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Encyclopedia > Battles of Narvik

The Battles of Narvik were fought from April 9 until June 8, 1940 in the Ofotfjord and the mountains surrounding the North-Norwegian city of Narvik during the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War. In the English speaking world, the two naval battles in the Ofotfjord on 10 April and 13 April fought between the British Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine are most well known, while for the other participating nations, such as Norway, France, Poland and Germany, the two-months land campaign is regarded as having equal or more importance. April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ... June 8 is the 159th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (160th in leap years), with 206 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... Ofotfjorden. ... County Nordland Landscape Ofoten Municipality NO-1805 Administrative centre Narvik Mayor (2004) Olav Sigurd Alstad (Ap) Official language form BokmÃ¥l Area  - Total  - Land  - Percentage Ranked 29 2,023 km² 1,905 km² 0. ... German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign led to the first direct confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for Germany seeking the occupation of Norway was Germanys... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... A naval battle is a battle fought using ships or other waterborne vessels. ... April 10 is the 100th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (101st in leap years). ... April 13 is the 103rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (104th in leap years). ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services being the oldest of its three branches. ... The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ...


Narvik was of strategic value to the belligerent nations because its harbor was used to ship iron ore from the Swedish mines in Kiruna. Therefore, Nazi Germany was willing to take a high risk by navigating through 1,700 km of waters controlled by the Royal Navy. Whether Germany's war effort was dependent of the Swedish iron resources or if Germany was invading simply in order to block Britain from controlling the port is a matter of dispute. This heap of iron ore pellets will be used in steel production. ... Kiruna is a city in northernmost Sweden with 19,000 inhabitants; and 23,000 in the Kiruna Municipality. ...

Nazi occupation of Norway
Drøbak Sound –MidtskogenNarvikNamsosOperation ArcheryNorwegian heavy water sabotageTelavåg–Åndalsnes

Contents

The German military occupation of Norway started when German forces invaded Norway on April 9, 1940 and ended on May 10, 1945, after the capitulation of German forces in Europe. ... Combatants Norway Germany Commanders Birger Eriksen Heinrich Woldag Strength 3 280 mm coastal guns number of 150-57 mm coastal guns 6 533 mm land based torpedo tubes 1 heavy cruiser 1 pocket battleship 1 light cruiser 3 torpedo boats 8 minesweepers Casualties None 1 heavy cruiser sunk 1 pocket... Combatants Norway Germany Commanders Oliver Møystad Eberhard Spiller Strength 100+ 100 Casualties 3 wounded 2 killed, ? wounded Midtskogen farm is situated approximately 5 kilometers west of the town Elverum at the mouth of the Østerdalen valley in southern Norway. ... In April and early May, 1940 Namsos was the scene of heavy fighting in World War Two between Anglo-French naval and military forces and German military and air forces. ... During World War II, Operation Archery was a British Combined Operations raid on December 27, 1941 against German positions on Vaagso(VÃ¥gsøy), Norway. ... The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions taken by Norwegian saboteurs during World War II to prevent the Germans from acquiring heavy water which could be used to produce nuclear weapons. ... TelavÃ¥g is a small village in the municipality of Sund, located 39 km south west of Bergen, Norway, with a population of about 600. ... The Battle of Ã…ndalsnes took place in Ã…ndalsnes in Norway in 1940 during the German invasion of Norway. ...


German invasion

The naval battle before the one known as the first naval battle of Narvik
Part of World War II

An Eidsvold class costal defence hip underway.
Date: April 9, 1940
Location: Narvik, Norway
Result: German victory
Combatants
Norway Germany
Commanders
Odd Isachsen Willoch
Per Askim
Friedrich Bonte
Strength
2 coastal defence ships 10 destroyers
Casualties
2 coastal defence ships sunk
343 dead
None
Nazi occupation of Norway
Drøbak Sound –MidtskogenNarvikNamsosOperation ArcheryNorwegian heavy water sabotageTelavåg–Åndalsnes

