Saturday, June 15, 2024

Big Picture


First Lord of the Admiralty 

Churchill's fingerprints were all over the Norwegian 

campaign.  It wouldn't take much to capture Narvik

and cut Germany off from its iron ore.  This one small

victory could have a decisive effect in the course of the

war over the long term.  It was worth the gamble.

The iron fields at Gallivare are the real objective.

Germany can get the ore it needs from the harbor at 

Lulea once the ice melts in April.  The port of Narvik

is no longer of importance.  Britain must take Sweden's

iron ore fields if the Allies are to keep this metal from Hitler.

The Royal Navy zigged when they should have zagged.

The Glowworm's sinking by the Admiral Hipper

confirmed to the Admiralty at Scapa Flow that 

Germany's warships were making a break for the 

British shipping lanes of the Atlantic.  The Home Fleet

made a dash to prevent the Reich's battleships and

cruisers from destroying its ocean lifelines.

Turns out the Royal Navy was actually headed 

away from the ships they hoped to intercept.

The enemy rarely gives you the battle you want.

The Royal Navy wanted a showdown with the German

Kriegsmarine because such a conflict plays to the 

Home Fleet's strength.  Certainly Germany's 

Admiral Raeder knew his navy wasn't prepared for 

such a head on confrontation.  The idea is to come

up with something unexpected.

Germany captured Norway's ports, mostly unopposed.

Surprise.  Your ports have all been captured by your enemy.

Your militia was sleeping and the British were off chasing

a phantom fleet out to sea.

British battleship sinks flotilla of ten German destroyers.

The Kriegsmarine was pretty much swept from the board

by the Royal Navy in the days that followed.

Admiral Raeder's credibility with Hitler had dropped 

to near nothing.  U-boats had the proven strategy

and that was the province of Admiral Donitz, 

Raeder's rival.

Hitler was about to upend the entire Allied defense.

Norway was a distraction that was easily handled.

In a matter of days British troops abandon their 

outpost in Narvik because the entire Scandinavian

campaign had just become irrelevant.

Everyone's attention had suddenly turned to 

a small French town in the Ardennes named


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©  Tom Taylor



Saturday, June 8, 2024



German flotilla heads for Narvik.

Ten destroyers slipped from the small German harbor

of Wesermunde, near the border with Denmark.

Their mission was to capture Narvik, preventing

British disruption of iron ore meant for Germany.

Troops target all main Norwegian ports.

Each destroyer was transporting 200 fully equipped

German infantry.  Norwegian ports targeted for attack

included Oslo, the capital, Bergen and Trondheim -

besides the small town of Narvik, nearly 1,200 

miles away.

Attacks everywhere begin 9 April, 0500hrs.

Everyone needs to be in place, ready to launch

the attack at the appointed hour.  Surprise here

is the key to success.  German forces are small.

They need to catch the Norwegian militia off guard.

German battleships provide destroyer protection.

Two German battleships provide the necessary firepower

to ward off most anything other than a mano y mano tussle

with their British counterparts.

The cruiser Admiral Hipper is an unpleasant welcome.

Three of the destroyers are dropped off for their attack

on Trondheim.  The group is stumbled upon by the

British destroyer Glowworm.  It's 5 inch guns are

no match for the radar directed broadsides coming

 from the cruiser Admiral Hipper, here to protect 

the Trondheim landing force.

HMS Glowworm is ablaze bow to stern.

An apparent defenseless wreck, the Glowworm

veers full force into the hull of the Hipper.  The 

cruiser must return to Germany for repairs but 

Glowworm's damage is catastrophic.  It quickly

turns belly-up, then sinks, taking most of the crew

to the bottom with it.


But the alarm has now been sounded.

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©  Tom Taylor




Saturday, June 1, 2024

happy birthday jeremy !


Rear View Mirror




Iron Ore


 German military production soars as war with France looms.

 Gallivare is Germany's prime source for iron. 

Much of the ore Germany needs to produce steel

comes from these Swedish iron fields. With the harbor

at Lulea closed in winter the Arctic port of Narvik becomes

Germany's sole means of reaching this strategic metal.


First Lord and Prime Minister probe for German weakness.

As head of the Royal Navy Winston Churchill plots

the takeover of Narvik by British troops, cutting Germany's 

link with Swedish ore.  Narvik's capture by Britain 

would deprive Germany of a staple of industry.

Raeder - an admiral among generals.

Britain is astir.  This sudden surge of radio traffic.  

Troops are seen assembling.  Transports all, on the move.

Admiral Raeder suspects the British have designs

on Norway.  Closing Norway's coastline to German

navigation is unacceptable.  The Fuhrer must be warned.

Hitler needs Norway to stay neutral.

The Fuhrer is currently planning his attack on France.

There isn't time for some military diversion against Norway.

Raeder is to keep Hitler apprised of British moves but,

otherwise, don't bother him with fearful speculation.

 German prison ship discovered by RAF reconnaissance.

It's the Altmark, supply vessel for the Graf Spee.  It has 

been steaming for Germany, closely pursued by the Royal

 Navy.  A British destroyer boards the cornered vessel 

in this tiny fjord.  Three hundred British prisoners found 

onboard are freed.  

Hitler is alarmed.  Britain openly violated the coastal

waters of Norway but Oslo doesn't appear outraged.

  Their sentiments are not neutral.  Germany cannot

tolerate its northern flank dominated by the enemy.

German invasion force slips by Royal Navy.

Preoccupied with the search for large warships

the Home Fleet from Scapa Flow totally ignored

the small fry German transports and destroyers

that steamed up the Norwegian coast.

Admiral Raeder is about to deliver 10,000 

German troops to all major Norwegian ports


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©  Tom Taylor