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

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by dzaroh2, Aug 11, 2019 at 1:26 PM.

  1. formion Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    Just have the Norwegians know that the ships are invading Germans and not British, with alert defences. It would be the doom of Kriegsmarine. Hipper along with 3 destroyers could have been hammered by coastal artillery while full of mountain troops. In OTl it was thought to be a British warship and passed unmolested. Between the coastal defences ( as the Germans needed to seize ports and not just land somewhere) and the RN, the surface Kriegsmarine fleet would almost seize to exist.
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  2. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    That would have been a massive blow to the Kriegsmarine. The Lützow was mentioned earlier- she was actually damaged in the Oslofjord, in the same action during which Blücher was ambushed by a stationary fortress.

    Lützow was behind Blücher, and was hit by the 15cm guns of the Kopås battery. These knocked out her forward main turret and set her on fire, forcing her to turn back- a.d on the way back, she was torpedoed by a British submarine and severely damaged
  3. Some Bloke Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2008
    A small village in Arkhamshire.
    It could encourage the French to fight on from North Africa, after all, the med is a lot bigger than the Denmark strait.
  4. Post Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2017
    These two are probably the most important. Norway staying Allied territory makes convoying in the Atlantic and especially to Murmansk a lot easier (no threat from Germans assets based in Norway), and the task of the U-boats a lot harder. And it means that there is practically no air-reconnaisance from FW Condors.

    This would really make a major difference.
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  5. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

    Sep 20, 2009
    One interesting question is what does Germany do with the IIRC roughly 400,000 troops that they used to garrison Norway during the war? A large part of the reason for that was the deception operation to convince the Germans that an invasion of country was on the cards. I'm guessing that Fortitude North still occurs with Denmark being the new prospective landing site, but with a much smaller landmass, shorter coastline, and better transport links that would need fewer troops to defend against. Balance that against it being much closer to Germany so they might be slightly more twitchy, but even if you use half of those 400,000 troops that still frees up an extra 200,000 men.

    When did he declare his position in our timeline? As to the question it depends on how clear the situation is – if it looks like the Germans are winning then he might jump the gun, which could have unfortunately consequences for him a few days down the line.

    I doubt what he wanted would have much impact, if he's avoided our timeline's Norway Debate it simply means that he's brought down by this timeline's France Debate.
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  6. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    As I understand priority was to Plan Yellow & hence the Netherlands airborne operations. I doubt Halder & Co would have aborted that very necessary operation to double down on a lost battle in Norway. But Hitler has the final vote here. In 1940 he frequently listened to reason. Halder was often able to talk him down off the ceiling, or up off the carpet as it were.

    As above. Note that there was no major reinforcement of German forces in Norway despite the solid Allied enclave in the north. Priority was to the attack in the west.

    Again I point to Hitler having the final vote in this. Halder & more or less Rundsteadt & Kliest understood the essential nature of speed and risk in this. Those are the three key players in the execution of the Sicklecut maneuver from 10-18 May, and Hitler. Halder was able to repeatedly talk hitler out of halt orders, and Kliest allowed his corps commanders to work around the brief 16 May restriction order. I serious doubt Halder or the others would be badly shaken by a Norwegian defeat. None had a history of nerves, indecisiveness, clouded thinking... they proved themselves pros multiple times. It was Hilter who was the flakey one, confused by strategy and operational matters. Maybe he'd completely lose it this time, or maybe Halder could keep him on track.

    And clouds of them the next and later years.

    The Norwegian fishing fleet was a important component in keeping occupied Europe above starvation levels. Had the Brits swept that & the Danish, Dutch, Belgian, French fishing fleets from the sea the non German civilian populations would have been severely affected, and the good Aryans in Germany experiencing even tighter rationing. With the Norwegian fishing industry denied to the Reich the the protein ration drops significantly in the winter of 1940-41.