In the morning of 9 April 1940, ten German destroyers under the command of Commodore Friedrich Bonte and carrying 2,000 Austrian mountain troopers (Gebirgsjäger) commanded by General Dietl entered Narvik harbour under cover of fog and heavy snow. They were spotted by Norwegian vessels, which promptly reported the sighting and alerted the old armored coastal defense ships KNM Eidsvold and KNM Norge. Aboard both ships steps were taken to prepare for combat. The guns were loaded and life preservers issued to the crew. Around 04:15 in the morning, the Germans spotted KNM Eidsvold. Captain Willoch of Eidsvold immediately ordered to signal the leading German destroyer with an aldis lamp. When the Germans failed to respond to the signal, he ordered a warning shot placed before their bow while he flew a two flag signal, ordering the destroyer to halt. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... Image File history File links An Eidsvold class costal defence cruiser - can be no never than April 1940. ... April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ... Friedrich Bonte (* 19. ... The German military occupation of Norway started when German forces invaded Norway on April 9, 1940 and ended on May 10, 1945, after the capitulation of German forces in Europe. ... Combatants Norway Germany Commanders Birger Eriksen Heinrich Woldag Strength 3 280 mm coastal guns number of 150-57 mm coastal guns 6 533 mm land based torpedo tubes 1 heavy cruiser 1 pocket battleship 1 light cruiser 3 torpedo boats 8 minesweepers Casualties None 1 heavy cruiser sunk 1 pocket... Combatants Norway Germany Commanders Oliver Møystad Eberhard Spiller Strength 100+ 100 Casualties 3 wounded 2 killed, ? wounded Midtskogen farm is situated approximately 5 kilometers west of the town Elverum at the mouth of the Østerdalen valley in southern Norway. ... In April and early May, 1940 Namsos was the scene of heavy fighting in World War Two between Anglo-French naval and military forces and German military and air forces. ... During World War II, Operation Archery was a British Combined Operations raid on December 27, 1941 against German positions on Vaagso(VÃ¥gsøy), Norway. ... The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions taken by Norwegian saboteurs during World War II to prevent the Germans from acquiring heavy water which could be used to produce nuclear weapons. ... TelavÃ¥g is a small village in the municipality of Sund, located 39 km south west of Bergen, Norway, with a population of about 600. ... The Battle of Ã…ndalsnes took place in Ã…ndalsnes in Norway in 1940 during the German invasion of Norway. ... April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ... Friedrich Bonte (* 19. ... Eduard Dietl (Born 21 July 1890, Bad Aibling, Died 23 June 1944, Styria) Lieutenant General Eduard Dietl commanded the German 3rd Mountain Division that participated in the German invasion of Norway on April 9 and 10, 1940. ... HnoMS Eidsvold, or KNM Eidsvold in Norwegian, was a coastal defense cruiser and lead ship of her class, serving in the Royal Norwegian Navy. ... HNoMS Norge, or KNM Norge in Norwegian, was a coastal defense armored cruiser of the Eidsvold class in the Royal Norwegian Navy. ... An Aldis lamp is a visual signalling device, essentially a focussed lamp which can produce a pulse of light. ... The system of international maritime signal flags is a way of representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships. ...


Since the Germans had orders to occupy Norway peacefully if at all possible, the German flagship Wilhelm Heidkamp stopped and signalled Eidsvold that it would send an officer to negotiate. From a distance of about 200 meters, a small launch ferried Korvettenkapitän (lieutenant commander) Gerlach over to Eidsvold. Gerlach and a signalman were taken to the bridge to speak to captain Willoch. At the same time, the gun crews of both the 21 cm guns and the 15 cm guns aboard Eidsvold kept the German destroyer in their sights. Due to the short distance, the trajectory of the shells would have been flat, making it hard not to hit the thinly armoured destroyer


Gerlach tried to convince Willoch that the Germans had arrived as friends and that Willoch should surrender peacefully. Willoch pointed out that he was bound by duty to resist, but asked for a ten-minute break to consider the matter. He used this time to contact his superiors, including the captain of KNM Norge further inside the fjord, informing them of his intent to engage the German forces. In the meantime, a second German destroyer crossed behind Eidsvold and took up a position 700 meters from the vessel, ready to fire her torpedoes.


Gerlach tried once again to convince Willoch to surrender, but Willoch refused. As Gerlach left Eidsvold, he fired a red flare, indicating that the Norwegians intended to fight. At this point, Captain Willoch shouted: "På plass ved kanonene. Nå skal vi slåss, gutter!" ("Man the guns. We're going to fight, boys!"). Eidsvold turned towards the closest destroyer and accelerated, while the battery commander ordered the port battery (three 15 cm guns) to open fire.


