned0me Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2011
    I find it very strange how on this website the consensus is that for the Nazis to pull off an invasion 20 miles across the channel is essentially impossible but for them to assault Norway over a much longer distance, with worse infrastructure to start from, attacking into much tougher terrain, is often regarded as “lol, never easier”. The OTL invasion succeeded in spite of a laughable plan because the Norwegians were paralysed with indecision, the Brits were criminally negligent, and both were caught not just with their pants down but mid-squeeze.
    If the first invasion fails then trying it again into a prepared defense with most of the kriegsmarine hors de combat would be an epic disaster.
  14. VictorLaszlo Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    Would Vidkun Quisling still try to pull his coup d'état if the German invasion of Norway would be failing or would he realise it in time and call the coup off.
  15. dzaroh2 wew lad

    Apr 24, 2016
    Failure in the sense that the Norwegians control all the land and German forces with Norway surrender. This could happen from more successful British interception of German forces on the way there combined with German forces losing battles while already in Norway, maybe due to an increase in British forces there.
  16. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    On the ground all it would take is a day or two for the Norwegians reservists to reach their battle positions. The Blucher was sunk by a skeleton crew at the harbor defense. One of the h battles was nearly lost to sentries, a sergeants gusrd & some reservists that showed that morning. The German plan gambled entirely on suprise.
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  17. Driftless Geezer

    Sep 16, 2011
    Out in the Driftless Area
    The Germans had a very daring plan, which they pulled off with great skill. Having noted that there were several instances where changes in timing could have caused them critical problems.
    • They needed to capture Danish airfields at Aalborg to serve as refuelling areas for the 110's and the Ju-52 parachute/airborne forces - on time. Any delay there would have been very problematic. To be fair, the Danes had no real logical reason to prepare substantial defences there.
    • The Germans needed to promptly capture the airfields at Oslo and Stavanger - modern hard surface runways suitable for heavy aircraft. The few Norwegian Gladiators were pretty quickly subdued. There were new Curtis P-36's sitting on the docks upcountry, some partially assembled on April 10. Have more of them ready and the pilots acclimated and likely the Luftwaffe takes heavier losses to the airborne forces. Probably not enough by itself to prevent those airfields from being seized, but any delay would have been useful later.
    • Get the general Norwegian Army mobilization underway even a day earlier would have helped. Mobilization of the reserves by postal notice didn't work.....
    • The Oscarborg fortress guns and shore launched torpedos destroyed the Blucher. The Lutzow was just behind him. IF the shore batteries could have done some damage to the Lutzow, that would help too - more so from delay in landing ground forces.
    • Communicate the invasion news to the Eidsvold and Norge up in Narvik promptly, so they start shooting when the Germans come up the fjord. Again, even partial damage to the landing force would have been useful. That act also may have prevented the on-site Norwegian Army commander from surrendering the town without a shot. His commander, Gen Fleischer was upcountry at the time. Fleischer was a fighter. As it was, the RN sunk the German destroyers the next day, but they'd already seized the town.
    • The on/off nature of the Allied plans for putting troops ashore before the Germans also confounded the loading/unloading/reloading of the fighting supplies for those troops - even when they finally were put ashore. In some cases, they had AA guns, but no ammunition; skis, but no bindings, infantry put into spots of deep snow without proper training or equipment.
    • As it was, the Kriegsmarine took a real beating. The RN lost several ships as well, but they had sufficient reserve to roll forward. The surface Kriegsmarine was in deep tapioca for several months afterwards. I don't see how they could support a second naval invasion if the first run fails to sustain a foothold. After the conquest of France and gaining the French & Belgian iron ore fields, there was less time pressure on getting access to the Swedish ore too.
    IF any of those situations fall even partially more the Allies way, the campaign could take a big swing in a different direction. Most likely, a persistent attack by the Germans still takes southern Norway. Northern Norway might remain in the Allied hands.
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  18. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

    Jan 17, 2015
    The heights of glory, the depths of despair.
    Lots of knock-ons.

    1) The German navy was bashed up real good in the OTL campaign. If the campaign fails, very likely these losses are even worse.

    2) Chamberlain was savagely attacked after the Norway debacle, narrowly survived a vote of confidence, and resigned as Prime Minister (succeeded by Churchill, of course). If the Allies win in Norway, Chamberlain will stay on. Not for long - he was already a dying man, though he didn't know it yet. (He died of cancer six months later.) Would Chamberlain be as determined to fight on after the fall of France as Churchill was OTL? Churchill said of his role in 1940, "It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion's heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar." OTOH, with the victory in Norway, things don't look quite as bad, and full Churchillian resolve may not be required.

    There is also the possibility that Chamberlain decides to retire after Norway and go out on a high note - handing off to Churchill, who would be credited with the victory. Or Chamberlain may go after France collapses.