    & all that makes the continued neutrality of Sweden problematic. Both side are going to be trying to leverage Sweden to their advantage. If the Germans are to return to invading Norway in 1941 or 1942 or any time is just too tempting to badger the Swedes into cooperation, or simply invade them as well to gain any strategic advantage thereof.
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  7. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    Thats very true, tho the deception operation need not stop at Denmark.

    Fortitude East A: Allies diseminate evidence they are about to invade Sweden. This can be ignored, but one quick look at the map shows what a problem a Allied occupied Sweden is for Germany. Now the entire Baltic coast is vulnerable, & Allied P47 or P38 can rove all over Germany on escort missions. No need to wait on long range P51s. It may not require more than the 200,000 identified to have a rapid reaction force ready to aid the Swedes. But, the 200,000 can no longer be all second or third tier formations, static coast artillery regiments, & volks militia. To aid the Swedes at least average grade regiments must be on hand, with transport & field artillery. Some of those precious panzers must be on hand too.

    Fortitude East B: Deception is Sweden is about to flip to the Allies. Same as above except there would be no friendly ports or Skagerrak ferry landings for a German reaction force. They have to be prepared to do forcible entry to secure a port. & hey! Its Sea Lion in Swedish. The beauty is the Allies can run both deceptions concurrently, carefully feeding the information to stimulate current German (Hitler) fears.

    If the Allies do gain Sweden as a ally look again at the map and consider just what it takes for Germany to defend that long coast. Even if the Allies make no plans, its still Fortitude Baltic adding another large shadow for Hitler & Co to leap after.
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  8. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    It would not take much for the German plan to come unstuck and for them to suffer heavier losses in the early part of the mission

    For a start if the Norwegian armed forces are given a more direct and robust orders to defend the nation (against any invader) and have began or have mobilized as the German forces begin to arrive and the Forts all engage any foreign target they see unless they receive further orders etc - this could cost the German invaders several more warships particulalrly around the Oslo fjord.

    In many places the Germans got away with bluff for example at Bergan the Kvarven Fort did not effectively engage the leading ships of the 3rd Invasion group (Light cruisers Köln and Königsberg, artillery training ship Bremse, Schnellboot mothership Karl Peters, two torpedo boats and five motor torpedo boats with 1,900 troops) likely due to lack of orders and conflicting reports over the radio confusing the Garrison - as it was the fort eventually decided to engage the last group of ships passing the fort and they shot up Bremse, Karl Peters and crippled the CL Königsberg - who was later Dive bombed and sunk by Skuas of 800 and 803 naval Air Squadrons the next day.

    Had the fort engaged earlier it's likely that most of the ships would have been damaged and / crippled and few if any of the troops managing to get ashore and compel the fort to surrender (Norge reservists armed with Krag Jorgensen rifles verse German regulars armed with MG34s is no fun)

    Also there were 2 old torpedo boats and one (Brand) did manoeuvre into position in a side inlet in an ideal position to attack any passing warship but inexplicably (again possibly due to lack of orders and confusion as to the status of the Germans) did not fire and the Captain instead abandoned his vessel.

    So in that one example alone we might see the entire 3rd Group engaged by the Kvarven fort and the Brand.

    There was also the old DD Garm, submarine B6 and 2 other Torpedo boats in the area - 1 Storm that actually fired on the gruppe 3 ships but the torpedo either malfunctioned or missed.
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  9. Karelian Well-Known Member

    Sep 8, 2011
    This access will be really limited due infrastructure. However, politically this is a major gamechanger. Post-Winter War Finnish government joined forces with Hitler because of two major reasons:
    1. The Nazis could threaten the population of Finland with starvation due their stranglehold of Finnish foreign trade to the West.
    2. The Nazis were the only major power that was able and willing to guarantee and support them against Stalin.