The Germans -- afraid that Eidsvold might ram the destroyer -- fired four torpedoes at the old ship. Two or three of the torpedoes hit before the port guns could fire, according to Norwegian sources: one under the rear turret, one midship and one in the bow. It is likely that the torpedoes ignited one of the magazines aboard, because Eidsvold was blown in two and sunk in seconds, propellers still turning. Only six of the crew were rescued by the Germans, while 175 died in the freezing water.


Aboard Norge, deeper inside the fjord, the explosions were heard, but nothing could be seen until two German destroyers suddenly appeared out of the darkness. Captain Per Askim of Norge gave orders to open fire. Four rounds were fired from the 21 cm guns (one from the fore gun and three from the aft) as well as seven or eight rounds from the starboard 15 cm guns, directed against the German destroyer Bernd von Arnim. The range has been estimated as 800 meters (1/2 mile). Due to the difficult weather conditions it was hard to use the optical sights for the guns, which resulted in the first salvo falling short of the target and the others going over the target.


The German destroyers waited until they were alongside the pier before returning fire. Bernd von Armin opened fire with her 12.7 cm (5 inch) guns as well as with machine guns, but the weather gave the Germans problems as well. The destroyer also fired torpedoes -- three salvos of two torpedoes each. The first two salvos missed but the last struck Norge midships and she sank in less than one minute. 90 of the crew were rescued, but 101 perished in the battle which had lasted less than 20 minutes.


First Naval Battle of Narvik

First naval battle of Narvik
Part of World War II
A map of Narvik area
Enlarge
A map of Narvik area

Date: April 10, 1940
Location: Narvik, Norway
Result: British victory
Combatants
United Kingdom Germany
Commanders
Bernard Warburton-Lee Friedrich Bonte
Strength
6 destroyers 10 destroyers
Casualties
2 destroyers sunk
1 destroyer damaged
2 destroyers sunk
7 cargo ships sunk
4 destroyers damaged,

The day after the German invasion, the Royal Navy saw an opportunity to damage the Kriegsmarine, and so the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla comprised of six H class destroyers went up the fjord in the early morning. As they approached Narvik, they engaged a German force at the entrance to the harbour and sank the two destroyers Z 21 Wilhelm Heidkamp and Z 22 Anton Schmidt, heavily damaged the Z 17 Diether von Roeder and inflicted lesser damage on two others. Seven German or German-seized transport ships were also sunk, including the supply ship Rauenfels. They also exchanged fire with German invasion troops ashore, but did not have a landing force aboard and therefore turned to leave. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... Image taken from Hyperwar. ... Image taken from Hyperwar. ... Photo submitted by Simon Manchee Bernard Armitage Warburton Warburton-Lee (September 13, 1895 - April 10, 1940) was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. ... Friedrich Bonte (* 19. ... HMS Hesperus The G and H class was a class of twenty-four destroyers of the Royal Navy (two later transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and one to the Polish Navy) launched in 1935–1939. ...


As they did so, they were engaged by three German destroyers emerging from the Herjangsfjord, led by Commander Erich Bey, and then two more coming from Ballangen Bay, under Commander Fritz Berger. In the ensuing battle, two British destroyers were lost: the flotilla leader HMS Hardy, which was beached in flames, and Hunter, which sank. A third, HMS Hotspur, was damaged badly by a torpedo. Erich Bey with Ritterkreuz Konteradmiral Erich Bey (23 March 1898-26 December 1943) was a German naval officer who most notably served as a commander of Nazi Germanys destroyer flotillas and who led the German force in the Battle of North Cape on 26 December 1943, during which the... HMS Hardy was a Royal Navy destroyer flotilla leader of the H Class destroyers, laid down by Cammell Laird and Company at Birkenhead on 30 May 1935, launched on 7 April 1936 and commissioned on 11 December 1936. ... HMS Hunter (H35) was an H-class destroyer of the Royal Navy laid down by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited at Wallsend-on-Tyne on 26 March 1935, launched on 25 February 1936 and commissioned on 20 September 1936. ...


