The War Illustrated No 33 Vol 2 April 19th 1940

The War Illustrated April 19th, 1940 Now It Was Norway’s Turn for Invasion On the same day as Denmark was overrun by the German hordes, Norway, too, was invaded at a number of points, and by the afternoon Oslo had fallen. Below is a survey of the initial operations of the campaign. I twas from New York that the world* tion it was announced that Norway could had the first news of the German not submit to the German demands, invasion of Norway. Early in the inasmuch as they would constitute morning of April -9, the U.S.A. State a direct infringement of Norway’s Department in Washington announced neutrality. As to the declaration by the that the U.S.A. Minister in Oslo, Mrs. German Minister, that if the Germans did J. Borden Harriman, had telegraphed that the Foreign Minister of Norway had informed her that the Norwegians had fired on four German warships upcoming Oslo Fjord and that Norway was at war with Germany. At 5 a.m. Professor Koht, Norway’s Foreign Minister, had received a call from the German Minister in Oslo who on behalf of his Government demanded that Norway should place herself under reported to be ongoing between the German military administration and Nazi worships and the fortress of Oskar- should take no steps to oppose German borg, and one cruiser ran aground while not occupy Norway the Allies would do so, Professor Koht declared that he did not believe it. Before dawn general mobilization had been ordered. But little could be done, however, to defeat the invaders. German warships had already made their way past the forts at the entrance to Oslo Fjord, despite bombardment from the coastal batteries. At 4.30 a violent engagement was occupation. That occupation, indeed, had already begun, for as early as 3 a.m. large numbers of German troops had landed at various points on Norway’s south coast. The Norwegian Government at once met, and after but short delibera- G rea twas the responsibility of these tw omen when Norway was invaded by the Nazis. LeftisM ajor-General K. Laake, the sixty-five-year-o!d Commander-in-Chief o f the Norwegian Army, a post th a the has held since 1931. Right is Norway ’s Foreign Minister, Professor H alvdan K oht, who refused the Nazi demand th a this country should surrender to the Nazis. another, rumoured to bethe“ Gneisenau,” was claimed to have been actually sunk. In the Norwegian capital the news of the rapid approach of the Germans spread like wildfire, and the evacuation of the civilian populace was at once undertaken. Byroad and rail the people poured out of the city, and the Government and the Royal Family removed to Hamar, some 80 miles to the north. Soon German aeroplanes made their appearance above the city, and bombs were dropped on one of the stations and on the airport. Ac­cording to one account 30 heavy German bombers bombed theA. A. batteries surrounding the airfield, and landed a number of troops. There ensued a short hand-to-hand fight but the weight of numbers soon told, and the Germans who had made this dramatic arrival marched down the road to Oslo to join their comrades who had been landed from the troopships at Vallo, Tonsberg and Moss. German troops reached the outskirts of the city at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and by an hour later the capital had been completely occupied. Shortly after their arrival the invaders issued an order that the evacuation should be suspended immediately and that those people who had left the city should return at once and resume their ordinary occupations. Meanwhile, in the neighbourhood of the capital and in many other ports of southern Norway, the anti-aircraft guns were active, and there were stories of air duels between Nazi and Norwegian ’planes and there were stories, too, of a big air battle above the city in which British ’planes had been engaged. At nightfall the guns in the coastal batteries at the entrance to the fjord .were still maintaining an intermittent fire against the Nazi warships, and Kristiansand at Norway’s southernmost point was stated to be still resisting air and sea attack here the cruiser“ Karlsruhe” was sunk by the Norwegian guns. Reports also flew about of naval air battles off the western coast which were soundly based, for that morning the British Fleet was continuously attacked off Bergen, the “Rodney ”suffering a direct, but -comparatively, ineffective hit. At several places on Norway’s w r estern coast the Germans effected successful landings. By sea and air large numbers of German troops had been trans­ported to such vital points as Bergen -odtftJBIjil'nT lliliM ftrr TPffffi MU „will ___ r. ___ Here is a charming peacetime view of Oslo harbour, which was violated by Nazi warships on April 9,1940. For hours the city resisted the invaders, t,ub as recorded in this page, it was forced to surrender. Oslo lies a t the head of the Oslo Fjord, about 80 miles from the Skaggerak* and, as the photograph shows, its situation is avery beautiful one. As a commercial harb our it is of no very great importance, the ships calling there being generally of small tonnage. Photos. Keystone and Baron Vo,'e BiS «®v. V:-v ' V m i
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