    Free Norway butterflies away both of these conditions, and would give Sweden a better position to go ahead with the Finnish plan A, a defensive pact with Sweden. (Plan B was to rely on support from Allies, plan C was go along with Hitler and bet on the fact that Nazis could defeat the Soviets.) Do note that Finns opted for plan C only after the fall of France and evacuation of Norway, and after the defensive alliance plans with Norway, Sweden and Finland were rendered moot by the invasion of Norway and Soviet and German opposition to the Swedo-Finnish defensive pact.
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  10. arctic warrior Scandinavian die-hard

    Jan 10, 2006
    But they did - before the war the Danish commanding General advised that leaving North Jutland unprotected would be inviting a foreign power to occupy said area (with the Aalborg Airfield of 1938 vintage) and project airpower into the surrounding waters!
    Actually an infantry battalion was moved up there, to protect the area from British invasion, but lodged 20km north of the airfield - though no more than a forced march or railway could take it to said objective within a few hours. Given warning was obtained on 8. April the troops could have been there.
    They would lack AA defences but 1. Bty., 14. AA battalion was ordered to limber up on the evening of 8. April - actually the most experienced battery of said unit having performed neutrality watch at Esbjerg since the outbreak of war when RAF had managed to drop a few bombs upon that city.
    Surely the Danes had all the reason to fortify Aalborg Airfield but chose not to.

    Order mobilization by radio on April 8 as German forces were violating Norwegian water around midnight. Though numbers will still lack due to shortage of time for preparations all will know whats coming.

    Thee RN Submarines had the Blücher Group in the sights during the evening of 8. April on the approach to Norwegian waters and mouth of Oslo Fiord - they fired torpedoes at the three cruisers but the Germans began evasive movement as this happened - unknowing of the Submarines - and all missed. Oslo would have held feeing up troops for defences of Southern Norway and foiling the German landings at Fornebu, Oslo airfield.
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  11. steamboy Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2015
    If the Hipper and her escorting group wasn't found by the Glowworm but the Renown and the rest of her group (of which the Glowworm was part of the Renown's screen) then it would have been a disaster. All the German ships were packed to the gills with troops and the Renown is going to pound the Hipper into scrap. If that group was destroyed or scattered then Tromso does not fall and all the butterflies for that.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019 at 5:33 AM
  12. Driftless Geezer

    Sep 16, 2011
    Out in the Driftless Area
    That's a fascinating piece of history I did not know. My limited knowledge of the Denmark/Norway invasion is more superficial and grounded on the Norwegian end of the campaign. Change the events that you describe and those changes create some major ripples in the fabric of the Weserübung campaign and maybe the larger war.
  13. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

    Sep 20, 2009
    That's a very good point, I had overlooked Sweden as a possible jumping off point for an invasion. Mostly because my gut reaction is that the Swedes would try to do everything they could to remain neutral. Not to say that they might not feel obliged to tilt the sale of strategic goods somewhat in favour of the British–and later Americans–versus the Germans say 60:40 but taking a line generally similar to Portugal and Turkey. Of course since the Germans had no qualms about strong-arming the Swedes into allowing them transit through their territory in our timeline it means they're going to assume that others are just as likely to do similarly or even force them into becoming belligerents.
  14. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    Just because the Nazi leadership is paranoid doesn't mean that people are not out to get them ;)
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  15. arctic warrior Scandinavian die-hard

    Jan 10, 2006
    Well no surprise - I don't think this stuff have been issued in English or other major language.
    The political stuff is touched upon in a History thesis by former Airforce Major P.E. Ancher - don't think many Danes have chewed through all the volumes.
    The events relating to Weserübung is related in Søkrig i danske farvande under anden Verdenskrig/Naval warfare in Danish waters during WWII by Paul Bech only issued in Danish though there should be some on it somewhere in British archives or perhaps some official history..
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  16. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    One other point. In 1943 the Axis tried to keep the Mediterranean closed to large scale Allied cargo shipping. They failed with heavy losses in aircraft and ground forces. Close to 40% of Germany aircraft losses in 1943 were in losing air campaigns for Tunisia, Sicily, and southern Italy. In may 1943 the Brits were sending warships through the Sicilian strait with low losses, and in June started running cargo convoys through the Med, two months before Sicilly was secured. While the conditions over souther Norway & Denmark are not completely similar its still difficult to see how the German air and naval forces can prevent eventual Allied transit into the Baltic. The Allies can fly fighter groups over this area at the same scale as they did over Tunisia & Italy. While in 1943 the Axis were still able to build 1 fighter plane for ever 1.5 Allied their ability to train replacement pilots was abysmally worse. Even in 1942 the rookie Luftwaffe pilot was arriving at a combat squadron with 60-70 % of the training flight hours of his US AAF or RAF counterpart. In 1943 fuels restrictions, and urgency meant the ratio of training hours was much worse. If the Luftwaffe tries to contest the Skagerrak in 1942 or 43 it accelerates the destruction and creates the conditions of the Big Week of January 1944 far earlier.
  17. formion Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    When you say Allied transit, you mean Allied surface forces to enter the Baltic, or just submarines?