Both the German naval commander, Commodore Friedrich Bonte (on Wilhelm Heidkamp), and the British commander, Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee (on Hardy), were killed in the battle. Warburton-Lee was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, Bonte the Knight's Cross. Friedrich Bonte (* 19. ... Photo submitted by Simon Manchee Bernard Armitage Warburton Warburton-Lee (September 13, 1895 - April 10, 1940) was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. ... Victoria Cross medal, ribbon, and bar. ... 1813 Iron Cross 1870 Iron Cross The Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) was established in 1813 as a military honor by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. ...


As the British destroyers left the Vestfjord outside Narvik, two German submarines, U-25 and U-51, fired torpedos at them, but German torpedos at the time had severe problems with their magnetic detonator systems: all of them failed and either did not detonate at all or detonated well before their targets. Vestfjord is a Norwegian fjord, which would be described as a firth or an open bight of sea between the Lofoten archipelago and mainland Norway, northwest of Bodø. The term fjord (from the old Norse fjördr meaning firth or inlet) is used more generally for bodies of water in...




Second Naval Battle of Narvik

Second naval battle of Narvik
Part of World War II

Warspite engaging shore batteries during the Second Battle of Narvik.
Date: April 13, 1940
Location: Narvik, Norway
Result: British victory
Combatants
United Kingdom Germany
Commanders
William Whitworth
Strength
1 battleship
9 destroyers
small number of aircraft
8 destroyers
2 U-boats
Casualties
1 destroyer heavily damaged 8 destroyers sunk or scuttled
1 U-boat sunk

Considering it imperative for morale and strategic purposes that the Germans in Narvik be defeated, the Royal Navy despatched Vice Admiral William Whitworth with the battleship HMS Warspite and nine destroyers of the Tribal and H classes, accompanied by aircraft from the aircraft carrier HMS Furious. These forces arrived in the Ofotfjord on 13 April to find that the eight remaining German destroyers, now under the command of Fregattenkapitän (Commander) Erich Bey, were virtually stranded due to lack of fuel and also short of ammunition. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... Image File history File links HMS_Warspite,_Norway_1940. ... April 13 is the 103rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (104th in leap years). ... Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... HMS Victory in 1884 given to the most powerfully gun-armed and most heavily armored classes of warships built between the 15th and 20th centuries. ... Several ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Warspite: Warspite, launched in 1884, was a first-class armoured cruiser scrapped between 1904 and 1906. ... HMS Nubian (F36), a Tribal class destroyer, late in the war The Afridi-class were a large group of destroyers that saw action in the Second World War, almost invariably called Tribals. // History A 1944 Canadian postage stamp showing a Tribal class destroyer In 1936, the Royal Navy ordered sixteen... HMS Hesperus The G and H class was a class of twenty-four destroyers of the Royal Navy (two later transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and one to the Polish Navy) launched in 1935–1939. ... Airbus A380 An aircraft is any machine capable of atmospheric flight. ... An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and recover aircraft—in effect acting as a sea-going airbase. ... HMS Furious was a modified Courageous class large light cruiser (an extreme form of battlecruiser) converted into an early aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. ... USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet or battle group and defend them against smaller, short-range attackers (originally torpedo boats, later submarines and aircraft). ... Erich Bey with Ritterkreuz Konteradmiral Erich Bey (23 March 1898-26 December 1943) was a German naval officer who most notably served as a commander of Nazi Germanys destroyer flotillas and who led the German force in the Battle of North Cape on 26 December 1943, during which the... Fuel is a material with one type of energy which can be transformed into another usable energy. ...


During the opening stages of the battle, a Fairey Swordfish launched from Warspite bombed and sank the German submarine U-64, which was at anchor in a side-fijord near Bjerkvik. Most of the crew survived and were rescued by German mountain troops. This was the first U-boat to be sunk by an aircraft during the Second World War. Fairey Swordfish The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber built by the Fairey Aviation Company and used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during World War II. Affectionately known as the Stringbag by its crews, it was outdated by 1939, but achieved some spectacular successes during the... U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ...