    3) In OTL, after the fall of France, it was generally assumed that Germany could just knock over Britain at will. The Germans realized otherwise when they actually planned out SEELOWE, and the British also saw that it wasn't that easy, but in June 1940, and among others for a long time afterward, the impression remained strong. (In 1942, the former US military attaché in Romania was debriefed in the US. He asserted that Germany had sufficient aircraft, airborne troops, and other assets to conquer Britain.)

    ITTL, that belief wlll be far less prevalent, if anyone at all thinks so. Mussolini jumped into the war on the assumption that Britain would have to make peace immediately. Thus he had to act quickly to get anything out of the imminent settlement. ITTL, it will seem more plausible that Britain would fight on, and that jumping into the war wouldn't get him anything.

    4) Britain was fearful of German invasion, and felt the need to "take out" the French battle fleet at Oran. OTL this ruthless action destroyed or crippled several French warships and killed thousands of French sailors; it alienated French opinion, especially in the colonies, most of which spurned De Gaulle's call to join his Free France group. These French colonies were at best neutral and at times actively helpful to the Axis. The Allies staged several major operations against French colonies. ITTL, between the defeat of the German attack on Norway, the added losses to the German navy, and possibly Italian neutrality, Britain will be less worried, and may not strike at Oran. If so, De Gaulle may win over additional colonies. That would be immediately useful to the Allies, and Allied operations against French colonies may either be unnecessary, or meet no resistance.

    5) Finland will have access to world commerce via Sweden and Norway. Arctic Finland will be exposed to action by the USSR and Britain, with no help from Germany. This may not deter Finland from joining BARBAROSSA in the Continuation War. (DrakonFin has argued very forcefully that the Finnish decision was overdetermined regardless of Norway.) However, it seems very likely that the British and Soviet forces would take over much of Arctic Finland, including the nickel mines at Petsamo. I don't know how important Petsamo nickel was to Axis war production, but it could be major. (If Finland remains neutral: the mines were actually started by a British-Canadian firm, and exports to Germany would be shut down anyway.)

    6) With the Germans blocked out of Arctic Finland, the sea lane to Murmansk is almost entirely safe, rather than being extremely hazardous.

    7) Allied control of Norway clamps down on German access to the North Atlantic. OTL, German ships could move to Norway, then break out through the gaps between Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, Shetland Islands, and Britain. ITTL they have to run a gauntlet all the way across the North Sea and Norwegian Sea. This includes U-boats, which will have much more difficulty getting to western France.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  19. formion Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    How would a failed Norwegian campaing would impact Fall Gelb (if any at all)?

    Let's assume that the main PODs are an earlier norwegian mobilization (72 hours by post or 48 hours by radio) and a better disposition of the RN. The first wave of regular troops and Fallschirmjäger is massacred.

    - Would Hitler try to press the Ju-52 fleet in supplyig the german pockets or expand the bridgeheads? If so, is it safe to assume that the Ju-52 fleet would be seriously attrited during the campaign. Would Luftwaffe fly the rest of the 7th Fallschirmjäger and 22nd Air landing division to try to win the campaign with a huge airlanding effort? It seems a nice way to waste both divisions. In such case, there is no airlanding assault against the Netherlands in Fall Gelb.

    - Judging by Hitler's OTL actions, would he dedicate a portion of the Luftwaffe to level the Norwegian cities and try to cut communications between southern Norway and Britain (both bombing and mining) ? If that's the case, then this portion of the fighting strength of Luftwaffe if out of the game on May 1940.

    - Lastly, would the first defeat on the war make the German command less brazen as @Carl Schwamberger has mentioned and put a 24-48h halt on the offensive in order to consolidate?

    - Would Force de Raid play any major part? Would any French success produce butterflies to the decision making of Gensoul and Darlan?

    A disaster in Norway seems to have the potential for significant butterflies even during 1940.

    Regarding war economy, Norway would be a valuable addition to the Allies. According to the book "Paying for Hitler's War: The Consequences of Nazi Hegemony for Europe", Norway had stocks of grains for more than one year of consumption. Furthermore, the norwegian industry had stockpilled material enough for 6-24 months of production. Therefore, it seems that the civilian economy of Norway would not need much imports at least for the rest of 1940. The British economy would benefit from the importation of iron ore, wood pulp, paper, fish and wood (especially wood for the coal mines). Of course, Norway needed to import coal, oil and from early 1941 grain and fodder. However the small population cannot put any strains to the Allied economy.

    I quote the book on the contribution of Norwegian ores to the German economy:
    "Norway was one of Germany’s main suppliers of pyrites and sulfur, and it also supplied significant amounts of rutile, titanium oxide, copper, zinc, and lead. It was also the only major supplier of the strategically important metal molybdenum. Also essential for the armaments industry, the production of ferrous alloys from domestic ore rose to 85,000 tons annually in 1943 and 1944, double the level of the late 1930s."

    All and all, an Allied victory in Norway, in combination with the benefits mentioned by other replied, seems to have significant effects on the rest of the war.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  20. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Jan 1, 2004
    It's possible that the Admiral Hipper could be lost as well, further damaging the German navy