    The Allies can easily build up their air power in southern Norway. Bergen and Trondheim are connected to Oslo via railway. Specially Trondheim is immune from any kind of air attack. If the Germans invest air and naval assets to interdict the sea lanes between Scotland and Norway, then geography helps the Allies. The more assets are thrown against these sea lanes the better for the Allies: While they will for sure cause a lot of casualties, the Uboats will be in range of Coastal Command Beauforts all the time, with major RN bases in the neighborhood. Every Uboat taken from the Atlantic will be a win for the Allies.

    I also think that the British will lay a North Sea mine barrage to both protect their communications with Norway and help in the interdiction of U-boats heading to the Atlantic. I have to ask the naval oriented members if a WW2 mine barrage would be more or less effective than the WW1 one.
  18. Coulsdon Eagle Well-Known Member

    Jan 30, 2012
    Coulsdon, Surrey
    Consider the superficial differences in operations: -

    Navy: -
    Britain - second largest in the world, dwarfs yours.
    Norway - not quite negligible but smaller than yours.

    Army: -
    Britain - Mobilised as much as possible with some armour & modern anti-tank weapons.
    Norway - Almost all militia, partially mobilised (or caught in the throes of...).

    Air Force
    Britain - several hundred modern fighter aircraft with a modern air defence system, backed by large number of mostly-decent bombers;
    Norway - road hump of second-rate aircraft.

    Intelligence: -
    Norway - neutral, not really expecting an attack.
    Britain (April 1940) the Germans will never dare invade Norway, must be a ruse to slip raiders into the North Atlantic. [Completely agree with your criminally negligent comment above.]
    Britain (from June 1940) - there is only one objective for the enemy.

    As you say, the invasion of Norway was one of the most audacious military plans in history and should have collapsed ignominiously, but the Royal Navy were complacent if not negligent. Whether the cost, especially for the Reichsmarine, was worth the strategic advantages is the question.
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  19. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    Surface forces.

    Looking at the map I see the island of Zeeland as having the same magnetic attraction as Sicilly. If the Allies decide to operate on the Baltic Sea in force its about inevitable they seize Zeeland. Mission creep is sooo tempting here. I mean look how close Berlin is to the port of Rostock! Churchill with his blue crayons will be beyond restraint. Arrows across the Baltic will appear on every map he sees...
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  20. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

    Jan 17, 2015
    The heights of glory, the depths of despair.
    Umm, the Sicilian Narrows are 130 km across at the narrowest point, and the Allies controlled the entire African coast.

    The Kattegat (the passage between Jutland and Sweden) is only 100 km wide at any point, and the Allies would not control any of the coast on either side. Then to get into the Baltic, one must pass through the Danish archipelago, through channels at most 25 km wide, and in places less than 10 km wide. These channels could easily be blocked with minefields and coast artillery.

    Or one could pass through the Oresund between Sjaelland and Sweden, which is 25 km wide at most, and only about 3 km wide at Helsingors. Half of the Oresund is Swedish territorial waters.

    Tne Allies could establish air superiority over the area, but it wouldn't be easy; their nearest bases would be 500 km away in Norway.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019 at 11:32 AM
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