Friday, April 9, 2010

70 Years Ago Today 9/3/40

Scandinavia: On this day 70 years ago Germany invaded Denmark and Norway. The phony war is over. The British government of Nevil Chamberlain appear to have been taken by surprise despite intelligence that suggested it was going to happen. In fact only the previous day the Royal Navy had begun to mine the Norwegian coast and in a skirmish the HMS Gloworm was sunk by the Admiral Hipper with the loss of 111 lives. The invasion of Denmark itself took less than 24 hours to complete after which all Danish islands, airfields, ports and inlets were in Nazi hands. After 16 Danish deaths and German threats to bomb Copenhagen King Christian X ordered a ceasefire. It would be the first day of a brutal five year occupation. Norway however would be more difficult to subdue.

Norway: The British destroyer HMS Gurkha is sunk near Bergen by German bombers. All but 15 of her crew are rescued. The HMS Rodney is badly damaged in the same attack.

Oslo Airport: German paratroopers seize the Oslo's main airport.

Oslo: On this day 70 years ago the German Heavy Cruiser Blucher sailed into Oslo harbour carrying 1000 German troops in a raid designed to take the center of the Norwegian capital. However the port was well defended and the massive German ship was met with Heavy gun and torpedo fire. Blucher was sunk with the loss of 830 lives. Other ships behind the Blucher retreated believing the port to be mined. Although the Norwegians successfully defended their capital, German landings in other Cities/towns such as Bergen, Stavanger, Egersund, Kristiansand S, Arendal, Horten, Trondheim and Narvik in the far north would all be taken by the Germans on this day.

The German Troop Carrier Blucher sinking in Oslo harbour, 70 years ago today.

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