In the ensuing battle, three of the German destroyers were sunk by Warspite and her escorts, and the other five were scuttled by their own crews when they ran out of fuel and ammunition. Shore batteries and installations were also very badly damaged by the guns of the battleship. On the Allied side, the destroyer HMS Eskimo lost her bow to a torpedo and could not leave Norway for home until 31 May 1940. German submarines again suffered torpedo failures, when U 46 and U 48 fired at the departing Warspite on 14. April. HMS Eskimo (L-75/F-75/G-75) was a Tribal-class destroyer laid down by the High Walker Yard of Vickers Armstrong at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 5 August 1936, launched on 3 September 1937 and commissioned on 30 December 1938. ... May 31 is the 151st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (152nd in leap years), with 214 days remaining. ...


The Germans lost over 1,000 men and the destroyers Z 19 Hermann Künne, Z 9 Wolfgang Zenker, Z 13 Erich Koellner, Z 2 Georg Thiele, Z 11 Bernd von Arnim, Z 22 Erich Giese, Z 18 Hans Lüdemann and Z 17 Diether von Roeder in addition to U-64.


Later naval operations

After the naval battles of Narvik, the port and its surroundings remained in German hands, as no Allied forces were available to be landed there. Naval operations were limited at this stage to shore bombarding, as Narvik town was not a primary Allied objective.


Among others, the Polish destroyers - ORP Grom, ORP Burza and ORP Błyskawica took part in these operations, during which the Grom was sunk by German aircraft on 4 May 1940. ORP Grom was a name of a Polish Navy destroyer during World War II. She was laid down in 1935, commissioned in 1937 and lost in battle on May 4, 1940 in Ofotfjord near Narvik during the Norwegian campaign. ... ORP Burza was a Polish destroyer of the Wicher class which saw action in World War II. History ORP Burza was ordered on April 2, 1926 from the French shipyard Chantiers Naval Francais together with sister ship ORP Wicher. ... The ORP BÅ‚yskawica is a Polish destroyer, currently preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia. ...


Land battle

During the Norwegian Campaign, the town of Narvik and the surrounding area saw significant fighting between Allied and German forces, conducted by the 6th Division of the Norwegian Army as well as by an Allied expeditionary corps until 9 June 1940. The initial British detachment was reinforced on 28 April by a French expeditionary force, led by General Béthouart. In early June the Polish Independent Highland Brigade also operated in the area. On 28 May Narvik was taken by the Allies, but due to the dramatically changed strategic situation in Europe following the collapse of France, all Allied troops were evacuated from Narvik between 4 June 4 and 8 June 1940. Three Polish passenger ships -- M/S Sobieski, M/S Batory and M/S Chrobry -- took part in the evacuation operation. German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign led to the first direct confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for Germany seeking the occupation of Norway was Germanys... Ranks Norwegian military ranks The Norwegian Army (Norwegian: Hæren) is Norways military land force. ... The group of countries known as the Allies of World War II consisted of those nations opposed to the Axis Powers during the Second World War. ... June 9 is the 160th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (161st in leap years), with 205 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... Polish Independent Highland Brigade (Polish Samodzielna Brygada Strzelców PodhalaÅ„skich) was Polish military unit created in France in 1939, after the fall of Poland. ... May 28 is the 148th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (149th in leap years). ... June 8 is the 159th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (160th in leap years), with 206 days remaining. ...


References

  • U64 entry at uboat.net
  • First Naval Battle of Narvik

  Results from FactBites:
 
Narvik at AllExperts (1637 words)
Narvik is a town in the county of Nordland, Norway, in the Ofoten landscape in Northern Norway, inside the arctic circle.
Narvik borders Evenes to the northwest, Bardu and Gratangen in Troms county to the north, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the south and east and Ballangen to the southwest.
Narvik was destroyed by the fighting in 1940 and hastily rebuilt, hence the architecture is rather functional, but private homes are often painted in bright colours.
battles of Narvik: Information from Answers.com (4043 words)
The Battles of Narvik were fought from April 9 until June 8 1940 as a naval battle in the Ofotfjord and as a land battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War.
The two naval battles in the Ofotfjord on 10 April and 13 April were fought between the British Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine, while the two-month land campaign was fought between Norwegian, French, and Polish troops against Germany.
The Narvik Peace Foundation was established in 1990 with the events of 1940 as a background.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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