The Narvik Battle victory and D-Day / Columns / The Foreigner

The Narvik Battle victory and D-Day. Last weekend marked two WWII anniversaries – the 74th anniversary of the end of the Battles of Narvik in Norway, and D-Day. As former soldiers and their families remember, Germany and Europe are seeing uncertainty. Narvik in Northern Norway was an ice-free harbor in the North Atlantic in 1940. Nazi Germany received 73% of its iron ore from Kiruna in Northern Sweden, which they transported via railway to Narvik and then via ship home. Great Britain also had an interest in it as she saw Narvik as a landing point to take over Swedish mines. The First Battle of Narvik followed Nazi Germany’s landing troops in Stavanger, Oslo, Trondeim, Narvik and Bergen as part of Operation Weserübung– the invasion of Norway and Denmark – on 9th April 1940.

narvik, dday, germany, nazis



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The Narvik Battle victory and D-Day

Published on Sunday, 15th June, 2014 at 20:43 under the columns category, by Sarah Winkelmann and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 15th June 2014 at 21:19.

Last weekend marked two WWII anniversaries – the 74th anniversary of the end of the Battles of Narvik in Norway, and D-Day. As former soldiers and their families remember, Germany and Europe are seeing uncertainty.

First naval battle of Narvik
This illustration is from 10th April 1940, the first British victory in the Narvik Battles.First naval battle of Narvik
Photo: UK Government/Wikimedia Commons


Narvik in Northern Norway was an ice-free harbor in the North Atlantic in 1940. Nazi Germany received 73% of its iron ore from Kiruna in Northern Sweden, which they transported via railway to Narvik and then via ship home. Great Britain also had an interest in it as she saw Narvik as a landing point to take over Swedish mines.

The First Battle of Narvik followed Nazi Germany’s landing troops in Stavanger, Oslo, Trondeim, Narvik and Bergen as part of Operation Weserübung– the invasion of Norway and Denmark – on 9th April 1940.

HMS Warspite, 2nd Battle of Narvik, 1940
HMS Warspite, 2nd Battle of Narvik, 1940
UK Government/Wikimedia Commons
It was the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign and followed Great Britain’s mining of Norway and her offshore islands in the north under Operation Wilfred. This military move was to prevent transport of the Swedish Iron Ore for Germany’s war effort.

On 10th April 1940, the British Royal Navy attacked the German “Kriegsmarine” and succeeded in defeating the destroyers of Nazi Germany on the following day. British military ships returned just three days later, destroying the remaining German ships in the second assault.

Fighting at sea came along with warfare on land between Norwegian, French, and Polish troops and German mountain troops. It lasted until 8th June 1940. Allied forces pushed Nazi Germany back to the Swedish border. Nazi Germany subsequently managed to reoccupy Norway after the Allies evacuated their forces under Operation Alphabet. They were completely out of Norwegian waters on 8th June 1940.

General Carl Gustav Fleischer
General Carl Gustav Fleischer
Unknown/Wikimedia Commons
This deeply affected Norwegian General Carl Gustav Fleischer, known for using knowledge of Norway’s landscape for the battle. He took his own life in December 1942 in Canada after he was demoted. The Battle of Narvik was one of the first major Allied victories on land in the Second World War.

Allied victory D-Day was on 6th June 1944, when forces landed in Normandy, France. The lessons learned in the Battle of Narvik were essential for planning the D-Day. It helped the Allies to detect flaws in their inter-service communication and showed that aircraft carriers were needed support landing operations, reports historian Jurgen Flood.

At the same time, it was one of the first battles where the Allies fought side-by-side. Among them was the 96-year old Norwegian Monrad Mosberg on board the destroyer “Svenner”. In an interview with Aftenposten, he said all of his old feelings came up when he visited the beach at the 70th anniversary of the D-Day. He remembers how the “Svenner” was torpedoed by a Nazi Germany destroyer, how the ship sunk, how he struggled for life in the cold sea for half an hour, and how his comrades died.

Allied invasion plans, German positions in Normandy
Allied invasion plans, German positions in Normandy
US military Defence Dept/Wikimedia Commons
But remembering the D-Day is not only an issue for the former Allied states, but for today’s Germany too. D-Day is perceived as the beginning of the end of the Second World War and the start of a new order in Europe, reports Spiegel Online. Publication Frankfurter Allgemeine writes that it was producing hope back then. Today, the D-Day ceremony at Omaha Beach also triggers serious concerns in Germany.

The European order after the D-Day changed dramatically with Germany as today’s new European power, Great Britain returning to self-imposed isolationism, Russia expanding in the Ukraine, and France’s right-wing populist election winner Marie Le Pen threatening to leave the European Union, Spiegel Online reports.

There is at least one thing D-Day and its 70th anniversary has in common, according to the publication: Uncertainty about the future.

2015 sees the 75th anniversary of the Battles of Narvik.

Further reading about Norway’s General Carl Gustav Fleischer and the Battle of Narvik (in Norwegian).




Published on Sunday, 15th June, 2014 at 20:43 under the columns category, by Sarah Winkelmann and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 15th June 2014 at 21:19.

This post has the following tags: narvik, dday, germany, nazis.





  
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